Thong Pha Phum Return

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Thong Pha Phum Return

Montra Leoseng

January 2011

Thailand has seen the rise of Thong Pha Phum, a little old-world charm city outlined by the mountains against the sky, a long time ago. Deep into the ground of these mountainous areas  was full of gold and diamond until people called it "a land of golden moutains" (Thong Pha Phum). An old belief says that living in Thong Pha Phum for one day would have enabled people live longer one more year. Taking a breath of fresh mountain air and consuming a large quantities of fresh fruits and  vegetables promote a better quality of life. Possessing plentiful natural resources that remain untouched added a greater advantage to Thong Pha Phum. There are many exotic wild plants and flowers in multicolored available for sale. The mighty Kaew Noi River snaking through valleys always dominates the city. It is a lifeline carrying fresh water and fishes, in particular pla rak kluay and pla rad. 

In the last decade, Thong Pha Phum was transformed from the border city to be a hub of  forest rangers, traders and tourists. Presently, a renowned meditation centre of Wat Tah Kanoon plays a creative role in the development of Thong Pha Phum by bringing in a huge number of  practitioners. The next moment after arrival, one would be enchanted by the praying and preaching from the far distance. 

Gloden Pagoda of Wat Tah Kanoon

First-class tourist members with me as a loyalty driver

Local bus to Thong Pha Phum that we found on the way

We arrived at Thong Pha Phum when the New Year holidy season of 2011 was at its height. A time when Chongko Flower blossomed into full glory. The city welcomed those Bangkok tourists and foreigners with join of the Nung Yong (sitting posture on two legs) New Year Festival. Hill tribemen looked extremely excited while food street venders and policemen looked very tired. Nung Yong symbolizes the prosperity of local traditions which becomes popular among the young tourists. Thai Fish Cake (Pla Tod Mun) made of river fishes, Fried Beans in Sand, local sweets, candle holders, highland rice, sarong as well as Traditional Dancing were offered. The Festival normally starts at 6 in the morning until 9 p.m. and lasts for 3 days.

Adjacent to the Festival is the night market where we found Soybean Milk was really worth to try. Night shoppers might also like fruitsellers in an opened van selling the very tasty pomelo (Kaow Thongdee) in the dark by the back door. They offerred it at a very cheap price of 6 items for THB100. The remaining items would be  sent to the wholesale market in Nakornprathom province about 200 kms away.

The Mighty Kaew Noi River dried up

After the join of New Year Celebration, we were looking for the accommodation. It was totally unplanned trip so we did not bring any belongings to stay overnight. Fortunately, we found 3 sarongs from Nung Yong Festival and brought one night gown from the local shop nearby at the price of THB180. To my surprise, it comes from Bangkok. During the search for the room, the settlement tells us that Thong Pha Phum pasts its prime. There are number of hotels, shops, supermarket, clinics etc in the city. We chose Sorh Boonyong for they offered the family room for 5 members. Late at night, the sounds of motorcycles mixed up with the roar of New Year Celebration Party can be hearded from time to time. I felt asleep while Pee Klaw was trying his best to prove his true love to Thongkaow on TV.

A miracle of the next morning mist would have been unthinkable. When Mantra of the mist spells, your spirit would be lifted up, purified and ready to shine. Thong Pha Phum woke up early on 1.1.11 (the first of January 2011). Parade of hilltribemen, women and children in traditional dressing inspired people.


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