2015 - North-Eastern Thailand and Laos - Day 10

North-Eastern (I-San) Thailand and Laos, 16 Nov - 10 Dec 2015 (25days)
Mekong River sunrise view at Mukdahan.

Day 10 (25 Nov) Mukdahan to Ubon Ratchathani (194km)

Today on day ten, it was my second morning that I have to get up early at 5.45am to take some sunrise pictures by the Mekong River in font of Indochina Market. The first morning sunrise pictures was taken on day 7 at Nakhon Phanom.

We took a van from Mukdahan to Ubon Ratchathani which was 194km south and is the most eastern province in Thailand. We bought an additional seat ticket to put our backpacks.

Upon reaching Ubon Ratchathani, we visited Wat Tung Sri Muang, Candle Sculpture to honor his Majesty the Thai King, Phra Phatum Vorarat Suriyawong (Chao Khan Pong monument), City Pillar shrine, Ubon Ratchathani museum, Wat Sri Ubon & Wat Nong Bua. In the evening we walked to the Moon river esplanade to celebrate the Loy Krathong festival with the locals as well as visit Wat Luang.

Sleeping at Sri Isan Hotel, Ubon Ratchathani.

Mekong River sunrise view at Mukdahan.

In the early hours on my way back to hotel, I witnessed the morning alms offering to Buddhist Monks by devotees.

Each one gets something in their bowl. When everyone's been given, someone is assigned to lead a "blessing" ritual, which is like a chant or a prayer.

I noticed the monks from the nearby temples begin their morning alms ritual.

Wat Thung Si Mueang ubosot was constructed during the reign of King Rama III (1824-1851) to house a replica of Buddha’s footprint.

And the most beautiful structure in Wat Thung Si Mueang is the wooden Tripitaka Library (Ho Trai) designed to sit on the stilts in the middle of the pool to prevent the materials from insects (ants and termites).

The back view of the wooden Tripitaka Library (Ho Trai).

Wat Thung Si Mueang architecture is a mixture of Laos and rattankosin styles (Rattanakosin refers to the era after 1782, when Bangkok was the capital of Thailand).

Next to the Tripitaka Library is the Ho Phra Buddha Bot and the Wihan (ordination hall).

The huge golden replica of a wax sculpture in the middle of Ubon Ratchathani's Thung Si Muang central park.

A bright yellow elaborately carved candle sculpture, completed in 2000, standing 22 meters tall and dedicated to the King, show cases Isan art styles and has become the symbol of the city. The candle is placed on a junk, with a garuda eagle at the bow and a naga serpent around it.

Ubon Ratchathani is home to the Candle Festival – an elaborate event where temples all over spend months carving out candle wax into huge sculptures that ferry around for a few days and seeing the whole province full of excitement.

I was amazed with the intricate artistry, tremendous skill and patience involved in carving out these images.

Ubon Ratchathani National Museum.

The City Pillar Shrine is right next to the National Museum, in a large park that occupies the center of the city. The pillar and its shrine built in 1972 as part of a government campaign to have pillars in all provincial capitals.

Inside the city pillar shrine
A revered monk statue.

Wat Sri Ubon Rattanaram or Wat Si Thong is a royal temple near the City Hall in Ubon Ratchathani constructed in 1855 during the reign of King Rama IV of CHakri dynasty.

The Ubosot (Ordination Hall) of Wat Sri Ubon Rattanaram is in the same style as Wat Benchambophit, the Marble Temple, in Bangkok. It is where Phra Kaew Busarakham is located.

Phra Kaew Butsarakham, the topaz Buddha, found in the temple ubosot (ordination hall).

Wat Nong Bua was built in 1955. It houses a Bodhigaya, India-styled pagoda. This square based pagoda, 17m wide & 56m high, houses the Buddha's relic inside.
Wat Nong Bua, aka Wat Phrathat Nong Bua, is one of the most eye-catching temples in Ubon Ratchathani.

The details on the wall of Wat Nong Bua.
Wat Nong Bua (off Chanyangkun Rd, past the BKS station) is a highly unusual large white angular chedi, said to be a copy of the Mahabodhi stupa in Bodh Gaya, India.

One of the four entrances of the main temple.

There are 4 doors leading inside, each one has a golden Buddha facing the door.

Inside the main pagoda the houses Buddha's relic in gold.
As you look up, you will see scaffolding similarly decked in gold.
The designers didn't seem to spare anything as most of its interiors is in gleaming gold.

In the temple complex, you find other temples, one of which is a beautifully designed "wiharn" with 8 peach-colored posts right in front of this prayer hall.

A semi-circular glass panel stands at the top of the temple gable.

Candle sculptures in Wat Nong Bua.

Another candle sculptures in Wat Nong Bua. Every year, sometime during the first two weeks of July, Ubon Ratchathani celebrates a giant wax statues are paraded around the city.

Followers listening to a sermon by monks inside the prayer hall.

In the evening by the Moon river where Loy Krathong festival is to be celebrated tonight.

Night view of the bridge across the Moon River in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.

The market along the Moon River in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.

The market along the Moon River in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.

One of the most popular Thai festivals is the Loy Krathong Festival, falling on the full moon of the twelfth lunar month on the 25th of November.

The Loy Krathong festival derives from a Hindu festival in which offerings were made to the Goddess of the River Ganges, sacred river of India. It came to Thailand probably during the Sukhothai period.

Various types of colorful floats or krathongs. Most are made from banana leaves & stem.

Floats made from ice cream cones.

Tortoise shaped floats or krathongs.

People going down to the pontoon to release their floats.

Two nagas at the entrance of Wat Luang by the Moon River of Ubon Ratchathani.

Wat Luang in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.

Looks like the naga about to eat the moon.

Devotees at Wat Luang where prayers were being conducted.

The monk leading followers to say prayers before releasing the floats into the river.

Sleeping at Sri Isan Hotel, Ubon Ratchathani.

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)