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

Discussion in 'Touring Northern Thailand - Trip Reports Forum' started by DavidFL, Aug 20, 2018.

  1. DavidFL

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    #1 DavidFL, Aug 20, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
    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.
    GPS-Map001.

    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,"
    GPS-Map002.

    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
    GTR - IMG_6609.JPG GTR - IMG_6610.JPG GTR - IMG_6613.JPG

    How it twists & turn beside the river
    GPS-Map007.

    how the road looks
    GTR - IMG_6618B.JPG

    It's been raining and there is plenty of water around
    GTR - IMG_6622B.JPG

    including landslides
    GTR - IMG_6625.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6626B.JPG

    Two drone shots of the road over the Huai Sai Mann viewpoint
    39261512_310023803102624_4386423135600115712_n.

    what a road & what a view = Paradise Road
    39442278_866431560220811_7286560593467670528_n.

    GTR - IMG_6643.JPG

    Go down the hill from the Huai Sai Mann Viewpoint
    GTR - IMG_6655b.JPG

    & you turn right onto R4007 for the "river run" along side the Khong.
    GPS-Map006.

    The start of R4007
    GTR - IMG_6658B.JPG
    just a few kms down the road is Mouang Kan, a riverside village that has a boat ramp to the Khong & some magnificent view
    GTR - IMG_6667.JPG
    GTR - IMG_6662.JPG
    The Houei Sai Mann viewpoint road
    GTR - IMG_6660B.JPG

    Continue along R4007 & there are some gorgeous villages & scenery.
    GTR - IMG_6670.JPG
    Another Mekong Viewpoint
    GTR - IMG_6680.JPG

    The muddy 'Khong & a turbulent current
    GTR - IMG_6684B.JPG

    Pottering along down the road at the local speed.
    GTR - IMG_6688B.JPG

    Confirmation of the route # 4007
    GTR - IMG_6692.JPG

    More wet season road damage.
    GTR - IMG_6693B.JPG

    With the Khong running high it has undercut the river bank & the road.
    GTR - IMG_6697.JPG


    The road meanders along by the river
    GTR - IMG_6705.JPG
    GTR - IMG_6709.JPG
    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.
    GTR - IMG_6714.JPG GTR - IMG_6723.JPG

    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.
    GTR - IMG_6729.JPG GTR - IMG_6730.JPG

    At the end of the soi on the village river road is a delightful little coffee shop.
    GTR - IMG_6732.JPG

    the river views are superb.
    GTR - IMG_6734.JPG

    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....
    GPS-Map000.
     
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  2. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

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    Very Nice!
     
  3. 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!!!
     
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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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
    GTR - IMG_6850B.JPG

    and the scenery stunning in the late afternoon light
    GTR - IMG_6852B.JPG


    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.
    GTR - IMG_6800.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6754.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6739.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6771.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6761.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6759.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6757B.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6813.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6782.JPG

    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.
     
  5. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    #5 DavidFL, Aug 21, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2018
    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
    GTR - IMG_6828.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6844.JPG

    GTR - IMG_6845.JPG

    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.
    GTR - IMG_6864.JPG

    But just before you head up the hill you can get a nice cuppa at the Mi Vana Organic Farm coffee shop
    GTR - IMG_6873B.JPG

    The outside terrace is a nice cool spot to take a break on some nice timber.
    GTR - IMG_6873.JPG

    Then back on the road R1290 starts to let rip going up the Kiu Khan hill GTR - IMG_6891.JPG GTR - IMG_6898.JPG

    Pop up over the hill and you get that magic breath taking Mekong view
    GTR - IMG_6914.JPG

    They're still struggling with landslides in many places on the new road
    GTR - IMG_6909.JPG

    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?
    GTR - IMG_6903.JPG
    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.

    GPS-Map000.

    and on the GTR Golden Triangle Loop map
    GTR-WatAlongTheKhongMapB.

    You can get a GTR GT Map here should you need one for trip planing
    GTR Touring Maps
     
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  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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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.
    upload_2019-10-13_18-34-58.

    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
    upload_2019-10-13_22-32-2.

    upload_2019-10-13_22-32-59.

    upload_2019-10-13_22-34-11.

    upload_2019-10-13_22-35-11.

    upload_2019-10-13_22-35-59.

    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
    upload_2019-10-13_23-12-46.

    Along side this is an ancient chedi with a tree growing out of it.
    upload_2019-10-13_23-18-18.

    upload_2019-10-13_23-18-29.

    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.
    upload_2019-10-13_23-41-53.

    upload_2019-10-13_23-42-11.

    upload_2019-10-13_23-42-29.

    upload_2019-10-13_23-42-39.

    upload_2019-10-13_23-43-3.

    upload_2019-10-13_23-42-50.

    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!
    gtr-img_6782-.

    Google Maps
     
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  7. Eoin Christie

    Eoin Christie Ol'Timer

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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...
     
  8. Eoin Christie

    Eoin Christie Ol'Timer

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    A beautiful ride, thank you, David. Lots of smiles and friendly people along the way.
     
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Good to hook up this afternoon Eoin.
    A couple of pics from along the Khong in & near Chiang Khong.
    upload_2019-10-14_18-23-0.
    Dipping your wheels in the Mekong.

    Riding Paradise Road
    upload_2019-10-14_18-23-44.

    A Mekong Viewpoint
    upload_2019-10-14_18-24-6.

    And all being well, we may soon have a Paradise Road sign for R1290....stay tuned. It is in the works.
     
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  10. Eoin Christie

    Eoin Christie Ol'Timer

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    You made my day, David - Thank you for taking the time.
     
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  11. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    It ended up being pretty funny.
    This guy made my day rocking up like that. 55
    upload_2019-10-14_21-36-32.
     
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  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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    Wat Pong Khong is 6 kms west of Wat Saen Kham Fu on R4007.
    upload_2019-10-17_20-22-16.

    upload_2019-10-17_20-23-0.

    upload_2019-10-17_20-22-34.

    upload_2019-10-17_20-26-5.

    A wat where one of the monks, an ex panel beater / spray painter, makes Buddha images for other temples on order.
    upload_2019-10-17_20-23-26.

    upload_2019-10-17_20-23-39.

    upload_2019-10-17_20-23-51.

    upload_2019-10-17_20-24-18.

    The panel beater is a cool guy & you can have a decent funt chat with him, if you can speak some of the vernacular
    upload_2019-10-17_20-24-30.

    Wat Pong Khong is located here: Google Maps
    Check it out sometime.
     
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  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator
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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.
    upload_2020-8-22_22-19-16.

    The Takhong Cafe is the new hot spot in town & well worthy of a visit if you're going through.

    upload_2020-8-22_22-17-31.

    It has splendid views of the Mekong from a wide sundeck.
    upload_2020-8-22_22-18-32.

    upload_2020-8-22_22-18-46.

    upload_2020-8-22_22-19-50.

    The menu is cheap & reasonably wide with Thai & farang foods.
    upload_2020-8-22_22-20-33.

    Check it out sometime to enjoy some Mekong serenity
    upload_2020-8-22_22-21-16.

    upload_2020-8-22_22-21-40.

    Google Maps
     
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