There are two legends connected to Phu Kradung, or “bell mountain”: the first is that the sound of a bell, said to be that of the god Indra, once rang out from its peak; the second is that the mountain rings like a bell when struck with a staff. This steep-sided, flattopped mountain is now a national park covering 135 sq miles (348 sq km), its 37-mile (60-km) plateau 4,450 ft (1,350 m) above sea level. This plateau has a climate cool enough for plants that cannot survive in other parts of Thailand; many animals also live in its thin pine forests and grasslands.
The Ballad of Phu Kradung
Phu Kradung was the inspiration for a long poem in 1969 by the award-winning Thai poet and artist Angkhan Kalyanaphong, who eulogized its unspoiled, natural beauties. Lam Nam Phu Kradung (“the ballad of Phu Kradung”) reflects Angkhan’s interest in nature and Buddhism. This excerpt translates poorly into English: “Each time the sun went down I would sit at the Makduk cliff And watch the beams of colored light Pierce the clouds and set alight the sky