Old and New Experiences

10 February 2023 – NC Day 4

Steve and I woke up early today, excited to explore the some temples south of our hotel. We all decided to stay an extra night at Centura, so we booked another night so we had plenty of time to see everything.

Our first stop was Phra Maha Chedi Srisangdham, a temple that our group had visited previously. It was still under construction, but it was still very pretty and incredibly impressive. We spent some time wandering around the temple, admiring the architecture and taking in the peaceful atmosphere.

Our second stop was a temple that was unlike anything we had ever seen before. It was built with its exterior made to look like a limestone rock outcrop. It was amazingly inventive, and we spent a long time exploring it.

By 2pm, we were feeling a little hungry, so we stopped for coffee at Khao Yai Art Tree Resort. This resort was absolutely amazing. The accommodation was built in the style of treehouses, and the streets were lined with shops and restaurants. It was like something out of a fairy tale.

After our coffee, we continued on our way to Pandora Camp Khao Yai. This place was even more incredible than the previous one. It was like a restaurant on top of a hill, with a viewing platform made of glass steel in the shape of two huge hands. From the platform, we had stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Our last stop for the day was Wat Pa Phu Hai Long, an amazing complex on the edge and top of a mountain. Unfortunately, Neil was still not feeling well, so he struggled to climb the staircase to take in the glory of this site.

We were all exhausted by the end of the day, so we returned to our hotel and had dinner in the shopping center next door. It had been a long and tiring day, but it had also been an incredibly rewarding one. We had seen some of the most amazing temples in Thailand, and we had made some great memories.

11 February 2023 – NC Day 5

Today, we decided to take it easy so that Neil could rest and get better. We booked another night at the Centura hotel and spent the day exploring the area.

In the morning, we went to Centara Central to find breakfast and check out the cosplay competition. We found some great pizza at Tops bakery and then went for a wander around the mall. We found the Juniors Cosplay stage with a few younger contestants, and then went up to the fourth floor to check out the Seniors Cosplay section. Steve took some great photos of the contestants, and we all had a lot of fun.

Meanwhile Neil and Connie relaxed by the pool for the day.

At 4pm, we went for a walk with Neil and Connie. We took them to see the cosplay competition, then walked to the night markets. We wandered around the night markets, found some food, and then went across the road to the Big Bear Bar in the RN Yard. We had a few thirst-quenching Singha beers (no Changs available) and then walked back to the hotel for an early night.

12 February 2023 – NC Day 6

Our first stop was the PTT-Amazon, a large gas station and convenience store.

After our visit to the PTT-Amazon, we headed to Wat Nam Yen, a beautiful temple complex that is home to a large wooden Buddha statue. The temple was bustling with activity, as there was a festival taking place. We wandered through the market, admiring the local handicrafts and food. We also got to see some elephants, which were a big hit with everyone. The biggest temple here is mainly made of wood with 112 wooden pillars and is the latest in Issan.

From Wat Nam Yen, we drove to Wat Aphisit, a small temple that is known for its intricate carvings. We spent some time exploring the temple and admiring the artwork.

Our next stop was Wat Ban Lao Kut, a temple that is built on a hilltop. We climbed the stairs to the top of the temple, where we were rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

By the time we arrived at Wat Prachakon Wanaram, it was late afternoon. We took a few minutes to relax in the shade of the trees before exploring the temple. Wat Prachakon Wanaram is Thailand’s first natural sand pagoda.

We arrived at our hotel, The Bed Hotel, around 6pm. We let Neil and Connie rest up before dinner, while Steve and I took the opportunity to go for a walk around the city and enjoy the sunset. We Photographed Wat Burapha Phiram,  the tallest standing buddha in Thailand standing at 60m high

By 7pm we all headed to Cafe Himkong, a restaurant that serves delicious Thai food. We had a great dinner and enjoyed the opportunity to relax and reflect on our day.

13 February 2023 – NC Day 7

Today, we all decided to do a round trip and spend a second night here in Roi Et due to Neil’s foot. It was strange, because the last time we were in this area, Neil was also suffering. The year before, we had all been impressed with the temple here named Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol. It is incredible. Last night, I put together a trip that would include it, and also a couple of new temples none of us had seen before.

At 10am, we arrived at Watpanonsawan. A truly unique temple which I will leave the photos to describe.

At 12:30pm, we arrived at what must be the biggest bullfrog looking temple Phaya Khan Khao Museum, you have ever seen over looking Lake Kut Chiam.

At 2:30pm, we arrived at Phra Maha Chedi Chai Mongkol. We all boarded a small bus to be taken up the hill to this site. It was great to look around again, but sadly you could see Neil was suffering terribly with his foot. This huge chedi is 101 meters long, 101 meters wide, and 101 meters high, and was built on a plot measuring 101 rai, which is about 40 acres.

The number 101 comes from the name of the province it is located in, namely Roi Et, which means 101 in Thai. Hopefully, this temple will be completed one day, as it will be magnificent.

At 7pm, we arrived back at our hotel in Roi Et and enjoyed a quiet dinner together.

We all had a great time today, despite Neil’s foot problems.

14 February 2023 – NC Day 8

We were all excited to start our day exploring the temples of Mukdahan. We had heard great things about Wat Dan Phra In, a giant three-headed elephant next to an artificial cave temple.

We arrived at Wat Dan Phra In around 11am and were immediately impressed by its size and scale. The elephant is over 100 feet tall and the cave temple is even bigger. We spent the next hour exploring the temple, admiring the intricate carvings and sculptures.

After Wat Dan Phra In, we headed to Wat Roi Phra Phuttabat, a huge sitting Buddha that overlooks the Mekong River. Steve had been here before and told me that the construction was well underway when he last visited. We all got into small pickup trucks at the bottom of the mountainside and were transported up.

When we arrived at the top, we were surprised to see that little had changed since Steve’s last visit. The Buddha was still under construction, but the rest of the temple was complete. We spent the next hour exploring the temple, admiring the Buddha and the views of the Mekong River.

We headed back to our hotel, The Bliss Ubon, around 5pm. We were all tired from our day of exploring, but we were also happy and satisfied.