We had done some prior planning and had our list of what we wanted to see. Incidentally if you are into temples then there are some renowned ones in the town itself. In fact you could spend two days looking at these alone. Temples however were not on our list and soon after disembarking we were on a baht bus on our way out of town to visit Tha Rae village north of Sakon Nakhon and on the north shore of Nong Harn lake. In the late 19th century this was the largest Roman catholic community in Thailand and the presence visible with a number of churches and schools in the area.
The main attraction here are the old French colonial buildings which were built by French priests who had moved over from Vietnam in 1884. Some are a little worse for wear now unfortunately. It was a quiet village built along European grid patterns. We were the only sightseers.
The next morning we went to Phu Pan National Park to the southwest of the city. About an hours drive. Quite an extensive forested area and we pretty much had the place to ourselves apart from a troop of local scouts. They don’t get many foreign visitors I expect because when we were at the Park HQ I was asked if I could have my photo taken with a guide pointing out the attractions on a scale model of the park. My 15 seconds of fame I suspect. Any way it was very pleasant to walk along the cool shady trails. Not a great photo but it is taken from a cliff top and shows the forest stretching out as far as the eye can see.
There is still an on going battle with illegal loggers and here are logs which have been seized and kept as court evidence.
At the end we waited at the park entrance for the bus that would not come…
We were kindly offered a lift into town by one of the park employees. The people we met were kind and helpful in their unhurried up-country ways. We left Sakon Nakhon with a good impression and fond memories.