Monday – 28th January
We went on a day trip with a few of the archaeologists who have been coming to Ban Non Wat for a while. Ally is one of them and I have known her for a while… She is like a mother to me and I could not ask for a better friend. So spending that day visiting Thai heritage sites with her was a wonderful day.
We first visited a sandstone quarry. It is located at Ben Morjabok, Amphoe Sikhiu, Changwat Nakorn Ratchisima. Stone from this quarry was used from the 9th-13th C. CE to construct Khmer temples.
The second stop was the Khao Chan-Ngam Cave site of rock art. The art is about 3000 years old and there are many shrines set up around the area. It is a very serene and beautiful place. The rock art was amazing!
Wat Sorapong was the next stop. I wrote a note to my great grandmother on a tile. The tiles get replaced every so often and your note goes on the roof, as an offering, upside down for as long as it lasts and then when its broken it comes down, gets crushed up and turned into little ornaments that people can buy.
The 1200year old reclining Buddha at Wat Dharmmachak was the last stop for the day! It was so amazing. It was found disassembled so it had to be put back together bit by bit. Then I did my fortunes near the Wheel of Law. According to Mr Chaup they were good fortunes but it turned out that it wasn’t that great. I am unlucky in health, I should/will be far away from my partner, I will struggle in everything I do, and the best child for me to have is a girl.
We then had lunch at this beautiful little restaurant which had delicious food. It was boiled rice, fresh Asian veges, and crispy pork belly. Only 30baht!
Thursday – 31st January
Ban Tako Khok is a small pottery village which we passed through every day to pick up the potters helping the villagers in Ban Non Wat gain skills in pottery making. Its been such an awesome project to watch. It is so incredible to watch the process of traditional pottery making, and it is so sad that Ban Non Wat lost those skills over the thousands of years of occupation.
Friday – 1st February
It was my last day at Ban Non Wat and I had grown so attached to the people and the place. It made me sad to leave but I was thankful that I would be seeing most of the villagers the next day. On the way back to the hotel we stopped by a potential new dig. Prang Pon Song Kram is one of the Arokayasala (medical stations) built by order of King Jayavarman VII (1181-1218 CE). It was so surreal to see these ruins laying amongst the village as if it was completely normal..not something you see a lot of in Australia.
That night my amazing new friends and spent the night at our hotel bar. I tried some Thai beer and maybe got a little happy.. I tried both Singha and Chang and found them both as beer tasting as the other… 😉
Saturday – 2nd February
On my last day in Phimai, Nigel took us on a day trip. I visited the petrified wood and fossil museum in Khorat. It was pretty incredible, especially all the petrified wood and large animal fossils. I saw my first ever mammoth fossil as well – it was incredible!
I final stop for the day was a Thai/Japanese palaeontological dig. Coolest thing EVER. I watched how the site works from breaking up the rock, to cleaning and examining. It was an incredible experience.
After the convoy left the site, the Ban Non Wat villagers separated from my songthaew.As I saw them for the last time I cried.. These people were the most beautiful, friendly and patient people I have ever met. I cannot wait to get back there and see everyone again.
This is the final installment of Thailand in 3 Weeks. I hope you enjoyed.