Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Siamese Tulip and weird stones at Pa Hin Ngam NP

Siamese Tulip and weird stones at Pa Hin Ngam NP in Chaiyaphum province ทุ่งดอกกระเจียว อ.ช.ป่าหินงาม จ.ชัยภูมิ

Even without Siamese Tulips this National Park would qualify as spectacular, whereas visits to Khao Yai (mostly in Nakhon Ratchasima province) and Khao Sok (Surat Thani province) left me wondering “What is all the fuss about” because I found them underwhelming.

Location (weird stone field):
15°38'00.9"N 101°23'14.4"E = 15.633582, 101.387341

No public transport, we rented a mocy with side car from Thep Sathit (nearby railway station Wa Tabaek วะตะแบก), which cost 400 Baht one way (30.5 km, 11:00-12:00 including 5 min detour to change driver and mocy; this trip would cost 230 Baht by Bangkok taxi, and the taxi would be more comfortable and faster). Return by hitchhiking (first hitchhike with a friend) .

I spotted bus 9903 (Bangkok-Chaiyaphum, whereas van 9903 is only Bangkok-Thep Sathit) and local bus 4296 (?) pass on hwy 2354, from there it’s 13.2 km to NP entrance and there is traffic, would be easy to hithchike.

says: "...and Song Thaeo (a minibus) provided for tourists at the entrance of Ban Wa Tabaek to the market near the Office of the National Park" and indeed I spotted this (similar to bus inside the NP, don't know about timetable, price and where exactly it leaves):

Entry 200 Baht for foreigner, 20 Baht for Thai. There is a bus service 30 Baht (or walk some km). Sky was covered (with light rain later), which doesn’t block UV light, I got skin reddening. There was a fresh breeze, with wind I felt chilly in shorts and T-shirt. Pictures in order of visit.

ผาสุดแผ่นดิน "end of land cliff" 846 m above average sea level (inscription on wooden bench) with great view over forest and other mountains, border between Lopburi and Chaiyaphum province and watershed between Chao Phraya and Mekong. If you are brave, you can sit on the overhang and dangle your legs - I'm not.

There were other tourists, but nearby is a 1.7 km nature trail (concrete elevated over grassland). Walking 1.7 km is beyond most of the Thai I know’s physical abilities, so we had this nature trail entirely to ourselves. Low density of white and pink Siamese Tulip, but interesting looking stones and bark of trees.

Entrance to main field with Siamese Tulips ดอกกระเจียว (also called ทุ่งบัวสวรรค์, can be pink or white). Internet says they bloom from June to August.

Spot to have your picture taken (left top corner).

"Beautiful stone field" ป่าหินงาม

หินเรดาร์ "Stone that looks like a radar antenna":

Detail of erosion:

Stone that looks like giant chicken:

Oh my God! This looks like a giant...asparagus! 
มอหำตั้ง "Stone that looks like an erect penis":

Further reading:

There is another national park (ไทรทอง Sai Tong) 25 km north of this, which is very similar (Siamese Tulips, weird rocks, and a rock overhanging a cliff even more spectacular: ผาหำหด Pha Ham Hod
don't click this link if you are afraid of hights!)

I went with a friend who stays in Chaibadan=Lamnarai (Lopburi province) from where it’s about 80 km. I assumed he would know someone with a car who could drive us around like when we first met in 2012 (1000 Baht for day trip to Khao Yai) and visit Wat Baan Rai afterwards, but when I arrived he phoned around and all he could get was 2000 Baht for return trip to Pa Hin Ngam. Too expensive, hence bus.

Assumption is the MOTHER of all fuck ups! 
(Under Siege 2: Dark Territory)

Actually the entire day didn’t start well. When I woke up I noticed my charger had no contact in power plug, battery was at 36%. When we arrived in Thep Sathit, I urgently had to go to toilet where I dropped my bag on floor (some mm standing water, my pants got wet as well), but once at NP I was rewarded for all the hardships.

Travel-wise, we learn two things: all individual transport in provinces is about twice as expensive as a metered Bangkok taxi, at the same time slower and less comfortable. Going by car with driver, you can pack twice as much in a day compared to going by public transport + hitchhiking + walking. Combined experience from various trips.

Copyright 2015 ChristianPFC


  1. Walking 1.7km is beyond the mental capability of most Thais. I think it's just a mindset thing, not physical capability

    1. That was a joke (physical abability). The 1.7 km is true, and indeed many of my Thai friends would refuse if I told them we are going to walk 1.7 km.


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