Chiang Khong - A Sunday Ride - "wat Along The Khong."

DavidFL

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Sunday 19 August 2018

It's been wet for a few days but Sunday arvo the weather cleared up somewhat so time for a bit of a ride beside the Khong.
And if you're living in Chiang Khong there's a wonderful river loop you can do upstream.

It looks like this on google earth.
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The total distance is 81 kms so it is a nice half day ride.

You take off North from Chiang Khong along the new river road "Paradise Road,"
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It's an absolutely stunning magical ride beside the Mekong. A beautiful road surface, twisting & winding up & down along the river.

The start from Chiang Khong city
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How it twists & turn beside the river
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how the road looks
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It's been raining and there is plenty of water around
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including landslides
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Two drone shots of the road over the Huai Sai Mann viewpoint
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what a road & what a view = Paradise Road
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Go down the hill from the Huai Sai Mann Viewpoint
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& you turn right onto R4007 for the "river run" along side the Khong.
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The start of R4007
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just a few kms down the road is Mouang Kan, a riverside village that has a boat ramp to the Khong & some magnificent view
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The Houei Sai Mann viewpoint road
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Continue along R4007 & there are some gorgeous villages & scenery.
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Another Mekong Viewpoint
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The muddy 'Khong & a turbulent current
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Pottering along down the road at the local speed.
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Confirmation of the route # 4007
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More wet season road damage.
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With the Khong running high it has undercut the river bank & the road.
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The road meanders along by the river
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Several kms in is the village of Ban Don Thi with an impressive new timber wat. It's good to know they can still source some of the good stuff.
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Carry on more & Had Bai is a well known Tai Lue village.
On a happy Sunday all the villagers are out installing little bamboo picket fences for flower gardens post wet season.
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At the end of the soi on the village river road is a delightful little coffee shop.
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the river views are superb.
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and your 17 kms along R4007 with another 10 kms to go before it links back up with R1290, the main Chiang Saen - Chiang Khong road.


To be continued Wat Along The Khong on a Sunday....
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GTR-Admin

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That's so nice, you could do that route every week and still enjoy it... Almost time for another visit, but with the allocation of at least a couple of days to enjoy the ambience!!!
 

DavidFL

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Hang out watching the river flow and then continue on along the river road R4007 heading towards Chiang Saen.

The traffic is slow
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and the scenery stunning in the late afternoon light
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4 kms from Had Bai & the romantic blue coffee shop I spot a temple, a wat that is maybe the one I've been trying to find for awhile.

Wat Ton San Pao.

It's a really old wat and once upon a time must have been quite wealthy & popular.
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Wat Ton San Pao is here
Google Maps

I spent a beautiful hour here in total peace and serenity - in that time I did not see one other person!
Much later on, back at home in Chiang Khong checking my info, I realized that this wasn't the right Wat. Ha Ha. I enjoyed my little visit regardless.

More "Wat Along To Khong" to come.
 

DavidFL

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Exhausted by the peace at Wat Ton San Pao it was time to meander on down the road.
Wat-ted out for the day I thought but just before reaching the junction with R1290 again up on a hillock I spotted another wat - and a smart looking new wat it was.
Wat Pa Yang
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3 kms further on you pop back out on the main Chiang Saen - Chiang Khong road & it's homeward bound for Chiang Khong on R1290, Paradise Road.
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But just before you head up the hill you can get a nice cuppa at the Mi Vana Organic Farm coffee shop
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The outside terrace is a nice cool spot to take a break on some nice timber.
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Then back on the road R1290 starts to let rip going up the Kiu Khan hill
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Pop up over the hill and you get that magic breath taking Mekong view
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They're still struggling with landslides in many places on the new road
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and I find the new rock barriers to hold back the mountain slipping down onto the road to be an interesting exercise - how many wet seasons will they last?
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Surely the drains will fail & under mine them is my thought, but what would I know.

A pleasant very slow Mekong "Wat Along the Khong" Sunday arvo ride.
Check it out sometime if your hanging out in Chiang Khong.

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and on the GTR Golden Triangle Loop map
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You can get a GTR GT Map here should you need one for trip planing
GTR Touring Maps
 
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DavidFL

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Returning from MotoGp @ Buriram by a roundabout way & a night in Chiang San, R4007 beckoned once again - I still had to conquer Wat Saen Kham Fu,. which adjoins Wat San Ton Pao.
Why conquer you might say?
Well I've been in there twice looking for this & couldn't find it.
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How could you miss it?
It is there in the sprawling temple grounds, but down a track off to the side.
And eventually I had to try that track, because I had exhausted all the concrete roads.
It is a wat with a difference
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The proper name of the wat is Phrathat Saen Kham Fu & it is located here
Google Maps

On top of the hill is the main chedi & an impressive structure it is
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Along side this is an ancient chedi with a tree growing out of it.
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So what's the story - it's hard to find English language info, but..ancient Chiang Saen was under the control of King Mengrai of the Lanna Kingdom. Supposedly one of King Mengrai's offspring or relatives - King Saen Phu ruled Chiang Saen from 1327-1341 and was succeeded by his son King Kham Fu. The name of the temple, Wat Phrathat Saen Kham Fu, would suggest that it dates back to those early golden Chiang Saen days perhaps?

I wish I knew more..

There are some other interesting murals & characters around the wat.
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I wish I knew more..everything has a story & a reason.

Wat Phrathat Saen Kham Fu is located on the river road 4007 @ Google Maps

Take a gentle meander along the river road sometime & check it out some.

Wat San Ton Pao, another really old Wat, is right door & worthy of a look too!
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Google Maps
 

Eoin Christie

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Jul 16, 2019
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Thank you, David.
A timely post - I’m heading around there today, and had coincidentally planned on riding this route to see where I paddled a kayak down to Chiang Khong many years ago.
Plenty of rain last night, so dust shouldn’t be an issue...
 

DavidFL

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Thank you, David.
A timely post - I’m heading around there today, and had coincidentally planned on riding this route to see where I paddled a kayak down to Chiang Khong many years ago.
Plenty of rain last night, so dust shouldn’t be an issue...


Good to hook up this afternoon Eoin.
A couple of pics from along the Khong in & near Chiang Khong.
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Dipping your wheels in the Mekong.

Riding Paradise Road
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A Mekong Viewpoint
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And all being well, we may soon have a Paradise Road sign for R1290....stay tuned. It is in the works.
 

DavidFL

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Wat Pong Khong is 6 kms west of Wat Saen Kham Fu on R4007.
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A wat where one of the monks, an ex panel beater / spray painter, makes Buddha images for other temples on order.
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The panel beater is a cool guy & you can have a decent funt chat with him, if you can speak some of the vernacular
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Wat Pong Khong is located here: Google Maps
Check it out sometime.
 

DavidFL

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Haad Bai is the famous Tai Lue weaving village on the "Wat Along The Khong Loop."
It has featured on GTR here before with Jurgen
A Mekong Promenade - Part 7: Along the Golden Triangle
Get off the main road & wander around the sois down to the river & it is a lovely little Mekong hamlet.
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The Takhong Cafe is the new hot spot in town & well worthy of a visit if you're going through.

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It has splendid views of the Mekong from a wide sundeck.
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The menu is cheap & reasonably wide with Thai & farang foods.
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Check it out sometime to enjoy some Mekong serenity
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Google Maps
 

DavidFL

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Hanging out at the Takhong recently I got a tip off to go check out the wat on the hill with the big panorama views of the Mekong.
What's the road like?
It is ok for you on your bike, it is very steep & just two concrete tracks going up, but you can do it ok.
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Ha Ha I thought. Sounds like I should check it out, but on a Honda Wave or in a car first, just to be sure.
And so it was, after a GTR couples dinner at the Takhong I managed to convince Tim & Vero to go take a look with me in their 4WD.
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The track seemed to be petering out at one stage, so we managed to do a u-turn went back to what we thought must have been the temple & viewpoint.
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The viewpoint was right, but the wat wasn't?
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Glorious Had Bai city
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Thanks to Tim & Vero for checking it out.
I wouldn't take my Vstrom up there. You wouldn't want to be turning around somewhere by yourself, & you wouldn't want to be putting your foot down in places for a dab. There are some nasty ruts between the concrete tracks.

A few bumpy pics descending
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So where's the wat?
Now that I'm back home & can access google maps I can actually see we should have continued on that track through the forest that we thought wasn't going anywhere.
The Buddha pics were taken here
Google Maps
but we should have kept going to end up here by the looks of it
Google Maps

Phra That Doi Chom Mok would appear to be the name of the wat.

If you're going to take a look, be warned, the road is extremely steep & dicey in places.
You wouldn't want to come off alone up there, especially alone.
 

ianyonok

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David, on your suggestion, I took a dirt bike ride up to the stupa at Prathat Doi Jom Mork.
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Not so difficult on a Wave or dirt bike, but it would be tricky on a large roadbike.
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The best viewpoint you already photo'd, halfway up. At the top, the views not so good, due to trees. But you can see down to the river.
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The way to the Bor Nam Tip, natural spring.
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Nice old wooden sign for Wat Prathat Doi Jom Hmork.
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There was one monk living up there. He told me that this old Buddha image was found in the ground here, but the bricks had come from Yonok, in Chiang Saen.
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I was interested in the natural spring #1, so the monk gave me an empty water bottle and I took the path to it...... only a 100m....
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Natural spring #2 is about 1000m walk.
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Only 100m, but down, down and down...... on steps cut into the earth.
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The natural spring was not quite what I was expecting.
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I paid my respects and lit a candle.
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The spring did not appear to be flowing that day, but the storage tanks were full.
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I filled the water botle and Yes indeed, wonderful sweet natural mineral water.
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DavidFL

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Fantastic Ian. Many thanks for checking that out.
It looks like bad bit of road then is in the first half to where we went.
A bit disappointing at the "top" & the Wat then if the view was not great, but that spring looked interesting. I did not know anything about that, so that is a bonus.

The monk living there by himself must be a character. I wonder how long he has been there alone?

Good work & thanks for the report.