"Isan mean Northeastern in Thai Language. As Thailand is separate landscape to be 4 parts which is Northern,Southern,Central and Northeastern...."
Actually, this area is never in my bucket list to visit as in my opinion there are too many provinces with long distanced connecting place to another place but less travel points. But as some of my friends keep talking about their hometown in Isan and this long weekend is very good time to visit some provinces in Isan so I and my friend Tan decided to explore Isan.
Isan mean Northeastern in Thai Language. As Thailand separate landscape to be 6 parts which is Northern,Southern,Eastern, Western, Central and Northeastern.
Northeastern contain with 20 provinces. Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) is the largest province and then Kalasin, Khon Kae, Chaiyaphum, Nakhorn Phanom, Bueng Kan, Buri Ram, Mahasarakarm,Roi Et, Yasothon, Loei,Si Saket,Sakon Nakorn, Surin,Nhongkai,Amnat Charoen,Udon Thani,Ubon Ratchathani, Nong Bua Lam Phu
"Surin is one of 20 province and there is a temple where they have "Elephant Graveyard" with more than 130 elephant tombs..."
Me and one of my friend decided to spend this long weekend (10-12 Aug) travel to Isan and the one place that we must visit is Surin. Surin is one of 20 provinces and there is a temple where they have "Elephant Graveyard" with more than 130 elephant tombs. And there are very incredible history.
We are so lucky that there is a group tour travel to this area during this long weekend. So, we decided to join this group as we want to get difference experience.
But for long distance and you travel with group tour the well prepared is need. So, you should bring some water and food
The group tour with 33 guests left Bangkok early morning and on the way we stop by some places for relax and visit some interesting places.
However, from my experience this time, I do not recommend to travel during long weekend to this destination because there are not good traffic and you will waste time on the road and miss some places.
We stop at restaurant name "Teerawongs Farm House" for lunch.
The venue look good and staff are friendly and take good care. Food are not bad.
For me highlight is grilled salmon in Thai Isan salad style. And their melon ice-cream.
But one thing that they should improve is toilet. They have only 2 toilets, one is for men and another is for women.
Anyway, seem that all in the group are happy with this restaurant. After lunch then we continue to check in at hotel.
We checked in at hotel name Tienchan Hotel in Mahasarakham province. A small hotel but room are not bad. But normally they do not provide breakfast. Then suggest you to buy some food before check in.
Mahasarakham province is well known as Phutthamonthon of Isan Located at Ban Na Dun Na Dun District which is a region that has excavated historical evidence Archaeology that represents prosperity in the past Because this area was formerly the location of Champasri City.
Various antiques Discovered to be displayed at the National Museum, Khon Kaen Province And the most important thing is to dig the stupa containing the relics of gold, silver and bronze, which is assumed to be in the 13th-15th century in the Dvaravati period the name is Phra That Nadun. The area around There will be a religious and cultural museum, Arboretum, herb garden which is decorated to be an important Buddhist place.
Our group arrived to Phra That Nadun around 11.00am. After get of from the bus everyone go direct to stupa.
There are a ceremony so there are lots of Thai people around the area. We joined the ceremony and pray. We spent around one hour at the Phra That then we left and continue to restaurant for lunch.
"Nadun Kitchen" is our local restaurant today, it's located not far from Phra That Nadun. The small open air restaurant which the tour guide already reserved table for us. Just a few minutes after we arrived they start serving the food to table..
I like soup, it's clear sour chicken soup which they put tamarind leaf to the soup to make the test and smell difference for normal sour soup.
But because everyone like the same so I was too slow to take photo of that menu.
We finished lunch and then continue to visit a famous temple called "Wat Pa Wang Nam Yen". Tour guide explain to us about how beautiful this temple.
This is one of beautiful temple I have visit. The "sala" where they have Buddha images inside is very beautiful. Normally, temple paint the walk with history about Buddhist but here no any painting, just plan wood wall.
Not far from the sala there is golden chedi where I saw many Thai people walking around the chedi with the believe of Buddhism so I did not walk there to interrupt them.
After Wang Nam Yen temple we continue to Surin province to visit another well know temple with Elephant Graveyard where they claim that there is only one place in the world that have more than 130 elephant tomb inside the temple.
We arrive to the temple and meet with the monk who start the elephant graveyard here. His assistance Mr.Saifa told us about the history of this temple and elephant graveyard project.
He said that the monk dreams to an elephant whose he sold since he was young with family's reason want to come back and stay with him.
Then he tried to find and bring that elephant back to temple but unfortunately elephant dead already so he brought only his bone to temple and keep in the tomb.
After that he got idea to collect the bone of elephant in Thailand after they die and keep in tomb here. To pay respect to those elephant who works for human, who fight for human in our country while we were in the war period (long time ago) He started collecting and sharing to people about his project.
Since he stated there are many people contact him to take the bone of elephant from many places in Thailand to keep in this temple. Till now there are more than 130 elephant tombs keeping their bones at this temple and he still keep collecting.
And there is another amazing thing in this temple is the Buddha image which made from elephant's ivory but all those ivories are from the dead elephants. And few years ago the government announce that keeping elephant ivory is illegal. Then many people bring ivory and give to the temple.
Mr.Saifah took us walk around the temple and explain more and more about this history. At the graveyard area, Mr.Saifah explain us about the design idea of elephant tomb. The shape of the cover look like hat and the meaning is " it look like hat mean active people because when people wearing hat mean they are going out because no one wearing hat when they stay home". I like this meaning.
Not far from elephant graveyard there is small village where I saw local people busy with their works. Making handmade products by silk, I got wonderful smile again.
There was 3pm so we left the temple and continue to hotel.
But before we leave there we can not miss to take photo with small and cute elephant who living in the temple. We got some shots with him and then left.
Tonight will stay at "Sorin Hotel" a small boutique hotel with quite nice room.
Hotel is new (just 2 years) and room is very clean and big bathroom. But my friend have problem with noisy because we heard the room next door moving the things in the night.
The hotel is good and the location is not bad but I suggest to contact hotel to check more details about the road to hotel. Because there are local community around so if you use wrong way then might have problem with road condition.
We start the last day of the trip to visit one of the must visit place in Surin province "Sikornpoom Castle"
This set of Khmer ruins comprises five pagodas built on the same base. Each is about 30 meters tall.
Designs adorn the door columns and lintels.
The site was built around the late 11th century. Si Khoraphum Khmer Ruins is situated in Tambon Ra-ngaeng, at Km. 34-35 off Highway No. 226.
Actually, I came here one time since around 13 years ago but I still remember this place.
We have lunch at local restaurant again. But personally I really to enjoy food at local restaurant then we can try local food in that area. The food which local people eat.
The restaurant located next to the rice field. And the food are local menu but taste very good.
After lunch tour guide took us to the local village where famous about silk products.
It was already late noon and it long way back to Bangkok.
We heading back and seems that everyone prefer to relax and have good sleep after long trip.We completed this wonderful trip and I can mark on my Thailand travel map with another one provinces which I visit this time, Mahasarakham.
And this trip to Isan make me feel that there are wonderful cultures, architectures,foods,life,nature and so many impressing things in in this area. And I should visit some other provinces, I will plan it soon.