Kumphawapi - Jewel of Issan – Udon Thani Province - Thailand
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Kumphawapi is a thriving town and district south of Udon Thani in North East Thailand. The main local attraction for tourists is the large lake and river. Teeming with fish and wild life, and carpeted with red lotus in the winter, it is largely unspoilt. It is also very accessible with a raised embankment and gravel track all the way round. This also provides an excellent vantage point for birdwatching and photography. The air is clear and unpolluted and the light is much appreciated by artists.
Part of the prosperity of the town comes from the large Sugar Cane Factory which is a big employer, and sits down river from the town. This also supports the rural population who grow sugar cane on the drier ground away from the valley floor.
Watch this video of a boat trip on the lake. Note you can view it in full HD full screen.
If you are visiting this delightful area, aim to keep the same hours as the locals. Get up just before dawn and aim to get out and about at first light. Pick up an early breakfast snack at the market, and be out by the lakeside as the sun rises.
Kumphawapi is an old settlement dating back before Khmer times, and the Khmer temple is worth a visit. head out of town due north, past the police station and the temple, and continue over a long causeway. Follow the road until it ends at a T junction, turn right and the Khmer temple is ahead of you.
The monkeys are also a big tourist attraction, but treat them with respect, and don't tease them. Large males can be aggressive.
This slightly weathered map sits under a shelter down by the dam and sluice gates
Local farm transport, often beautifully decorated
Numerous temples welcome respectful visitors
Local children learn English in school, and often want a chance to try out a few English words
Copyright Peter Thomson 2012-December-13