Pha Taem National Park


Unheralded but a gem of a national park with its eponymous long cliff. About 2 hours drive west from Ubon Ratchathani city, Ba Taem covers an area of 340 sq kms. The cliffs and rock paintings are near the park headquarters. A farang visit called for the obligatory official photograph looking at the park HQ wall map. I find this quite common in the Isarn where foreign tourists are quite rare.

Best to time the visit is mid to late afternoon or early morning otherwise it will be baking hot most times of the year. However being just after the rainy season it was reasonably cool when we visited. There is a 4km circular trail from the park HQ which basically descends to and runs alongside the cliff foot for a couple of kilometers and then up again and return along the top. From the cliff top you get wonderful views across the Mekong into Laos and then descending steeply below the trail first passes this waterfall. There are numerous and I got horribly mixed up and can’t recall what this one is called.


Then walking along the cliff face floor you pass numerous prehistoric rock paintings dating to at least 1000 BC.Mural subjects, and there are some 300 of them, include giant Mekong catfish, elephants, turtles, human hands, geometric designs and fish traps. My photographs do not do justice. I think the hands really bring the past to a ghostly present.


The northern half of the park holds more waterfalls including Saeng Chan waterfall below. We had it to ourselves which is most unusual in Thailand. Exuberant and cavorting kids are a ubiquitous feature of most Thai waterfalls.


The whole park is most attractive with stunning views, many wild flowers and the sandstone rock very nice underfoot. Apparently we were a month early because in December Thailand’s largest wild flower meadow starts to bloom.

First place to get the sunset! Possibly but given the aspect is mainly eastwards I think more to the point, and the location being the easternmost point, it would be the first place to see the sun rise in Thailand. But another way of looking at it.


A beautiful and historic place. We vowed to return one day.



About The Weary Traveller

I like to walk up and down hills. I've been so very fortunate to have lived most of my life in the Far East (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the Middle East (Qatar, Oman and U.A.E). I now live and work in Bangkok. I'm past the half century now and can't help but feel that some of the mountains that I've climbed lately I should have done yesteryear. The mind is willing if the legs are not always so. Here are some stories and realized dreams of hills climbed and, dales and deserts crossed. With a bit of art thrown in. I hope you might enjoy.
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