Kalasin, the land of Pong Lang music and the famous Phrae Wa cloth, is 519 kilometres from Bangkok. It is the site of the ancient city of Fa Daet Song Yang and one of the largest concentrations of dinosaur fossils in northeastern Thailand.
Kalasin has an area of 6,946 square kilometres. It is divided into 18 districts (Amphoe): Mueang Kalasin, Yang Talat, Kamalasai, Sahatsakhan, Kuchi Narai, Tha Khantho, Somdet, Khao Wong, Huai Mek, Kham Muang, Nong Kung Si, Na Mon, Huai Phung, Rong Kham, Na Khu, Sam Chai, Don Chan and Khong Chai.
How To Get There By Car
From Bangkok, take Bangkok-Saraburi-Nakhon Ratchasima route (Highway No. 2). When arriving to Nong Phai, use Highway No. 23 to Maha Sarakham, then take Highway No. 209 to Kalasin, a total distance of 519 kilometres.
Air-conditioned buses and non air-conditioned buses depart from Bangkok's Mochit 2 Bus Terminal every day. Call 0 2936 2852-66 or visit www.transport.co.th for more information.
There is no direct train from Bangkok to Kalasin. Visitors can take a train to Khon Kaen and connect a bus to Kalasin. Call 1690, 0 2223 7010-20 for more information.
Visitors can fly from Bangkok to Khon Kaen and then connect a bus to Kalasin. Call Thai Airways, Tel: 1566, 0 2280 0060, 0 2628 2000 for more information.
Festivals Pong Lang, Phrae Wa and Red Cross Fair
This festival is held in late February in front of the Provincial Hall. The fair features processions of the various districts decorated as Pong Lang, a northeastern musical instrument, and participants dressed in traditional costumes. In addition, there are a variety of local cultural performances and there are shops selling a wide range of goods.
Famous products of Kalasin include Phrae Wa silk from Ban Phon in Kham Muang, bamboo and cloth bags from Ban Nong Hang in Kuchi Narai and Pong Lang which can be purchased at the Provincial Cultural Centre in Anukun Nari School, the Arts and Culture Promotion Centre in Thirawat Hospital and souvenir shops in the city.
Amphoe Kamalasai Fa Daet Song Yang
This ancient town is a on Highway No. 214 (Kalasin-Roi Et). From Kalasin, drive for 13 kilometres to Kamalasai, then turn right and drive for 6 kilometres. The present location is Ban Sema, Tambon Nong Paen. There is evidence of a settlement in prehistoric times, the area flourishing during the Dvaravati period circa the 13th-15th Buddhist century. The layout of the town is like a heart-shaped stone that defines a temples boundary. There are two rows of moats. Ruins have been found inside and outside the town area. The most complete ruin is Phra That Yakhu, a brick pagoda. Sandstone temple markers with and without designs have been found here and are now housed in Wat Pho Chai Semaram in the village and in the Khon Kaen National Museum. In addition, amulets and tobacco pipes made of fired clay and bronze were unearthed here.
Amphoe Kham Muang Ban Phon Phrae Wa Silk
This village is located 70 kilometres from Kalasin. It is famous for beautiful woven cloth. The cloth is made of Mat Mi silk and shows exemplary workmanship. It is unique to the Phu Thai tribe whose ancestors migrated from the city of Thaeng in Vietnam. Nowadays many colours are used other than the traditional red.
Ban Khok Kong Phu-Thai Village
The Phu-Thai is an Isan tribe which has its own culture, language and now gives you the opportunity to visit the village and stay for a night or two in the houses of the villagers. Food is included (its traditional Lao food but with choice of more western one). You can watch the show that all the villagers participate in traditional monkey dancing by the children and Phu-Thai music and dances performed by the women of the village. The ways of weaving and crafting are also on display. Two minutes walk from villages centre is a forest park with waterfalls and streams.
Getting There: Ban Khok Kong is 15 kilometres east of Kuchinarai district. The village can be reached by a bus from Khon Kaen or by contacting the village itself.
Public Transport :
1. From Bangkok, travel by or train to Khon Kaen, then take the bus which runs to Mukdahan and tell the driver to stop at Ban Na Krai and then motorbike taxi to the village, or
2. From Bangkoks Mochit Bus Terminal, take the Bangkok-Mukdahan bus and go down at Ban Bua Khao, then take big pick-up (Song Thaeo in Thai) or motorbike taxi to the village.
For more information, contact E-mail: Eran777@yahoo.com or Tel: 0 4385 2003 to ask for Khun Soen.
Arts, Culture and Tourism Promotion Centre
This is an information centre in Thirawat Hospital and provides knowledge to those interested in local arts and culture of Kalasin. There are displays of the way of life of locals and people in the Northeast, as well as local products for sale.
Phraya Chai Sunthon Monument
This monument is in front of the post office in the city. Phraya Chai Sunthon or Thao Somphamit evacuated people from the left bank of the Mekong River to settle along the Pao River over 200 years ago.
This temple has an important artifact, which is the Ong Dam Buddha image. This bronze image has beautiful features. It is 20 inches wide. The base has an inscription in ancient Thai. It is said that the image can grant seasonal rainfall. The temple also has a replica of Lord Buddhas footprint made from old laterite.
Wat Si Bun Ruang
This temple is an old temple in the municipality. Some heart-shaped stones that marked the limits of a temple in Fa Daet Song Yang are kept here, the most beautiful being the one with an angel flying above a castle and a king and his family portrayed in the lower part. This is traditional northeastern art.
Amphoe Sahatsakhan Phu Kum Khao
This mountain can be reached by taking Highway No. 227 for 30 kilometres, turn right to Wat Sakkawan 1 kilometre away. Phu Kum Khao has the largest concentration of dinosaur fossils in Thailand. Numerous fossils were found in rock layers. The Department of Mineral Resources has excavated some areas where entire skeletons are now clearly visible. Most are Sauropods, large, long-necked, plant-eating dinosaurs which lived about 130 million years ago.
Phu Sing is 32 kilometres to the north of Kalasin on Highway No. 227. Visitors can either drive to the top or ascend the 104 steps. The hill is where Phra Phrom Phumi Palo is located. It is a large image in the Man Wichai (demon defeat) that is 10.5 metres wide and is clearly visible from below. The surrounding area is shady and offers a lovely panoramic view.
Reclining Buddha at Phu Khao
This Buddha Image is in Wat Phuttha Nimit, Ban Na Si Nuan, Tambon Non Sila, 39 kilometres from Kalasin on Highway No. 227. There is a 6-kilometre road on the left from the highway. This ancient reclining Buddha image was carved under a cliff. This image is unusual to other reclining images in that it is leaning on its left hand rather than on its right hand. It was built in 1692.
Amphoe Somdet Namtok Kaeng Ka-am
This waterfall is 55 kilometres from Kalasin on the Kalasin-Sakon Nakhon route on Highway No. 213, 300 metres from the highway on the left. This is a small waterfall cascading down a long row of rocks and has a wide, open rock plateau suitable for relaxation.
Amphoe Yang Talat Lam Pao Dam
This dam can be reached by taking Highway No. 209 (Kalasin - Maha Sarakham) for 10 kilometres, turn right and drive for 26 kilometres. This earth dam is 33 metres high from water level and is 7.8 kilometres long. The dam is built across the Pao and Huai Yang rivers, creating a double reservoir. It was built to alleviate floods, help agriculture and is also used for fish breeding. The beach along the lake is a popular rest spot for locals.
This is a nature and wildlife education centre to the east of Lam Pao dam. Suan Sa-on is a natural open zoo with plenty of wildlife, including the rare red gaur, which is the symbol of the park.