Sam Phan Bok (3,000 holes)

"Sam Phan Bok" means "3,000 holes" and it's an apt description. The Thais sometimes refer to it as "The Grand Canyon of Siam", a somewhat less than accurate description. It is more like the surface of an alien planet with its weirdly shaped, kilometres-long stretches of continuous rock, in which you will find an estimated 3,000 distinct holes. It's almost as though a mighty ice cream scooper came along and carved them out. The holes are of various shapes and sizes, some circular, others heart shaped and so on. The rocks lie between the River Mekong and the embankment, running along the riverside for a distance of 10km. In some places, the colours change from '50 shades of grey' to fiery orange and jet-black. It’s good fun to walk down through the rock formations or you can get a songtaew to take you in further for 20B per person. You can also hire a local fishing boat (500B for 30 minutes) that will take you to the most spectacular areas. Once you are away from the riverbank, you can see the 90-degree sheer rock face that suggests a canyon. You will also see many locals on both sides of the river (Thais/ Laotians), fishing with wide bamboo nets. The best time to see this unique site is at sunrise or sunset when reflections of the sun shimmer amidst the thousands of holes. *TIP* - There is no shade so take an umbrella or something you can hide under if you are going to be there between midday and 3pm. Entry: Free Getting Here: Sam Phan Bok is quite isolated so you need a car or motorbike to get here, a scooter isn’t going to cut it. Tours do operate out of Ubon and Khong Chiam. If you have your own transport, from Khong Chiam head north on the 2112 highway for around 80km until you arrive at Sam Pan Bok (75 min). From the city of Ubon Ratchathani, head north-west on Highway 2050 (Ubon Ratchathani-Trakarnpuetchpol-Posai bus line) for around 120km until you arrive at Sam Pan Bok (2 hours).

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