Travel Back in Time Dinosaur Trail in Khon Kaen and Kalasin

| March 11, 2016

More than 230 million years ago. during the Triassic Period. the Age of the Dinosaurs began. The creatures dominated the land mass through the Jurassic Period into the Cretaceous Period. the last and longest era of the dinosaurs. around 114-165 million years ago. Dinosaurs lived on all continents in the world. and became extinct without a hint of the cause. leaving only traces and questions on why and how such powerful creatures that ruled the earth for as long as 165 million years became extinct with no reasons.
The trip back in time through the land of the dinosaurs in Khon Kaen and Kalasin takes you through the land before time that existed in Northeastern Thailand. You will be amazed to discover that the Northeast was once roamed by dinosaurs that left traces for our generation’s endless exploration and study.
The discovery of dinosaur fossils in Thailand has been reported here and there all over the Northeast, some as footprints, such as at Pha Tloen in Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary in Loei Province, the first ever found in Southeast Asia. The footprints, 15 in number, are estimated to date back 120 million years. Footprints at Lan Hin Pa Chat, Phu Wiang National Park in Khon Kaen Province. meanwhile, a number up to 50, dating back 140 million year. Moreover, footprints of large carnivorous dinosaurs have been discovered at Lam Huai Sai Yai, in Khao Yai National Park, and most recently, footprints of large carnivores, aged 140 million years, at Phu Paek in Na Du Sub-District, Kalasin Province.
But nothing compares to the sites of dinosaur fossils at Phu Wiang National Park in Khon Kaen Province and Wat Sakkawan, Phu Kum Khao in Kalasin Province, which is regarded the greatest dinosaur sites in Thailand with world – class discoveries that are most relevant to the study of dinosaurs in Southeast Asia.

Phu Wiang lies about 70 kilometers from Khon Kaen, on Highway 12 (Khon Kaen-Chum Phae). turning right after passing Nang Ruea District by about 4 kilometers, into Highway 2038. The National Park is 32 kilometers ahead. Phu Wiang is made up of a round hill with crater-like feature surrounded by ridges in two rings. It is believed to be a vast pond inhabited by a large number of dinosaurs. Their fossils are deposited in various earth’s crusts, especially in the igneous rock aged 140-160 million years where most fossils have been found.
The study of dinosaurs at Phu Wiang started in 1976, almost 30 years ago, with successful discoveries one after another from 9 excavation sites. Most importantly were discoveries- of 4 new dinosaur species never found before anywhere in the world, named as Phuwiangosaurus Sirindhornae, a large herbivore aged 130 million years, Siamosaurus Sutheethorni, a large carnivore also aged 130 million years, Siamotyrannus Isanensis, a large carnivore which was the ancestor of Tyrannosaurus Rex or the dreaded T-Rex presumed to have emerged in Asia and spread around the world, and Kinnareemimus, a small carnivore. These discoveries made Phu Wiang uppermost as a site of dinosaur studies for Thailand and the world.
Phu Wiang is presently supervised by the Phu Wiang National Park, with nature study trails for visitors through excavation sites, for a close touch with the natural surroundings and also some fossils such as the 130-million-year shell fossil on the rock found along the trail to the 2th excavation sites.

Another part which was opened to visitors on 23 April 2001 is Phu Wiang Dinosaur Museum run by the Department of Mineral Resources. The museum is located just outside the National Park, providing knowledge about dinosaurs and the prehistoric world to children and all interested persons. Life-size models of all species of dinosaurs found in Phu Wiang are put up, along with exhibits on the emergence and the extinction of dinosaurs, as well as dinosaur fossils. It is a complete dinosaur museum in Thailand at present.
Far out in the area of Kalasin Province, around a small hill in Sahatsakhan District, about 119 kilometers from Khon Kaen, is the location of Wat Sakkawan, formerly an unknown temple. In September 1994, there were reports of discoveries of dinosaur bones at the foothill near the temple and surveys were carried out. It was later found that the area at Phu Kum Khao was next in significance to Phu Wiang, with the discoveries of both the herbivore Phuwiangosaurus Sirindhornae and the carnivore Siamosaurus Sutheethorni and Siamotyrannus isanensis, aged 130 million years, with over 700 bone fossils found, composed of more than 7 skeletons. It turned out to be the site of the largest find of a complete bone fossils in the world, especially that of 2 Phuwiangosaurus Sirindhornae, with the skulls, teeth and jaws, and bones that made up almost complete skeletons.

Siamotyrannus Isanensis Sirindhorn Museum Kalasin Thailand

Today, Wat Sakkawan becomes well known as a significant dinosaur site frequented by visitors every day. The excavation site has been carefully designed as a large structure to shelter the site, with exhibitions on the story of dinosaurs and the sites where dinosaur fossils were found in the Northeast. Also, fossils of fish and other ancient creatures are put on display since 1996. A dinosaur museum is under construction and expected to open to visitors soon.
There are besides, interesting attractions in the area, such as Dinosaur Public Park, in Sahatsakhan District, reached before Wat Sakkawan, where dinosaur figures are put up, as a popular photographing site for visitors, and Phu Sing, a hill with a huge Buddha image, Phra Phrom Bhumipalo on top. It is also the best viewpoint for the lake of Lam Pao Dam. Another site worth visiting is Wat Phu Khao, about 4 kilometers from Phu Sing. The prayer hall was built of logs from under Lam Pao Dam, elaborately carved and decorated. It also houses the Reclining Buddha of Wat Phu Khao. The image is put up under the cliff rock. It lays on the left side, unlike other reclining Buddhas. The temple offers a perfect site for meditation.
The dinosaur route of Khon Kaen and Kalasin can be taken as a one-day trip from Khon Kaen, or with an overnight stay in Kalasin Province for a further trip. In Khon Kaen, recommended hotels are Bussarakham Hotel not far from the bus terminal, a new and inexpensive hotel, and in Kalasin, Rim Pao Hotel is recommended. Delectable food in Khon Kaen can be found at Kai Yang Rot Wiset on Mitraphap Road and Amphon Naem Nueang on Klang Mueang Road, and in Kalasin, Nai Heng Meatball Noodle (Sadistic Chilly Noodle) on Anakkhanak Road, and Chinese Flat Noodle at the all-night market. A quality souvenir must be silk of Chonnabot District.

Khon Kaen-Kalasin Map Thailand

Category: Kalasin, Khon Kaen