01 The TripPacker's Review
Sam Phan Bok @Ubon, The Grand Canyon of Siam
“Sam Phan Bok”, is a canyon by the Mekong River. When you first get to Sam Phan Bok, you can’t help but think of “The Grand Canyon” in Arizona, USA. Although they look nothing alike, the similar rock formation of the Grand Canyon and Sam Phan Bok is the reason why the catchphrase of Sam Phan Bok is “The Grand Canyon of Siam, Sam Phan Bok of Ubon”. However, this is not what makes Sam Phan Bok a natural wonder. Take a look at the pictures to see what im talking about.
Sam Phan Bok is located in Ban Phong Pao, Moo 4, Lao Ngam sub-district, Pho Sai district, Ubon Ratchathani. This tourist attraction can only be visited during the drought season. This is because the canyon itself is under the Mekong River. When the rains come, the Mekong rises and covers this entire area.
The canyon resembles a mountain sprouting out into the Mekong. Spectacular views can be seen here of both the canyon and the river. It is believed that this natural phenomena is caused by the rushing water, acting like a drill, eroding the canyon over thousands of years. Here you will find over 3000 holes, big and small scattered all over the place. Some holes look like familiar shapes, animals, etc. There is even a hole that looks like Mickey Mouse (or Deadmau5 if you prefer). The Esarn and Laotian word for ‘hole’ is ‘bok’, thus the translated name is Three (sam) Thousand (phan) Holes (bok).
There are several activities for you to do aside from wandering around the canyon. Take a boat ride on the Mekong and look at life on both sides of the river (Laos and Thailand). You can get on the boat at Had Salung (Salung Shore) which will take you to “Mahanatee Si Phan Don”. This area is a natural breeding ground for certain fish. In addition, you can also visit various shores, caves, and odd-looking rocks.
For those interested in spending the night or two, Salung Shore has accommodation for visitors. Thai and Esarn restaurants are also available.
If you ever have the time off, Sam Phan Bok should be one of your next trip destinations. Come and see for yourself how the “Grand Canyon of Siam” really looks like. You’ll be amazed.
02 General Info + How to go
Sam Phan Bok, Ubon Ratchathani
|Address||:||Ban Phong Pao, Lao Ngam sub-district, Pho Sai district, Ubon Ratchathani|
|GPS||:||N15 47.563 E105 23.973|
Lao Ngam Sub District Admininstration 045 407 138
Pho Sai Police Office 045 496 040
Tourism Office of Ubon Ratchathani 045 243 770
|Operating Hours||:||24hrs; Recommended time to visit: Early morning or late afternoon.|
|Best Time||:||November – June; Drought season|
|Highlight||:||More than 3000 holes of all shapes and sizes scattered all over the canyon.|
|Activities||:||Sightseeing/ River Cruise|
How to get there
From Ubon Town, travel towards Trakan Phutphon district then to Pho Sai district. Once in the district, signage will indicate directions to Sam Phan Bok. Sam Phan Bok is approximately 20 kilometers from Pho Sai. Total kilometers to cover: 120 approx.