Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mor Hin Khao - The Stonehenge of Thailand

Mor Hin Khao, the "Stonehenge of Thailand"

One of the feature attractions here in Chaiyaphum province is Mor Hin Khao ( white rock hill) in Phu Lan Kha National Park. Its advertised as the "Stonehenge of Thailand" due to its assortment of odd rock formations, especially the five large stones near the entrance.  Having been to the real Stonehenge in the UK, there is absolutely no similarity between the two.  Mor Hin Khao consists of  naturally formed formations while Stonehenge was created by people.  They are both impressive and beautiful in their own ways and do not deserve comparison.  Raw ambition and work created Stonehenge in the UK, while the raw power and beauty of nature's work created Mor Hin Khao.

We had some time today for a little outing so we decided to visit as a family for some time together because B's sister came up for Mother's day.

This attraction is about 25 km from the entrance gate of Tat Ton Waterfall, which is about 30 minutes out of the city center of Chaiyaphum.  You must drive through Tat Ton National Park to get to Mor Hin Khao, making a left turn just before the entrance gate to the falls.  The drive takes you through some beautiful country in the high plateau, with altitudes reaching 2300 feet or more at the peak.  The countryside is dotted with pineapple farms, fruits, and plants not normally seen on the lower elevations of Thailand.  

The visitor's center provides maps and information

Primitive shops where food and souvenirs are sold

At the entrance of the attraction, there is a visitor's center where one can get a free brochure and map.  There are also bathrooms (not very clean as of this visit due to them being out of order), a few snack shops, T-shirt sellers, etc. at the base level.  This is also where you can get off to see the main attraction, the Stonehenge formation.  There are primitive camps here and one can hike the various trails in the park.  The best views are sunrise and sunset, but we didn't have the ambition to come too early or stay too late this weekend.

From the visitor's center, one must drive up the steep dirt road to view the other rock formations. There are stops along the way and signs to indicate points of interest.   This road is not recommended for low clearance cars due to ruts and on wet and rainy days, it can be slippery.  By the way, there is no public transportation to the park.

Do you see a shoe ? 

How many faces and things do you see in this stone?

Mor Hin Khao features many rock formations, left only to one's imagination of what they look like. These rocks are over 175 million years old and were likely formed when water and ice likely shaped them as they passed by.  Hard to imagine that this place was either underwater or covered with ice considering how high and hot it is here now.  There are literately hundreds of odd rocks and even one shaped like the World Cup Soccer Trophy which was featured in one of my previous posts.

A bit like the Pali lookout on Oahu 

Look mom, no hands (no rails either)

For me, the highlight of the attraction is the overlook of the valley below called Pa Hum Hod Cliff viewpoint.  Its "Shrinking your testicles viewpoint" in Thai because its a sheer drop of over 800 feet to the valley below from the edge of the rocks.  For us Californians, there are many places where we have spectacular mountain top views, however, Thais don't have many opportunities where they can get a view from any height due to the fact that the country is relatively flat.  This rock viewpoint is not recommended for those that are afraid of heights.

If you come up this way, this is a great day outing to combine with an afternoon at Tat Ton Waterfall.  Mor Hin Khao is free to the public.  Allow about 90 minutes from the city center even though its less than 70km due to the mountain roads.   GPS for this attraction is 16.064200, 101.966421

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