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  Phu Wiang National Park
Catagorize: Mountain (Doi), National Parks & Marine Reserves
Contact: P.O.Box 1, Nai Muang Sub-district, Amphur Phu Wiang Khorn Kaen Thailand Tel. 0 4324 9052.

This national park always reminds tourists about dinosaurs. Indeed, nobody had formerly ever though the Isan plateau was once home of dinosaurs. Until 1976 when a uranium survey team discovered a piece of fossil, which was examined by French specialists and declared that it was a left knee bone of a dinosaur. After that, serious execration has never ended until now.

Covering the area of 380 square kilometers in Wiang Kao, Phu Wiang, Si Chomphu and Chum Phae districts of Khon Kaen Province, Phu Wiang National Park consists of various interesting attractions. On the hill, Pratu Ti Ma, which was the first site, geologists have found fossils of a dinosaur, 15 meters high with a long neck and tail. This is a kind of plant-eating dinosaur never found elsewhere before, so it was named Phuwiangosaurus Sirindhornae to honor H.R.H Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. In this site, over ten teeth of a meat-eating dinosaur have also been found. So, geologists and scientists presumed that the long-necked dinosaur was prey for these teeth owner. Among these teeth, one is different. After a study, scientist found that it belonged to a new species of dinosaur never found before. So, it was named Siamosaurus Suteethorni after the discoverer, Mr. Warawuth Suteethorn. For those who are interested in visiting the site, it is located not far from the headquarters, and tourists can also visit the second and third sites nearby. Fossils of Siamotyrannus Isanensis found here are the oldest ones, dating back 120-130 million years. This indicates that tyrannosaurus originated in Asia. These fossils are now displayed in the museum of the Department of Mineral Resources. At the 8th site, there are 68 footprints of dinosaurs, dating back 140 million years ago. Most of them belong to the world's smallest species of meat-eating dinosaur, which walked on two legs. Among such footprints, there is one bigger footprint, assumed to belong to Carnosaurus. These sites are 19 kilometers from the headquarters. It takes an hour to get there by car and four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended. In many sites, geologists found fossils of dinosaur babies, small crocodiles and mussels dating back to 150 million years ago. 

Besides fossils of dinosaurs, there are also traces of ancient civilizations in this area including a high relief of the reclining Buddha on the cliff, at the crest of Phu Wiang Mountain. The Buddha image was carved in the 9th century, mirroring an influence from Indian art. Nearby is Tham Famue Daeng, Dang, or Red Palm Cave, at Ban Hin Rong. The cave wall houses prehistoric paintings of cavemen's hands from sprays of red ochre.

Natural attractions in the park include waterfalls and field of wild flowers. Namtok Thap phaya Suea is a small waterfall near to Tham Famue Daeang. Namtok Tat Fa is a 15-metre high waterfall that can be accessed by car. The waterfall is 18 kilometres from Amphoe Phu Wiang. Some 5 kilometers from Namtok Tat Fa is Namtok Tat Klang which is a 8-meter high waterfall. Savanna and rock plateaus are always blanketed with wild flowers in full bloom by the end of the rainy season.

To get there, Phu Wiang National Park is located 86 kilometers away from Khon Kaen town. From downtown Khon Kaen, take Highway No. 12 (Khon Kaen – Chum Phae), passing Ban Fang and Nong Ruea, for 48 kilometers. At an intersection to Phu Wiang, proceed onto Highway No. 2038, passing Phu Wiang and the national park unit 1 (Pak Chong Phu Wiang), for 38 kilometers. You will arrive at Phu Wiang National Park at the Pratu Ti Ma hill. 

Facilities provided for the tourists include restaurants, accommodation and an area for camping. For more information, contact Phu Wiang National Park at 1, Nai Maung Sub-district, Phu Wiang District, Khon Kaen Province, 40150, tel. 085-852-1771 or contact the Department of National Parks Wildlife and Conservation at tel. 02-562-0760 or www.dnp.go.th

Website: http://www.twcelephantcamp.com