Thung Salaeng National Park and Si Thep Historical Park, Thailand Week 3 11th - 12th May 2011
The River Kwai looks peaceful as we cross the bridge leaving the National Park.

Calmer than when we arrived.

Despite driving alongside it for many kilometers this is the last good sight we got of it. The trees alongside the road are impenetrable with the camera.

There are too many Wats and Monasteries to even begin to count.

Most are well maintained and stand out along with government buildings.

By contrast the buildings either side of main roads show the signs of pollution from the traffic. 

We decided to camp in Thung Salaeng National Park.

Arrived late and rented a tent for the night. 150 baht. A pragmatic solution as the alternative was 150 baht each.

We thought we had National Park pricing sussed. 200 baht entry per foreigner per park for 7 days. But no. All parks are not the same. No entry fee for this one.

The camp site was about 4km from park headquarters down a single width rough sealed road. Looked like an old road that had long since been replaced.

We decided to give this crossing a miss. Fast flowing, not sure if it was rising or falling, up to my knees, only just wide enough for Tardis, second ford on a lean, center span not well supported (though 300mm thick). We really had no pressing need to take a risk and cross it.

So we reversed into a little clearing and stopped for the night.
Strolled across the clearing to inspect the river in the morning. Still swollen, still muddy.
In about 1963, while still in the Isle Of Man, I was shown an ornamental pot plant which closed its leaves when touched.

I've never seen one since.

Just next to our steps was a fine example of just that plant. Photos are before and after.

I believe it folds itself up as a form of defense. An animal thinks its inviting, touches it, and suddenly it doesn't look inviting any more.

Edit:- Friend Lawrie in Aus reckons its a "sensitive plant" that grows well in Northern Queensland. A noxious weed!

And Sharon tells us its Mimosa Pudica or Sensitive Plant. Originally from Central and South America, now a pantropical weed.

Leaving Thung Salaeng we descended a long hill along a river valley, back to the plain.

This was the view from half way down.

The competition for the biggest sign was hot.

This one for Tesco (supermarket) was readable from more than a km away.

Its still only a baby sign though.

There are many modes of transport on Thai roads.

This trike crossed in front of us while we counted down the lights.

The motor cyclist was a bit late crossing the lights and was given a ticket by the policeman.

It all seemed good natured though we guessed it cost some money.

The smoke is from the sugar mill. The environment laws must be different to those in Aus.

The truck on the left was a tractor and trailer. Moving at a snail pace. The truck on the right was a truck. Moving a little faster than a snail.

The car in the middle decided not to, it waited a bit and overtook normally.

The motorbike overtook on the inside where there was heaps of room.

We were fortunate nothing was coming the other way and drifted past.

Bricks. Used above the laterite base. These were in the exhibition center.

From some time before 14th century.

The Buddha has been recovered from Si Thep, a walled, moated, city.

The major influence is Dvaravati Buddhism. Imported from Sri Lanka. A period before the Khmer conquest and Angkor Wat influence.

We'll look for signs of Thai influence in Yunnan and Sichuan in China where the people and culture were well established before they moved South into Thailand and Laos in small groups.

Prang Si Thep Monument. It has a laterite base (rectangular slabs cut from laterite) and a brick structure above. The sandstone top is no longer there though there are some sandstone blocks around.
A lintel on Prang Si Thep.
Prang Si Thep from a distance.
Ali taking the photograph of the lintel.
We haven't a clue what this approx 2m diameter wheel represented but it was ornate on both sides.
A diagram of what the monument would have looked like.

We assume there is a standard form for such religious buildings, much the same as the cathedrals we were brought up with.

Also in the park was Khao Klang Nai Monument.

In the background here. Its all laterite, about 12m high and 44m long by 28m wide. Covered with mortar and decorated with stucco.

There's a few remains of the decorations around the base.

The city has an inner and outer part. In total area about 4.7 square kilometers.

There was a ridge, about 10m high, running all the way round. We found a part where there were still some laterite stones remaining. It looked like there could have been a path along the top of the ridge.

Outside the ridge was the remains of a moat.

The inner city was a sparsely treed grassed area surrounding the remains. A park.

We picked a corner of the car park for a peaceful night's sleep.

A pleasant place to be.

There were some patches of thick bush around. We encountered some bamboo while trying to see more of the moat.

This patch had large (10mm long) thorns facing backwards which made it impenetrable to us. Nasty stuff.

Phnom Rang Historical Park and Khao Yai National Park, Thailand Week 3 13th-15th May 2011