Loei adjoins the
Mekong for a distance of about 96 kilometers from Chiang Khan to Pak
Chom. This watercourse is narrow and meandering, on both sides by
imposing mountains. The riverbed is filled with small gravel.
Highway 211 along the Mekong River from Nong Khai to Chiang Khan,
unquestionably one of the most scenic routes in Thailand, promises a
memorable and comfortable drive. Summer time offers even more
fascinating scenery, as the low water level in the Mekong reveals
hidden islands, islets and sandy beaches along the way. Tourist can
also break the journey at many tourist attractions nearby.
Si Khun Muang
The temple was
constructed before 1834 by Phra Khru Butdi, a former abbot
of the temple, and his follows. Then ubosot, wihan and
Buddha statue were built further by Phra Anu Phinat, the
Governor of Pak Hueang or Chiang Khan together with his wife
Nang Kuai, his children and the Pak Hueang officials.
Wat Si Khun Muang observes the artistic stales of both Lanna
which is a historical Kingdom in the present-day northern
region of Thailand and Lan Xang. For instance, the ubosot’s
roof is multi-tiered along Lanna’s architectural preference.
The temple possesses many important artifacts, particularly
a Lan Xang gilded carved wooden statue of posture of giving
pardon. Presumably built in the 18th – 19th
centuries, this statue has short curls and long pointed ears.
The gilded carved wooden pulpit upon which monks preach
sermons is also noteworthy.
Another distinguished artifact in this temple is the Hang Hot, which
was once commonly found in the northern region but is rarely seen
Hang Hot is along thin water pathway in the shape of a Suphannahong
Royal Barge. When people pour water into one end of the pathway,
water flows to the revered, high-ranking monks, or sometimes to the
governor himself, who sits at the other end. This is a symbolic act
of paying respect and well wishing.
Kaeng Khut Khu is formed with a large rock obstructing a
curve of the Mekong River causing strong currents. During
the rainy season, Kaeng Khut Khu is concealed under water,
but during summer time in February-May, the rock and its
surrounding sandy beaches spectacularly reveal themselves.
Visitors can leisurely walk on some parts of it.
Fish abound around this place, similar to Kaeng Fa and Kaeng
Chan in Amphoe Pak Chom.
Tourists who yearn for the close touch of the Mekong and its natural
environment can take a 20-person boat to cruise for about 1 hour for
a distance of 4 kilometers past Kaeng Khut Khu, Phu Khwai Ngoen and
Phu Pha Baen.
Kaeng Khut Khu is also famous for many local food stalls operated by
Ban Na Noi people. Apart from common mouthwatering dishes such as
rossted chicken and papaya pha, kung ten and tomyam. These
dishes are clean and reasonably priced.
The Buddha’s Footprint is enshrined in the sala
on the right of the parking lot. The Footprint, registered as
a historic site in 1935, is about 1.2 meters long and about
.8 meter wide.
This highly revered temple was once so barely accessible that
it is believed only those of high virtue can do. Those of
lesser virtue would be barred by one way or another, despite
their strong intention, from reaching the temple.
On every 15th day
of the waxing moon in February the temple holds a grand