Khao Khor, Petchabun: Winter's Getaway

Tuesday, October 07, 2014 0 Comments A+ a-

Is it just me or are you also starting to feel the cool winter breeze in the morning? For the past few days, roughly 3-4 days now, I noticed that the mornings are becoming cooler. Just this morning I felt a little chill in the air while riding my bike to grab something for breakfast.

Since winter is coming I can't help myself not to think of our next destination. And to put a start for a winter related post, here's our Khao Khor adventure last year which I failed to tell.

Last year, we spent a really chilly evenings on the mountains of Khao Khor in Petchabun. It's a favorite, and I lost count of the times I've been there. But this place never ceases to amaze me. Just like a nectar to the bee, Khao Khor has its magic on me that always draw me close.

As expected upon arriving at the meeting place, everyone was wearing their own winter battle gears. We left Phitsanulok at about 6 or 7 in the morning aboard a nice van, and off we trailed the mountainous terrain of Petchabun province.

Our first stop was Route 12. This place was popular not just to the locals living in the area, but even to Thai and foreign tourists alike. From afar, Route 12 doesn't come short of the Wild West atmosphere we normally see in movies. There were old bikes (I'm guessing Harleys) parked outside. A petrol pump, and some ancient images of bands and famous personalities who ruled the 60's, 70's and 80's hanging on the walls. Being at the center of them brought me back to life when people talk face-to-face and not on the phone apps like Line and Viber. Seriously! And with a nice coffee in hand and a picturesque background, who wouldn't want to have a nice conversation?

After a few minutes admiring the view and taking photos in every angle here and there, we climbed Phra Tamak Khao Khor. It was built as a palace for the King on the occasion of His Royal Highness’s visit to royal initiative projects as well as residents of the area. The concrete building has 15 rooms overall, built in a semi-circle shape, a unique feature that makes it stand apart from other royal abodes. There were many pine trees surrounding the area, like the ones in Baguio, Philippines, and a bird's eye-view deck similar to Mines View Park found also in Baguio. Both places were quite similar in a lot of things. It felt like home away from home.

On our way down, the driver made a sudden turn. We found ourselves at the library surrounded with so many lovey flowers of different species, colors and sizes. I assure you that they're beauty cannot be ignored - and one won't leave the area without taking a selfie or two. In fact they made a perfect backdrop for a friend's primary photo on Facebook. 

Were those flowers only grow during the winter or were they present all year round? 

Anyway, we were so hungry so we told the driver to take us to the nearest restaurant to feed our hungry mouths. We didn't choose any fancy restaurant. The one along the street going to downtown Petchabun offered us not so special menus, but good enough to comfort us. We rested for a few more minutes and we hit the road again.

Final stop of the day was at Wat Phra Sorn Kae or Temple on a glass cliffThe temple's intricate design was as breathtaking as the nature behind it. It was covered with fantastic art full of life and vibrancy, and its walls were decorated with colorful mosaic theme as if they were in a different world.

Standing on its ground gave us a feeling of peacefulness and made us one with nature. But we got tired after a very long day. So when everyone felt the need to rest, we asked the driver to take us to our temporary residence.

We stayed at "I Love Khao Khor, a resort nesting a little farther from the center. The road going there was a little unpaved. Not a good sign if you think of paying it a visit during rainy season. But above all it was a nice resort, so to speak. And for a more adventure-backpacker feeling, we chose the tent over bungalows.

The sun at the time was still a little over the clouds. But the chilly atmosphere can already be felt, like a bee stinging my so sensitive flesh(sorry for lack of a better analogy). 

Before sundown...

I've got 3 tops, jogging pants and thick winter gloves. However, they weren't so much of a help. The temperature at that time was somewhere below 10 degrees that even the whiskey we bought on the way to the resort lost its power of keeping us warm. We were shivering. And because we were on the mountain, there was nothing we could do. We just endured the coldness of the air touching our faces as it penetrated deeper into our system. After all, it was exactly what we're looking for.

Pictures 6, 11 and 12 by Iam Reg.

John Benliro hails from Palawan, Philippines. He's a travel enthusiast who loves to read geography books as well as those authored by Sheldon and Grisham. He's a full time lecturer at a university in Thailand and has been blogging since 2009. Come and join him in exploring the vastness of our imagination, drifting from land to land one step at a time.