Kalasin , the land of Pong Lang music, is an ancient city with many interesting historical sites. It is the site of the ancient city of Fa Daet Song Yang and one of the largest concentrations of dinosaur fossils in northeastern Thailand. In additon, the province is well known for their silk cloth with the uniquely beautiful and intricate'phrae wa' designs, that can only be found here. The fabrics are hand-woven on traditional looms after undergoing many delicate 'mudmee' dying techniques. Kalasin has an area of 6,946 square kilometres.
The highly revered Phra Buddha Rup Ong Dum Buddha image is housed at the provincial principal temple of Wat Klang. The base of the image is inscribed with ancient Thai writings. Whenever there is a drought, the townspeople would carry the sacred image in an elaborate procession to request rain.
Several Buddha images are located in beautiful natural sites outside the city. On a cliff outside of town are 2 Dvaravati-style Buddha images, the Phra Buddha Satarn Phu Bor. The first image is situated at the foot of the Bor Mountain, near the ascending path, while the other image is at the top. The Buddha image of Phra Buddha Saiyad is etched in the rock wall underneath a cliff in Wat Buddha Mimitr. The Buddha Sathan Phu Singh (Singh Hill Religious Site) located at the top of Phu Singh Hill contains the large Buddha image of Phra Pome Phumipalo.
Artifacts found at the Fah Dat Song Yang City indicate the town was inhabited during prehistoric times and prospered during the Dvaravati period (6th-11th centuries). The ancient settlement was surrounded by two layers of moats and the only surviving, distinguishable remain is the Phra That Yakhu (Yaku Chedi).
Dinosaur fossils were recently found at the Phu Kum Khao Dinosaur Fossils Area , the largest area of its kind in Thailand, making it a popular tourist attraction. Many fossils were discovered among the rocky ground surface which experts have determined to be mainly the Soropods, a large herbivore with a long neck that existed about 130 million years ago.
Situated east of the dam, the Lam Pao Wildlife Park (Sa-on Park) is an open zoo national park where wild animals roam about in their natural habitats, particularly the red bulls, which is used as the park's symbol.
Of particular interest at Kaeng Ka-am Waterfall are the rapid that passes through a long, rocky passage and a spacious, rocky plateau suitable for relaxation.
Another fall in this vicinity is the Pha Savoey Waterfall. Originally called Pha Rang Raeng, the name was changed in 1954 when H.M. the King and the Queen stopped for lunch here while passing the area. The name was then changed to Pha Savoey (Royal Dining Cliff). The Pha Savoey is situated on a high, steep cliff with a deep gorge down below, offering a good view of the surrounding areas.
The Fah Mue Daeng (Red Palm Prints) Cave is located on the Phu Pha Phueng mountain. The prehistoric paintings of as many as 174 red palms were discovered and received much public attention during 1973 and 1980, being the largest number of red palm paintings found in the Kingdom of Thailand. Such paintings are regarded as important historical evidences in the search for lost accounts.
The area of Phu Khao Cave was formerly an important religious place but presently, only the small temple of Wat Buddha Nimit, housing the Phu Khao Reclining Buddha, is of any significance. This Reclining Buddha is different from other ones because it lies on the left sideand because there is no finial. Legend says that this Reclining Buddha was made during the year 1,300-1,500. Generally revered by villagers, a fair held to pay homage to the image takes place during the Songkran Festival every year.
The Ban Phon Prae Wa Weaving Group produces fine, delicate designs on predominantly red silk fabrics, a specific art and craftmanship of Phuthai tribal people. H.M. the Queen Sirikit has been promoting this type of fabric and it is currently very popular.
Phraya Chai Sunthon Monument is in front of the post office in the city. Phraya Chai Sunthon, or Thao Somphamit, evacuated people from the left bank of the Mekong River to settle along the Pao River over 200 years ago.
Wat Klang houses an important artifact, which is the beautifully featured bronze Ong Dam Buddha image. The base has an inscription in ancient Thai. It is said that the image can grant seasonal rainfall. The temple also has a replica of Lord Buddha's footpri
Wat Si Bun Ruang is an old temple in the municipality. Some heart-shaped stones that marked the limits of a temple in Fa Daet Song Yang are kept here, the most beautiful being the one with an angel flying above a castle with a king and his family portrayed in the lower part. This piece demonstrates traditional northeastern art.
Arts, Culture and Tourism Promotion Centre is in Thirawat Hospital. It is an information centre and provides knowledge to those interested in local arts and culture of Kalasin. There are displays on the way of life of locals and people in the Northeast, as well as local products for sale.
Fa Daet Song Yang is a town on Highway No. 214 (Kalasin-Roi Et). From Kalasin, drive for 13 kilometres to Kamalasai, then turn right and drive for 6 kilometres. The present location is Ban Sema, Tambon Nong Paen. There is evidence of a settlement in prehistoric times. The area flourished during the Dvaravati period (the 8 th -10 th century). The layout of the town is like a heart-shaped stone that defines a temple's boundary. There are two rows of moats. Ruins have been found inside and outside the town area. The most complete ruin is Phra That Yakhu, a brick pagoda. Sandstone temple markers with and without designs have been found here and are now housed in Wat Pho Chai Semaram in the village and in the Khon Kaen National Museum. In addition, amulets and tobacco pipes made of fired clay and bronze were unearthed here.
Lam Pao Dam can be reached by taking Highway No. 209 (Kalasin - Maha Sarakham) for 10 kilometres, turn right and drive for 26 kilometres. This earthen dam is 33 metres high from water level and is 7.8 kilometres long. The dam was built across the Pao and Huai Yang rivers, creating a double reservoir. It was built to alleviate floods, to help agriculture, and is also used for fish breeding. The beach along the lake is a popular rest spot for locals.
Suan Sa-on is a nature and wildlife education centre to the east of Lam Pao dam. Suan Saon is a natural open zoo with plenty of wildlife, including the rare red gaur, which is the symbol of the park.
Dinosaur fossils at Phu Kum Khao can be seen by taking Highway No. 227 for 30 kilometres, turn right to Wat Sakkawan 1 kilometre away. Phu Kum Khao has the largest concentration of dinosaur fossils in Thailand. Numerous fossils were found in rock layers. The Department of Mineral Resources has excavated areas where entire skeletons are now clearly visible. Most are Sauropods, large, long-necked, plant-eating dinosaurs which lived about 130 million years ago.
Phra Phuttha Saiyat Phu Khao is in Wat Phuttha Nimit, Ban Na Si Nuan, Tambon Non Sila, 39 kilometres from Kalasin on Highway No. 227. There is a 6-kilometre road on the left from the highway. This ancient reclining Buddha image was carved under a cliff. This image is unusual to other reclining images in that it is leaning on its left hand rather than on its right hand. It was built in 1692.
Phuttha Sathan Phu Sing is 32 kilometres to the north of Kalasin on Highway No. 227. Visitors can either drive to the top or ascend the 104 steps. The hill is where Phra Phrom Phumi Palo is located. It has a large image of the Man Wichai (demon defeat) that is 10.5 metres wide and is clearly visible from below. The surrounding area is shady and offers a lovely panoramic view.
Ban Phon Phrae Wa silk, can be found 70 kilometres from Kalasin. It is the province's most famous and most beautiful woven cloth. The cloth is made of Mudmee silk and shows exemplary workmanship. It is unique to the Phu Thai tribe whose ancestors migrated from the city of Thaeng in Vietnam. Nowadays, many colours are used other than the traditional red.
Kaeng Ka-am waterfall is 55 kilometres from Kalasin on the Kalasin-Sakon Nakhon route on Highway No. 213, 300 metres from the highway on the left. This is a small waterfall cascading down a long row of rocks and has a wide, open rock plateau suitable for relaxation.
Pong Lang, Phrae Wa and Red Cross Extravaganza is held in late February in front of the Provincial Hall. The fair features processions of the various districts decorated as Pong Lang, a northeastern musical instrument, and participants dressed in traditional costumes. In addition, there are a variety of local cultural performances and there are shops selling a wide range of goods.
Hotels and accommodation
- Phaibun : 125/5-6 Somphamit Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4381 1661] : 200-420 baht
- Phi Phi Bungalow : 103 Mu 10 Tambon Bua Khao Amphoe Kuchinarai [Tel: 0 4383 2443] : 350 baht
- Rim Pao : Kutyang Samakkhi Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4381 3631-9] : 550-3,745 baht
- Sabai Sabai Bungalow : 118 Kalasin-Sahatsakhan Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4381 2617] : 280-480 baht
- Saeng Chai : 121 Tambon Bua Khao Amphoe Kuchinarai [Tel: 0 4385 1222] : 100-300 baht
- Saeng Thong : 100-102 Phirom Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4381 1555] : 120-450 baht Sai Thong Bungalow : Somphamit Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4381 3348] : 200-360 baht
- Somdet Hotel : 158/2 Tambon Somdet Amphoe Somdet [Tel: 0 4386 1150] : 160-350 baht
- Suphak : 81/7 San eha Road Amphoe Muang [Tel: 0 4381 1315, 0 4381 1051] : 180-600 baht
- Local Cuisine
- Sap E Li : Pirom Rd., Muang, Tel: 0-4381-1514
- Nutcha Suki : Pirom Rd., Muang, Tel: 0-4381-2320
- B M : Thinanon Rd., Muang, Tel: 0-4382-1403
- Ban Pak Ruen Pae : 5 Moo 7 Kalasin-Sahatkun Hwy., Muang, Tel: 0-4381-2254
- Kuchi Narai Restaurant : Rim Pao Hotel, Kut Yang Sammakee Rd., Muang, Tel: 0-4381-3631
- Udom Pochana : Soampamit Rd., Muang, Tel: 0-4381-1912
- Supat Restaurant : Supat Hotel, San aeha Rd., Muang, Tel: 0-4341-1031
- Shell Pochana : Amphoe Yang Talad intersection, Tel: 0-4369-1169
- Ploy Talay : Amphoe Yang Talad intersection, Tel: 0-4389-1138, 0-4389-1484
- Kamnun Boon Song : Entrance to Lum Pao Dam, Tel: 0-1974-5814
How to get there
* By car
From Bangkok, take Bangkok-Saraburi-Nakhon Ratchasima route (Highway No. 2). When arriving Nong Phai, use Highway No. 23 to Maha Sarakham, then take Highway No. 209 to Kalasin, a total distance of 519 kilometres.
* By bus
Air-conditioned buses and non air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok's Mochit 2 Bus Terminal every day. Call 0 2936 2852-66 for more information.
* By train
There is no direct train from Bangkok to Kalasin. Visitors can take a train to Khon Kaen and connect a bus to Kalasin. Call 1690, 0 2223 7010-20 for more information.
* By plane
Visitors can fly from Bangkok to Khon Kaen and then connect a bus to Kalasin. Call Thai Airways, Tel: 1566, 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 for more information.