Bung Kan, Thailand's newest province, has a lot to offer visitors. Here are a few facts to get you started.
A Phu Thok is a northeastern word meaning lone mountain. It is actually a twin sandstone mountain—Phu Thok Yai and Phu Thok Noi —in Ban Kham Khaen of Si Wilai district.
New Kid on the Block
Story and photos by Pichaya Svasti
Nestled 715km northeast of Bangkok is Bung Kan – Thailand's newest province. It was part of Nong Khai before being carved out and declared the country's 77th province on March 22, 2011. Covering around 4,300km2, this province comprised of eight districts is full of mountains and waterways and rich in Thai and Lao culture since Laos is just across the Mekong River.
Although it borders Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon and Nong Khai provinces, Bung Kan is quieter due to its location and the climate is more humid like in southern Thailand. According to Governor Pornsak Jearanai, Bung Kan has the most rubber trees in the Northeast due to adequate rainfall. The official figure is 680,000 rai, but the actual should exceed 800,000 rai.
The governor who was successful in promoting Chiang Khan district as a popular tourist destination when he was Loei governor sees Bung Kan's potential in terms of tourism.
"Bung Khong Long is a freshwater lake and one of the world's important wetlands."
''Several attractions here are better than some in Loei. For example, Bung Khong Long is a freshwater lake and one of the world's important wetlands. It has beaches and visitors can see Wat Phu Langka from one of its sightseeing areas. And there is Phu Thok, a natural wonder, while Wat Ahong boasts interesting bizarre-shaped rocks.''
Every Tuesday and Friday morning, tourists should stroll and shop for local goods at the Thai-Lao Market. Price bargaining with vendors is fun. Visitors should also try local food, including Vietnamese-style noodles and desserts and French-influenced baguettes with fillings.
Those wanting to experience retro atmosphere can visit a nearby old market where half-century-old wooden shop houses still serve as grocery stores and other shops.
Bung Kan swamp
In the heart of the city is a huge natural swamp called Bung Kan from which the province's name is derived. In Muang Bung Kan alone, there are at least six major Buddhist temples for tourists to visit. The first and most important is Wat Photharam whose Buddha statue Luang Phor Phra Yai is famous for fulfilling people's wish for prosperity and good fortune. Here, worshippers whose wishes have come true return to fire nine small skyrockets across the Mekong River, according to the chief of the province's cultural office, Prayad Thila.
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lone – single เดี่ยว หนึ่งเดียว
twin – forming a pair (two) of two similar things เป็นคู่กัน
new kid on the block – a new child in the neighbourhood, i.e., someone new has arrived
nestled – in a protected or comfortable position อยู่อย่างเบียดกัน, แนบชิด
carved out – cut out from แยกออกจาก
declare – to announce officially that something is true or happening ประกาศ ยืนยัน
comprise – to consist or be made up of two or more things ประกอบด้วย
culture – the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group วัฒนธรรม
border – to form a line along the edge of something มีเขตแดนติดต่อกับ, สร้างขอบเขต
location – where someone or something is ทำเล, ที่ตั้ง
climate – the general weather conditions usually found in a particular place สภาพอากาศ , อากาศ, ภูมิอากาศ
humid – hot and wet in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable ที่ร้อนชื้น
adequate – good enough or large enough for a particular purpose พอเพียง
actual – real; existing in fact จริง
exceed – to be more than something; to go beyond a limit เกินกว่าที่กำหนด
destination – the place where someone or something is going จุดหมายปลายทาง
potential – qualities that exist and can be developed ศักยภาพที่จะพัฒนาได้
attraction – a reason for liking something or for being interested in it สิ่งจูงใจ, สิ่งดึงดูดใจ
freshwater – water that is not the sea and is not salty น้ำจืด
wonder – something that fills you with surprise and admiration สิ่งน่าพิศวง
bizarre – very strange and unusual แปลกประหลาด,วิตถาร,ผิดปกติ
stroll – walk in a slow relaxed manner, especially for pleasure เดินเล่น
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
goods – things that are produced to be sold; possessions that can be moved สินค้า, สิ่งของ
bargain – to attempt to get something for a cheaper price or under more favourable conditions ต่อรอง(ราคา)
vendor – someone who sells something, but not in a shop พ่อค้าแม่ค้าแผงลอย
dessert – sweet food eaten at the end of a meal ของหวาน, ขนมหวาน
baguette – a loaf of white bread in the shape of a long thick stick that is crisp on the outside and soft inside ก้อนขนมปังยาวๆ ของฝรั่งเศส
retro – using styles or fashions from the recent past ย้อนหลัง
atmosphere – the mood or feeling that exists in a place บรรยากาศ
century – a period of one hundred years (a “half-century” is 50 years) ศตวรรษ
grocery store – a shop/store that sells food and other things used in the home ร้านขายของชำ
swamp – an area of land covered by water where trees and plants grow หนองน้ำ
derive (from) – to get something from something else ได้มาจาก
statue – a human or animal image that is made of stone, wood, metal, etc. รูปปั้น
fulfill – to achieve something that you wanted to do, or to get something that you hoped for สำเร็จ
prosperity – the situation of being successful and having a lot of money ความมั่งคั่ง ความเจริญรุ่งเรือง
fortune – a large amount of money, goods, property, etc ทรัพย์สมบัติมากมาย
worshipper – someone who is showing love and respect for God, especially during a religious ceremony or prayer ผู้นับถือ,ผู้สักการะบูชา, ผู้สวดมนตร์