Kaeng Pha Dai - Wiang Kaen - The Mekong End Of The Road

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
12,877
3,411
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Kaeng Pha Dai
GTR - IMG_5124.JPG


42 kms downstream from Chiang Khong, there is a wild rocky section of the Mekong where it flows away from Thailand & into Laos, and is no longer the border due to a quirk in the border negotiations with the French once upon a time.

GTR - IMG_5157B.JPG


After Pha Dai the river is no longer the border between Thailand and Laos until way downstream where the Nam Heung river runs into the Mekong at Ban Tha Ma Di, between Na Kra Seng and Chiang Khan.

This section of the Mekong at Pha Dai is famous for the rocks & rapids in the river. It was also a very food fishing ground for the Mekong fishermen. It is a stunning section of the Khong, & a bit tucked out of the way, but is well worth a visit.

The Mekong River is the second river in the world for its fish diversity, after the Amazon. It was ranked third in 2000 (Dudgeon 2000) but its species list has been substantially updated since then. The Mekong region is thus a biodiversity hotspot, whose magnitude is only being discovered: in the last decade more than 279 new species of fish have been discovered in this basin (WWF 2009). When all animals and plants are considered, it is more than a thousand new species that have been discovered in the basin within a decade.

I've been out there several times over the years & the place is always picturesque. There are some reports of visits on GTR, but damned if I can find them all. However here are a few pics from over the years.

2004 in the dry season
119-1989B_IMG.JPG


A trip with Dave Silverhawk Early: Fang - Chiang Khong Loop
119-1992_IMG.JPG

The end of the road in 2004
119-1988_IMG.JPG

Up the steps somewhere there is a border boundary post, That Ian Yonok has checked out, but I can't find the post at the moment.
This area was once a major smuggling zone, plus a path for communist insurgents once upon a time.

2015
DSC_0408~2.jpg


With Destination Thailand TV, Ian & the DTTV guys
DSC_0410.JPG


2018
GTR - IMG_5111.JPG


GTR - IMG_5097B.JPG


and the river is up. How the boatmen navigate on this river always amazes me.
GTR - IMG_5112.JPG


The area has been cleaned up a bit for tourism promotion.
GTR - IMG_5104.JPG


GTR - IMG_5137ACDC.JPG


The end of the road & some nice new asphalt
GTR - IMG_5095.JPG


GTR - IMG_5116.JPG


GTR - IMG_5113.JPG


GTR - IMG_5117.JPG



Some GTR Reports that mention Pha Dai

Fang - Chiang Khong Loop

On the road with Destination Thailand TV part 8

There are more but can't find them at the moment. Ian & Ron Webb please help with links if you can.

Of note too is that have held Valentine's Day Festivals there
Valentine’s Day Festival to Be held at Pha Dai Rapids | Bangkok Informer
date unknown?
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
12,877
3,411
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
A super bonus, en route to Pha Dai from Wian Kaen city is a magic little coffee shop out in the rice paddies.

Caffa Roasting House is the place
GTR - IMG_6959.JPG


The turn of is 2.6 kms north of Wiang Kaen, on the left hand side heading North.
GTR - IMG_6963.JPG


you bump your way down the track a couple of hundred metres and there she is
GTR-DSC_0730.JPG


a gem of a place in the middle of seemingly nowhere.
The aircon is cool & it's clean, with a strong aroma of fresh coffee!
GTR - IMG_6938.JPG


GTR - IMG_6962b.JPG


literally buckets of it.

GTR - IMG_6943.JPG

in an adjoining "staff only" room is the packing room. Ask nicely & you can go in for a whiff 'n photo.

Caffa has been in business & marketing coffee for 3 years, but the coffee shop is new and only 3 months old.
They also have numerous teas
GTR - IMG_6945.JPG
GTR - IMG_6944.JPG


plus coffee of course.

A highlight of Caffa is the rooftop patio and a glorious view over the village rice fields.
GTR - IMG_6948B.JPG


GTR - IMG_6947.JPG


GTR - IMG_6955.JPG


GTR - IMG_6954.JPG


Highly recommended.
Their Facebook page

Google Maps
Google Maps

Check em out sometime. You won't be disappointed.
 
Last edited:

ianyonok

Ol'Timer
Subscribed
Dec 9, 2008
1,045
720
113
That looks a nice quiet spot. I thought it might be next to the river?....... Guess not.
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
12,877
3,411
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
5.5 kms north of Caffa Roasting Coffee is the village of Huay Luk . Huay Luek is on the Mekong & where you turn right to meander down along the river to Pha Dai. If you navigate through the maze of sois into Huay Luek & make a left "somewhere" you will find an interesting wat.
Wat Huay Luek.
GTR - IMG_5143.JPG


It probably looks just like a regular temple & so it maybe
GTR - IMG_5145.JPG


GTR - IMG_5147.JPG


however in a sala on the side behind some shrines was a very old log boat, that intrigued me greatly.
GTR - IMG_5149.JPG


Just another log boat perhaps, but the fact it was basically locked up, under cover &
GTR - IMG_5150.JPG

not likely to be used

GTR - IMG_5153.JPG

meant to me that it must have some old history & significance to the village = I wonder what the story is?

Also adjoining the boat an old drum with offerings.
GTR - IMG_5155.JPG


plus a "Buddha Footprint"
GTR - IMG_5138B.JPG


They must have some fascinating festivals & ceremonies that revolve around the old boat & drum. Another trip or two is called for to solve the mystery (if there actually is one.)

The google maps location
Google Maps
 
Last edited:

Lakota

Ol'Timer
Subscribed
Oct 10, 2011
199
50
28
I understand the Boat was found locally in the Mekhong. The people of Huey Leuk are predominantly Laos in origin down by the River with a small Hmong population as you enter the Village by the School. I don't know if this is due to a Border demarcation at some stage or resettlement but it would be interesting to find out. The village is closer to the Laos border than Wiang Kean. If you go down by the river and down the slipway you can have a knoodle on one of the floating pontoons that serve the Laos Speedboats. It appears the speedboats get there Gas here , Must be cheaper than Huey Xai. The Village does have a Boat race at some time of the year and the 'OK Phansa' Bhuddist ceromony in October is worth seeing with it's candle lit procession on the River. Don't forget the Som O (pomello) Festival , starts tomorrow 28th August in Wiang Kaen
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
12,877
3,411
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Another meander back to glorious Kaeng Pha Dai & what a fabulous spot it really is.
Unique with stunning views & scenery as usual.

GTR - IMG_0156.JPG


GTR - IMG_0154.JPG

There is however some variations on the name of the place in English.

Highlight of today's run was a visit to the "new" hill top wat that over looks Huay Luek & the Mekong.
GTR - IMG_0165.JPG


GTR - IMG_0164.JPG


GTR - IMG_0160.JPG


You get magnificent panoramic views of the Mekong
GTR - IMG_0157.JPG


One of the beauties of the wat is the fabulous old monk / abbot @ 72 years of age.
9257B.jpg
9259B.jpg


who just happened to be gardening when GTR hit the wat.
Location: Google Maps
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
12,877
3,411
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
21 November & the tide is way out
upload_2019-12-1_1-27-25.png


upload_2019-12-1_1-27-39.png


upload_2019-12-1_1-28-0.png


upload_2019-12-1_1-29-11.png


upload_2019-12-1_1-29-37.png



upload_2019-12-1_1-30-10.png


One of the highlights of Kaeng Pha Dai used to be the rickety old restaurant overlooking the Khong.
gtr-img_5111-jpg.jpg


upload_2019-12-1_1-16-42.png


An absolute classic it was with amazing food. Some Tom Yam & fried shrimps are sensational, as is the larb & other fish dishes.
So it was with some disappointment on my last visit I noticed the restaurant gone.
upload_2019-12-1_1-22-16.png


however after a slight stroll upstream I noticed some construction going on & a new location for that magnificent old restaurant
upload_2019-12-1_1-23-34.png


a much more solid premises, but damn I still miss that old beauty.
upload_2019-12-1_1-24-5.png


and the food is still amazing.
upload_2019-12-1_1-24-29.png


upload_2019-12-1_1-24-39.png


Don't miss it if you go to Kaeng Pha Dai!
And if you are there early & if it seems like the restaurant is not open, look out for the security guy, ranger there. It is his wife who runs the restaurant & he will ring her to come open up for you.

The Caffa Coffee House has the flowers blooming
upload_2019-12-1_1-32-19.png


upload_2019-12-1_1-32-54.png
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
12,877
3,411
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Should the Chinese get their way and blow up the reefs & rocks in the Mekong at Pha Dai
View attachment 126598

A good enough reason to go and visit Pha Dai.

Fantastic news, the Thai cabinet has canceled the contract for the rock blasting project for the Chiang Saen - Chiang Khong - Kaeng Pha Dai section of the Mekong.

Thais spike China-led plan to dredge Mekong river

Bangkok (AFP) - Thailand has spiked Chinese-led plans to open up a key stretch of the Mekong river, in a rare victory for activists fighting to preserve Southeast Asia's most important waterway.

Beijing has long wanted to blast 97 kilometres (60 miles) of rocks and dredge the riverbed in northern Thailand to open up a passage for massive cargo ships.

The vision is to create a river trade link from China's Yunnan province thousands of kilometres south through the Mekong countries -- Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

But environmentalists warn the river -- the world's most biodiverse after the Amazon -- would be ruined by dredging, while Thailand's sovereignty and security could also be compromised.

The Thai cabinet announced Tuesday it had decided "to stop the project" after Beijing failed to stump up the money for further surveys of the area to be dredged.

"This is a bold decision made by a downstream country," said Pianporn Deetes of advocacy group International Rivers, which has backed a near 20-year grassroots campaign to preserve the key stretch of water.

"This small part of the Mekong river will also save the lower part of the basin from destruction, despite large pressures from a regional actor."

The river, known as the Lancang in Chinese, emerges into the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and a centrepiece in Beijing's Belt and Road strategy on infrastructure and trade.

Beijing rarely gives up on long-term projects in the Mekong area, often revising financing or planning for controversial dams, ports and mines in a region it considers its backyard.

China insists it seeks only the sustainable development of the river through hydropower dams and trade.

But the river is already changing, with complaints of fish stocks decreasing in Thailand and Cambodia and nutrient-rich land in the Vietnamese delta sinking as sediment flow is disturbed by dams lacing the upstream.

Experts also say mega-dams in China and Laos, which has dozens of hydropower projects, are compounding seasonal drought in Thailand.​
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
12,877
3,411
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Update 27 September 2020

Sadly, the Kaeng Pha Dai beach has been landscaped & modernised. IMHO losing a lot of its natural charm in the process.
upload_2020-10-7_21-5-51.png


upload_2020-10-7_21-6-9.png


upload_2020-10-7_21-6-25.png


However that fabulous restaurant is still there, in the new location.'
upload_2020-10-7_21-7-13.png


and if you do go, don't miss the crispy fried shrimps. A sensational dish there.
upload_2020-10-7_21-9-33.png
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
12,877
3,411
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
A Valentine's day ride out to Kaeng Pha Dai to check on the water level & foreshore redevelopment
1613318722490.png


1613318745075.png


The water level is incredibly low & you have to wonder what will happen when "our friends" upstream start to release all the water they are sitting on in their dams. How many metres will they open the flood gates all at once?
1613318879403.png


1613318906117.png


1613318960525.png


The river foreshore redevelopment saddens me when I recall how it was only a couple of years ago; but I guess we have to wait & see the finished product before we complain too much.
1613319097171.png


It used to look like this
1613319575795.png


1613319598560.jpeg


but now looks like this
1613319644213.png


The big sandy beaches gone.
1613319684835.png


1613319774753.png


The good news is that the food at the rickety restaurant is still exceptional, making Kaeng Pha Dai well worth a visit.
1613320102603.png

A fantastic fish larb.

Plus the absolutely outstanding fried crispy shrimps
1613320170179.png


So just an idea, after the Chiang Khong Music Festival on Saturday April 24.....what about a group GTR trip to Kaeng Pha Dai?
The formula being ride our bikes to Ban Chambon, hire a boat & sail downstream to Kaeng Pha Dai, have a nice nosh up for lunch, then sail back to Ban Chambon, get on the bikes & head off home?

Long live the good times on the Mekong.
 

Eoin Christie

Ol'Timer
Subscribed
Jul 16, 2019
359
183
43
Fantastic news, the Thai cabinet has canceled the contract for the rock blasting project for the Chiang Saen - Chiang Khong - Kaeng Pha Dai section of the Mekong.

Thais spike China-led plan to dredge Mekong river

Bangkok (AFP) - Thailand has spiked Chinese-led plans to open up a key stretch of the Mekong river, in a rare victory for activists fighting to preserve Southeast Asia's most important waterway.​
Beijing has long wanted to blast 97 kilometres (60 miles) of rocks and dredge the riverbed in northern Thailand to open up a passage for massive cargo ships.​
The vision is to create a river trade link from China's Yunnan province thousands of kilometres south through the Mekong countries -- Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.​
But environmentalists warn the river -- the world's most biodiverse after the Amazon -- would be ruined by dredging, while Thailand's sovereignty and security could also be compromised.​
The Thai cabinet announced Tuesday it had decided "to stop the project" after Beijing failed to stump up the money for further surveys of the area to be dredged.​
"This is a bold decision made by a downstream country," said Pianporn Deetes of advocacy group International Rivers, which has backed a near 20-year grassroots campaign to preserve the key stretch of water.​
"This small part of the Mekong river will also save the lower part of the basin from destruction, despite large pressures from a regional actor."​
The river, known as the Lancang in Chinese, emerges into the South China Sea, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and a centrepiece in Beijing's Belt and Road strategy on infrastructure and trade.​
Beijing rarely gives up on long-term projects in the Mekong area, often revising financing or planning for controversial dams, ports and mines in a region it considers its backyard.​
China insists it seeks only the sustainable development of the river through hydropower dams and trade.​
But the river is already changing, with complaints of fish stocks decreasing in Thailand and Cambodia and nutrient-rich land in the Vietnamese delta sinking as sediment flow is disturbed by dams lacing the upstream.​
Experts also say mega-dams in China and Laos, which has dozens of hydropower projects, are compounding seasonal drought in Thailand.​
It is great to see a victory in amongst the ongoing efforts to destroy the natural resource for commercial gain.
 

Tejas Barc

SEAsia nOoB
Aug 28, 2019
44
45
18
Khon Kaen
" "to stop the project" after Beijing failed to stump up the money for further surveys of the area to be dredged."

My cynical side tells me just a matter of time until the correct amounts reach the correct pockets then on with the blasting
 

Eoin Christie

Ol'Timer
Subscribed
Jul 16, 2019
359
183
43
" "to stop the project" after Beijing failed to stump up the money for further surveys of the area to be dredged."

My cynical side tells me just a matter of time until the correct amounts reach the correct pockets then on with the blasting
I believe your cynical side is a very realistic side. We’ve already seen what happens when commercial push comes to shove, both in use of the river, and the lands around it. My optimistic side takes any delay, temporary or permanent, as a positive.
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Subscribed
Jan 16, 2003
12,877
3,411
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
" "to stop the project" after Beijing failed to stump up the money for further surveys of the area to be dredged."

My cynical side tells me just a matter of time until the correct amounts reach the correct pockets then on with the blasting

I really think that Kru Tee & the Rak Chiang Khong group have stopped the blasting, permanently.