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  1. #1
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    Aranyaprathet #1 the road from Sa Kaeo

    Aranyaprathet is about an hour from where I'm based, previous visits had been for the border markets at Rong Kluea near the border crossing into Poi Pet/Cambodia.
    June we decided to spend a few days there so headed off on the scooter with our list of things to do/see.

    Any corrections to places, or 'fact's welcomed, struggled to find info at times.

    Decided to go on the mighty Fino, no big distances involved; I like to travel light, four days that's all we need.

    *******************

    Next pics from Chaloem Phra Kiat Park, near Wattana Nakhon on the main road. Decided it was the seventh time we'd driven past and about time we stopped.The topiary display along the road frontage is impressive, maybe a dozen creations 8-10m tall. Are those llamas shagging?

    .. .

  2. #2
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    Aranyaprathet #2 still getting there

    A few more from Chaloem Phra Kiat Park

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    King Naresuan the Great resided near Watthana Nakhon during the battles in the East in 1593

    .

  3. #3
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    Aranyaprathet #3 Prasat Khao Noi Si Chomphu (ปราสาทเขาน้อยสีชมพู)

    12km south of Aranyaprathet is Prasat Khao Noi Si Chomphu (ปราสาทเขาน้อยสีชมพู).
    Seemed simple enough, headed off on the bike; found the wat at the base of the hill, parked there and headed up the 254 steps

    ..

    Having managed the climb, at about step 200 we came to a bloody carpark. There was a road up the back of the hill. Bugger. So continued on and then realised we'd chosen the wrong hill from the carpark. The one were on had two unused houses (monks quarters?) and a small place of worship

    ..

    so back down to the carpark and 60 or so steps to the next hilltop

  4. #4
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    Aranyaprathet #4 more Prasat Khao Noi Si Chomphu (ปราสาทเขาน้อยสีชมพู)

    Prasat Khao Noi Si Chomphu (ปราสาทเขาน้อยสีชมพู)
    12km south of Aranyaprathet. This is Khmer country. Prasat Khao Noi Si Chomphu is believed to have been a Hindu shrine, and is dated as being built in the year 637. Made of bricks without any use of mortar, it comprises 3 brick constructions, the northern and central Prang and the southern Wihan. Only the central one remains in quite a good condition, while only the bases of the northern and the southern ones are left. A very slow restoration underway, a team of six - three men, three women, make the trip from Cambodia every day.

    ..

    We waited while this family finished their prayers; there was a lot of chanting from the man, repeated by his family; we spoke to them afterwards and turned out they'd travelled over 40km to pray for that months lottery numbers. Very generously the wife wrote down the 'winners' on paper for us.

    .
    Cambodian workers doing the restoration, 3 couples and a 'supervisor'. Hard, hot work mixing mortar and bricklaying.First everything had to be carried up the steps from the carpark.


    the view from the top

    We took a different road back to Aranyaprathet, why travel the same road twice; the return trip back was close to the border through rice fields, about 15km.

  5. #5
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    Aranyaprathet #5 more ruins: Prasat Sadok Kok Thom (ปราสาทสด๊กก๊อกธม)

    About 40km north-ish of Aranyaprathet is Prasat Sadok Kok Thom (ปราสาทสด๊กก๊อกธม).
    Khmer country.
    Well signposted except for the last few km when some signs changed from Thai/English, to Thai-only, pays to have a translator on board.
    "Moo 3 Ban Nong Samet,Tambon Kok Soong, King Amphoe Kok Soong. Follow Route 348 from Aranyaprathet to Ta Phraya then take any one of the routes off Route 348 to the prasat."

    .

    From Wiki
    Sdok Kok Thom (Thai: สด๊กก๊กธม, Sa Dok Kok Tom), or Sdok Kak Thom, is an 11th Century Khmer temple in present-day Thailand, located about 34 kilometers northeast of the Thai border town of Aranyaprathet. The temple was dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Constructed by a prominent priestly family, Sdok Kok Thom is best known as the original site of one of the most illuminating inscriptions left behind by the Khmer Empire, which ruled much of Southeast Asia from the end of the 9th century to the 15th century.

    Built of red sandstone and laterite, the temple is a prime example of a provincial seat of worship during the empire's golden age. It is small by the standards of the major monuments in Angkor, the empire's capital, but shares their basic design and religious symbolism. In its 11th Century heyday during the reign of King Udayādityavarman II, the temple was tended by its Brahman patrons and supported with food and labor by the people of surrounding rice-farming villages.

    Following the Vietnamese army's invasion of Cambodia in 1978 and the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge government, the forested area around the temple became the site of a large camp of Cambodian refugees, known as Nong Samet Camp or Rithysen. The camp was controlled by anti-communist guerrillas known as Khmer Serei, who were opposed to the Vietnamese presence in Cambodia. The camp eventually became an important source of support for the KPNLF.

    In 2002, with the Cambodian conflict long settled and the refugees gone, the Japan Alliance for Humanitarian Demining Support, the Thailand Mine Action Center and the General Chatichai Choonhavan Foundation began cooperating on a program to remove landmines and other unexploded ordnance from the area. Local villagers were recruited and trained for this work, which ended in 2004 after the removal of 76 mines and other pieces of ordnance.

    In modern times, Thailand and Cambodia have often disputed the precise location of their common border, most notably in a World Court case that in 1962 awarded Preah Vihear, another border-region temple of the Angkorian age, to Cambodia. In January 2003, the Thai government disclosed a new development concerning the border issue, a letter from the Cambodian government stating that it considers Sdok Kok Thom to be in Cambodian territory.

    .
    Last edited by genghis61; 21-08-2010 at 08:56 AM.

  6. #6
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    Aranyaprathet #6 more Prasat Sadok Kok Thom (ปราสาทสด๊กก๊อกธม

    There were eight Cambodians working on the restoration. Limited conversation due to language, but seems they come across through Poi Pet each day on a 'day pass' to work.

    .
    There are no signs, one small building with old b&w pics of the site in earlier years. I saw no mention of landmines (see above post) and presume they are sure they have all been removed. We went for a quite a wander in the surrounding area, serenity in the trees.


    .

    And that was enough ruins, we did both sites in a day, about 120km all up but that included some 'take the long way' options

  7. #7
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    We waited while this family finished their prayers; there was a lot of chanting from the man, repeated by his family; we spoke to them afterwards and turned out they'd travelled over 40km to pray for that months lottery numbers. Very generously the wife wrote down the 'winners' on paper for us.


    Did the numbers come up?

  8. #8
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    ^ probably; never gave it a thought till I looked at these pics again this morning.
    Out there somewhere a rich Thai family wondering why they didn't have to share first prize with 'that nice couple we met'

  9. #9
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    Thanks for sharing G61.

  10. #10
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    Aranyaprathet #7 - the education/schools fair

    There was a 3-day education fair being held in the town when we visited, featuring schools from surrounding provinces.
    Some were static displays, others featured musical performances.

    ..
    Cows from Wang Nam Yen, not far from home on the way south to Chanthaburi. WNY has Thailand's second largest dairy production factory. And a pretty teacher from the Phillipines.

    ..
    These dancers from a Pattaya school

    ..
    The 'who ate all the pies' dancer from Pattaya, plus some craftwork from one of the stalls

    ..
    Evenings there were music/dance performances on the main stage

    We had what would otherwise have been a very relaxing one-hour foot massage (50 baht!) in this tent. The music was . . . well . . . they need a lot more practice.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SEA Traveler View Post
    Thanks for sharing G61.
    Cheers.
    This is my little rebellion v friends in Phuket - we lived there a year and most of the westerners we knew there had been either Phuket-only, or Phuket via a brief stopover in Bangkok. On that basis they had 'seen Thailand'. And they ask what we can possibly do in Sa Kaeo. No beaches (have to admit that) but I like the rural life, historic aspects, around here borders have been rather fluid over the years and what is now Thai was Kampuchean not so long ago.
    In May we were in Chanthaburi and Trat and I've been reading more on the French occupation there 1893-1910 fascinating stuff (for me anyway). But that's another thread . . .

  12. #12
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    Aranyaprathet #8 around the town

    Easy to walk the man town area, had been there before to Immigration for a visa extension but this was the first time we'd had time for a good look around. If it had not been for the education fair there was not a lot happening.

    We were there in June when the 'Bangkok business' had been not long finished maybe this had an impact as it was definitely quieter than when we visited in Feb or March.

    So here's a few pics of the town itself. Try to control your excitement.

    .

    .
    and some locals

    .

    .
    Night food markets, and kids practising their basketball skills

  13. #13
    Philippine Expat Davis Knowlton's Avatar
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    Thanks for the pictures. I lived in Aranyaprathet from 88-90; looks like little has changed and it is as exciting today as it was then. Pictures of 'downtown' were a trip down memory lane.

  14. #14
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    Aranyaprathet #9 in the grounds of Wat Luang Aran

    On the fringe of the town centre is Wat Luang Aran. Another temple . . . but I'm more interested in walking the grounds



    ..

    .

    .

  15. #15
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    Aranyaprathet #10 accommodation

    We stayed at Market Hotel, it is not 5 star and there are plenty of other places to choose from, but let's be realistic: it was 400 baht per night, ok bar/restaurant, happy staff, quiet, cable tv (no English channels though), cheap internet, easy walking to town centre, and a decent swimming pool - 1.8m at the deep end. 400 baht.

    Bedding was 'tired' but adequate. I wouldn't want the folk from CSI going in there with their fancy lights though.

    There is a new set of rooms for 500/night but these were all booked out; we hadn't booked I wanted to see the room before committing.

    .

    .


    like this thread? send me money

  16. #16
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    Cool Aranyaprathet #11 Rong Kluea Friendship Border Markets

    About 6km from Aranyaprathet central, on the border with Poi Pet. This is where you cross if doing a visa run or for the casino in PP.

    .

    I don't like markets; these are the biggest i have seen, you can walk around, or hire a motorbike or electric golf buggy to get around.

    It seems to be an endless repeat of the same stalls. Big doesn't mean diverse. T-shirts, jeans, handbags, shoes. Main difference is the price - partner likes her hats (did I mention hats, bloody hat stalls galore) and says the one she paid 50-100 for were 3-500 on Phuket. Did get some curtains for the new room though, made the trip worthwhile.

    There are 'sweatshops' on site, can watch them cut open huge bales of jeans etc from Cambodia then dish them out to the sewing crew, who carefully attach the labels - the jeans are the same they just come out with ten different 'name brand' logos attached.

    About 1km before the markets is a good bicycle shop, selling road race/triathlon bikes and accessories, i was finally able to re-stock on my 23mm-wide tubes and tyres. They also have second-hand bikes.

    THE END

  17. #17
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    Thanks Genghis The JBirds family are in Aran we don't get to go very often but when we do we try and take the whole tribe somewhere for a day out, i'll have to ask her what the names of the places we've been to and put them up here for you.
    Well, luckily I didn't have any tortoises on me at the time...

  18. #18
    loob lor geezer
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    Another nice thread genghis. Never heard of those border temples and not likely to be up that way anytime soon so nice to see your pictures. Wonder if they will ever become political footballs at some time in the future ? As for 2 up on that little bike, very courageous !

  19. #19
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    ^ The Wiki site said that Sdok Kok Thom - the bigger temple - was disputed by Cambodia (in 2003) as they consider it to be on Cambodian land, same as Preah Vihear but couldn't find anything more recent.

    the Fino has nearly 12,000km on it now, most weeks do the trip to Sa Kaeo town just over 90km there/back, gets along OK. Next trip - been invited to Nakhon Ratchisima 240km away next month.

  20. #20
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    Nice report, looks like you had fun as well. Thanks very much.

  21. #21
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    [quote=genghis61;1533751]There was a 3-day education fair being held in the town when we visited, featuring schools from surrounding provinces.
    Some were static displays, others featured musical performances.

    I was there for that, my daughter was dancing, second from the left.


  22. #22
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    nice pic, love those costumes; we went three times - twice during the day and one evening it was all very interesting/entertaining, but didn't see any smaller kids performing. Would have said hello if we'd seen you - met an Englishman teacher from Buriram, and a lady teaching at Wang Nam Yen from Phillippines.

  23. #23
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    {the Fino has nearly 12,000km on it}
    Thanks for the Photos of the market / we too went there by train from Chonburi on 2 occasions ,tried a pair of jeans once and the Fly was incomplete! settled for copy sunnies! also have Fino with 14,000 mostly Bangna >Pattaya>Bkk for social visits, but taken all back roads makes us tired at the end of the day. wished we had come across the Temples site, it looks like a mini An-chor

    like yourself I'm fascinated by the French History in the Southern regions,

  24. #24
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    Good report and pics.
    I like the masonry only temples.
    Been to preah vihear twice from our side,dont know what all the fuss is about with the greedy thai.
    They already have so many khmer temples.

  25. #25
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    Thanks for all the excellent pics and the story.

    It's amazing how many ancient Khmer temples there are in Thailand. The recent border disputes are so sad as really it's a shared heritage and the borders are an artificial legacy from colonial times when the new idea of the nation state emerged. I've written about this a lot on my own blog.

    Khao Phra Viharn is of course just a lighning rod for tensions between Thailand and Cambodia and is used by politicians on each side to distract attention from internal problems.

    It's the way of the world but hugely regrettable.

    Andrew Hicks

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