:: YASOTHON

According to the historical chronicles of Muang Yasothon , in 1797, Phra Chao Voravongsa and his followers migrated and selected an area to establish a new settlement at Dong Phi Singh. It was later named Ban Ta Singh (Muang Ta Singh). In 1814, King Rama II upgraded the settlement into a town and the rank of Phra Rachavongsa was given to the governor. Considered the nation's smallest province, it gained its autonomy in 1972 after separating from the large province of Ubon Ratchathani. The province is well known for its high-quality jasmine rice and for the annual, colorful Rocket Festival. Yasothon has an area of 4,161 square kilometres.

:: Attractions

Situated in the center of town, the 7 th century Wat Mahathat contains the square-shaped Phra That Phra Anon chedi believed to house the relics of Phra Anon, Buddha's closest disciple. Various festivals are staged here throughout the year.

The highly anticipated annual Rocket Festival is launched at the Phraya Than Public Park. A small stream encircles the 18-rai park with landscaped gardens, children playground and fitness park. The park obtained its name from the Rain God, Phraya Than, who, according to northeastern beliefs, must be presented with shooting rockets to ensure regular rainfall.

After the rice-harvesting season, villagers of Ban Sri Than turn their attention to weaving and producing the famous'mon khit' triangular-shaped pillows, which are hugely popular among visitors.

The village of Ban Toong Nang Oak is noted for its basketry products, and products for common usage such as household utensils and gift items. Fine basketry works and replicas of carved ox-carts can be obtained from the nearby village of Ban Na Samai.

Within Phu Tham Phra (Buddhist Cave Mountain) are numerous sacred, ancient Buddha images housed inside a vast cavern area. It is rather easy to transverse across the simple cavern network, with an entrance at the southern cliff walls and stretching to the north. Explorations are possible at other nearby caves. Because of
the thick foliage, the mountain air is constantly cool and pleasant.

During the summer months of December to May, the receding Chi River exposes a 2-km stretch of sandy beach , transforming it into a recreational area facilitated by food stall establishments.

Historical ruins can be viewed at 2 places in Khum Kuan Kaew District, Wat Song Puey and Dong Muang Tia. The former features an 8-m high Buddha image that is over 200 years old and an ancient chedi that houses soil from a holy place in India. The latter contains ruins of a water pool and the city walls of an ancient town believed to date back to the 7 th century.

Regarded as the prized antique treasure of Yasothon, the Phra Buddha Bath Holy Footprint is located on a white, sandy mound jutting up from the Chi River basin. Nearby is another ancient relic, a laterite Buddha statue in the Nak Prok posture, with ancient scripts inscribed into the laterite slab saying that they were brought over from Ayutthaya in the 8 th century. Also inscribed are prayers paying homage to the Holy Footprint. During March-April, devoted worshippers converge here to pay homage to the Holy Footprint.

Legend has it that historical, laterite Ku Jan pagoda has been in existence since the construction of the famous Phra That Phanom in Nakhon Phanom 1,500 years ago.

The 18 th century, brick Phra That Kong Khao Noi (Small Mound of Rice) pagoda reflects architectural styles of the late Ayutthaya period. Legend says a young farmer built the pagoda as repentance for murdering his mother out of hunger.

:: City attraction

Phaya Thaen Public Park is on Chaeng Sanit Road in the municipality. Phaya Thaen is a god that grants rainfall according to the belief of the Isan people. The large area is surrounded by a small waterway and is decorated with flowers and decorative plants. It also has an exercise park. The park is the venue of various provincial fairs, like the Rocket Festival, the annual boat race and the Songkran Festival.

Wat Maha That is an important provincial temple. An important building situtated here is the Phra That Yasothon, or Phra That Anon , an ancient square pagoda with the top similar to that of Phra That Phanom. The architecture is in the Laotian style, which was popular in the late Ayutthaya to early Rattanakosin periods. The pagoda houses the relics of Phra Anon, a state minister from Si Sattana Khanahut (Vientiane) who brought migrants to settle here about 200 years ago. It was constructed around 1778.

Another historical site within the compound is the scripture hall that is in the Isan art style. The doorway and the door consist of beautiful carved woods with exquisite lacquer designs. The designs on the walls show a mixture of art from the Central Region. Built during the reigns of Rama IV and Rama V of the Rattanakosin period, the hall stores scriptures on dried palm leaves and art objects from Vientiane.

Chi River Beach is a natural beach formed by the receding water level during the dry season, which is never higher than 70 centimetres. The beach is nearly 2 kilometres long. Locals like to come here to relax and have a meal.

Phra That Kong Khao Noi is at Tambon Tat Thong. Take the Yasothon-Udon Thani route for 2 kilometres to get to the site. Built during the 18 th -20 th century in the late Ayutthaya period, the small, square brick pagoda has a distinctive top.

The middle part has designs of doorways on all 4 sides. A brick wall surrounds the pagoda. A sacred Buddha image was placed behind the pagoda. Legend has it that it was built by a young farmer who became repentant after killing his mother because he was upset with hunger.