The Land of Buddhism and Civilization
In the similar fashion to the Chao Phraya's division of Bangkok and Thon Buri, the Mun River flows between Amphoe Muang and Warin Chamrap, with the Seri Pracha Thippatai Bridge to connect people on both sides of the river. The old city of Warin Charap is railway hub with the old commercial quarter and lots of old buildings with Thai, Chinese, Lao and Vietnamese styles.
Amphoe Muang Ubon, on the contrary, is the center of Ubon's economy, education, commerce and Buddhism. The layout of the city is similar to that of the Rattanakosin Isle, surrounded by numerous beautiful temples like Wat Thung Si Muang, Wat Supattanaram Worawiharn and Wat Chaeng. Everyday life begins at the morning market by the Mun. Many charming places worth visiting on both sides of the river include Khu Dua and Wat Tai beaches, Ban Kan Lueng ancient community, and the handicraft village at Ban Pa-ao.
Thung Si Muang
Similar to Sanam Luang in Bangkok, Thung Si Muang served the same purpose as cremation ground for Ubon's royal household. It was later turned into a public park. In the compound are many interesting structures such as the city pillar built in 1972 and the Monument of Merit built by the POWs in salutation of Ubon people who helped them during WW II. A status of the first ruler of Ubon is also situated here. A sculpture called “Together Onward” reflects the will of the four nations along the Mekong, namely Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, to establish friendship and good relationship among themselves.
Wat Thung Si Muang
Built in the reign of King Rama III, the temple is situated near the park. In the compound are two praiseworthy artifacts. The first piece is the mural painting in the ubosot, the congregation hall, by the local artist influenced by Bangkok painting ideals. It depicts Buddha's life history, Vessandorn Jakata and the play Sangsinchai. The prominent aspect is the traditional folkway of life in the Northeast that is presented on the wall. Another piece of artistic value is ho trai, the scripture house built amid the pond. The architectural style is uniquely northeastern, very simple but graceful. It is a harmonious combination of a Thai-style house and traditional scripture cabinet style covered with gilded intricate designs on a black lacquer background. The multi-tiered roofing structure is a mixture of Burmese and Thai styles with slender finials and carved eaves. The gable, however, is carved with Laotian designs. It received an award as the best preserved architecture in 1983.
Ubon Ratchathani National Museum
The National Museum at Ubon is a treasure house of archaeological collections from Ubon and neighboring cities. Since 1968 the museum has organized informative exhibitions and displays on Ubon, the history of its establishment, its geography, lifestyles and handicrafts, as well as other related topics. It is open daily from 9 am. To 4 pm., except on Mondays and national holidays. For more information call 045-255071.
Wat Si Ubon Rattanaram (Wat Si Thong)
In this royal monastery on Upparat Road near the city hall, the most valuable artifact is Phra Butsarakham, Ubon's principal image in the posture of subduing mara. It is made from a very rare topaz crystal by the Chiang Saen craftsman commissioned by Chao Pangkham of Chiang Rung. Ancestor of the ruling house of Ubon. The image was a family heirloom normally used in the rain-requesting ritual. On Songkran Day, the image is put in a procession for people to come and sprinkle it as a meritorious deed.
Built in 1887 in the reign of King Rama V, this temple has an old wooden sim or ubosot which is a superb piece of northeastern craftsmanship. The wooden roof supports are carved into nagas. The gable decorations are carved into lotus floats signifying Ubon.
Wat Maha Wanaram (Wat Phra Yai)
The name came from the location in the dense woods. Now situated on Sappasit Road, the temple houses an revered image in the subduing mara posture, called Phra Chao Yai In Paeng built by a ruling noble of Ubon. It is also the only temple that has preserved the ancient northeastern style of chanting and preaching the scripture. On Songkran, the sprinkling of Phra Chao Yai In Paeng is usually organized along with other merit-making events.
Wat Supattanaram Worawiharn
The first Dharma Yuttikanikai temple in the northeast, it was the first royal monastery in Ubon. In 1850, King Rama IV donated initial funds for the construction and maned it Supattana, meaning good banks because of the location on the Mun riverbanks. The ubosot, congregation hall is built with the combination of Thai-Chinese-European artistic styles. Its gable decoration is stucco studded with stained glasses, supported by Roman columns. Two stucco and brick sing guard the front gate. The presiding image is Phra Sapphanyu Chao, a magnificent image in the subduing mara posture. Next to the congregation hall is an Art and Culture Hall where remains and ancient artifacts are kept.
Wat Nong Bua
Located in the suburb of Ubon on Highway 212 (to Amnat Charoen), this temple is known for its replica pagoda for the Buddha Gaya in India called Phra That Chedi Si Maha Pho which was built in 1957. It is the only temple in the Northeast with this type of pagoda.
Wat Nong Pa Phong
Situated on the area of about 300 rais in Ban Ko, Noan Hon, in Warin Chamrap, this temple was founded by Luang Po Cha Supphattho, a renowned Wipatsana monk. It is surrounded by forests of phong trees whence the name was derived. The temple is best known for meditation practice. There are almost 200 temples around the world which follow the meditation approach practiced here. The almost interesting architectural structures in the compound is the modern and practical ubosot, a congregation hall in a northeastern-cum-contemporary style. The raised base of the building is used to store rain water. Inside the hall are sculpted depictions of Luang Po Cha's daily practice. There is also a museum displaying archaeological finds. Bronzeware, Ubon woven cloth and Luang Po Cha's wax statue. Nearby is the northeastern Lanna-style pagoda containing Luang Po Cha's rellics.
Wat Pa Nanachat
Built in 1975 at Bang Bung Wai, Warin Chamrap, this temple is 19th branch of Wat Nong Pa Phong, originally maned “Wat Pa Americawat”. The temple is simply built amidst a serene greenery. All the monks are foreigners who came to study the Buddhist Scripture and meditation. They speak Thai, chant in Bali and maintain strict doctrinal practices. They are thus very much revered by the towns people.
Ban Kan Lueng Outdoor Museum
Ban Kan Lueng is estimated to date back to the late-Iron Age about 2,000 years ago. In 1992, an excavation revealed valuable artifacts such as beads, pottery, bronze bells, axes and rice husks.
An ancient community of about 200 years old founded by immigrants from Muang Nong Bua Lam Phu. The people have retained the ancient craft of bronze-ware. Women also form a co-operative group of matmi silk weaving.
Wat Sinuan Saengsawang Arom
Another temple in the ancient community is at Ban Chi Thuan in Khuang Nai. An interesting artifact in the ubosot, a congregation hall, is the pulpit built with Anamese craftsman who followed the traditional belief of sing, a mythical lion, supported thrones. The sing throne has a mondop roofing structure in French-influenced Anamese style. On the ceiling of ubosot is an exquisite mural paintings by an Anamese artist.