Travel Thailand Ubon Ratchatani Province.
          Originallly this old edifice, built in 1918, was used as the City Hall. The plot of land was donated to His Royal Highneess Prince Sabasiddhiprasong by the heirs of Prince Rachaputtra (Sui) for publice purpose. It has been used as a public building since the reign of King Ramsa VI.
          This one-storeyed, rectangular structure is built ofrick with the ground slighty heightened and north orientation. The walls are cement surfaced and hip roof iscovered with hard tiles. At the middle of this edificeconsisted of a large hall with a corridor along sides and small rooms are all along this corridor. Magnificent sawndesigns representing fliwers and leaves are used todecorate on the top frames of doors and pillars supporting the protruding roof.
         As the city has grown, this building became too small to housed all the government officals. In 1968, a new City Hall was built at the west of Thung Sri Muang esplande. In 1983, Mr.Boonchauai Srisarakham, the Governor at that time, decided to present the old City Hall building to the Fine Arts Departmeknt for restoration in the view of opening Ubon Ratchathani National Museum. This museum includes expositions on geography, geology, history, archaeology, folkloric customs and ecthnogy of Ubon Ratchathani proince and neighboring arese. These are Didplayed in ten exposition galleries.
         The Fine Arts Department invited Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn to preside over the inauguration cermony of Ubon Ratchathani National Museum on 30th June 1989.
Ubon Ratchatani : The City of Splendid Lotus
         Ubon Ratchatani is the easternmost province of the southern part of northeast region, Thailand. This region embraces plains and three important rivers which are the Chi, the Mun and the Mekhong rivers. Furthermore, many tributaies, large and small water recervoirs make these vasr expanses into fertility land and this area was suitable living places since ancient times. The traces of human-being in Ubon Ratchatani province date back to about ten thousand years ago. Prehistoric tools were discovered at Ta Lao cave. Civilization graduallu flourished, then communities became larger. People learn how to make earthenware from baked clay, tools and utensils from metals and ornaments from stone and glass, Arty-crafty creations involved popular believes and rites of the ancient society.
         Since the 7th century A.D., the scattered communitied in the vasr plateau gradually evolved and entered into the historic era. Records were made by means of alphabets. Ideolatry and religious places of worship emerged. Social life became more intricate as successive civilizations infolded.
         Dvaravait Culture (7th-11th centuries A.D.,) had its sanctuary in the Chao Phraya flood plain. The remains of this period involved religious belives, for example, Buddha images, Sema (stone boundary) etc. These artifacts are found in the northern part of the province.
         Pre-Angkor (or Chenla) civilization (7th-9th centuries A.D.) was based on the Brahman, The evidences of this period are scluptures, architecture and inscription were discovered near the Mun river's mouth.

 
       




 

Kaeng Tana Nationl Park (Ubon Ratchathani)
         This is the place where one can admire the legacy of nature derived from both the Mun River and the Phanom Dong Rak Mountain Range. This is the place where the Mun River flows into the Khong River. The land between these rivers and mountains is known as the south of  the northeastern region or   "l-san Tai" in Thai.
         The Mun River not only serves as a main river of the south of the northeastern region but also originates various famous cataracts. Among the well-known ones is the Kaeng Saphue (pronounced Kasanpit by the local tribe-Suai) which means the huge snake, The other is the torrential Kaeng Tana which means the death cataract located right at the confluence of the Mun and Khong Rivers.
        The Mun River originates from the San Kamphaeng MountainRang which is the south of Pak Thong Chai District of Nakhon Ratchasima Province. It flows passing north of series of towns including Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket then turning towards Ubon Ratchathani Province and joining the Khong River at Khong Chiam District. It also rises a multitude of rivers, the major of which are Lam Plai Mat, Lam Takhong, Lam Phra Phloeng, Lam Chiang Krat, Lam Dom yai, and Lam Dom Noi. It stretches itself 750 kilometres and serves as the main "attery" of the Northeast.
         Lam Dom Yai to the Suai who are the indigenous people is regarded  as a "landing." It is in fact made up of rocky islets in the middle of the river diverting the flow of the river into the Khong River. It therefore functions as a natural barrage, This areas are blessed by many other natural barrages beginning with a prefix "Kaeng", i.e., Kaeng Saphue, Kaeng Kai Khia, Kaeng Khap Phong, Kaeng Khon Liao, Kaeng Tat Hai Yai, Kaeng Khan Luem, Kaeng Tung Lung, Kaeng Tat Hai  Noi, Kaeng Khiang, and Kaeng Tana. The last natural banage implying "death" constitutes the largest catanct and the water flows in steps providing great adventures for spectators.
         Formerly known as Pa Dong Hin Kong (Pa means forest), Kaeng Tana National Park covers area of 80 square kilometres made up of a flat plain  interlaced with hills having Banthat Range as the highest peak of 543 metres, Both Khong and Mun Rivers flow in the plain at a level of 200 metres above sea level.
         All forest lands are classified as woodland of small trees in clumps, dry dipterocarp forest, and dry evergreen forest being found around creeks. Woods in the forests include Teng or Thitya (Shorea obtusa), Rang (Shorea siamensis), Hiang (Dipterocarpus obtusifolius), Phluang (Dipterocarpus tuberculatus), Pradu (Pterocarpus macrocarpus), Daeng or red wood (Xylia xylocarpa), Wa (Eugenia cumini), Sak or teak (Tectona grandis), and Yang (Dipterocarpus turbinatus), The grasslands normally scatter around.
          It is fascinating to see Kaeng Tana in late April, The Mun River has just received the early rain therefore one can clearly see the scattering rocky terrain and the Mun River. The higher ground of Don Tanalays in the middle of Kaeng Tana. One stream detours around the outer side of Don Tana while another stream flows directly into Kaeng Khan We on the north of Kaeng Tana. The torrid stream flows down at the elevation of one metre travelling through the rocky grooves. This results in a view of the impressive Kaeng Tana.
         North of Kaeng Tana are the two main streams with quiet water. Kaeng, standing as a huge rocky mound, therefore becomes a barrier and the water has to toss over it, creating thundering noises. The width of the outstretch of streams is around 400 metres but will narrow down to not more than 120 metres.
          Kaeng Tana looks best in summer, Between July and October the current will be stronger, The whole Kaeng is flooded and it looks rather dull, At high tide navigation of boats in the area must be done with care.
          Strolling along the bank to survey the scenery, one will see rocks of diverse sizes large to tiny ones, They form themselves into cliff sloping down to the water passing through series of potholes. The size of pothole ranges from 2-3 inches to 5-7 feet wide, The slope area is as wide as three football fields lumped together, These are subjected to flooding at the high tide season.
          It should be noted that the rock transformation is a physical change which arises from water erosion. The eddy current together with pebbles and sand helps erode the rock surface creating the potholes, The eroding process made by nature successively during millions of years in the past has transformed the rocks to the present appearance, The pothole in Thai is "Kumphalak" which means pot-like characteristic.
         In the undulating surface of the rocky terrains fishermen often come around for spending the night looking for their catch. Its magnificent scene has attracted the movie team "Luk l-san" to film the story here because it is a good place to properly reflect the life of I-san people who rely on fishcatch in the dry season.
          At the confluence of the Khong and Mun Rivers, the water appears to break into two different colours. Green is the side of the Mun River and reddish for that coming from the Khong River. The title "Two-colour River" is rather appropriate for this part of the river or expressed in Thai as "Khong Si Pun Mun Si Khram."
 
         The Mun River is both the largest and the longest river in the Northeast providing the livelihoods for teeming millions of population along its banks. Kaeng Tana has been looked upon as a natural dam to retain water for use during the dry season.
Marking a trip
 By car: Follow Highway 1 to Saraburi, Turn right to Highway 24 (Chok Chai -Det Udom) towards Ubon Ratchathani. Or use the Bangkok -Nakhon Ratchasima Route then follow Highway 226 to Ubon Ratchathani. From there, it can be reached via two routes:
1.
Right bank  of Kaeng Tana. Follow Highway 217 passing Warin Chamrap District towards Phibun Mangsahan District, Then follow Highway 2173 heading to Chong Mek. At Kilometre 73, turn right to Highway 2296 to the Office of Kaeng Tana National Park.
2.
Left bank of Kaeng Tana. Use the same way as No. 1 upon reaching Phibun Mangsahan District. Then turn left and cross over the Two Centennial Phibun Mangsahan Bridge to Khong Chiam District. Four kilometres before reaching Khong Chiam, turn left to the left bank of Kaeng Tana. If one wishes to go to the Office of Kaeng Tana National Park, one can ride on the motor raft at Khong Chiam District or cross over the top of the Pak Mun Dam.
By bus: Both regular and air-conditioned buses depart daily from the Northeastern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2). For more information, contact Tel. 0-2936-1880, 0-2936­057, 0-2936-0667, Or contact Ubon Ratchathani Prov­ince, Tel. 0-4524-1831.
By train: There are both rapid and express trains of Bangkok -Ubon Ratchathani on daily service. For more information, contact Tel. 0-2223-7010, 0-2223-7020.
By plane: The Thai Airways International provides daily flights of Bangkok -Ubon Ratchathani, For more infor­marion, contact Tel. 0-2280-0060, 0-2628-2000. Or contact Ubon Ratchathani Province, Tel. 0-4531-3340-3.
Accmmodation
        For more information, contact the National Park Division, Royal Forest Department, Chatuchak District, Bangkok 10900, Te1. 0-2561-4292-3 ext. 724, 725. Or contact Kaeng Tana National Park, P.O. Box 6045, Khong Chiam District, Ubon Ratchathani 34220, Tel. 0 -4544-2002.

 
       







 

PhaTaem Nationl Park (Ubon Ratchathani)
          This is the description of a journey to the Mun river flowing a long distance and has thus become the life to the southern I-san (northeast) region. It terminates in Khong Chiam District and then joins with the Khong River. In the past, this waterway was used for transport.
         However, today roads have been built to connect Lam Dom with the Mun River along Chong Mek Route. About 12 kilometres before reaching Chong Mek, turn left at Ban Hua Saphan, cross the ridge of the Pak Mun Dam heading towards Khong Chiam District. Another road is crossing the Mun River at Phibun Mangsahan leading to Khong Chiam District, Therefore Khong Chiam District is no longer a secretive place anymore.
         Here is the place where the two rivers join together. In dry season, the Khong River turns brownish while the Mun River turns bluish, Hence this area is called in Thai "Mae Nam Song Si" or "Two-colour River." Altogether   there are about 139 different species of fish, for instance, whisker sheatfish, striped catfish, yellow mystus, Mekong giant catfish, Mak Phang fish, and Phon fish.
        Pha Taem National Park covers an area of approximately 340 square kilometres. It was claimed to be the 74th National Park of Thailand on December 3I, 1991. Pha Taem has now been developed as a major tourist attraction of Ubon Ratchathani where archaeological and natural remnants still prevail, One can also enjoy studying various eroded rocky pillars of diverse shapes or the overlay of rocks over the rocky pillars known as Tore .
           Pha Taem National Park exists not only forest fertility but also possesses a diversity of wildlife. In addition, there are several tourist attractions of outstanding beauty, e,g., Pha Chan, Namtok Soi Sawan, Sao Chaliang, Tham Patihan, Phu Na Tham, and etc. Moreover, prehistoric paint­ings of the age about 3,000-4,000 years were discovered at Pha Kham ,Pha Taem, Pha Chek, and Pha Moei. It is the first park having the Khong River as a borderline of the National Park.
 
        "Pha Taem" is the name of the sandstone mountain. In the military map Pha Taem has appeared as "Phu Pha Kham." "Pha Taem" in northeastern dialect means the cliffs that contain painting of any kind.
          At Pha Taem National Park, prehistoric paintings can be found at Pha Kham, Pha Taem, and Pha Mon. At Pha Taem, the paintings stretch over 180 metres long and is divided into four major parts: man and hand, animal, object, and geometric pattern. Painting techniques used here were silhouette and outline types. Both spraying and solid drawing were used to reproduce paintings, The colour pigments used was derived from haematite which rendered red colour.
         The paintings have been officially registered as archaeological remnants by the Fine Arts Department on July 14, 1982. The paintings were dated back to 3,000-4,000 years which showed that men had reached the crop cultivation stage of agricultural development.
          The general topography possesses plateau forests with high steep hills, The whole area is alternatively undulating. Pha Taem is the same mountain range as the Phanom Dong Rak Mountain Range, the site of Khao Phra Wihan. In geological term, this is referred to as "Phu Phan and Phra Wihan Formations."
          Pha Taem is classified as a sandstone mountain, There are some plains by the streams and along the bank of the Khong River. Each plateau containing sandy soil and laterite covers an area of approximately 800-1,300 rai.
 
         About one to two kilometres fiom the river, it exhibits a high steep cliff. in general, the ground consists of sandstones scattering around. The soils in lowland area are the combination of sandy loam and clay while those along the river banks are sediment and humus.
          The main forest is dry dipterocarp forest. Important plants include trees in the Shorea and Dipterocarpus genera, e.g., Teng, Rang, Hiang, and Phluang. Lower plants are wild bamboos, various kinds of grasses, and Khoi Hin. Moreover, there are beautiful flowers growing along narrow rocks. Among them are Yat Nam Khang (Drosera indica), Daeng Ubon(Doritis Pulcherrima),En A(Osbeckia chinensis),Lueang Phisamon(Spathoglottis plicata), Dusita (Utricularia delphinioides), Soi Suwanna (Utricularia fibida), Thip Keson (Utricularia minutissima), and Kradum Ngoen (Eriocaulon henryanum). Near the streams or the rivers, the forest will turn to be dry evergreen forest, Important trees are Yang (Dipterocarpus turbinatus), Krabak (Anisoptera costata), Rok Fa (Terminalia alata), Tabaek Lueat (Terminalia mucronata), Khleng (Dialium sp.), and Daeng (Xylia xylocapa). Lower plants are various kinds of creepers.
          From a wildlife survey, only small animals can be noticed, e.g., common palm civet, Asiatic jackal Siamese hare, common barking deer, civet, flying lemur, and, moreover, common wild pig and serow swimming across the river from Laos. Diverse kinds of freshwater fish and birds are also found here such as hill myna, green peafowl, large-billed crow, and blue magpie.
         The nature trail of Dong Na Tham comprises dry dipterocarp forest, dry evergreen forest, sandstone mountain, rocky pillar, waterfall, wild flower field, and scenic cliff. The biking track of Khong Chiam -Dong Na Tham is another alternative choice to enjoy the wonderful nature.
Making a trip
By car: Take Highway 1 (Phahonyothin Road) from Bangkok, turn right to Highway 24(ChokChai -Det Udom Route) until reaching Ubon Ratchathani. Or take Bangkok -Nakhon Ratchasima Route then follow Highway 226 passing Buri Ram, Surin, Si Sa Ket to Ubon Ratchathani.
By bus : Both regular and air-conditioned buses are avallable, For more information, contact the North­ eastern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2), Tel. 0-2936-1880, 0-2936-0667. Or contact Ubon Ratchathani Province, Tel. 0-4524-1831.
By train: Both express and rapid trains Bangkok -Ubon Ratchathani are available every day. There are also the ordinary trains Nakhon Ratchasima -Ubon Ratchathani and Surin -Ubon Ratchathani. For more information, contact the Travelling Service Unit, Tel. 0-2223-7010, 0-2223-7020.
By plane: The Thai Airways International operates daily Bangkok -Ubon Ratchathani flight. For more informa­rion, contact Tel. 0-2280-0060, 0-2628-2000. Or contact Ubon Ratchathani Province , Tel, 0-4531-3340-3
Note: Those who travel by train and by plane must rent a car to the National Park.
Accommodation
          The lodges have not yet provided so tourists have to bring their own tents and sleeping bags.
         For more information, contact the National Park Division, Royal Forest Department, Tel. 0-2561-4292-3 ext,724,725, Or contact Pha Taem National Park, P.O. Box 5, Khong Chiam District, Ubon Ratchathani 34220, Tel. 0-4524-9780.