29-Dec-2009 -- Finally! Having passed here so many times on my way between Bangkok and Roi Et, this point had tortured my mind for a long time, as it is just 6 km (as the crow flies) or about 10 km (on the road) from the Ubon Ratchathani-Ban Phai highway (National road #23), yet I never got an opportunity to visit it.
I had planned this little trip in Google Earth, coming to the conclusion it would be possible to drive right to within 100m of the point on a dirt road, and have included the coordinates of my waypoints below, in case anyone else wants to go there.
Coming from Bangkok today (i.e. from the West), I turned off Highway #23 at Kut Rang, a small district town in the west of Maha Sarakham province (intersection: 16.05349 N 102.99993 E). I continued on Rural Road #2034 (according to MapQuest) due south towards Ban Nong Bon. The road's condition soon deteriorated, with substantial holes spoiling the pleasure. After 4 km I reached the village Ban Bo Kae, where I turned left at 16.01781 N 102.98462 E, going roughly east on a small, winding, potholed road (#2129) to the next village, which I reached after another 4 km. (I forgot to write down its name, and it's not given in Google Maps, however an old US Army 1:250,000 topo map downloadable from the Internet seems to indicate 'Ban Wang Chai'.) There, an unsealed road branches off in southwestern direction at 16.00629 N 103.01598 E - to my delight, I found the right track straight away. I followed it for some 900 m, crossing a quite large bridge over a stream. It then made a sharp left bend, with another path branching off on the right. My final waypoint was 200 m further at 16.00178 N 103.01039 E, where the track splits into two, one branch heading South, the other Southwest. From there, I continued for about 1150 m in western direction, until my old and trusty Garmin indicated I was 90 m due South of the confluence. As described by the previous visitors, this is an area of gently sloped terrain broken up into tiny fields. I grabbed GPS and camera, jumped out of the car, and made my way through some shrubs lining the track, and then over the small dams between the harvested rice paddies. The point was right in the middle of one of the small fields. A little moving around, and I quickly got the perfect coordinate shot at 15:22 hrs (see image).
Like with 16 N 104 E (my very first CP visit in April this year), I was only the second visitor to this point, after the Thai/Western group who had first snatched it almost 8 years ago.
So, this was CP number 4 for me, just in time before the New Year! Hopefully, more will follow in 2010...