Ubon New Year Tohsang Khong Jiam Part 1

Not all the hotels and accommodations in Ubon Ratchathani are in the city limits. We decided to spend New Year 2009 at one such hotel in Khong Jiam.

The rental car from Chow Wattana (Wattana Rental) arrived at 09:55 A.M.. After a quick check to make sure the residence was safe and secure, I locked the gate, hopped in the car, shut the door and our New Year 2009 Khong Jiam Mekhong adventure officially began.

I love driving but for the past eight years I have, by choice, not owned a car. I have managed quite well without one. When I need it I use buses, trains, planes, bicycles, motorcycles, public transportation and rental cars, with and without driver.

This was a time for a rental car, with driver. I wanted to be free to take in the scenery during the journey. We headed north on Chayangkul Road to the intersection of Highway 212 and Highway 231 (Ring Road) and turned East by South East.

We were looking for the road to Tan Sum which eventually becomes Highway 2364. There were two reasons for taking this route, one I have never been down this road before and I wanted to determine the location of a certain temple.

During the Christmas celebration at Suan Loong Daeng I met someone who is doing research on the interesting story of Wat Pak Nam. I wanted to get eyes on it so I could pursue a story about it in the near future.

It never ceases to amaze me how, a few kilometers out of town you seem to pass through an invisible time warp. It could be 30 to 40 years ago and I imagine it looked much the same as it does today. The only thing to really keep it in the present are the red TrueVision/UBC satellite dish antennas attached to wobbly looking wooden structures with corrugated tin roofs.

Numerous Thai Buddhist Temples dotted the landscape. Though they are less bright and ornamental then the temples in town the appear to be the center of the rural communities. Many things seemed incongruous with the side of a highway but I suspect they were there long before the paved road we were driving on was built.

A wonderful thing about taking a road never traveled before is the opportunity to discover places for future exploration and adventure. Besides Wat Pak Nam this route also passes by the way to Had Sripirom which is a location for sunny warm afternoon picnic on Mun River.

After what seemed like too short a time I recognized Wat Tam Khuha Sawan, that might be called the gateway to Khong Jiam. It sits on a plateau overlooking and maybe offering protection to the mighty Mekong on it’s journey southward far below. Little did I know this temple would be the focus of an accidental adventure the next day.

Ninety minutes after take off we touched down at Tohsang Khong Jiam Resort. Our room was not ready yet so after our bags were secured behind the front desk a bit of exploring was in order. Our recon began passing the swimming pool in which a flotilla of fallen leaves were sailing upon. Out on the deck beside the pool providing outdoor scenic dining tables we were able to enjoy a great view of the Mekong.

From the vantage point it was easy to see where the staff was already setting up the site for tomorrow’s festivities. Directly below the deck a sign had been erected with a lighted message wishing us a Happy New Year 2009 in both Thai and English.

A vegetation lined path beckoned leading passed the restaurant, passed the gift shop, passed the spa, passed the individual bungalow rooms to a stair leading down to the river. At the base of the stairs was the place we would bring in the New Year tomorrow. It was an area that is covered by the depths of the river during the height of monsoon season but now had been abandoned by the receding waters to create a new identity and character.

Sand and rocks, at other times covered by water that might have began it’s journey to the delta and South China Sea, gave access far out into the former riverbed. On the opposite bank lay a small Laotian village, it looked as though one could wade across to Laos but I was not feeling brave enough to test that thought. I confined myself to enjoying the Thai side.

The Happy New Year sign we had seen from the deck above was built above several large boulders. Since I didn’t conquer crossing the river I climbed upon nature’s platform and was feeling as though I had reached the summit of Everest. I had worked up an appetite so the decision was made, it’s time for lunch.

Sitting on the deck at a nice table with a panoramic view I ordered a Chang beer and looked through the menu. Since I am a connoisseur of fine cheeseburgers there was no question what my order would be when I spotted one on the menu. When the order came I noticed my burger didn’t come with an traditional bun. It was a portioned of what looked like a loaf a French bread. The cheeseburger itself was a bit average but the bread the housed it was fresh, soft, sweet and seemed to melt in my mouth. The bun made a potentially average cheeseburger a bit remarkable.

Our room was ready. It is located on the second floor on the end of the first section. The great thing about end rooms is they offer a veranda with deck chairs. You can sit out in the environment taking in the masterpiece nature has painted for us to enjoy.

A new way to begin the ending of 2008 and prepare to welcome 2009 on the banks of Mekong River at Tohsang Khong Jiam Resort in the far eastern portion of Thailand and the province of Ubon Ratchathani.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Happy New Year to you. I have visited this area and seen this resort but have never stayed there. My wife is from Ubon Nayia District.
    I have some questions if you don’t mind. How much was the rental car and what was it? Where can you get the best cheeseburger in Ubon?
    Thanks
    Mike

  2. michael hare says:

    Hi Darwin,

    I have been going to the Tohsang hotel reqularly since I arrived in Ubon in 1994. In those days a room was 900 baht!

    I had lunch at the hotel on the 31st with my son and a friend. Very good French food.

    Then as we were backing out, two small children on one push bike came flying out of their house and smashed right into my right hand car door and scratched deep groves (the handle bars) down the side. Recked the the bike. Hotel staff came running out. I wanted to pay for the broken bike but as the staff said, rightly so, it was the kid’s fault, and my car was more damaged than their bike.

    So that was my New Year adventure to Tohsang River Resort.

    My 1st class insurance paid for all the panelbeating and that was done in 3 days.

    Happy New Year.

    Michael Hare

    Ubon Ratchathani University

  3. Mike,
    Happy New Year to you as well. Thank you. Inside the rooms are nice and well worth the rate charged. A relaxing getaway.
    The car rental rates vary. You can rent for a day with or without driver 1200-1500 and they also have a “taxi” service. Take you from point A to point B for a fee that depends on distance. They have cars, pickups and vans. The cars are mid sized Toyota and Honda sedans (saloons).

    You can get cheeseburgers at Wrong Way, Nana, Ubon Intl Hotel restaurant and Sunee Grand Hotel restaurant but I think the best I have had in Ubon was at Tohsang Khong Jiam Resort.

    Michael,
    Happy New Year to you too. I have eaten there once but someone else ordered so I never saw the menu. How was the French cuisine? I will have to try it sometime soon.
    Good nobody was hurt in the accident. Things can be repaired but more difficult with people.

  4. Happy new year to every boday, just reccoment you to Wat paknam Ubol as link
    http://www.southlaostour.com/Ubol-Rachathani-Temples/Wat-Paknam-Luang-Phor-Ngern.html

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