After getting a close look at some of the Wax Castle Floats in Sakon Nakhon we set off for Ubon Ratchathani Province. On the way we had another great roadside lunch. We pulled into Krau Mee Chai Restaurant in PaNa Village. We were the only customers there and Nook took charge of ordering the food. The lady taking the order was concerned that some of the dishes she was ordering were going to be too spicy for Westerners but Nook assured her we could take the heat.
Everything was good but the best dishes were an Isaan style beef larb with the meat in small slices rather than finely chopped and a spicy papaya salad that was known locally by a name other than som tam. (Sorry I don’t recall that name.) As we were finishing our meal, one of the ladies that had served us came to the table and asked Nook if we were from New Zealand. She told her no and asked why she had asked. She told us a story about her younger sister who had moved to New Zealand but who had passed away 4 years before. She said she had been so touched that her sister’s New Zealand friends had brought back her ashes to her home village. She said, every time she met Westerners, she thought of those kind people from New Zealand.
Our destination that day was Pha Team National Park near Khong Jiam City. The park is best known as holding the largest collection of colored Prehistoric Rock Paintings in Thailand. The paintings are set in an area protected by the sandstone walls at a point that is roughly 100 feet from the top and 300 feet above the Mekong.
From the highest point in the Pha Team park there are great views of the Mekong as well as across the river into Laos. Due to its location on the extreme western border and the elevation, this high point has earned the distinction of being the “First Sunset of Thailand”.
While Nam Tok Soi Sawan, a very large wild flower field in the area, the flowers were not in bloom at the time we visited the area.
We spent that night in Khong Jiam at the Tohsang Khongjiam Resort & Spa. There really isn’t much of a town in Khong Jiam so our evening entertainment was me having a massage and my wife getting a coconut scrub in the clean and comfortable spa at the hotel.
Then we had dinner at the very nice outdoor restaurant at the hotel overlooking the river bank. One of the reasons we wanted to eat there was a chance to see the seasonal natural phenomenon known as Naga Fireballs but that didn’t work out. Our waiter told us the river was a bit high for best sightings. At $27 for two, this was one of the more expensive meals we ate during our trip but the food and service were both very good.
I should also mention that this hotel had the best breakfast buffet I think I have ever enjoyed anywhere in the world.
The next day we were off to Ubon Ratchathani City