13 October 2014

  • Technical Data
    • We started this track at Wat Chao Pluk in Chao Pluk of Maha Rat District and ended at Wat Tong Pu at the mouth of the Lopburi River in Ayutthaya.
    • The weather was partly cloudy and sunny.
    • Total Distance: 29.61 Km; Moving Average: 5.5 Km/Hr; Overall Average: 4.1 Km/Hr; Maximum Speed: 9.4 Km/Hr; Moving time: 5 Hr 21 Min; Stopped Time: 1 Hr 50 Min; Total Time: 7 Hr 11 Min.
  • Number of participants: 2 (Sean & Pat)
The sun rose in the northeast and set the surrounding fields in fire. It was a farmer's wake up with the roosters singing their early songs. The evening prior we had a joyful gathering with the owner of Teak's Home, his wife and a neighbour. Pat had made a survey in this location prior the Great Flood of 2011, but at that time there was no accommodation available. Today there are two nice teak bungalows and we decided to stay overnight here instead of the Tawan Resort; it was the right decision and we got a good time.

At 0700 Hr Khun Adung drove us to the nearest 7-Eleven where we could stock up our snacks and drinks for the coming day and take a breakfast. As soon as we returned to the resort, we started to load our kayaks and gear on the truck and Adung transported us to Wat Chao Pluk. We had to negotiate the steep bank again but with the help of Adung we were back on the river at 0830 Hr. We waved goodbye to the bystanders and continued south, in the direction of Ayutthaya. 

Nearly every year we encountered a massive obstruction near Wat Khlong Bun, but this time we were very lucky; the river was wide open without obstacles. The stretch between Chao Pluk and the mouth of the Bang Kaeo Canal is very nice. We paddle through banks grown with bamboo; a good hide-out for a large population of King fishers. The stretch is notorious for its obstructions because fallen bamboo is common and often becoming an impenetrable obstacle, which requires a difficult kayak exit. But this year we were lucky. The full stretch was dredged and cleaned out. It was a pleasure to paddle the waterway.

At 0930 Hr we arrived at the water junction of Maha Rat. Here Khlong Bang Phra Khru splits off from the Lopburi River in direction of Prasat Nakhon Luang and the Pa Sak River; while Khlong Nong Mo has its mouth - controlled by a water regulator - at the same spot, bringing in waters of the Chao Phraya River. We paddled the crossing and followed the water course along Wat Wang in direction of the mouth of the Bang Kaeo Canal. At 1045 Hr we took a short break at the landing of Wat Sao Thong Mai or the Monastery of the new flag pole in Sao Thong sub-district of Bang Pahan.

We continued our track and passed the Bang Nang Ra water regulator half an hour later. We were lucky that the gates were open. As we got an easy passage at the regulator, we arrived at the floating restaurant near Wat Sala Daeng at 1215 Hr. We parked our kayaks alongside the river bank and went for lunch. We took our time to relax as the sun climbed to its zenith and remained about one hour and a half at the restaurant.

Around 1330 Hr we were back on the water. The sun stood straight above us and the heat was our companion. We paddled the last kilometers of the Lopburi River and passed by the river bank monasteries Wat Thong, Wat Khai, Wat Wara Nayok Rangsan and Wat Sop Sawan. Wat Wara Nayok Rangson was called in earlier times Wat Khao Din. At this spot the old Lopburi River made a bend towards the northeastern tip of Ayutthaya, called Hua Ro, after flowing through the Pho Sam Ton Fields.

Then we paddled by Ko Duan, today called Phongphet Island after the name of its owner. The yak Thao Vessuwan, Guardian of the northern direction stands on the northern tip of the island. Sean called it the gateway to Ayutthaya.

We dived under the Asian Highway at Ban Khayai and entered Ban Suan Phrik after passing Wat Ton Satu. The river widens here. Until recently some of the elephants of Elephantstay, an non-profit organisation taking care of elephants in dire straits, were chained to trees all along the river bank. Recently the organisation got some set backs. In May 2013 a woman was killed and her husband wounded by one of their elephants after nearing its den. This year, a 50-year-old elephant featured in Oliver Stone's 2004 movie "Alexander" was poisoned in the night of 10 on 11 July and its tusks sawed off. Today you find only elephants on the elevated grounds near the elephant kraal on the right bank of the river. It was here we halted to look a while at some tuskers standing in the open without any trees to protect them from the scourging sun. We were know close to the mouth of the Lopburi River and after a couple of hundred paddle strokes we arrived at Wat Tong Pu, our final objective. At 1540 Hr the 5th Lopburi River descent had bitten the dust ...


Detailed tracks on "Route You" for this event: 

Chao Pluk - Ayutthaya

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