March 20, 2016
The National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT-10/03/2016) reports that the Kingdoms first ‘Glass Skywalk’ is still on schedule to open later this month. This glass and metal structure is situated near the mountain top temple of Wat Pha Tak Suea (วัดผาตากเสื้อ) or Temple of the Beautiful Mountain View, in Sangkhom District. Nong Khai Province. Northeast Thailand.
With its sixteen meters long, U-shaped skywalk jutting six metres out from the cliff, this new vantage point gives those with the stomach for heights a clear view of the valley 550 metres below and has already been dubbed the most beautiful sightseeing spot in the province
The uninterrupted views provided by its glass walls and floor, gives those willing to put their lives in the hands of ‘Thai Craftsmanship’ unparallel views of the shear drop to the valley below, the nearby Mekong River and the neighbouring country of Lao.
If you look down from this bird’s eye view of the surrounding countryside to the right side of Mekong River, you will with luck see a sand bar at the mouth of the river which looks similar to a scaly Naga. It is here all along this stretch of the river and especially during October each year you can witness the strange Naga Fireballs. These glowing orbs are alleged to naturally rise from the water and are said to be reddish in colour and to range in size from smaller sparkles up to the size of basketballs. These strange balls of light reportedly quickly rise up from the river to a couple of hundred metres, hang there for a few minutes before mysteriously disappearing into the night’s sky. Naga fireballs (Thai: บั้งไฟพญานาค; rtgs: bang fai phaya nak), also known as Mekong lights, and “bung fai paya nak” by the locals,
Local Beliefs of Naga Fireballs
The number of fireballs reported over the many years varies between tens and thousands per night and have been explained as all many of conjecture; from plasma physics: A free-floating plasma orb to a result of flammable phosphine gas generated by the marshy environment or to Laotian soldiers firing tracer rounds into the air across the river. Whatever the real reason for this annual display Thai people in the northeast, especially in the provinces on the Mekong riverbank, have believed for generations that River was the route of the Naga King “Pu Chao Sri Sutho” who crawled around the mountains, (differently from the other Nagas who crawled straight through the mountains) and who still resides deep beneath the Mekong River in an underwater city; Muang Badan.
Folklore tells of days past, when on the last day of the Buddhist Lent the villagers located near the river at Amphoe Phon Phi-sai, would float their fire-boats as a mark of respect and tribute to the Lord Buddha. They did this by placing torches made from insect waste collected from nearby trees onto their 20 – 30 meters long bamboo boats to illuminate them. (see more on today’s Thailand’s Fire Boat Procession)
In order to make their boats look more spectacular, some villagers would fire small Bang Fai (rockets) and the circular Bang Fai known as Talai into the night’s sky. It was then in times almost forgotten that a curious and so far unexplained phenomenon occurred – some Bang Fai were fired as if from under the water and as if the Naga King wanted to participate in the event. This was hundreds of years ago and the phenomenon has occurred every year since.
Wat Pha Tak Suea
This small mountaintop temple takes its name from the fact that tigers once roamed wild on the mountain. The approach to the Wat is via a steep stairway, protected and flanked by its own fierce Nagas, the temple itself externally is elaborately decorated with a multi tiered red and gold roof, surrounded on three side by jungle. The small modest interior is well lite and holds a number of Buddha images reflecting the same colours as the roof. (See youtube on the temple)