Khao Kho- high in the Thai Alps

Khao Kho. The Thai Alps

We’re leaving the heat and humidity of the Phetchabun valley and climbing westwards into the mountains of Khao Kho.

This is a special part of Thailand, popular with Bangkok visitors escaping the frantic pace of the Capital for the tranquillity and cool mountain air and also with overseas visitors who want to experience the uniqueness of this part of the country.

Winding through the mountains

The broad and well maintained road winds around sharp bends and rises steadily above the valley floor.

A popular stop in Khao Kho

This is Route 12 and the main highway linking the north eastern cities of Isaan with Phitsanulok and the northern provinces.

The mountain air is deliciously cool and fresh

Up here its cooler and the air is noticeably fresher. We’re steadily gaining altitude and pass groups of roadside stalls and eating places perched on the side of the road.

As it’s the main road linking the cities of Isaan with Phitsanoluk and the North, the road is busy with many trucks labouring up the steep slopes being passed by blue and white buses and many speeding cars. There’s even a few scooters braving the mountain road.

Resorts dot the hills

Soon signs to the many mountain resorts appear and side roads branch off into the mountain peaks surrounding us. The sign pointing towards our resort appears and were soon driving up a small hillside road and into stunning mountain scenery.

Interesting sights on the roadside

We’re headed for a well known resort to spend a few days relaxing in the cool climate aster weeks of oppressive hot weather on the plains and to visit some important points of interests.

We drive past several resorts. They are all quite unique and they all look interesting. Our resort is located at the end of the road.

Many resorts line the road

We’ve reached our accommodation

Our resort is located a few kilometres off the main road and its set in beautifully manicured grounds sprawling across the side of the mountains.

Our resort is located amongst beautiful grounds

The check in is quick and efficient and soon were being whisked around the resort roads to our chalet which is perched directly above the main resort buildings.

Its not a new resort but the facilities and chalets have been well maintained and they are clean and functional.

It’s immediately peaceful and quiet

This is a large resort covering the side of the hill and as well as roads, walking tracks provide access to all areas from the highest chalets to the swimming pool and tennis courts below.

The interior of the resort is well maintained

Our first task is lunch and we enjoy excellent Thai food on the open balcony of the restaurant. The day is warm, the air is fresh and the food is great.

So Tam for lunch

Lunch over and we explore the complex with its magnificent gardens and an adventure park which looks incongruous in this peaceful setting. Its off-peak and mid-week so there aren’t many people around and the atmosphere is relaxing.

The resort grounds are well maintained and the chalets privately located

Time to relax

It’s the perfect afternoon for kicking back, relaxing on the deck and enjoying reading a good book. We’ll start our sight seeing tomorrow.

In the late afternoon is time to head back down to the main resort and enjoy a cocktail in the bar.

Already the temperature is starting to cool and guests drift in after their day exploring the sights of Khao Kho. The shadows lengthen and the sun sinks behind the mountain.

Sunset over the mountains

Its time for  dinner and again we’re treated to some excellent Thai food. The menu is extensive and we choose several dishes. They are all delicious.

Delicious Thai dinner

The restaurant is large and there are relatively few guests eating tonight. Some choose to sit outside but the evening is cool and we choose to stay indoors.

Dinner over and we stroll up the well lit track to our chalet. The lights in the trees and on the paths illuminate the resort which looks impressive against the night sky.

The hills are quiet and peaceful and we enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Next morning we’re up early for a walk along the resort tracks. The air is quite chilly and few guests are out enjoying the bracing air.

Breakfast in the huge (empty) restaurant.

We eat breakfast in the empty resort restaurant (both Thai and European food) before setting off for our highly anticipated visit to The famous Temple on the Glass Cliff.

Temple on the Glass Cliff

We’re looking forward to visiting the modern temple of Wat Pha Sorn Kaew. It’s unique in its stark whiteness and is perched imposingly on the side of the mountain on the Glass Cliff.

The temple has special significance for Thai people who flock to the temple daily to make merit and receive blessings.

The road to Wat Pha Sorn Kaew with the temple in the background

The narrow road winds and twists  across the mountain and in the distance we can see the magnificent stark white temple perched on the top of the Glass Cliffs and framed by the imposing mountain in the background. 

The temple dominates the sky

As we drive closer, we gain an appreciation of the immensity of the temple that soars above the other temples and buildings nearby.

The Temple on the Glass Cliff. It’s unique as its design and architecture are quite modern

Its still early and thankfully the traffic is still light so we have no difficulty in gaining parking not far from the temple compound.

This modern temple is hugely popular amongst Thai worshippers who flock from all across the country to make merit in this place of wonder to Buddhists.

The temple soars over the surroundings

The mountains are majestic

The natural surrounding mountain scenery is stunning with a myriad of shades of green colouring the deep valleys, mountain lakes and lofty peaks.

The views invite meditation

Inside the temple worshippers gather in prayer and reflection whilst outside the early morning visitors jotter for the best vantage points to take that magical photo.

Inside the Temple is a mixture of tradition and modern practices.

Selfie sticks wave in the air like a field of sunflowers.

Nearby there is another interesting temple

I leave the crowd that is building rapidly and wander over to the nearby  Wat Prathat Pasornkaew. This temple too is fascinating. It has 3.5 million pieces of mosaic tiles inlaid into the structure and they’re glinting in the early morning sun.

Nearby, Wat Prathat Pasornkaew has 5 million mosaic tiles temple.

The complex is becoming crowded and it’s time to go. By now our car park is full and the road jammed with arriving visitors. It’s starting to remind me of Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road.

We inch our way out slowly to the main road and once there head off to other points of interest. 

But it’s Thailand. First – we have to eat. Again.