One good thing about having to join a study tour is that even though we have an itinerary to follow and a series of events to cover, the host country will bring you to places where tourists would likely to go. But since they are “unscheduled” they tend to be “fillers” meaning, you’ll be given (a very little) amount of time to look around and for my case, to take (good) photos. Also, because our hosts do not talk a lot, they didn’t even tell us that they brought us to Sai Ngam Park. They’d probably thought we could understand Thai calligraphy.
The roots of a Banyan tree hang down from its branches.
Sai Ngam Park is located at Phimai District, about 59 kms from the city of Nakhon Ratchasima. Later I learned that “sai ngam” actually means “beautiful banyan trees” which pretty much tells a lot about the place having been known for its 350-year old banyan trees.
Sai Ngam passes through an irrigation project which has a dam built across Moon River.
The branches and roots of banyan have become so intertwined that it is impossible to identify where one tree ends and the next begins. The only way to be sure that there is more than one tree is by counting the trunks under the canopy providing shades and covering the island on which the grove is situated. The Thais believe that this may be the biggest banyan grove in Asia.
One of our Thai companions informed us that visitors could walk underneath these interwoven trees taking in the scenic views and the tranquility of the place. Since we had very little time for that, I didn’t even bother going inside.
Further along the road there are souvenir stalls.
Standing tall are lines of tamarind trees offering shades to visitors.
Tamarind and mango vendor. She selling fish powder too with chilli of course.
One thing I enjoyed though are the huge tamarind trees which I languidly stared at while we are having our lunch at the park. They are so huge and the fruits dangled from the branches as if they were teasing me.
Anyhow, there were vendors selling all sorts of processed tamarind food.