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Loei (เลย)

Thai. Name of a Thai province as well as of its capital city (map), which is located 520 kms North of Bangkok and situated in the far Northwest of Isaan, and wirh a population of around 22,000. In the North it borders the provinces Xaignabouli and Vientiane of Laos. The region is known for its cotton industry and its National Parks, including the 349 kms² large Phu Kradeung National Park, with 1,360 meters the highest point in the province and with around 50 kms of marked hiking trails. The park allegedly has elephants, tigers, gibbons and black bears. Other National Parks are Phu Reua NP with around 121 kms² and the less visited Phu Luang NP. Annually, in mid-June, Dahn Saai district celebrates the unique Phi Tah Khohn festival. There is historical proof that Loei was first inhabited by Poh Khun Bang Klang Haw (บางกลางหาว) and Poh Khun Pha Meuang (ผาเมือง), generally believed to be descendants of the lineage of the Singhnawat Dynasty (สิงหนวัติ), a Thai tribe whose ancestors earlier founded the Chiang Saen kingdom of Yonok. They resettled from Yonok after it had failed, migrating through the territory of Lan Chang and crossing the Heuang (เหือง) river, into the flatlands, to the right of the Man river (หมัน). Pha Meuang built a village on the ‘right side’ of this river, in the area which today is Chai Neun Dan Khwa (Dan Khwa literally means the ‘Right Side’), whilst Bang Klang Haw moved along the Man river and founded Ban Nong Kuh (บ้านหนองคู) on the ‘left side’ of this river, in the present-day area of Kao (เก่า) village. They they later renamed Ban Nong Kuh as Dan Saai (ด่านซ้าย), literally meaning the ‘Left Side’. Today, the ruins of an ancient temple in a private field in between the village of Hua Laem (หัวแหลม) and Na Bia (นาเบี้ย) in the amphur Dan Sai, are witness of this early occupation. In 1853 AD king Mongkut upgraded the village of Hae (แฮ่), located on the banks of the Mahn creek and in the vicinity of the river Loei, to better administer the increased population in the area, thus founding the city which would later be named Loei. In AD 1897 the area was split up into three administrative subdivision by royal degree, i.e. the amphur Kud Pong (กุดป่อง), amphur Tha Lih and amphur Nakok (นากอก), of which Kud Pong was made the capital city and the latter today belongs to Laos. The name Kud Pong was changed  several times, first into Loei River Area, than Heuang River Area, but finally on 4 January 1907 it officially became known as Meuang Loei. The province has twelve amphur and two king amphur, and its places on interest include Wat Somdet Phu Reua Ming Meuang (fig.), Wat Neramit Wipatsanah (fig.), the Phi Tah Khohn Museum (fig.), Suan Hin Pha Ngam (fig.), etc. See also Loei data file.