Go anywhere in Khon Kaen and you`re sure to come across dinosaurs. All the main roads leading to Khon Kaen have huge life size replicas of dinosaurs. on the outskirts of the city. The nickname of Khon Kaen Football Team is the T-Rexs’. The water park is called Dino Water Park. All the parks in Khon kaen have dinosaur models. No respectable kids clothes stall would be without dinosaur t-shirts.
The reason is that dinosaurs once roamed the plateau around Khon Kaen. A geological survey begun in the 1970s uncovered a bone, believed to be the left femur of a sauropod dinosaur. A large plant-eating dinosaur walking with 4 legs, a long neck and long tail, regarded as the first dinosaur discovery of Thailand.
From then on the Department of Mineral Resources and The Thai-French Paleontological Project have continuously investigated the dinosaurs in the Phu Wang Mountains. The project found many vertebrae, teeth, and footprints of dinosaurs dating back 130 million years. These finds excited the people of Khon Kaen and Thailand. Princess Maha Chakri Siridhorn has made 2 visits to the sites, including Phu Wiang Dinosaur Museum.
The dinosaur museum itself is a little out of Khon Kaen, nearer Kalasin. I must say as far as museums go in Thailand this is one of the better ones. Usual falang prices apply but it`s great for kids and adults. Half of the 16 species of dinosaur fossils found in Thailand are relatively new to paleontology, and bear names related to their original discovery spots. One of them, “Phuwiangosaurus Sirindhorn” is in honour of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
This museum is composed of the upper-hill dig sites, as well as the main museum complex with actual bone fossils and full-sized mock-ups of various dinosaurs. There are numerous audio-video displays although some are not working. The 8 zones supposedly are in chronological order though a little confusing. The kids will love the life size dinosaur replicas.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand recognised the significance of the dinosaur discoveries and hence a whole plethora of dinosaur attractions has spring up. Khon Kaen can truly claim to be Thailands Dinosaur City.