The provincial town of Roi Et
lies 100 km south-east of Khon Kaen. This sun-baked arid land
is typical of the heartland where for centuries life revolved
around the single crop of rice planted in May and harvested
in November. Often ravaged by flash-floods just before harvest,
farmers were at the mercy of the elements. New techniques
and irrigation are changing the life-style of farmers, but
Roi Et is still synonymous with traditional Isan culture and
values. Roi Et is 512 km from Bangkok.
Roiet Attractions: Somdej Phra Srinakarin
Park in the centre of Roi Et is filled with flower gardens
and trees. The park's lake known as Bung Phlan Chai,
is one of Roi Et's best known landmarks. A large island in
the lake with landscaped gardens is a favorite place to relax.
Boat rentals are available. The park, which is located in
front of the municipal hall, also contains a library, a
of a former governor, the city pillar and fountains.
Wat Klang Ming Muang predates
the founding of Roi Et. Its ordination hall, built in the
late Ayutthaya period, has beautiful wall paintings depicting
scenes from Buddhist history. Once used for ceremonies pledging
allegiance to the King, the temple now is a Buddhist school.
Wat Sra Thong houses the
Luang Pho Phra Sankatchai, a Buddha image of obscure origins,
worshipped by the town's residents. The first ruler of Roi
Et discovered the image and enshrined it in Wat Sra Thong.
Civil servants were ordered to swear their allegiance to government
service in its presence.
Wat Buraphaphiram on Phadung
Phanit Road houses the world's tallest Buddha image. At the
base of the 68-metre-high image, known as Phra Buddha Rattna
Mongkol Maha Munee, there are several rooms containing relics
and historical objects.
Thung Kula Rong Hai or
flat lands is a famous part of Isan that suffers from harsh
Covering parts of Roi Et and four
other provinces, Thung Kula Rong Hai literally means the "Crying
Fields of Kula". Legend has it that a band of vagabond merchants
known as Kula wept as they journeyed through this sun-baked
land. Government projects are underway to irrigate the region
and introduce agriculture.
Pha Nam Yoi Forest Park,
62 km from Roi Et on Highway 2136, noted for its cliff and
waterfalls. The forests of the 8,000 acre park sustain a healthy
wildlife population. There is also a pagoda that stands 101
metres high and is 101 metres wide at its base.
"Literature" Botanical Garden
is in Dong Mae forest reserve in Nong Phok district, 85 km
from town. The garden has plants mentioned in classical Thai
literature as well as medicinal herbs.
Ku Phra Ku Na in Suwannaphum
district, 74 km from town on the Roi Et - Surin (Highway 214),
a set of three Khmer pagodas built in the Lopburi period.
Ku Ka Sing, another Khmer
pagoda, is located in Kaset Wisai district. The Prasat Nong
Du, and ancient Khmer laterite building, is located 8 km from
town on the Roi Et-Yasothon highway. The building is the subject
of a ceremony that is held annually during the Songkran festival.
Roi Et Phawet Fair is held
annually during the first weekend in March at Somdej Phra
Srinakarin Park. The festival has a religious element involving
13 processions telling the story of the Buddha's