Here is a picture of the Maekong, and you can guess right away that it was taken in the dry season. This lasts from October to April and is the period when we have lovely sunny weather with very little rain.

In April we have the hot season, but it's dry heat with low humidity and so though it's pretty hot, it's still bearable.

In May the rainy season starts with big storms hitting us over the river in the evenings. They bring a pleasant cool even if they sometimes make quite a mess of the garden.

June is cooler than May and the
amount of rain increases slightly. It is a perfect time to get out into the countryside and help the farmers to plant rice. It's the Rocket Festival season too, when rockets are sent up to demand plentiful rain from the gods to irrigate the paddy fields.

 

The Maekong River

I've had a number of people ask me whether, living away from Europe, I miss the seasons, and they almost seem to imply that we don't have them here. Well, we do, very much so, only they are not like the ones in Europe or America!

July and August are the wettest months. But don't worry... the rain comes in brief storms which rarely last for more than an hour. After that everything is fresh and cool and the countryside is verdant green with the young rice growing everywhere, and the garden looks magnificent.

But it is at this time of the year that the river gets higher and higher. In 2002, for the first time in years, it came right into the garden, and Mut Mee was full of people too! But don't let that put you off... people got their feet wet a bit (see the picture below), but everyone was laughing about it! Flooding is never a problem in Nong Khai Town.

Below is a picture of the Maekong at its height at the end of August. At that time of the year its colour changes to red-brown and its height is some 12 meters above its lowest point in April. It scours its banks bringing a lot of trees, branches and bamboo down with it, and you can often see boatmen trying to salvage the driftwood for a little extra profit.

You have to be quick if you want see the river in this condition. By the second week of September the level is dropping fast and by early October it is already half way down. Then it returns to its lazy ways... suitable for sunset boat trips...

The Sunken Chedi

The Sunken Chedi or Phra Taat Klangnam was a large Chedi that fell into the Maekong when the river eroded the bank during floods in 1849. It was reputedly built to keep a bone from the Buddha's right foot.

During the dry season when the river is low, one upturned corner sticks out of the river about 100 metres from the bank, which devout believers decorate with flags.

The best way to see the Sunken Chedi, is to take The Nagarina down river on one of her trips to the east of the town, when we sail right around it. Up on the riverbank you will also see a reconstruction of the Chedi which was completed in 2006.