Riding The Yom River & R1091

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Living in Chiang Khong my preferred route to Nan is via R1091, which I think is a much better biker's road than the more renowned R1148.
20200711_135543.jpg

R1091 starts from Chun & the road junction with R1021 that runs from Phayao to Chun to Chiang Kham to Thoeng.
R1091 rocks for a riders road despite it being a bit old, narrow & bumpy from Pong to to Chiang Muan. That section however is one of my favourite bits for a blast on account of the undulating twisting nature of the road.
20200711_134500.jpg

Then from Chiang Muan it is a super road that soars up and down through the mountains, to drop you right in town just 500 metres from Hot Bread & Nan city centre! It is a total winner every time.
20200711_114012.jpg

Most riders would just blast along R1091 for the ride, because it really is a rider's road; but should you slow down a bit & look at the scenery and old villages along the way...WOW.
There are scores of fantastic old & new wood houses built & being built.
Why?
Well R1091 sort of follows the Yom River, which has it's official source in the town of Pong; and the Yom has had some of the best teak forests in its watershed.
One of the longest controversial proposed dam plans in Thailand has been the Kaeng Sua dam on the Yom River, downstream from Chiang Muan, which villagers have been fighting against since 1989, when the dam idea was first mooted.
It has been approved and then suspended again several times = it is still on the drawing boards perhaps.

It is estimated that 5,000 people in four villages in Sa-iab sub-district of Song district, plus the whole of Chiang Muan district, and at least five villages in Pong district will be inundated by the dam!

One of the controversies over the proposed dam is that it will flood the last golden teak forest in Thailand.
This golden teak forest covering an area of 1,600 ha, is located in the Mae Yom National Park & has an estimated value of US$67,000,000.

Faced with the inevitably that one day they are going to have to move & end up with very little, many villagers started logging in the forested areas reasoning that eventually it will be lost to the dam, they won't get anything & some big company will get the logging rights to the forested areas. So they help themselves & get what they can. The timber can't be sold as such, but it can be used to build a house, which can then be sold. So as you cruise along R1091 take your time & look at some of the magnificent wood houses along the way.

The best section for me is between Pong & Chiang Muan, but should you want to cruise around the small streets of both Pong & Chiang Muan check these lovely little towns out.
upload_2020-7-24_1-27-16.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-27-37.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-27-52.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-28-38.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-29-10.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-29-34.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-30-3.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-30-39.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-31-21.png


more to come
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
The Yom River
The 735 km long Yom River, passing through Phayao, Phrae, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, and Phichit provinces, is the smallest tributary of the Chao Phraya.
It's watershed is 23,616 km2 & where it joins the Nan river the flood plain covers 500 km2 and extends from Sukhothai to Phitsanulok provinces, and is one of the biggest wetlands in Thailand. It is classified under the Ramsar Convention as a wetlands of international importance.
upload_2020-7-24_1-50-36.png


It's official source is just east of Pong, where the Nam Khuan & The Nam Ngim come together.
Looking at it in a drought you would never think it was such an important river in the North!

upload_2020-7-24_1-51-4.png


It doubles as a local picnic area with a nice sala, table & chairs
upload_2020-7-24_1-51-21.png


There's also a famous log, that is a spirit shrine & I guess maybe came out of the river sometime?
upload_2020-7-24_1-52-36.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-53-59.png


upload_2020-7-24_1-54-10.png


more to come..
 

Dodraugen

Ol'Timer
Aug 19, 2012
269
186
43
53
Lampang
Great write up David!

Yom, Nan, Wang and Ping - the four rivers that makes up the Chao Phraya river that runs through Bangkok. That was one of the first facts my geography-nerded brain sucked up when I started to travel to Thailand some 18 years ago.

But Yom river has in my mind somewhat been the least interesting. Now I know it isnt, thanks to you...:idea::)
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Great write up David!

Yom, Nan, Wang and Ping - the four rivers that makes up the Chao Phraya river that runs through Bangkok. That was one of the first facts my geography-nerded brain sucked up when I started to travel to Thailand some 18 years ago.

But Yom river has in my mind somewhat been the least interesting. Now I know it isnt, thanks to you...:idea::)

Yeah it has always been a bit of a little known attraction, but the dam story is quite something.

For anyone who is interested, some links with info

Thirty Years of Resistance: Stopping the Kaeng Sua Ten Dam on the Yom River - EarthRights International

Living in the ugly shadow of the kaeng sua ten dam

Fighting for the forest, battling against the dam

http://www.mekonginfo.org/assets/midocs/0002761-planning-cadastre-local-participation-and-the-kaeng-s

What happens when anti-dam protestors win? - Southeast Asia Globe

https://www.newmandala.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/03/changnoikaengsuaten.pdf
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Chiang Muan is a gem of a little own and was one of the first Tai Lue settlements in North Thailand, until they were forced to move to Chiang Kham because of a huge flood, and then drifted back again??

If you ride around the back sois of Chiang Muan there are lots of wonderful new & old wooden houses lining the streets too.
upload_2020-7-25_17-22-14.png


upload_2020-7-25_17-21-11.png


upload_2020-7-25_17-21-27.png


upload_2020-7-25_17-21-44.png


My favourite Chiang Muan restaurant & pit stop is out on the highway
upload_2020-7-25_17-23-50.png


The food here is always fresh & tasty. Location: Google Maps

A magnificent teak wood house, the property backs onto the Mae Yom River.
upload_2020-7-25_17-38-54.png


upload_2020-7-25_17-38-32.png


upload_2020-7-25_17-39-29.png


upload_2020-7-25_17-39-41.png


4.6 kms away & towards Nan off R1091 is a local tourist attraction: Fang Ta
upload_2020-7-25_17-46-51.png


A local picnic spot with some impressive cliff erosion & a small stream dammed.
upload_2020-7-25_17-47-51.png


upload_2020-7-25_17-48-5.png


upload_2020-7-25_17-48-50.png


upload_2020-7-25_17-53-18.png


Location: Google Maps
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Wats along the way.....R1091

Pong - Wat Bun Yuen
upload_2020-7-26_17-46-55.png

A 200 year old wat with fantastic teak posts & doors.
The abbot Luang Pu Kru Barod was / is 90 years old, although I'm not sure if he is still around.

upload_2020-7-26_17-45-57.png


upload_2020-7-26_17-46-19.png


upload_2020-7-26_17-47-33.png


upload_2020-7-26_17-47-56.png


upload_2020-7-26_17-48-35.png


Magnificent big doors & windows
upload_2020-7-26_17-49-20.png


upload_2020-7-26_17-49-36.png


A post & a half
upload_2020-7-26_17-50-3.png


Location: Google Maps

Wat Na Prang - Pong City
A small quiet wat in the centre of town.
upload_2020-7-26_18-17-9.png


upload_2020-7-26_18-17-30.png


upload_2020-7-26_18-17-46.png


upload_2020-7-26_18-18-1.png


upload_2020-7-26_18-18-14.png


Location: Google Maps

Wat Tha Fah Tai
is a famous classic old Tai Lue wat
upload_2020-7-27_1-9-36.png

It was constructed in 1769 by Khru Thammasena and Phothao Saen-atthi, the leaders of the Tai Lue people who immigrated from Sipsongpanna in Yunnan province, China.
upload_2020-7-27_1-10-4.png

The Buddha image was taken from Sipsongpanna in China in the original migration of Lue people from China to Thailand in the 18th century.
upload_2020-7-27_1-10-31.png


upload_2020-7-27_1-11-6.png


Location: Google Maps
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
R3020 a "short cut" to Wiang Sa from Ban Luang

Off R1091 on the way to Nan, there are a couple of "short cuts" than run south to R101.
One of these uses R4002 - 3046 - 4004 - 101 - 1026 & is written up here
My Gtr Dinner Trip - Chiang Khong - Na Noi Return
the road is all asphalt.

The other road uses R3020 south from Ban Luang & comes out on R101 by Huai Lot.
A masterplan to check out R3020 on the way to Wiang Sa surveying for the GTR dinner was foiled by the girls hanging out at the Aoi coffeeshop at Ban Luang, while I watched MotoGP practice on my phone. We ran out of coffee, so had a few beers to celebrate Lung's return & I ran out of time to survey R3020 that day...some thing never change they say?
upload_2020-7-28_15-15-25.png


But 3 days later I was able to check out R3020 with Steve Prince on my return from Wiang Sa to Chiang Khong.

Steve had most graciously volunteered to come down to Wiang Sa, with a charger (& spare battery should it be necessary), as I had mentioned that I stupidly left the key on in the ignition & totally flattened the lithium battery on my bike.
I wasn't too concerned & thought I'd just hunt down a lithium battery charger in Wiang Sa or get one from Nan if necessary. BUT..
Steve says I will see you in the morning at 9.30AM, it's not far & only a couple of hundreds kms - 235Kms?
Wow, I wonder where he is?
Hey Steve I'm in Wiang Sa, not Chiang Khong & not Nan. It's about 400 kms from Chiang Rai!
Oh bloody hell that's further than I thought, but see you in the morning the same.
Man, that's impressive & Steve was there in Wiang Sa at 7.30am, taking a night ride down from Chiang Rai!!
With a power extension from the resort we connected the charger the charger up to the battery on the bike still parked in the street & sauntered off downtown for a cuppa at the The Chang Nan Coffee & Gallery

upload_2020-7-20_23-59-40-png.png


And a couple of hours later we were back on the road. Mega thanks Steve for saving the day. "That's what mates are for" Steve says.

The turn of for R3020 is 24 kms west of Wiang Sa & it is 45 kms through to R1091 & Ban Luang
upload_2020-7-28_15-56-28.png


Ian Yonok had tipped me off that this road was all asphalt & a wonderful ride
Nan "missing" Link Roads

That sound about perfect for me & a nice alternative getting to from Wiang Sa / Na Noi / Phrae from Chiang Khong.

R3020 is indeed a wonderful rolling undulating ride.

A deserted back road, again with some magnificent new wood houses
upload_2020-7-28_16-2-47.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-43-48.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-4-2.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-5-16.png


Some amazing houses being built in the middle of nowhere!
upload_2020-7-28_16-5-37.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-6-34.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-11-42.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-15-38.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-15-56.png


Halfway in from the south side road resurfacing starts
upload_2020-7-28_16-21-14.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-21-26.png


Then the road climbs up out of the valley to cross the ridgeline & the watershed
upload_2020-7-28_16-23-19.png


The wet season issue of no forest cover is clear to see.
upload_2020-7-28_16-24-44.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-24-58.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-38-4.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-38-25.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-28-11.png


Approaching the ridgeline there's some heavy road works with a grader, roller on the new road, such that I was happy not be caught out in the rain that day on snot with the Vstrom. Steve was kms ahead though enjoying a blast on his Africa Twin.

On the north side of the ridgeline it is "plain sailing" down hill all the way.
upload_2020-7-28_16-29-3.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-29-25.png


upload_2020-7-28_16-28-41.png


Down the hill & into the maze of village sois to navigate back onto R1091 & a cuppa at Aoi Coffee.

Wiang Sa to Chiang Khong is 300 kms via the Ban Luang short cut.
upload_2020-7-28_16-42-39.png


Soon it will be time to go back & ride R1120 south from Chiang Muan to hang out along the Yom is the plan..
Sa Iab
Song
Phrae
Long
Wang Chin
 
Last edited:

Heineken

Ol'Timer
Mar 2, 2019
176
255
63
For those not aware Chiang Muan now has a new PTT with 7/11 and Amazon........the old 7/11 is still open, new PTT is only a few 100m down the road
 

Andrew

Member
Dec 25, 2016
20
9
3
53
Australia
Great to see Thai teak houses being built, I must do this ride when I’m back in Thailand.
Very informative report as always David
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Chiang Muan - returning from the GTR dinner @ Wiang Sa.
Youngie & I headed off with a master plan to go west from Wiang Sa & ride R101 Rong Kwang, then head north of R103 - R1154 - R1120 & maybe stop a night in Sa Iap on the Yom to check out the town , but as luck would have it was bucketing down in Sa Iap, so we plodded onto Chiang Muan for the night.

En route we hit Song & the Phra That Phra Lor, site of a famous Thai lovers triangle memorial, which is written up on GTR here My Chiang Khong - Phrae & Return, Gtr Dinner Rendezvous.

upload_2020-8-1_22-30-16-png.png


In Chiang Muan the Wilai 59 was the place to stay
upload_2020-7-31_22-11-42-png.png


Happy hour was the Twinkle Bar
upload_2020-7-31_23-52-40-png.png


Cruising quaint Chiang Muan
upload_2020-8-9_23-59-18.png


upload_2020-8-9_23-59-54.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-0-5.png


The intriguing Wat Si Muang Mang
upload_2020-8-10_0-0-42.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-0-59.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-7-23.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-1-10.png


Youngie and I were impressed with the land plot ratio use plus the quantity of bricks n mortar. Must have had the local concrete company as a major sponsor we thought?
upload_2020-8-10_0-3-21.png


The Viharn was magnificent with scores of concrete pillars.
upload_2020-8-10_0-6-19.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-4-39.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-7-54.png


A magnificent rattan chair
upload_2020-8-10_0-8-20.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-8-44.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-8-55.png


Back on the highway for brekky at my favourite Chiang Muan restaurant, there's a timber yard next door, full of timber & finished items: spirit houses, doors, wind frames, tables, chairs.
upload_2020-8-10_0-11-31.png


I asked if the timber came from Bangkok or somewhere else, but nope it is all locally sourced around Chiang Muan!
upload_2020-8-10_0-12-52.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-13-52.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-13-10.png


Asking how much they had, we got a guided tour downtown of the godown building...
upload_2020-8-10_0-14-59.png

From Chiang Muan, Youngie & I split up. Youngie headed home to Chiang Mai & me to Chiang Khong.
Pottering up R1091there was another final wat on the way stop.

Wat Doi Yuak
upload_2020-8-10_0-32-44.png


Wat Doi Yuak is the oldest & most important temple in Pong district.
The temple is a classic beauty & is claimed to have relics of Buddha - a hair & bones.

upload_2020-8-10_0-37-16.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-37-38.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-38-6.png


upload_2020-8-10_1-3-1.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-38-37.png


upload_2020-8-10_0-38-53.png


Legend has it that Buddha came to the small hill Doi Phu Term where a Phaya Nak dwelled.

The Phaya Nak thought Buddha was a Garuda & so hid from Buddha, but eventually after listening to Buddha’s sermons the Phaya Nak respected Buddha.
Before his death, Buddha gave the monk Phra Arnot a piece of his hair, plus requested that after he died a piece of his eye socket would be kept at the temple.
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Hard to imagine. This was the source of the Yom a month ago
upload_2020-7-24_1-51-4-png.png


Then a tropical storm Higos comes in dumps a massive amount of water in the Yom watershed.
Wiang Sa is severely flooded, but in the Nan watershed.
Phrae gets flooded & that water flows into the Yom way downstream
Sukhothai then gets a massive flood, with the concrete river barriers breaking.

So its time to build the Yom river dam again, but way upstream where's there's been no flood??
30th August 2020.
The villagers of Sa Iab rightly demonstrate & protest once again.
Phrae villagers protest against 'unnecessary' dam

The campaign was launched after Capt Thamanat said during a visit to Sukhothai last Thursday that he planned to revive plans to build the Kang Sua Ten dam on the upper reaches of the Yom River in Phrae.
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Just 4 kms south of Chiang Muan you have to take a left hand turn to stay on R1091 to go to Nan.
If you carry straight on you go to Sa Iab, Song & Phrae.
OR 80 metres before (north of) this road junction, there's a soi off to the right (west) that goes to the Dinosaur Museum & a brilliant little temple on a hill with spectacular views of Chiang Muan.
upload_2020-11-14_23-41-30.png


Wat Phrathat Phu To is the name.
upload_2020-11-14_23-41-15.png


upload_2020-11-14_23-42-26.png


upload_2020-11-14_23-42-39.png


upload_2020-11-14_23-42-51.png


Take your time & check it out sometime.
Google Maps
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Back on the Yom & the Mae Yom National Park & dam site.
Dave DKT & I did this route with a night in Phrae.
R1091 - R1120- R103 -R101 to Phrae.
Then back up R101 - R103 - R1154.

1609521624074.png


1609521623637.png


The "mighty" Yom that villagers have fought over for 25 years.
1609521763683.png


What's all the fuss about you'd rightfully think too.

Riding into the national park
1609521967084.png


to be continued.
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
In search of the dam continued....
We got into the National Park for the local price & was told yeah the dam site was just up the road, you can ride right to it.

The road starts as a beauty & goes past the NP camp site
1609694118986.png


1609694233406.png


1609694329980.png


In search of a possible dam site
1609694449368.png


the asphalt runs out as does the road
1609694543279.png

Perhaps this was it, but nope, it was for an imaginary camp site.

1609694639295.png

we wandered for a look around, but no luck.
So the final verdict, not definitive of course, that we reckoned it must have been on the last big hill we rode over.
That should be about here

And off we went the next day, up gorgeous R1154 to Ngao city in the hunt for a GTR Dinner venue.
1609695452800.png


1609695471797.png


1609695499380.png


1609695520932.png
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Just to cap off....Ngao city for a GTR Dinner. Sadly we drew a blank downtown. Absolutely nothing of note - hotel or restaurant or bar beer.
Whilst there are places out on the super highway, that would be defeating the idea behind the GTR Upcountry dinners - enjoying the charm of a small up country town, to see what's there.
Dave DKT & I dawdled around Ngao city for 45 minutes trying to find some acceptable places, but we failed!

The only "high point" was a stunning teak Wat - Wat Pong Khok
1610029479525.png


1610029501577.png


1610029523235.png


1610029559551.png


1610029584356.png


1610029615006.png


Location: Wat Pang Khok
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
A return to Pong on the Yom & the trail of a rumour - the first King Of Laos - Fa Ngum - died in Pong?

Never heard that one before - the King of Laos died in Pong?
Nah can't be true. A quick check with a couple of expert mates turned up a blank. That's a new one on me, never heard of that before.

1612548451506.png


A bit of Googling does turn up some interesting history

Fa Ngum is considered by Laotians as being the founder of Laos and the first person to recognise the word of Buddha for the whole country, (the equivalent of our William the Conqueror) as well as the person who gave the country its historical borders, which are recognised, even today, by most Laotians

The first Laotian state was founded was the Lan Xang Kingdom formed in 1353 by exiled Laotian prince Fa Ngum. Fa Ngum married one of the daughters of a Khmer King and in the mid-14th century he recruited 10,000 armies to regain control of the parts of Laos which had fallen by the Sukhothai Empire. In 1354 Fa Ngum organized the conquered principalities into muang and founded the kingdom of Lan Xang (million elephants), in which he was crowned as King. Lan Xang kingdom extended from the border of China to Southern Laos, and was considered to be one of the largest kingdoms in Southeast Asia at that time.

After conquering Muang Sawa (Luang Prabang) the prince declared himself King Fa Ngum. Fa Ngum was acclaimed king in Xiang Dong Xiang Thong, then brought Viang Chan into his empire. Fa Ngum was crowned king of Lan Xang at Vientiane, the site of one of his victories, in June 1354. He named his new kingdom Lan Xang Hom Khao, meaning ‘a million elephants and the white parasol’. His dynasty endured for over 600 years until it was abolished in 1975. Its symbol was a three head elephant. Lan Xang extended from the border of China to Sambor below the Mekong rapids at Khong Island and from the Vietnamese border to the western escarpment of the Khorat Plateau


Fa Ngum's life story itself was a fascinating one..

Legend of Fa Ngum

Fa Ngum was the son of a King (Chao Phi Fa) who reigned in Luang Prabang (then called Xieng Dong-Xieng Tong), born around 1316.

Legend tells us that this King had a child, with one of his wives (around 1316.) This child was special at birth : he was born with 33 teeth. The animist mandarins of the region, when they heard about it, came to see the baby, to check this spectacular event for themselves. Faced with such a freak of nature, they were unanimous : something very bad would happen to the realm, if the King didn’t take the necessary steps to get rid of the child. The father was obliged to comply, quickly : the omen was final and the sentence had to be carried out. In spite of this catastrophic prediction, the King just couldn’t kill the new-born baby. He let the mother bring him up normally : what could he be afraid of from a baby? Fa Ngum could live, at least until the age of seven. [Source: LuangPrabang-Laos.com ////]

The child quickly showed many signs of precociousness. He was a brilliant pupil, better by far than all of the other children of his age, which made his father very proud. The King would watch the amazing progress of his son in all the domains essential to the education of high dignitaries. He was also an excellent horse rider and had a lovely character. He was more and more loved by the King, who never stopped regretting the fact that his son was the object of a divine curse. As each day passed, the boy became more handsome, more intelligent and more loveable as well. ////

Unfortunately, the mandarins were there to remind the King of his duty and the weight of his responsibilities to the spirits who, according to them, were asking for the young Prince’s soul. The fateful day of Fa Ngum’s seventh birthday arrived, much too soon for the distraught and desperate father, who couldn’t push the execution date of his son any further. He had to obey the spirits and rid the town of the problem. Being as he couldn’t take the decision to kill his child, who was so good and obedient, so intelligent and loving, he had a junk built, so as to abandon his son to the Mekong river. This was in 1323, the large junk was fastened to the quay. 30 of the King’s most faithful servants installed the prince comfortably in what was supposed to be his last abode. ////

Legend tells us that it was because of a dental problem that the Prince was sent away from his realm; history tells us another story : Fa Ngum, as a child, was a particularly precocious and beautiful boy, who, very young, got out of hand with one of the King’s mistresses, who fell under his charm. It was that, which caused his disgrace . Whatever the real story be, the young Fa Ngum didn’t die on the river Mekong as the animist priests had hoped. His boat sailed peacefully on and arrived one morning at the mouth of the Mekong river, where the Khmer realm was situated (actual Cambodia). The Khmer King took the child in, and recognising the child’s royal blood, welcomed him into the realm of Angkor. The child refused, claiming to be the victim of a curse and told his story to the King. The King was Buddhist and didn’t believe in the primitive superstitions in which Xieng Dong-Xieng Tong was still steeped. ////

The Khmer King decided to bring the child up like one of his own sons. Fa Ngum turned out particularly talented, obedient, faithful and trustworthy. As time passed, complicity and love grew between the young Prince and the old King. Fa Ngum never disappointed his new protector : he was a good scholar, a quick and visionary fighter, and was sensible enough to become a man with all the necessary qualities to govern. The King, who loved this young Prince very much, gave him the hand of one of his daughters, Nang Kaew Kaeng Nya. ////

Past master in the art of war, skilled horseman, and awesome strategist, Fa Ngum wanted to go back to the country of his birth to reclaim the throne that should have been his. In 1340, when he was 24 years of age, he felt ready to leave with his soldiers to conquer all the small realms along the Mekong River. He left with an army of 10 000 men given to him by the King. As a Palladium for the new realm that he intended conquering, the King gave him a statue of Buddha in gold and emeralds, the Pha Bang, which became the palladium of the Lao Realm. ////

On the way to his birthplace, Fa Gnum defeated the 5 small states north of the Mekong capital, including the Khorat plateau, and finally took over the realm of Muang Seua and its capital Mouang Soua. It is said that his father, seeing his son’s victorious arrival, left him the throne and died of sorrow because he had listened to the mandarins. In 1353, Fa Ngum declared himself King of the three territories which, united, formed "The Realm of a Million Elephants and a White Parasol". Being as the animists had banished him with their obscure predictions, and because he had converted to Theravada Buddhism, Fa Ngum introduced this religion to the realm, and had temples built. In one of these temples he installed the golden statuette that his adoptive father had given him (the Pha Bang, of which a copy exists in the Old Royal Palace of Luang Prabang). Mouang Soua then became Mouang Xieng Thong (which ended up by being called Luang Prabang, in 1563.) ////

Lan Xang Under Fa Ngum

Fa Ngum built a fine capital at Xiang Dong Xiang Thong and set about organising his court and kingdom. In this new capital, he installed a Khmer colony, made up of scholars, artists and Buddhist monks. That was the beginning of Laos. But Fa Ngum was impatient to leave again on his quest for peace and unity. In 1354, even though Nang Kaew Kaeng Nya was 3 months pregnant, he became master of the Thai state of Lan Nan. Then he came back to Luang Prabang where the Queen, who had ruled in his absence, had given birth to a son, Oun Heuane (Happiness of the House). [Source: LuangPrabang-Laos.com]

The first few years of Fa Ngum's rule from his capital Muang Sua were uneventful. The next six years (1362-68), however, were troubled by religious conflict between Fa Ngum's lamaistic Buddhism and the region's traditional Theravada Buddhism. He severely repressed popular agitation that had anti-Mongol overtones and had many pagodas torn down. In 1368 Fa Ngum's Khmer wife died. He subsequently married the ruler of Ayuthia's daughter, who seems to have had a pacifying influence. For example, she was instrumental in welcoming a religious and artistic mission that brought with it a statue of the Buddha, the phrabang, which became the palladium of the kingdom. [Source: Library of Congress, Lonely Planet *=]

Fa Ngum appointed his Khmer generals to positions of power, even though this antagonised the local aristocracy. Tributary rulers had to journey to the capital every three years to renew their vows of fealty and present tribute. Fa Ngum performed sacrifices to the traditional spirits of the kingdom, and to the ngeuk of the Mekong. But he also acquiesced to his wife’s request to introduce Khmer Theravada Buddhism to Lan Xang. Here, according to the Lao chronicles, he began to run into problems. The Cambodian king despatched a large contingent of monks and craftsmen up the Mekong, but they only got as far as Viang Chan. There the image they were escorting, the famous Pha Bang, magically refused to move, and had to be left behind. Its reason for refusing to go on to the Lao capital was that it knew that Fa Ngum was not morally worthy. And it seems the Pha Bang was right. Fa Ngum began to seduce the wives and daughters of his court nobles, who decided to replace him. *=

Popular resentment continued to build. King Fangnum was ultimately ousted by his ministers because of his ruthlessness and obsession with conquest. In 1373 Fa Ngum Fa Ngum was sent into exile in Nan (now in Thailand), where he died within five years. His son, Oun Huan, who had been in exile in southern Yunnan, returned to assume the regency of the empire his father had created. Oun Huan ascended to the throne in 1393 when his father died, ending Mongol overlordship of the middle Mekong Valley. Fa Ngum has stood the test of time. The Kingdom of Lan Xang remained a power in mainland Southeast Asia until early in the 18th century, able to match the power of Siam, Vietnam and Burma. *=

Conquests Under Fa Ngum

Not long after taking the throne, Fa Ngum prepared new expeditions into the Central and Southern regions, who had never acknowledged his authority. In 1356, he besieged Vientiane, which was called Vieng Nham (Golden Beech) at the time. It is said that, at that time, Vientiane was an extremely developed and rich town, fortified by impassable bamboo walls. Fa Ngum didn’t want to lose too many men by attempting an attack if he wanted to accomplish his dream. Instead he used cleverness to overcome the capital of this small realm. [Source: LuangPrabang-Laos.com ////]

Knowing that the town’s strength rested in this thick barricade of bamboo, Fa Ngum had some small pieces of gold shot into it so that they got caught up in the bamboo. He then started a rumour in the town, saying that the bamboo was special and that there was gold in it. When the villagers found out that there really was gold in the bamboo, they started to rip it apart, frantic and blinded by the idea of gold. Even the soldiers couldn’t resist the temptation of getting rich. Fa Ngum had only to wait, in order to take the town which no longer had any defences. ////

During the first 20 years of his reign, Fa Ngum extended his realm to the East by taking Champa, as well as the mountain range bordering Vietnam, with whom he signed a treaty for peace and for the sharing of the territory. He regularly provoked the King of Ayuthaya and seized many Siamese muongs ... Tired of the endless wars by this man called "The Conqueror", and also tired of his high-handed behaviour and his loose way of living since the death of his wife in 1368, his ministers deposed him in 1371. He died 2 years later, and was replaced by his son, Oun Heuane, who reigned for 40 years and who was nicknamed the Chief of the SamSenThai (the "three hundred thousand Lao-Thais", half-casts of Thai-Lao origin counted in the census of 1376.) The period between 1353 and 1416 (date of the end of the SamSenThai reign) was marked as one of the most prosperous in Lao’s history. This period between 1353 et 1416 (end of the reign of SamSenThai) was recognised as one of the most prosperous periods in the history of Laos. ////

I really knew none of this when a female Lao friend working at radio station in Vientiane sent me a message asking if I knew where or could find the place of death for the 1st King of Laos?
No idea really, but as I had tentatively planned the GTR dinner for February in Pong, why not see what you can find out - is there any truth to the story. Unlikely I thought, just an urban myth perhaps...

More to come.

Historical Info source: FY NGUM, THE THAIS AND LAN XANG (KINGDOM OF A MILLION ELEPHANTS) | Facts and Details
 
Last edited:

Heineken

Ol'Timer
Mar 2, 2019
176
255
63
It was a pleasure to be with you yesterday David, and the way we found the burial site was an adventure and luck combined...........................I was surprised that not many of the locals had never heard of this site...........................and the policeman that escorted us to the site, the village headman who couldn't of been more helpful, both great people :cool:


wcvUEpoRvpXR-3bJEy9hFD_yCcOT8VK5x3xPXdRUnoHqU61irhK9glAQZIaHX3L12kED2uexpNT-fiV0GlEnmg6NIiTHTsbuqfY-fVIX-aBHke7x8DWfxfsRCIlswPbBu4imSkY8vG5Ld9IHcMw4NBLQN0JN4Zs36UXZ5dKC8Clz92c-7sHUJtdQYHHoh8c2X9-eW5zCgnj0Hxl0pEYbja5B4HE6aLjiu6Hqi8qFPW9y5Q9kwjOPp4nekCz21wgT5lanSu9v_bG4mB7Rfbv32BxybkBhkpptasTaENqG9hOfHDAvtsoPdt67Tw27MztFm5Yb0aKhcvs_2JKKjxXc1xOsfCytRPEBcmF1xl1635LIYM_ZyneUkAJP0tAUD2EhQ_RlI6vYNKr9NT8CU-WVsE5JNV8CkBeyyI3WjYQSQx9DQ5eKZHF-tbX6A1cgbQNgFQdVucwmNePjhnZ9_LUMewPyUoCgyUoPEZauBs4d9WqaHOydpU5zs6vijEXGRHpMua71l1Hrr-PmE8cpksPte5DTAxWAKGdiBkvbeDzUau7bxqB8hlKbHMxkt6fHCfObjpV5ApOe1wguFGKWMG2v70hSwFE1uhvFQ5OOhcfYLfWIplrVI_n3pBQ0MDfloM_hoqNZL7lDJ3zi0NwU6Ps6cnYVy93JC8klYxcY2TOE8Qn7Hh2GAVo-QNuTfegcfw=w1679-h944-no



b3DzHv4fRFrHCiA_oToVlcp_LzvAFHvnYCDyQKJgLkiUdLwdXRh4LU-NXxTUQhiKf0YS50pY-7xvTIoeFmZbcUyNESCFlNVykLIYlAv48mA5HUphlz-2tdPkTuHO_sPEq2Yt4wgN3Wj0yVPui5ainCyaYexK4N17B22EmX0qpXlMphTTB4i9dhHAOFeg-QgH9ONLab-Osu6NJo9uS1CgMZLQh7L_s_DHvX7EoEecbxoGpTBk24dsLxdM1DBfd-OCb4wfXSuWMvXRpUervv5qP5DP_CK7tuNAwKmctgiNJ8i_lfRhxH7XfmgTum9cdSH_yQ2rwt7p81jB5vJREnYDD0BabvH4Rh6jkRTz6hsuzOWyVsIhEF06ThvKtRHvuqgv019jkZbBHTJKE7ajqAAcpd_TdHewIV4fqiospuV3j9m_-kR1q5A_yEndo0e3voDHfe8LeilE_6UDXI4CoYYL4XI34K2fAXR78eB213KtDSnv921GeThIfrjIVu6AdWp8JMvyOlFdlYAGrIsJLSv4xaWHGg0pOWa6e1jrECWcLAv799dXdQRWcLnzoSALpl1ndriryLJJswbyQFDIEEIZcYxC1B7CXf7Tn6cQWR_5Z4xj4CLb0uC8H2EwjETiMpxH8OL9KciPkQUPH_N7SDY8gxaPaMRT82XTyIFkbqA9fjxP3K4-tkmQ1NNpOc_tYw=w1679-h944-no



OrhQShLpcyKImKYJzk68lbBo03RQc5TBzgUr5fynUH9m6QDvk4mfaGlO5yawEgn51pYSUOR67XPTzKHJksuMYbz3KOzuY686jOt9PRnlbcTRuMRbm6vbJjJPLTCrtcPCkHbdIClkQDH2pywkWVAE6DC-sYzLpOP-kYDSkYfLt455FQ5MrnEmAb-t-8Dj_-Ftm5RhdyKLPCoOtRe_X6XWgmKDINsMT3nyIbX_c6Gz98DP9CA8xRKXtWj8NWNkwiSHV0bcUu_Pls1Mtpe1ZqxRxJWH9SBo9j1e5UIjj4fyAfc1cKoeQeyT-d1-zE8k31KNOa3uI4xk5cqzOxpMMWU5Q0zn4g-3QRIS9Gai0LtQ8Bh16peWaPB67dEHbwEwGyuFnBYXV6MN3SE1BkzdDtcvyLviIvxRsXQEz5Xkmw-jaJL_4KkM60RauAU0erroxt5UB3y_G7bgMCEkx91R9uLuRwIpDmnbH8OyXCpOQ_90PCVfffOpjEdsH7_4G4E6Mg_e67nV6HmEfp-WHKWLgQoODHDr5eVmQPLDzWvTDDG_PFBaqxe33Z6QfHoAgQNwF0TUdG07aEZlHNxZy5lLTvh5n7DvwsM95eI6OZVwTUVaVMXhMlLRhV4LHdwK49qM33Dueka9NP3mlKcHyhfPRMgK3eDtFMyAtJMjK6gO7BDi3hQt2nQy7Wkq-84mv2wN5g=w1679-h944-no



F7oj816W-Ue7BG3zgBjMyW5FptWtp2G25WY4B8Q8nvCp_5-SfFLdDXD4zyb8JlmfSTXy0jsinddKw9AmpvVgqJ9J1mAPN4u9y5ZD_IMZz5xxPEMxJi3T-5JXJiwiyV2O6Js9W37Ju9rNVxSw4izY75BqNY6LmjN-puTpBmtGIpmcEs54wxMarNONzB87lLAEEje30bnUplxW43T7m_tpiwYVf56AWjsF7WsT2Thhrn9Q7Hw5HaedTGfAZPWDDPNFNQwOOSsH8OiBQzyqL3i1upAwWInC3RZd4W763L9Awl5-z1hV0ilXqJa3ru8_AriZr7nkoMx5gGYQZn3VNouIlZJz8nVZqWDDf4kyKy0W1J-USVzlvulk-8Lh3wxlFb_T2L_skbKnOD840auFZWcd722LrlTpvrKllqmTViLH64pe7wuU6WpxzVs6d36i8Vs288G3hjz0EU7WgfRFwHFOLl-MUKXDHwWhEu233VxG6wV8i-KpfNmbM0c4hWo12ufDHiTkhvGrYWjkh_mIiAPnZipwasHJkJvTggxlb3Bqu6Slxb8EOaS3jeCVD5pXE0e5oBWJrCAO_16ccoH_8v3Ak8uj3AxM784y9RSpGr-q3Z3VbDPmuHfCl3_5a1wB8_QDnu-8YXXPSX2zeROEh_ydMlsLPqVUSEGdVB-fZHq2jErfT_YS6d2-hK0zU9pgfw=w532-h944-no
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
And so it was armed with a text message

Good early morning David Plz, if u can help me to find the information of this address than I really want to go? บ้านแสนสุข หมู่9 ,อำเภอปง , จังหวัดพระเยา

Plus a VDo clip that we'd been able to turn up.

The 3 musketeers set of for Pong city. Lunch beckoned & the unanimous vote was that the Krua Muang Pong is going to be a winner for the GTR dinner Wednesday 24th February.

A super scrumptious pork salad
1612591554376.png


Mark had an amazing massive omelette. Heineken munched on the biccies from his top box.
Over a leisurely lunch we got the word the Chao Fa Ngum site was by the hospital "you cant miss it."

En route to the hospital by a roundabout way, cruising town looking for "non existent" hotels & coffee shops we stumbled across a statue.
1612592507457.png


1612592524524.png

The Chao Luang Wiang Ya shrine.

King Fa Ngum came with 3 generals from Luang Prabang. There are two shrines for generals in Pong city & one outside of town, that I will confirm in the coming weeks.
The second much smaller shrine is outside the amphur office.

1612594093176.png


1612594187683.png


1612594204283.png

The Chao Pho Nong Ruea Kham shrine.

The Pong amphur also has a magnificent ceremonial long tail boat on display.
1612594421245.png

Cut from a single tree, for which the "stump" is also on display, but alas I forgot to get a photo of.

1612594479690.png


1612594498092.png


More to come...good fortune down an un signposted dirt track by stumbling across someone who knew.
 
Last edited:

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Finally we saunter along the road past the hospital, 3 pairs of eagle eyes on the look out for a sign or anything that might indicate a monument to a Laos King. Zilch.
It's a narrow bumpy little road past the hospital that crosses the Ngim river, one of the Yom tributaries & ends up at a T-junction in a small village.
Undecided which way to go, the old GTR fellah russles up the oldest grandma he can find, figuring that she must know as a senior citizen; but nope there's a communication issue and well, she can't even really see the VDO clip with the evidence either. Damn.
Time to head back into town & try again, it must be here somewhere.
Preparing to mount up & head back into Pong city, miracously our saviour drives up in his car with his red lights flashing. Yep the local policeman. What a winner. Lung farang put his head through the car window & shows him the VDO clip. Yeah yeah. Loojak. Follow me krap .... & off we go again, back down the narrow bumpy little road, over the river & directly in front of the hospital turn down an unmarked soi, then onto dirt track & park under the big trees. There's a ramshackle wooden building & a shed with a big statue in it. The mysterious Chao Fa Ngum, King of Laos site.
1612634804937.png


1612635026309.png


Within minutes of arriving the Phuyai Baan rocks up to take care of us & we wonder if we've been under surveillance or something, but no. As we turned into the site the phuyai baan was fixing a water pipe on the corner & the policeman gave him a yell to follow us in & look after the farang.
How lucky can you get! Everything finally fell into place, perfectly.
1612635294461.png


You really would never find this place. Down an unmarked soi, & onto a dirt track, under some big trees by the river. The place isn't on Google maps (but soon will be). Our lucky day ...... we generally got all the info & much more for a great GTR Dinner in Pong on Wednesday 24th February...stay tuned more to come.
 
Last edited:

Jurgen

Moderator
Oct 23, 2009
676
118
43
www.chopard.org
Enticing story [to be followed up :) ] and interesting region, a cradle of Tai kingdoms and filled with Tai Lue :) people. It's worth not to rush down 1091 and enjoy the charm of historical sites. Great research work.
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Finally we saunter along the road past the hospital, 3 pairs of eagle eyes on the look out for a sign or anything that might indicate a monument to a Laos King. Zilch.
It's a narrow bumpy little road past the hospital that crosses the Ngim river, one of the Yom tributaries & ends up at a T-junction in a small village.
Undecided which way to go, the old GTR fellah russles up the oldest grandma he can find, figuring that she must know as a senior citizen; but nope there's a communication issue and well, she can't even really see the VDO clip with the evidence either. Damn.
Time to head back into town & try again, it must be here somewhere.
Preparing to mount up & head back into Pong city, miracously our saviour drives up in his car with his red lights flashing. Yep the local policeman. What a winner. Lung farang put his head through the car window & shows him the VDO clip. Yeah yeah. Loojak. Follow me krap .... & off we go again, back down the narrow bumpy little road, over the river & directly in front of the hospital turn down an unmarked soi, then onto dirt track & park under the big trees. There's a ramshackle wooden building & a shed with a big statue in it. The mysterious Chao Fa Ngum, King of Laos site.
View attachment 139387

View attachment 139388

Within minutes of arriving the Phuyai Baan rocks up to take care of us & we wonder if we've been under surveillance or something, but no. As we turned into the site the phuyai baan was fixing a water pipe on the corner & the policeman gave him a yell to follow us in & look after the farang.
How lucky can you get! Everything finally fell into place, perfectly.
View attachment 139389

You really would never find this place. Down an unmarked soi, & onto a dirt track, under some big trees by the river. The place isn't on Google maps (but soon will be). Our lucky day ...... we generally got all the info & much more for a great GTR Dinner in Pong on Wednesday 24th February...stay tuned more to come.

Finally GTR got it on Google Maps: Chao Fah Ngum shrine
 

DavidFL

Administrator
Staff member
Jan 16, 2003
12,469
2,882
113
67
Chiang Khong
www.thegtrider.com
Finally GTR got it on Google Maps: Chao Fah Ngum shrine

Whilst in Pong at the Chao Fa Ngum shrine we got a tip off that the annual Chao Fa Ngum festival / homage paying ceremony was on next week on Saturday the 20th of February; but it wouldn't be much this year because no one could come from Laos, due to the border closure from Covid-19. Normally a large entourage would come from Laos, headed by the governor of Xayaboury province so they said, but please come anyway. Yeah, whatever I thought lets suck it and see what happens on the day.

Late Friday on the 19th I popped over to Pong for the night in preparation for the big day.
The Nong Porn resort was my place of stay this time round.


The funky Rim Yom Cafe was the spot for a happy hour beer, overlooking the Yom River.
1613923114793.png


1613923139854.png


1613923159427.png


1613923175324.png


1613923208318.png


A 96 year old guy hanging out at the Rim Yom, looking for a few baht.
1613923257215.png


The next morning I swung by the Chao Fa Ngum site at 7.30am to see if I could work out what was going on & noted that the site had had been swept clean & I was the only person around. Oh dear......false alarm?
1613922364811.png


1613923655453.png


1613923678870.png


Whilst sitting in solitude, Dave DKT sends a message in that he's arrived for a look too.
We agree to take a break for a cuppa at the Cafe Mellow downtown Pong City.
1613922633151.png


The Cafe Mellow is a popular aircon cafe in Pong City & the most convenient joint to rendezvous at if you're meeting someone.

1613922720509.png


The coffee is good. There are cheap meals & the staff enjoy the challenge trying to speak English & communicate with a farang.
1613922793334.png


After a lengthy natter with Dave DKT it's time to head back to the Chao Fa Ngum shrine & party site.
The locals are starting to rock up and get in the mood.

Offerings are made in the main sala.
1613923434160.png


1613923466945.jpeg


1613923487672.png


1613923937087.png


The senior citizen ladies are the winning troupe of the day & easily win over the two "young farang bikers."
1613923883850.png


1613923901180.png


1613923960003.png


As the day goes on, more people turn up, pay homage to Chao Fa Ngum & then celebrate his life with food, drink & a bit of dancing.
1613924239559.png


1613924262873.png


1613924290797.png


1613924321730.png


1613924344347.png


1613924385840.png


I found it fascinating how the villagers of Pong came together on the day to celebrate the life of the first Lao King Chao Fa Ngum, who died 640 odd years ago in Pong, while in was in exile from Laos. There's obviously more to the story than us mere farang bikers know! I sincerely hope eventually we can dig out some more scholarly info.
A big thanks to the guys & gals of Pong city for their warm excellent hospitality on the day. See you again next year when we have a date.

 
Last edited: