(Bus from Roi Et to Nong Pok about 80 km, see previous articles label "Roi Et".)
I walk there and inquire price. There seems to be a problem to get to the Chedi on tuktuk, but I can't get to the ground of the problem. Finally we agree on 500 Baht for return trip including 1 hour waiting time.
The trip takes 14:55-15:29. It's only about 15 km, but it was slow. The tuktuk driver stops at the entrance gate at the main road (hwy 2136, from there it is about 5 km), but I tell him to go in (cars are going and coming). Now I realize what the problem is: his tuktuk is underpowered, and with an incline of about 5%, walking would be faster. We finally arrive at parking/market/gate.
I take free shuttle bus (15:34-37) for about 500 m from parking/market/gate to the chedi (pointless, can easily walk, there should be a shuttle from main road!). I recommend walking on the wall, enjoy the view.
The interior decoration (several floors, some still under construction) rivals that of Versailles palace:
The spiral stairway leads to the Buddha relics:
From the base of the spiral stairways, you can go outside:
And there is more around, miniature of Borobodur:
The whole area is encircled by a wall (designed to resemble the great wall of China), you can walk on ground level or on top of the wall:
Some spots are wet from rain, and the surface is slippery, watch your step:
I wanted to walk just a part on top of the wall, but then I realize I missed the last exit (stairs down), so I have to walk about 1 km until I can get off near the entrance gate:
On ground level (to your left side when entering through the main gate), there are toilet cubicles for a length of about 100 m, the largest public toilet in Thailand?
I spent about 2 h at the chedi and walking on the wall. There is more to see (Namyoi cliff ผาน้ำย้อย, wat, garden) but I'm tired and told the driver I would be back in 1 h.
Upon return (17:34-18:01), the driver asked if I could give him 100 Baht more, I refuse. In a Bangkok taxi, it would have cost 220 Baht (30 km) + 180 Baht (2 hours slower than 6 km/h) = 400 Baht, and it would have been faster and more comfortable, therefore 500 Baht was a generous offer.
Wait for bus, ride bus back to Roi Et (80 Baht, 18:56-20:20, the bus continues to Bangkok).
Verdict: location, size and ornamentation are spectacular, worth the trip.
Further reading: http://roietattractions.blogspot.com/2008/01/phra-maha-chedi-chai-mongkol_05.html
In Nong Pok, there is limited public transport. I didn’t see any songteo or other local public transport, only big bus 289 from Khon Kaen to Amnat Charoen passing 18:08, bus 289 to Mukdahan passing 18:40, bus to Bangkok via Roi Et (18:30 schedule, 18:56 real, I took this to get back to Roi Et).
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