Ban Chiang Archaeological SiteJuly 22 in Thailand ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C
After a day off, time to get busy again! We'd hired a driver from the hotel, so once he arrived at 8am we headed off. First stop was to the north-west of Udon Thani, an area called Phuphrabat Forest Park.
This is a Tentative world heritage site, hoping to be added in the next couple of years. Essentially it's a sandstone plateau covered in mushroom shaped rocks, cantilevered out at impossible angles. It's because the sandstone has different densities in different areas, and so has eroded at varying rates.
Because the cantilevers then create rock shelters and overhangs, ancient people lived in this area for a long time. So there's evidence to see of that, including rock art and Buddha statues. It was interesting enough, though we got over it after 90 minutes of walking around in hot sun. I hope it gets added though, as there isn't much representation on the WH list for sites like this in Asia.
Headed back towards town and stopped at a restaurant for lunch. It seemed like somewhere tour buses stop, since there were enormous groups constantly coming and going. Service was a bit slower and we spent longer here than we wanted, though Shandos enjoyed her frog stir fry.
Back into the car into a sudden thunderstorm, and drove an hour east of UT to the Ban Chiang Archaeological site. This is an interesting little spot that changed the history of south-east Asia. In the 1960s, evidence of a stone age and bronze age settlement was discovered, and carbon dating revealed that the bronze was from substantially earlier than anyone had previously thought. It seemed to have appeared around the same time as elsewhere, around 2500 BC.
There was a huge museum here that we enjoyed going around, though we almost didn't get to see it as the front lawn was covered in ankle-deep water from the thunderstorm and the museum itself had no power! But the power came back on while the lady was explaining the situation, so all was good.
The most interesting feature here was the pottery - the ancient villagers made thousands of pots with really distinctive red painting. Lots of good examples in the museum, many of them recovered after a huge smuggling ring was busted in the early 2000s.
Back to Udon Thani where we headed for prostitute street again for dinner. Opted for an Australian bar where we overspent on chicken schnitzels which were quite tasty. Also enjoyed the signs on the wall saying don't grope the waitresses! The owner was a semi-bogan guy from Maitland who gave me a couple of promo stickers and said I could put them on my hard-hat or esky or something. Thanks mate!Read more