Bung Kan will officially become Thailand’s newest province or the country’s 77th province when it is published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette.
Bung Kan is carved out of Nong Khai province along the Mekong River in the northeast region known as Isan. It shares the border with Laos in the north east across the Mekong River. Its south and west borders are four Thai provinces: Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon, Udon Thani and Nong Khai.
The Thai cabinet has approved Bung Kan and it will become official after being published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette.
The residents of Bung Kan are very pleased and proud to gain this provincial status for their hometown. About 98 percent of Bung Kan residents said that they support the government’s decision. In becoming a province means that the residents will have more power to express their opinions in matters relating to development of their districts and neighbourhoods.
Furthermore, previously people in Bung Kan had to travel long distances to reach the services provided by the Nong Khai provincial offices. However, with Bung Kan being a province, the people will travel less because the province has government offices including a court and post office, water and electricity offices.
Besides the common rubber plantations, Bung Kan has many worthwhile attractions to visit in particular the temples. For example, Wat Phu Tok, meaning mountain temple, is a remarkable place for a man’s spiritual enlightenment. Wooden stairs and ladders encircling the seven levels of the temple symbolize the seven traditional steps towards enlightenment. The higher levels provide an overview of the Isan plains while the seventh level is the top of the rocky outcrop.
Other attractions include Wat Ahong Silawat, meaning “Navel of the Mekong”, is situated on the banks of Mekong River. The temple has been renovated and now includes essential services for monks and visitors.
Another tourist destination is the Wat Sawang Arom that offers a wide view of Thailand and Laos from the bell-shaped shrine hall. It is located in a hilly area with cliffs, stone platforms and trees, creating a peaceful environment with a small stream flowing through it.
Bung Kan also features the Phu Wua Wildlife Santuary, which is a home to wild animals such as elephants, tigers, bears, gibbons and monkeys as well as bird species.
Beautiful waterfalls are also present within the province, including Chet Si, Chanaen waterfalls. In particular, the scenic Tham Fun waterfall is located in a forest with the view to the north of Phu Wua. Tham Phra Waterfall is another attraction, in which water flows over a cliff from about 50 meters high and 100 meters long.
Bung Kan also offers caves to explore in the province, and Nong Gud Thing, which is a large swamp with many microscopic sea lives including 20 fish species found nowhere else in the world. Other aquatic fish, animal, and bird life are commonly seen around the area.
Bung Kan is Thailand’s newest province but it may not be the newest for long with several other districts are also looking to gain provincial status such as Fang district in Chiang Mai province.