Sunday, August 12, 2012

Exploring the Hinterland

Since many Thai holidays are clustered into the second half of the year, I'd become accustomed to an ample number of long weekends in my first term of teaching. So, when a four-day long weekend (August 1-4) rolled around,  it was both very necessary and welcome. Finally, we had time (and a ride!) to explore the depths of our province.

Perhaps because this region is not on the typical tourist route, the national parks of Ubon are not readily accessible without private transportation. When a Thai teacher offered to take us foreign teachers on a day trip around Ubon, we jumped on the opportunity.

We set off early in the morning to make the most of the day, returning just after dark for the beginnings of the Candle Festival. Enjoy some photos from our one day exploration of the hinterland...
Kaeng Saphu Rapids (It's rainy season, so the rapids are submerged)

  This photo has nothing to do with Ubon, but was taken on this day. I heard an alarming statistic that the number of wild elephants in Thailand is below 1,000, with hundreds of thousands of domesticated elephants. Sadly, this sight of a chained animal used for an individuals profit-making has become all too familiar. On a side note, the added weight of a seat that most elephant riding companies in Thailand use is actually terrbile for the elephants back.

Kaeng Tana Rapids  (again, it's rainy season...)

 Mushroom rocks at Sao Chaliang; part of Pha Taem National Park.

 Pha Taem National Park; behind us is Laos
  Pha Taem National Park; on the walls are ancient paintings
  Pha Taem National Park; location of the first sunset in Thailand
   Also part of Pha Taem National Park (it's massive!); Sang Chan Waterfall

**Look out for my next post to learn about the actual Buddhist holiday and Ubon's celebratory Candle Festival!

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