Ubon Ratchatani (4-6 Oct 12)

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October 5th 2012
Published: October 6th 2012
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So after that quick overnight stop at little Nang Rong, I arrived in Ubon Ratchatani, one of the easternmost larger cities in Thailand, from where I would make the crossing into Laos.

Apparently Ubon was an important air base for the US forces during the Vietnam War, during which time the city prospered. However it does seem as if not that much has happened in the city since, which in many respects seems to have seen better days. The city itself is not large, and quite walkable. There are a few temples of some importance to the city, but it seems the only time it really gets crowded is during the Candle Festival that it's famous for, which occurs annually in July. That's probably also the only time the old, soulless 1970s style 3-star hotels fill up. I had to stay at one of those (Srimakol Hotel) due to the dearth of homely guesthouses that I prefer in the city. But oh well, at least I managed to get a cheaper room -- there happened to be one on discount because the AC was broken, so I jumped at it, just THB250 (fan included)!

This being my final stop
Candle Sculpture in Thung Si Mueang ParkCandle Sculpture in Thung Si Mueang ParkCandle Sculpture in Thung Si Mueang Park

22m high, it's placed on a junk and protected by garuda and naga. Ubon is famous for its candle festival that occurs in July, which is probably the only time the hotels in the city fill up.
of my adventure in Thailand which has lasted three months, I of course have mixed feelings. I've grown a little sentimental for this country, whose language, culture and psyche I've just begun to understand. It's certainly far from perfect, but on the whole I've felt very welcome here, and enjoyed its comforts. In many ways I can't wait to return when I can, once my visa cycle resets, and after I've visited some of the other countries I set out at the start of my trip to see.

Which brings me to Laos. In some way it's the ideal transition away from Thailand, since to my understanding the culture and language are somewhat similar, especially with the Isaan region. Even the Thai baht is supposedly legal tender in some of the border towns in Southern Laos! It'll also be my first trip back to the country since my last (and only) visit in 2007, so I'll be able to see how the country has changed since, and also check out some places that I missed the last time.

So farewell Thailand, and thanks for the memories! Anyway I hope, and I'm sure, we'll meet again in the near
Nang Rong to Ubon RatchataniNang Rong to Ubon RatchataniNang Rong to Ubon Ratchatani

Not sure if you can tell from the picture but I was actually sitting on the floor! This is what you get for getting on a bus from a small town halfway through a long journey. Suffice to say I was not a happy camper at the time. Fortunately about mid-way through some people got off so I managed to get a seat. But then the conductor told me the bus wasn't going directly to Ubon so I had to transfer to another at Kantharalak. Well, guess I learnt the name of yet another Thai city!
future. And Laos, here I come again!

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


Ubon Open Air Night Food CentreUbon Open Air Night Food Centre
Ubon Open Air Night Food Centre

Certainly reminded me of the ones back in Singapore, and also those in my parents' hometown of Penang in Malaysia.
San Lak MueangSan Lak Mueang
San Lak Mueang

Yes I know it looks almost exactly like the previous one Wat Sri Ubon, but I assure you it's a different temple!

Just too darn hot in Ubon!
Open Air Gym in the ParkOpen Air Gym in the Park
Open Air Gym in the Park

Similar concept to the one in Lumpini in Bangkok. Concrete-filled used tyres and pails serve as the dumbbells, their weights marked by chalk and ink. My kind of gym!

8th October 2012

now you know how X felt on the bus to Siem Reap...
10th October 2012

Except that X at least had a plastic stool to sit on along the aisle. This time I was sitting ON THE FLOOR!

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