The next time you have visitors in town, take your friends and family for a short drive to the Pong Naam Rorn or hot springs at Baan Mae Khajaan, Wiang Pa Pao district located at the northeast edge of the Chiang Mai Province. This is also the beginning of the tributary that feeds into the reservoir known as Naam Mae Guang located much to the south in Doi Saket. Becoming more popular in the area is a wealth of organic farming. The Pong Naam Rorn or hot springs at Wiang Pa Pao district is about 60 kms from Chiangmai but it is in the southern most part of Chiang Rai and only 100 kms from Chiang Rai municipal city.
The Thaweesin Geyser (ทวีสินไกเซอร์) at the hot springs has a constant temperature of 95 degrees centigrade and it is 178 meters deep. The height of the geyser reaches as high as 37 meters. The geyser shoots up every 30 minutes and rests for 7 - 8 minutes. Most likely visitors will not see the drama of the geyser because at this time it is machine controlled for a constant stream. Visitors can request to see the geyser spurt up naturally.
The Thaweesin Geyser is visible from the road side of a one stop shopping plaza is filled with many OTOP items and beautiful gemstones from the Ploymaneewat Lapidary (พลอยม"ีวั'น์). Take some time to view the jade and precious stones in the lapidary. For those families with children, it’s great fun for youngsters to boil eggs in the hot water. Poles and small woven baskets are provided with the purchase of the eggs.
As for adults, they enjoy having a foot bath area in a Japanese garden decorated with stones and curving paths. In the near future, The one stop plaza will offer guests a chance to experience an Onsen wellness center with mud treatment, hot mineral bath, therapy massage, jaccuzi pool available by end December 15, 2008. The private rooms for 2 guests will be equipped with small bathtub and Japanese style tatami mats. As an additional service a Muslim Prayer room will be available for visitors also.
Not only is this area filled with natural beauty, it is also the site of past battles centuries ago between the ancient Siamese army of King Naresuan (สมเ"็จพระนเรศวร) and the Burmese at Pee Pa Naam (ผีป่าน้ำ), based on the story of villagers throughout their long generations. Over 700 years ago, King Mengrai explored this area with the hope to construct a major city but, later, he preferred Chiang Rai to the north because the meandering Mae Lao River would provide abundant irrigation for rice fields.
As with many ancient sites in northern Thailand there are temple ruins to be admired in the area. The old Wiharn of Wat Pratart Mae Chedi (วั"พระธาตุแม่เจ"ีย์) was excavated with the find of two Buddha statues and gold belt buried deep in the soil. Stone walls mark the entrance of the temple. Within the Artifacts Hall housing the 1300 years old specimens are many fresh flowers and local residents paying respect. Each of the two statues are made of gold and weigh 7 kilograms each. The temple has a very old and tall tree. The chedi exterior is decorated with colorful flower decorations. If you visit on a Buddhist holy day, there are many colorful offerings made with flowers sitting amid beautiful lacquerware. The revered ancient images are well guarded behind bars and encased in thick glass walls. (Look for the Temple at the Km. 75.4 marker.)
Next to visit is the “Wang Maatcha” (วังมัจฉา) or fish palace amid wild bushes and growth of nature. Only a few buildings are to be seen here. Next to the small building selling coffee and fish feed is an area to feed the fish with the pellets. We observed were three good sized turtles coming up to eat the pellets. The fish were very fast and greedy so the turtles had to struggle to get a few mouthfuls. Visitors with more time can stay overnight around the reservoir. Modern explorers of these days can pitch a tent to camp at the edge of the large lake.
Use your map and find the road markers to visit other places within a short drive such as:
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