Wet Lands

The Wet Lands is an area about ten kilometres to the east of Nong Khai where you can see fishing cranes... some of the worlds largest working bamboo machines. This low lying district is a maze of meandering creeks in the dry season and becomes a series of islands in the monsoon.

Here you are really stepping back in time to a peaceful way of life that has remained unchanged for possibly hundreds of years. These green low lying bush and shrub lands are filled with a sense of tranquility.

The way the cranes work is simple. The pot hanging from the bottom of the net carries bait, so that when the net is lowered into the water, it lies on the bottom with the pot at its centre attracting the fish.

When the fisherman judges that the time is right, the boom of the crane is brought up suddenly. As the edges of the net are the first to rise, the little fish are caught and the pot acts as a counter weight causing them to slide to the centre.

The four arms of the boom are cleverly tied at the top with bicycle inner tubes causing them to flex as they rise so they don't break and the net is cushioned as it's lifted.
Occasionally you can find a fisherman who will take you out into the wetlands. Then you can see the fishing traps, that funnel the fish into pens as they try to make their way upstream. Below is a picture showing a trap staked out in the foreground. During the latter part of the dry season you can see the full size of the trap, which is dug into the river bottom.

The easiest way to get to the Wet Lands is by bicycle or motorbike. On a bicycle it takes about an hour to get out there, passing through pretty countryside, small villages and and quiet roads.

you would like a map click this link and it will take you to an "Adobe" version of our map, which you can print, giving distances and directions.