Silk and Siamese tulips

As green rice paddies slide by on the way to Chaiyaphum, you may well be hit with a strong sense of venturing into the middle of nowhere. The small provincial city has no train station or airport and is by and large off the radar for both foreign and Thai travellers. Few people come this way. If you prefer the path less taken, that may be a reason to come.

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Chaiyaphum surfaced as a Khmer vassal state in the Angkor period as evidenced by Prang Ku, a minor Khmer-style sanctuary to the east of town. In the early 19th century, a Lao nobleman named Lae settled here and began paying tribute to King Rama III in Bangkok. In a rebellion against Siam, Lao forces attacked and briefly seized Chaiyaphum (and Nakhon Ratchasima), and Lae was killed next to a tamarind tree now marked by a shrine. Collecting offerings of flower garlands and miniature horses, a monument to Governor Lae stands at the centre of a traffic circle in the heart of Chaiyaphum town.

Chaiyaphum: It's sleepy. : David Luekens.
Chaiyaphum: It's sleepy. Photo: David Luekens

Wedged between the North, Northeast (Isaan) and Central regions of Thailand, Chaiyaphum province appears to enjoy a prominent position when viewed on a map. In reality, it’s an obscure area bypassed by major highways and railways. The picturesque Petchabun mountains rise in the west side of the province, while the east is an endless sea of paddies stretching into Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 600 words.)

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