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Visit Tak to see 800,000 year old Iron Wood fossils

Visit Tak to see 800,000 year old Iron Wood fossils

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Buddhist sanctuary covered with gold.

Tak is the second largest province of northern region after Chiang Mai and is home to various hill tribes, with the Mae Ping River coursing through the province. The Moei is a river in the Mae Sod district that separates the province from Burma and is a center for border trade between the Thai and Burmese people living in the locality.

Visitors to Tak Province will enjoy the shady atmosphere and shopping there and should certainly not miss a tour round the King Tak Sin Maharaj Shrine on Jarod Withi Thong Road, believed by many to bring good luck. This shrine was initially set up on Doi Wat Khao Kaew hill, opposite the city and later in 1957, local residents considered that place to be unworthy of its honor so the shrine was moved and rebuilt in its present location. The statue of King Tak Sin Maharaj is a little larger than life-size, sitting on a throne.

A statue of King Tak Sin Maharaj sitting on a throne.

But for budding geologists, the best reason to visit Tak Province is take a trip to the Stone Tree Fossils Park. There, a giant Iron Wood fossil was discovered in November, 2003 which has been accurately proved to be 800,000 years old. It is still in very good shape and measures 4.30 meters in diameter at its base and 3 meters in the middle. This stone tree is a kind of fossil that occurred naturally when the tree became immersed in underground water and sediment. The water, which carried a high silica content, eventually permeated the whole tree over millennia, slowly turning it to stone. The stone tree is an important key that gives people the means of looking into the past and discover the history of the biology of that age; also providing a glimpse into the worlds’ evolution, so the fossil is a precious natural source of information for academics and tourists alike. Furthermore, it is an important part of the heritage of the country and these seven stone trees bring the total of fossilized trees discovered in Thailand, to 20.

Chao Pho Phawo Shrine.

If visitors continue their trip along the Tak-Mae Sod Road they will find it well worth their while to stay overnight at Tak Sin Maharaj National Park to experience the beautiful scenery and cool weather which prevails throughout the whole year. The park gives the opportunity for nature-lovers to study the world biggest Krabak Tree set in a bountiful bio-environment. Visitors are able to worship at the Chao Pho Phawo Shrine that is located in the area near the site of the Mae Lamao battlefield. The shrine is set up on Phawo hill on the Tak-Mae Sod Road and is greatly respected by people who live in Tak province, especially by Mae Sod residents. It is said that Chao Pho Phawo was a Karen knight appointed by King Naresuan to watch over Mae Lamao point to prevent incursion by the enemy. At a certain place on the Tak-Mae Sod Road, people can experience a magical phenomenon which initially defies logical explanation. If a car is parked on that certain spot with the engine switched off and the handbrake off, the vehicle will eerily move ‘uphill’ of its own volition. The road actually does fall gently downhill causing the car to roll forward, but visually it looks as if the road ahead is rising and you should be rolling backwards.

One more interesting place worth a visit is Wat Photikhun. This temple is one of the most beautiful examples of Lanna architecture, created by artists who had spent 18 years to create the beautiful temple in which to worship the Lord Buddha. The Buddhist sanctuary in this temple is on three floors and from a distance looks like a large ship and is liberally covered with gold.

King Tak Sin Maharaj Shrine.

Wat Photikhun.

A Guide showing pictures of the first stone tree fossil discovery in November, 2003.

Worlds’ oldest Iron Wood tree fossil.

Smaller fossils discovered around the location.

Large Mae Ping River in Tak Province.

Tourists favor to stay overnight in Tak Sin Maharaj National Park.

Viewpoint in Tak Sin Maharaj National Park.