Big Buddha

Our First Trip to Loei (August 11 – 14, 2007)

* I first posted this blog at my Yahoo!360 site on Aug-18-2007.   (The site was no more...)
  I "regenerated" it at (this page ) on Dec-18-2009.
  On Feb-17-2011 I updated the links on this page.   I also embedded the slideshows.
 There are many slideshows so the page might be a little slow to load!

We went to Loei Province during Aug 11 – 14.   It is 520 km from Bangkok (520 multiplied by 5 and divided by 8 = ____ miles).   Before the trip we did not know much about the province, except that it was mountainous, could be very cold in winter, and its wine was well-known in Thailand.

Here is the screenshot of the introduction to the Province of Loei on the webpage at the Tourist Authority of Thailand:

Loei as introduced on TOT website

More readings here if you are interested:

The article below was from the Amari Hotels and Resorts' website.
Loei as introduced on the webpage of Amari Hotels and Resorts
Loei as introduced on the webpage of Amari Hotels and Resorts Loei as introduced on the webpage of Amari Hotels and Resorts Loei as introduced on the webpage of Amari Hotels and Resorts
And in Wikipedia.

Anyway, we left Bangkok in the afternoon of Aug-11 and reached Petchaboon at night.   The next day around noon we arrived at Chateau de Loei winery   It was about 60 km from the town of Loei.   Its restaurant was open.   Their grape icecream (sherbet) was good, so were their cappucino and cheese cakes.   The garden was beautiful, so was the playground.   But the winery was closed and we could not get inside.   We took a look at their vineyard.   No grapes.   Behind the vineyard there was a deserted runway.   We took some photos there.

I had tried embedding the slideshows here but they appeared too small.   I therefore decided to post the links to those slideshows at   Please have a look at this first one:

Chateau de Loei winery, Aug-12-2007   (7 photos)

Before reaching Loei we arrived at Phu-Rua national park.   "Phu" = mountain, "rua" = ship, boat.   It was very foggy and windy: 22 °C when we got there at 1 pm.   Cold for Bangkok kids.   They say the top of Phu Rua is the coldest place in Thailand.   I think it could be true!   We had lunch at a restuarant called Buussaba.   A beautiful place with great views.
See the slides:  
Phu-Rua, Loei, Aug-12-2007 (23 photos)

In the afternoon we arrived in the town of Loei.   It was a quiet town.   So small.   We did not see any big department stores.   There was a Tesco-Lotus superstore ready to open but we were told later that the place would not be open for a while because of some problem of the contract or something.   There was a KFC's next to the unopened Tesco-Lotus.   No McD's or pizza places at all.   What a surprise!  

We stayed at Loei Palace Hotel.   It was the most modern hotel in town!   We got a suite of two bedrooms and a living room.   There were, altogether, 3 TVs, 2 fridges, and 3 bathrooms!   There were scales in the two bathrooms!   Amazing to see such a luxurious hotel in the middle of small and quiet town among the paddy fields.   Our suite was on the 7th floor.   The hotel had a shape of a huge ship.   On a wall in the lobby there was the mark of the flood level 5 years ago when the hotel was just opened.   It was more than 2 meters ( = more than 6 or 7 ft) !!  Boats were used during those days.   There were pics on the wall.   Anyway, that was the past.   It did not leave other traces at all.   There were two private karaoke rooms and we went to one after dinner.   Ken was so unbelievable at his first karaoke!   Too good!   And too crazy!   See the slides:

Loei Palace Hotel (Amari group) Aug12-13, 2007 (12 photos)

The next day we went to Gang kood-koo not too far from the town of Loei.   "Gang" means riverside, I guess...   Mae Khong river during rainy season looked very muddy!   We hired a boat for a 30-minute cruise along the "border".   The other side was Laos.   We saw groups of the Laotian kids playing Tarzan happily!   They did not seem to mind the muddy water.   The trees along the bank on the Laotian side were huge!   We saw huge garbage dumps among some bushes, too.   Yikes!   After the cruise, we ate at an open air restaurant on the Thai side.   Sticky rice and charcoal grilled chicken were good BUT there were too many flies! ! ! ! !  Here are the slides:

Gang Kood-koo, Loei, Aug-13-2007 (17 photos)

Big Buddha was on top of a hill in Loei.   From up there we could see the muddy Mae Khong river.   The Buddha statue was constructed not too long ago.   Our former PM Thaksin had contributed 100,000 baht.   We saw his name among the names of other well-known people.   There were many rubber trees around Big Buddha.   It was probably the time for the rubber tree fruits to ripe.   We kept hearing the noise of those nuts crashing the cemented ground!   At first we did not know those were rubber trees.   But we noticed small buckets attached to the tree trunks, and there were cutting marks.   On the way back we passed by a customs.   We did not go in there.   It looked more like an unattractive check-point.   Was told later that the Thai-Laotian border at that point had no river running through.   See the slides:

Big Buddha, Loei, Aug-13-2007 (13 photos)

The next slides:

Kun-ming of Thailand in Loei, Aug-14-2007 (17 photos)

The mountainous area around here is like Kunming in Yunnan, China., thus the name.   There were waterfalls.   We stopped by one of them.   That one was below the road level.

Phu Kradeung in Loei is a famous place.   It is a huge mountain with flat, flat top - as if it were chopped off.   Camping up there is possible.   VK said he had been there a couple of times when he was in Thailand.   It was closed during these months so we just went to the visitor center.
See the fee?     It is always very expensive for foreigners.   Not that they would ask for your ID but if you do not look like a Thai....   Oh, well.

The only way to get to the top of this mountain is to walk up there.   Maybe the next time.   See our slides:

Phu Kradeung, Loei, Aug-14-2007 (6 photos)

We left Phu Kradeung in the afternoon around 3 or 4 pm and came back home stopping only at gas stations.   Except for dinner we stopped at Chokchai steakhouse in Pak-chong, a well-known town near Kao-Yai.   The restaurant was air-conditioned and very clean.   No need to worry about the flies.   LOL!   We arrived home at 10pm.   It was a good trip.


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