2015 - North-Eastern Thailand and Laos - Day 9

North-Eastern (I-San) Thailand and Laos, 16 Nov - 10 Dec 2015 (25days)
The beautiful road to Phu Pha Thoep National Park, Mukdahan

Day 09 (24 Nov) Mukdahan – day trip to Phu Pha Thoep National Park (108km)

Early morning on day nine we took a tuk-tuk to visit Phu Pha Thoep or Mukdahan National Park. The second visit was the Wat Roi Phra Putthabat at Phu Manorom with the replica of the Buddha Foot Print. There was the construction of the largest sitting Buddha image in Thailand. And finally we visited the Mukdahan Tower. Sleeping at Submukda Grand Hotel, Mukdahan

Phu Pha Thoep National Park formerly known as Mukdahan National Park is in Mukdahan Province, Thailand. This park is one of the country's smallest national parks, is home to unusual rock formations and a cave with ancient hand paintings.

The mountainous park is famous for the unusual mushroom shaped rock formations that houses some of the best landscapes which are eye catching.

This rock formation resembles a crown.

Geographically the park is formed with mountainous sandstone.
Although this park is very small (48.4sq.km), it is famous for its unique sandstone formations due to 95 - 120 million years of weathering and a large rock garden.

This rock formation resembles a satellite dish.

A mushroom shaped rock.

This rock formation resembles an animal.

This rock formation resembles a crocodile.

Walking under a natural umbrella.

The forest of this area basically includes deciduous dipterocarp forests and mixed community of woods. Tree species include Malabar ironwood, Burmese ebony, makha, rosewood, heang (a dipterocarp), tiew (in the Guttiferae family), wild champaka, Moulmein cedar, Siamese sal and ingyin.

Lan Mudchalin wild flowers that is only seen from October to December.

Lan Mudchalin with nearly 10 species of vivid and colourful wild flowers.

Wild flowers flourish here during October and November.

The mountain slopes are also very rich in bamboo forest.

It also has cliffs & waterfalls. However we were not allowed to visit certain waterfalls & cliffs as they were considered dangerous by the park warden.

The terrain up here reminded us of a desert with a few lizards scurried amid grassy patches of rough sand.

Continue the trail up the gradually sloping rock we came across a modest Buddha shrine.

The Mekong River came within view beyond the stumpy shrubs.

The mountain trails are also very rich in bamboo forest.

We walked east under a heavy sun until the crest of a cliff, Pha Oot appeared along the cliff side of forested hills.

Visitors with kids needs to be careful here as the cliffs up here have no railings.

This rock formation resembles a camel.

Apart from a soft breeze as we walked back, there was little to interrupt the stillness.

At the Phu Manorom hill.

View of Mukdahan & the Mekong river and Laos from Phu Manorom hill. Notice the Mukdahan Tower in the photo.

Once completed this will be the largest sitting Buddha image at Phu Manorom hill in Thailand.

A lot of Buddhists from Thailand & Savannaket, Laos come here.

View of the 66m high Mukdahan Tower or Ho Kaew in Thai. It was built in 1996 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Thai King's accession to the throne.

At the foyer and ground floor of Mukdahan Tower.

The foyer and ground floor contain selection of ancient pottery and other interesting household ornaments, like eagle trap, elephant net and battle spears used when a tribe from Southern China invaded in the late 1800s.

The second floor features a display on Mukdahan province’s eight ethnic minority groups.

Panoramic views of Mukdahan city, Mekong river and Savannakhet from the 6th floor observation deck.

We had good dinner at this restaurant so far. It is located diagonally opposite 7-Eleven near to our hotel.

Click below to view:

North-Eastern Thailand and Laos - Introduction
Day 01 (16.11.15) AirAsia AK 856 KUL. 12.45pm to Chiang Mai, (1738km)
Day 02 (17 Nov) Chiang Mai to Loei to Phu Kradueng to Khon Kaen (691km)
Day 03 (18 Nov) Khon Kaen City walk around
Day 04 (19 Nov) Khon Kaen City to Kalasin (80km)
Day 05 (20 Nov) Kalasin to Sakon Nakhon (129km)

Day 06 (21 Nov) Sakon Nakhon to Nakhon Phanom (92km)
Day 07 (22 Nov) Nakhon Phanom - day trip to Thakhek, Laos (62km)
Day 08 (23 Nov) Nakhon Phanom to Mukdahan (125km)
Day 09 (24 Nov) Mukdahan - trip to Phu Pha Thoet National Park (108km)
Day 10 (25 Nov) Mukdahan to Ubon Ratchathani by bus (194km)

Day 11 (26 Nov) Ubon Ratchathani to Pakse to Si Phan Don, Laos (291km)
Day 12 (27 Nov) Si Phan Don - a long walk to Somphamit Waterfall
Day 13 (28 Nov) Si Phan Don to Ubon Ratchathani by bus (291km)
Day 14 (29 Nov) Ubon Ratchathani to Si Sa Ket by van (67km)
Day 15 (30 Nov) Si Sa Ket to Buri Ram by train (148km)

Day 16 (01 Dec) Buri Ram - day visit to 3 places (219km)
Day 17 (02 Dec) Buri Ram to Nakhon Ratchasima by train (129km)
Day 18 (03 Dec) Nakhon Ratchasima - day trip to Phimai (120km)
Day 19 (04 Dec) Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok by train (264km)
Day 20 (05 Dec) Bangkok - Chao Phraya River boat ride to Khaosan Road

Day 21 (06 Dec) Bangkok - rest day and dinner at Royal Bangkok Sports Club
Day 22 (07 Dec) Bangkok to Prachuap Khiri Khan by train (320km)
Day 23 (08 Dec) Prachuap Khiri Khan
Day 24 (09 Dec) Prachuap Khiri Khan to Hatyai by night train (660km) 

Day 25 (10 Dec) Hatyai to Butterworth by train and to KL by bus (555km)