I went to visit my friend Dee a while ago in Phon Chereon and spent the weekend with her and her host family. Her “sister” Nancy showed us around for the weekend, including a visit to Wat Phu Thok, a seven tiered mountain temple.
The seven levels represent the seven stages of englightenment, and on the hike up you pass monks’ humble abodes as you stop to admire various temples and sights on the various levels. Each level is connected by a snaking wooden staircase, built precariously into the rock and leaving you breathless if you glance down through the wooden slats to the ground too far below for comfort. Of course, I loved it. 🙂 Tourists and locals alike flock to this temple for moments of quiet and meditation. Of course, this being a temple one should probably dress accordingly (aka no shoulders or knees showing, ladies and gentlemen!) To be fair I think that rule is a little more relaxed at a temple like this one, but better safe than sorry. I will never understand how Thai people can hike up mountains in the middle of summer wearing pants and layers. I melt!
The seventh level is actually a bit of a hike to get to, but it is worth it once you get there! You can wander around the top of the mountain and check out all the views, but watch out for snakes! Seriously, there is a sign at the base of the final flight of stairs before the free climb that warns about king cobras. Apparently there are quite a few of them on the top. I managed to make it up and back down without seeing one though.
The best part about Wat Phu Thok? it’s just outside of Buengkan city! I can essentially go whenever I want! I truly love living in Issan, there are so many beautiful places to see just past your doorstep.