Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge, seen from Mukdahan
Map of Thailand highlighting Mukdahan Province
|• Governor||Bunsong Techamanisathit (since October 2009)|
|• Total||4,339.8 km2 (1,675.6 sq mi)|
|Area rank||Ranked 52nd|
|• Rank||Ranked 65th|
|• Density||78/km2 (200/sq mi)|
|• Density rank||Ranked 61st|
|Time zone||Thailand Standard Time (UTC+7)|
|ISO 3166 code||TH-49|
Mukdahan (Thai: มุกดาหาร, pronounced [múk.dāː.hǎːn]) is one of the northeastern provinces (changwat) of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from south clockwise) Amnat Charoen, Yasothon, Roi Et, Kalasin, Sakon Nakhon, and Nakhon Phanom. To the east it borders the Mekong River, across which lies Savannakhet Province of Laos.
Lord Chandrasuriyawongse (เจ้าจันทรสุริยวงษ์) and his followers founded a settlement at Baan Luang Phonsim (บ้านหลวงโพนสิม) near the Thad Ing Hang Stupa (พระธาตุอิงฮัง) along the left banks of the Mekong River in Laos. Later, after some several decades, he died.
Lord Chanthakinnaree (เจ้าจันทกินรี), his son, succeeded him as ruler. Then, in B.E.2310, a huntsman crossed over the Mekong and arrived along the right side at the mouth of the stream Bang Muk (บังมุก), where he discovered a discarded realm complete with a monastery and seven sugar palms on the nearby riverbank. He found the area much better than the territories along the left side of the Mekong, and moreover at the mouth of the Bang Muk was an abundance of fish. Thus he headed back to report this to his ruler Lord Chanthakinnaree. Lord Chanthakinnaree led his followers across the Mekong to inspect the area and found that the area was indeed the remains of an ancient realm and in much better condition than any area along the left side of the Mekong. He led his people from Baan Luang Phonsim to establish a settlement on the right side of the Mekong at the mouth of the Bang Muk.
When he began to clear away the forests to make way for his resettlement of the realm, he found two Buddha images beneath a sacred fig tree on the banks of the Mekong. The larger of the two was bricks-and-mortar, while the smaller one was made of fine iron. He had a new monastery built at once in the vicinity of the old, abandoned temple on the banks of the Mekong, and named it Wat Sri Moungkhoun (วัดศรีมุงคุณ) (cognate to Sri Mongkol (ศรีมงคล) in Central Thai, meaning Temple of Serene Auspices). He also constructed a palatial manse in the vicinity of the temple where he enshrined both Buddha images in vihara. Later, the iron Buddha image (the smaller one) appeared to mysteriously reestablish itself beneath the fig tree where it had first been discovered and ultimately, after some three or four spectacles of this nature, began slowly sinking into the ground there until only the crown of the head could be seen. An alternate place of worship was built there to cover the site instead and the image itself was then named Phra Loup Lek (พระหลุบเหล็ก), or Venerable One of Ironmetal Who Shrouds Himself. Nowadays the site where Phra Loup Lek would submerge himself beneath the earth has been overtaken by the waters of the Mekong and washed away (presumably leaving only the shrine rescued and preserved at the front of the vihara at today's Wat Sri Mongkol South (วัดศรีมงคลใต้)).
As for the mason-and-mortar Buddha image enshrined in the vihara at the Sri Mongkol Temple, the inhabitants of the realm named it Phra Chao Ong Luang (พระเจ้าองค์หลวง), or Venerable Holy One, and made it the representative image of Wat Sri Mongkol, which itself was later renamed to Wat Sri Mongkol South; this Buddha image has been associated with the settlement and realm ever since.
During the rebuilding of the realm, at around midnight there were reports of a transparent or translucent object glittering and bright spotted emerging from the seven sugar palms on the banks of the Mekong River. It drifted in the air above the Mekong every night until near dawn when the crystal-like object would then float back into the seven trees from whence it came. Lord Chanthakinnaree named this auspicious omen Keo Mukdahan (แก้วมุกดาหาร) or the Pearlsmouth Crystal as he had founded his realm on the banks of the Mekong right where the mouth of the stream Bang Muk (or Pearlhaven) was located, in which people had discovered pearls (muk; มุก) in clams there. However, it is important to note that mukdahan can refer to most any semiprecious stone resembling the pearl having a grey dull color, and not necessarily the pearl oyster, Pinctada margaritifera. Lord Chanthakinnaree then renamed the realm to Mueang Mukdahan, as from the Fourth Month of the Year of the Pig, Year 1132 of the Chulasakarat (Minor Era), [Year 2313 of the Buddhasakarat (Buddhist Era or BE)] of the Buddhist calendar. The realm of Mukdahan at this stage covered both sides of the Mekong and reached the frontier lands of the Vietnamese (including the Laotian province of Savannakhet).
In B.E.2321, during the Thonburi Period when King Taksin the Great extended his armed forces into the area of the Mekong River, he ordered Phra Mahakasut Suek and Chao Phya Chakri to dispatch their troops to the banks of the Mekong in order to suppress and unify the lords of all the realms great and small there on both sides of the Mekong together under the reign of the Kingdom of Thonburi, declaring Lord Chanthakinnaree the Phya Chanthasrisuraja Uparaja Mandhaturaj (พระยาจันทรศรีสุราชอุปราชามันธาตุราช), the first Lord of the Realm of Mukdahan and thereby officially named the realm Mueang Mukdahan.
The city of Mukdahan was founded in 1770 by Lord Chanthakinnaree of Phonsim. It was originally administered from Udon Thani, but in 1907 it became a district (amphoe) of Nakhon Phanom Province. On September 27, 1982 Mukdahan was upgraded to provincial status.
In 2006, the Second Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge from Mukdahan to Savannakhet, Laos was opened.
|Climate data for Mukdahan (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||30.4
|Average low °C (°F)||16.4
|Rainfall mm (inches)||3.7
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 1 mm)||1||2||4||7||16||18||18||22||17||9||2||0||116|
|Source: Thai Meteorological Department (Normal 1981-2010), (Avg. rainy days 1961-1990)|
The provincial tree and flower is Ochna integerrima.
The provincial slogan is Skyscraping Ho Kaeo Tower, Phu Pha Thoep and Kaeng Kabao, Eight Ethnic Minorities, Famous Sweet Tamarind, Large Ancient Kettledrum, Origin of Lam Phaya, Stunning View of the Mekong River, Gateway to Indochina.
||This article is written like a travel guide rather than an encyclopedic description of the subject. (May 2008)|
||This section may stray from the topic of the article. (March 2011)|
Ho Kaeo Mukdahan Chaloem Phra Kiat Kanchanaphisek (หอแก้วมุกดาหารเฉลิมพระเกียรติกาญจนาภิเษก) The tower was built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the king's accession to the throne. The topmost sphere houses a Buddha image “Phra Nawa Ming Mongkhon Mukdahan” and 7 Buddha statues in 7 different attitudes for each day of the week.
Chaopho Chaofa Mung Mueang Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อเจ้าฟ้ามุงเมือง) The shrine, which also houses the city pillar, is on Song Nang Sathit Road in the Amphoe Mueang Municipality. For the people of Mukdahan, the shrine is considered a sacred place of the spirit that protects the city.
Chaomae Song Nang Phi Nong Shrine (ศาลเจ้าแม่สองนางพี่น้อง) The people of Mukdahan consider this shrine a sacred place. The Chaomae Song Nang Phi Nong and Chaopho Chaofa Mung Mueang Shrines are twin sacred icons of the city.
Wat Si Mongkhon Tai (วัดศรีมงคลใต้) Its main ordination hall or ubosot houses a concrete Buddha statue, which is considered a sacred item of Mukdahan.
Indochina Market (ตลาดสินค้าอินโดจีน) The market lines the Mekong River. The major shopping area is the hub of products, local and imported, as well as OTOP ("One tambon, one product") of Mukdahan.
Wat Si Bun Rueang - Ban Tai (วัดศรีบุญเรือง - บ้านใต้) The ordination hall houses a bronze Buddha statue called Phra Phutthasing Song, which is 1 metre wide and 1.2 metres high.
Phu Pha Thoep National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูผาเทิบ) The park's geography features undulating sandstone mountains that form the edge of the Phu Phan Range. The deciduous dipterocarp forest and mixed deciduous forest cover most part of the area, which is also the watershed of many streams, namely, Huai Ta Lueak, Huai Sing, Huai Ruea, Huai Male, Huai Chang Chon. Its attractions include:
- Hin Thoep Rocks (กลุ่มหินเทิบ) The formations of superimposed rocks called Hin Thoep have been eroded by rain, water, wind and sun for 95–120 million years.
- Lan Mutchalin (ลานมุจลินท์) Next to the group of Hin Thoep is a vast rock plateau among the embrace of dwarf deciduous dipterocarp forest featuring bushes, with its uniqueness being the community of tiny plants such as Soi Suwanna, Yat Nam Khang, Nao Duean Ha, Dao Ruam Duang and Dusita.
- Namtok Wang Duean Ha (น้ำตกวังเดือนห้า) The small waterfall originates from many streams that run through Lan Mutchalin.
- Phu Tham Phra (ภูถ้ำพระ) The cave in this mountain houses wooden Buddha images. Nearby is a beautiful waterfall called Namtok Phu Tham Phra.
- Pha Manao (ผามะนาว) The towering cliff has a waterfall that plunges below to feed the forest and wildlife. The cliff is named Pha Manao after lots of wild lime tree growing in the area.
- Tham Fa Mue Daeng (ถ้ำฝ่ามือแดง) The cave houses pre-historical paintings which archaeologists assume are probably over 5,000 years old.
- Stone Age Shells (หอยสมัยหิน) The conch-like shells were found 12 metres underground in the 1-foot-thick (0.30 m) limestone layer at Khok Hin Daeng, Ban Na Yo, Tambon Lao Mi. It is the third of its kind to have been found in the world, making it an interesting place for litho-tourists.
Phu Sa Dok Bua National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติภูสระดอกบัว) Its lush forest has various types of natural beauty such as views from the mountaintop, fields of wild flowers in the late rainy season, and the mountaintop lotus.
Phu Pha Taem (ภูผาแต้ม) The cliff houses 98 paintings of hands and symbols from the pre-historical period which may have been created in the same era as Tham Fa Mue Daeng in Pha Taem National Park, Amphoe Khong Chiam, Ubon Ratchathani Province.
Pha Makluea (ผามะเกลือ) Close to Phu Pha Taem, the rock terrace under the tree's shade and cliff offers a scenic viewpoint and rest area.
Flower Field on Phu Wat (ลานดอกไม้บนภูวัด) By the late rainy season, the vast rock terrace is beautified by various kinds of flowers such as En A, Kradum Ngoen, and Dusita. In the past, this area was used for religious rites.
Phu Pha Hom (ภูผาหอม) At an elevation of 366 metres above sea level, this viewpoint of the Phu Pha Taem Range offers a panoramic view to the west.
Phu Sa Dok Bua (ภูสระดอกบัว) All pools are fascinating as they have lots of lotus of a small size. Thus, the mountain is called Phu Sa Dok Bua, meaning "the mountain of lotus pools".
Phu Pha Taek (ภูผาแตก) Called by the military "Hill 428", the hill offers a picturesque view of the ranges in the Mukdahan National Park on the north side.
Rock Terraces and Dwarf Deciduous Dipterocarp Forests (ลานหินและป่าเต็งรังแคระ) The dwarf deciduous dipterocarp forests, which can be found with grassland, are scattered around at Phu Pha Hom, at the back of Phu Pha Daeng, Phu Bok, Phu Sa Dok Bua, Phu Hua Nak.
Bronze Kettledrum (กลองมโหระทึก) Kept at Wat Matchimawat (Wat Klang) close to Don Tan District Office, the one-sided bronze kettledrum is 86 cm in diameter and 90 cm long. The drum, which is probably more than 3,000 years old, is a collection item for the Kha and Khmer.
The Princess Mother Park–Woraphat Base (อุทยานสมเด็จย่า – ฐานวรพัฒน์) It is Thailand's only military base where the princess mother and Princess Galyani Vadhana spent the night.
Wat Phu Dan Tae or Wat Phuttho Thammatharo (วัดภูด่านแต้ หรือ วัดพุทโธธัมมะธะโร) The temple houses a huge Buddha statue with a Dhammacakka, Wheel of the Doctrine, at the back, which can be noticed from a distance.
Phu Mu Forest Park (วนอุทยานภูหมู) At an elevation of 353 metres, with a mountaintop flat plain that covers some 4 km2. area, the park was once abundant with boars.
Huai Khilek Irrigation Reservoir (อ่างเก็บน้ำชลประทานห้วยขี้เหล็ก) The large reservoir with a view is a major attraction of Mukdahan.
Wat Phu Ko Cho or Wat Banphot Khiri (วัดภูก้อจ้อ หรือ วัดบรรพตคิรี) The mountaintop temple was once accommodation for Luangpu La Khemapatto, a famous monk in Vipassana mediation of Mukdahan. A bell-shape pagoda known as Khemapattachedi was built to house his ashes, with his lifelike statue placed on the top floor of the building underneath the pagoda.
Namtok Tat Ton (น้ำตกตาดโตน) At Ban Non Yang, a 7 metre high, 30 metre wide waterfall.
Kaeng Kabao (แก่งกะเบา) The huge rapids on the Mekong River with a large rock terrace on the bank is a favourite picnic spot for locals. In the dry season, water descents and allows islands and beaches to show off their beauty.
Wat Manophirom (วัดมโนภิรมย์) On the bank of the Mekong River, the ancient temple was built by artisans from Vientiane. The temple houses statues of eight Buddhas carved from black ivory and Phra-ong Saen, a sacred Buddha statue of Mukdahan.
Wat Ban Song Khon or Our Lady of the Martyrs of Thailand Shrine (วัดบ้านสองคอน - วัดศาสนาคริสต์ โรมันคาทอลิก) The huge Roman Catholic Church in a modern architectural style is thought by some to be the largest and most beautiful church in Southeast Asia. The church won the Architectural Design Award 1996 from the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage.
Wat Phra Si Mahapho (วัดพระศรีมหาโพธิ์) The old "sim" or ubosot was built in 1916 in the folk northeastern-style with beautifully carved wooden brackets supporting the roof. The murals inside feature the Vessantara Jataka and depict Prince Damrong Rajanubhab riding a cart when he made an inspection trip in Isan.
Most local products are made in Amphoe Nong Sung and Khamcha-i where housewives weave excellent local textiles such as silk, tied and dyed Mudmee silk, khit, and muk fabric, as well as produce basketry, brooms, and lacquerware.
Mukdahan Red Cross Fair (งานกาชาดจังหวัดมุกดาหาร) Held annually between 9–17 January in front of the city hall, the fair includes exhibitions.
Bun Duean Hok or Bun Bang Fai Festival (งานประเพณีบุญเดือนหก หรือ บุญบั้งไฟ) The celebration of the rocket festival is held annually on 10–12 May at Mu 1-3 of amphoe Don Tan.
Boat Races (ประเพณีการแข่งเรือ) The tradition has been handed down since ancient times. It is held annually, on the 13th–15th days of the waxing moon of the 11th lunar month, on the Mekong River to mark the end of Buddhist Lent. There are 2 major categories, speed racing for small, medium, and large boats. All participating boats are dug to have a round hull and will compete on a 3 km-long distance on the Mekong River. Another category is the fantasy boat contest in which the racing boats are decorated, particularly at the figureheads. Each year, numerous boats join the competition in both categories while people from Mukdahan and nearby provinces as well as Laos pack the venue.
||Sakon Nakhon Province||Nakhon Phanom Province|
|Kalasin Province||Savannakhet Province, Laos|
|Roi Et Province||Yasothon Province||Amnat Charoen Province|