Along the ancient routes to and from Angkor01 there are a number of old Chapels called Dharmasalas. These were built under King Jayaraman VII 800 years ago.
On the route connecting Angkor01 with Phi Mai02 in today's Thailand there are 17 and this route is called The Dharmasala Route.
I wanted to scoop out the section that runs in today's Thailand.
A good soul has put information and the coordinates for these Dharmasalas on his informative webpage.
The coordinates proved to be spot on accurate. Nothing is left of the original road between the Dharmasalas in Thailand so I had to improvise.
A visit to Lalu Canyon was also on my list. I was there once before but I did not yet have a GPS at that time so I had to re-find it.
There are five routes that links the Khorat platue to the south. 3077, which runs through Khao Yai park, very funny road but you have to buy a ticket for the park to use it. 304, main boring road. 3462, was planed but never finished. The middle mountain section is only a hiking trail. At the south end it starts in Pang Sida park and you have to buy a ticket for the park to access it. 348, main boring road, can be dangerous if there are many trucks. 3308, runs along the Cambodian border and is blocked from the south by the military, it probably has something to do with it's proximity to the border with Cambodia. I wanted to check out 3308 and 3462 from the north to see how far they are drivable if accessible.
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The numbers written in superscript in the text are references to these files. The Google Earth file shows where all the pictures were taken.
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All roads and POIs mentioned in this text are updated to OpenStreetMap
January 22nd 2013 Tuesday
Drove up to Yokohama's tire test track03 to ask if the track is ever open to the public but it is not I was told. Then back roads up to a reservoir04 I don't know the name of, wanted to see what the options are to pass it to the north.
The first half was paved but after that it was dirt roads and tracks. Ended up in a mud hole but eventualy got back out to the main road.
Drove through Ang Rue Wildlife sanctuary05 and spoted an elephant on the road. These elephants are wild and rumored to ambush fruit trucks so stay clear of them.
Stopped at Chakan Mountain06 and walked a set of stairs up to a hole in the mountain. Great view and loads of monkeys on the way up. It is supposed to be many caves in this mountain. Good view from the top.
Here you can see the hole in the mountain.
Nice view from the hole.
Drove to Aranayaprathet and checked in at SinTaWee Resort07. 400 for an A/C room and 300 for one with fan. The rooms have WiFi, TV and hot showers. Every room has it's own front door and you park outside your room like at an American motel.
January 23rd 2013 Wednesday
Checked out two dams08+09.
Headed towards Lalu canyon10. I did not have the exact location so I had to drive around to find it. Turn left at this redish sign seen in the middle of the picture.
I missed a turn somewhere...
On my way back from going the wrong way I found the sign for the last turn. It was placed backwards as seen from the way in. When you come here you should turn right.
Had a look at Huai Yang Reservoir11.
Headed towards 3308 and had a flat tire. Drove around in circles to find a shop that could patch my tube.
Lam Nang Rong Dam12.
Lam Changhan Dam13.
Drove 3308 to see how far I could get until the road was blocked. I did not get far at all until the road was blocked with razor wire14. Forgot to take a picture. Drove in the direction of Prasat Ta Muen16 where the old Angkorian route exits Cambodia while looking for a place to stay. Checked in at Muangsud Bungalow15. Payed 500 for an A/C bungalow with TV. No fridge or hot shower but it had WiFi. You could get hot shower if you payed more but I was steaming hot so I did not care for the water heater.
January 24th 2013 Thursday
Headed out to Prasat Ta Muen16 at the border with Cambodia. This is the first Dharmasala on this route in Thailand and the 10th on the Angkorian route to PhiMai02 counting from Angkor. Prasat Ta Muen16 is also the one in best condition as it has been rebuilt. All Dharmasalas have the same distinct shape with the southern wall having windows and the northern not.
This area also hosts Prasat Ta Muen Toch17 and Prasat Ta Muean Thom18. Prasat Ta Muean Thom18 is in Cambodia and I had to leave my passport to a guard before I could enter the site. Both Cambodian and Thai soldiers were present at this site. It was nice to see them get along. From there I drove to all Dharmasalas on the way to Phi Mai02.
11th Ta Mod19.
12th Ban Bu20, is in a school yard.
The loose building stones were layed out like pieces of a puzzle. Maybe they will put it back together as a school project, would be nice.
Then I took the road by Prasat Hin Phanom Rung21. I did not stop there as I have been there before. Pictures from a previous visit.
View from a viewpoint on the way down.
Got on the wrong track here.
13th Nong Kong22.
14th Nong Plong23.
15th Nong Ta Pleng24.
16th Huai Khaen25.
17th Ku Sila26.
Phi Mai01, call me crazy but I did not enter. I saved it until I ride the whole route from Angkor some day.
Checked in at Mix Hotel27 in Korat. 350 for a room with A/C, hot shower, TV, WiFi and fridge.
January 25th 2013 Friday
Headed towards 3462 and on the way I noted this sign28 for Wua Daeng Cave but could not find the cave.
Had a look at Lam Chae Dam29.
Went to see how far I could go on 3462 but I only got about two kilometers before the road was closed30. There was some kind of ranger station and I asked if I could enter but no luck. Continued to Lam Plai Dam31.
Then back home. 60.000km came up on the way.