Page 1

THAILAND THAILAND Travel


THAILAND The Land Of Smile..

T

hailand is a wondrous kingdom, featuring Buddhist temples, exotic wildlife, and spectacular islands. Along with a fascinating history and a unique culture that includes delectable Thai food and massage, Thailand features a modern capital city, and friendly people who epitomize Thailand’s “land of smiles” reputation.

T

hailand is a country with abundant natural resources, including a wide variety of flora and fauna, and distinct ecological zones. There are over 100 Thailand national parks, including more than 20 marine parks, and each park features unique attractions, outstanding facilities, and opportunities to see animals in Thailand. Those interested in trekking, mountain biking, photography, birding, camping, scuba diving, or getting up close to exotic animals in Thailand have many options to choose from. A visit to a Thailand beach or one of the many Thailand islands is an opportunity for visitors to relax, experience exotic marine life, or even learn to scuba dive. However, across Thailand, whether at a beach, island, or Thailand National Park visitors will discover unique flora and fauna and distinct ecological zones, from the temperate forests of the northern mountains and the plains of central Thailand to the savannahs of the northeast and the mangrove forests of the southern coasts. Animals in Thailand include not only elephants and monkeys but also bears and whale sharks, the world’s largest fish.

Panudej Somrit Editor Chiangrai Rajabhat University


conteNtS

The North Chiang Rai.......... P. 3 Chiang Mai......... P. 15 Phayao................. P. 31 Sukhothai............ P. 43

The Northeast Nakhon Ratchasima..... P. 57 Nakhon Phanom........... P. 67 Loei................................ P. 73 Ubon Ratchathani......... P. 91

The Central

The South

Ayutthaya............... P. 109

Krabi................ P. 167

Kanchanaburi......... P. 127

Phang Nga....... P. 175

Bangkok................. P. 141

Phuket............... P. 183

Lop Buri.................. P. 157

Surat Thani ...... P. 195


The North Chiang Rai Chiang Mai Phayao Sukhothai


Chiang Rai


“

The northernmost of Siam The frontiere of three lands The home to the culture of Lanna and Doi Tung Temple�

I

f you’re looking for a vacation destination in Thailand, a favorite, there are many provinces that are famous for tourists but the first place that comes to your mind is Bangkok(The capital city of Thailand). However if you Thailand,you may not miss a trip to Chiangrai.

C

hiangrai province is also one of the major places that tourists are aiming to go on a vacation. You can visit and learn as well as remember with tradition Lanna Thai Style. ( The Kingdom of a million rice fields.) The city of Chiang Rai was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom and the city's most honored temple is Wat Phra Kaew. The city is surrounded with moutains. Chiangrai is a small city but has everything to offer for traveler.

H

owever, in order to experience Lanna tradition, you can make a decision to stay in Chiangrai as long as you can. For nature lovers , there is nothing better than getting outdoors and going for a nice long trek and hilltribes , visiting hilltribe villages Akha, Lisu, Karen, Longneck , bamboo rafting or bicycle tour and enjoy a great place or any fun activities.


King Mengrai Monument The King of Chiangrai.

The

Great monument "King Mengrai" located in Muang Chiangrai District, on the intersection to Maechan and Maesai District. A brief history of King Mengrai. Chiang Rai was founded by King Meng Rai in 1262. He was born in Chiangsean in 1239 A.D. and he first established. Chiangrai to the capital of Lanna Kingdom then he moved it to Chiangmai.

Ku Phra Chao Mengrai Situated in Wat Ngam Muang, on Ngam Muang Hillock, this stupa contains king Mengrai's ashes and relics. Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong This ancient hilltop pagoda overlooks the Mae Kok River and predateds the founding of Chiang Rai as the capital of Lanna Thai.


Wat Rongkhun T

The White temple.

he interior of Wat Rongkhun is devided into three zones. The Buddhavasa, or the abode of the Buddha, is on the right with posts sparsely placed as boundary. It comprises the Bot, the building where the Buddha's relics are kept, and the bridge of Bliss. The Sanghavasa, or the living quarters of the Buddhist monks, is on the left opposite the bridge of Bliss. It cpmprises monk cells and a big contemplation hall (to be constructed). As for the Gharavasa, or the layman quarters, it comprises an art gallery, a golden toilet, and the big preaching hall which is devided into three storeys. The ground floor serves as an all-purpose hall for performing meritorious ceremonies, holding meetings, and giving lectures on basic dhamma on Saturday and Sunday. The second storey is a dhamma library where the Buddhist doctrine is taught is Pali. The third storey is for meditation. Next to the preaching hall is the crematorium, built especially for the cremation of the faithful followers of Wat Rong Khun, the deceased with no relatives, the artist's disciples, and Chalermchai himself.


Golden Clock Tower T

he new Golden Clocktower Chiangrai, in the center of the town with the beautiful architecture. It is designed by Ajarn Chaloemchai kositpipat; the most famous artist in Chiangrai. The new one is build in honour to the king,his majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It is amazing at night, the clock display "light & sound" changed it colour from gloden to red, green, pink, blue and other colours. The lotus bud rises in the center of the clock then blossom at the end.


W

at Pra Singha is in the municipal area. It has been an ancient temple of Chiangrai since former time. It was built in Pra Chao Maha Proma period (King Maha Proma 1345-1400 C.E. ). WHo was King Kue Na. King of Chiangmai's brother. It was regarded that was built in 1385. The word "Pra Singha" is concidered that means the places where Pra Singha used to be situated. Singha is an important Buddha image which is regarded that it's name told the story of Langkawong Theravat as well as the well-known Pra Buddhasihink.

B

ut, in the northern region or Lanna Thai. They didn't name "Pra Buddhasihink" but to be called "Pra Singha". Some wisemen tried to conclud Pra Singha is "Singhonawat" the king who built Yonok Naknakorn. Some, said that it meant "Pra Salayasingha" a name of the Lord Buddha.

Wat Pra Singha


I

n concludsion, Pra Singha and Pra BuddhaSihink are the name of the Buddha image in Langka Wong style. Because, the regarded places that Prasingha used to be situated, was shown that Buddhistic Langka Wong Theravat Sect reached those area, so we may consider that, the Buddha image is a symbol of Buddhistic Langka Wong Theravat Sect in Thailand. There was not any sign before 20 century Buddhistic century.


Wat Phrakaew

T

he temple situated on Singhakrai road and located behind Wat Phra Singha is Wat Phra Kaeo. The temple with wooden structure its beautiful and peace place. The temple is said to have been the original place where the Emerald Buddha, now enshrined in Bangkok's Wat Phra Kaeo ( Chapel of the Emerald Buddha ) was enshrined. The Emerald Buddha has a long history and is said to have resided first in Sri Lanka, followed by Cambodia at Angkor Wat.


F

ormerly called Wat Pa Yiah (Bamboo Forest), this is where the Emerald Buddha image was first discovered. In 1434 the temple's octagonal Pagoda was struck by lightening and it fell apart to reveal PhraKaew Morakot, the Emerald Buddha. Thus the name of the temple was derived. The temple also houses a 600-years bronz statue of PhraChao Lan Thong and the famous Jade Buddha. His Majesty the king graciously upgraded the temple to the third-common-class royal temple in 1978.


Chiang Mai


“

In the shadow of Doi Suthep mount Blessed with rice customs and traditions Beautiful wild flowers Magnificent Nakhon Phing�

C

hiang Mai ,Northern Thailand , the old capital city of Lan Na Kingdom. One of the most beautiful scenery city :hills,moutains stream ,lakes ,fields and waterfalls.Mysteries are in the valleys and moutains waiting for your discovery. Shopping is a fun experience. All of these make Chiang Mai popular with visitors.

C

ulture of Chiang Mai is architecture reflects Lanna Thai,Burmese,Sri Lankan and Mon influences.There are some 300 temples in the city and on its outskirts. The Golden Age of Lanna-Chiang Mai lies some 500 years back in the time of king Tilokarat,but the city has recently been undergoing a process of regeneration,and while full of the bustle of modern life,it hasn't lost touch with its glorious past. hen you come to Chiang Mai.You can be sure that its people will welcome you with their traditional charm and hospitality.

W


N

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep S

o trip to Chiang Mai would be complete without visiting Wat Phra Thart Doi Suthep; the spectacular Buddhist temple that can be seen, from wherever you happen to be in the city, clinging to the mountainside near the summit of Doi Suthep.

D

oi Suthep hill has been seen as a holy place for more than twelve hundred years. The original inhabitants, the Lua, believed that the souls of their ancestors resided on the hilltop. When Buddhism was embraced by the Siamese people, the hill became the epicentre of the universe, and the centre of Buddhism in Lanna. he temple was built in the late 14th century under King Geu Na, and attracts many pilgrims and tourists, both local and international, throughout the year.

T

ituated 15 km. from town, this is Chiang Mai’s most famous and most visible landmark, and at 3,520 feet above sea level, it commands an exhilarating view of the city and surrounding countryside. Dating from 13 3, the temple is approached by a flight of 290 Naga-flanked steps (although the less energetic may ascend by a funicular railway), and is dominated by a golden Chedi which contains holy Buddha relics and attracts Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world.


P

eople living in northern Siam, as it was then, firmly believed that the Lord Buddha's holy relic was on Doi Suthep. In the beginning, shrines were built in city centres in accordance with the Central region's Wat Mahathart as the mythological hill of Semeru, the epicenter of the universe.

B

oth beliefs were reconciled by animistic people who, in a later period, embraced Buddhism. Wat Phra Thart Doi Suthep is believed to be the model for similar places of worship built in hilltops throughout Northern Thailand.


Yi(Yee) Peng Festival


A

n amazing procession of hanging lanterns, Krathong design contest, Miss Yee Peng beauty contest, light and sound presentation in Ping River, the ancient Thai Lanna Krathong activities, local cultural performances, and local handicrafts market in Lanna style.

Y

ee Peng, Lantern Festival is the unique traditional practice of Chiang Mai locals. It is northern Thailand's version of 'Loy Kratong' celebration. About to happen in the festival are Yi Peng Lantern contest, light and sound presentation, rafts competition, rowing boat race, 'Kratong' contest and various kinds of local plays and performances.

T

he unusual ritual of launching Lanna-style hot air "lantern balloons" is a unique aspect of the Chiang Mai Loi Krathong festival in Thailand. Traditional belief has it that when these huge hot air balloons are set adrift and float away, so do the troubles of the persons who launched the balloon.

Y

ee Peng literally means the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month and the Chiang Mai 'Yipeng' and 'Loi Krathong', the Festival of Lights is organised annually by the Chiang Mai Municipality in Thailand. On the full moon night, the "krathong" or banana leaf boat contest is being organised by the Youth Club from various temples in Chiang Mai. While traditional krathong were made exclusively from banana leaves,


Wat Chiang Man

T

his temple was built in 1297 at the site of the camp King Mangrai used when he supervised the building of Chiang Mai. It was the first temple to be built in Chiang Mai and contains several very old artifacts. The oldest structure is the Chang Lom chedi, which is in a style that could have originated from Sri Lanka via Sukhothai, or from Pagan. Fifteen elephants represent a sea of unformed matter upon which the cosmos of the chedi floats.

N

earby are a lotus pond, a raised scripture repository and an ubosot. The stela in front of the ubosot was inscribed in 1581, and is one of the oldest known records that establishes the founding date of Chiang Mai.

T

he temple has two Lanna style viharn. The larger viharn was renovated by Khru Ba Srivichai in the 1920's. The standing Buddha image (front right of the altar) has an inscription on its slightly lopsided square base that dates it to 1465. This makes it the oldest dated Buddha image to be found so far in Chiang Mai. Close study shows new gilt veneer covers pits and cracks that indicate the image's real age.


T

he smaller viharn to the north (open 09:00-17:00) contains two small but very famous Buddha images. The Phra Sila image is a bas-relief that probably came from Ceylon in about the eighth century. The image is believed to have the power to bring rain and is the focus of a festival at the temple held from April 1-5.

T

he Phra Sae Tang Khamani crystal image belonged to Queen Chamadevi, who brought it from Lop Buri when she became the first ruler of Haripunchai. The image reputedly survived the burning of Haripunchai when it was razed by King Mangrai, and is honored for its powers to protect against disaster.


Wat Suan Dok T

his temple originally lay in a fortified square beyond Chiang Mai walls. Legends tell that King Ku Na invited the venerable Sumana Thera, a very pious monk from Sukhothai to bring the Buddhism of Sri Lanka to Chiang Mai. The King offered him the royal flower garden (Suan Dok) as a place to build a temple. The temple was established in 1371. When Sumana Thera was living in Sukhothai, he had a vision which showed him where to find a very holy relic that had long been buried near the city. When the relic was unearthed, miraculous illuminations took place confirming its power. These miracles did not repeat themselves for the King of Sukhothai, who left the relic in the care of the monk. Thus when King Ku Na invited Sumana Thera to Chiang Mai, the monk brought the holy relic with him. When the relic was about to be enshrined at the temple, he found that the relic had split into two pieces. One of these pieces was kept at Wat Suan Dok, and the other was buried at Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. The main viharn was rebuilt in the early 1930's by Khru Ba Srivichai. A large Buddha image with a hand in the position for holding straw stands back to back with the main seated image. The images took on their present shape under Khru Ba Srivichai.

A

smaller viharn to the south contains a seated Buddha image - the Phra Chao Kao Tue - cast by King Muang Kaew in 1504. The Lanna style image stands 4.7 meters tall and is made up of nine pieces. The walls of the viharn are decorated with murals showing the previous lives of the Buddha (the Vessantara Jataka may be seen on the upper level of the north wall). West of the main viharn numerous chedi contain the remains of the royal family of Chiang Mai. These were collected from different sites in Chiang Mai and placed there at the wish of Princess Dararatsmi in 1909. The compound also contains the northern campus of the Maha Chulalongkorn Buddhist University of the Mahanikai sect. A wall with tall ornamental gates surrounds the compound, and the remains of earthen walls that once surrounded the fortified monastery can still be seen on the opposite side of the road.


Night Safari


C

hiang Mai Night Safari offers the adventurous the opportunity to head off into theanimal kingdom while keeping a safe distance from urban creature comforts and a nice hotel.

O

nly the third night safari in the world (Singapore and Guangxi, China also have them), Chiang Mai Night Safari has proven an immediate hit with visitors and locals alike.

T

he Safari offers a series of trails over three main zones. The Jaguar Trail offers visitors a walk of around 1,200 meters and is open during the day and at night. The Savanna Safari and Predator Prowl areas use rail cars to move visitors around. This is the ideal opportunity to observe wildlife at night.


Phayao


Phayao lake source of life Holy god they LUANG Sacrifice Peakun cloak city Circulate topaz mountain beauty”

P

hayao province in the upper north. The history of the oldest lasting no less than any other city. The kingdom of Lanna. Area located in Phayao Province is adjacent to the Kwan Phayao Was a town of Phu Kam Yao or November, when long-established Buddhist century ษ Fri, 16 were with parents. Pho Khun Ngam Muang. After changing the power. And fall under the influence of the Lanna Kingdom. At the Rattanakosin period. Phayao town is under the rule of Chiang Rai, Phayao and as a district on August 28, 2520 District, Phayao Province Phayao is elevated from the 72 provinces of Thailand

A

mong the tourist province in the north Pa Dog. Phayao may not be very popular. Phayao is like the city through The tourists are often overlooked and I go, Chiang Rai Province costly. Phayao province, but it is a beautiful tourist attraction and has many names. The only forests that remain completely private Pana. See large shady trees that still remain areas of the province. 3 of the National Park to a variety of attractions such as Doi Phu Nang. The peacock the most in the north. Phu Sang National Park. Waterfall hot water. Only in the north. Kwan Phayao is a large freshwater lake. To see the beautiful sunset evening. Delicious fruit of various kinds. The magnificent temples. The simple life. Phayao town charms that are not inferior to anyone


Wat Sri Khom Kham T Wat Phra Chao Ton Luang.

E

nshrouded by lofty mountains and enticing valleys, the beautiful province of Phayao is one of the most historical parts of Thailand, which is better known for its rich natural beauty and fascinating religious sites. One such important temple that is highly revered in the upper northern part of Thailand is Wat Si Khom Kham.

he temple is popularly known as “Phra Chao Ton Luang” among the locals because enshrined inside this temple is Lanna’s largest Buddha image. This is a sitting image of Lord Buddha designed in the Lanna-Thai style which dates back to 1491 AD. The height of the image is 16 meters and the lap width is 14 meters. It is said that it took almost 33 years to complete the image and get that enshrined inside the monastery. Another interesting aspect of this temple is the “heaven and hell park” that contains illustrations describing what heaven and hell might look like. Also present inside the monastery is “Ho Thai Nithat”. This is primarily a building located adjacent to the main temple that houses antiques, literary items, local intellectual displays and also some of the scenes depicting the lifestyle of people in the Phayao region.


Phayao Lake

Kwan Phayao.

C

overing an area of 2.3 square kilometers and located at an altitude of 380 meters above sea level, Kwan Phayao is one of the largest artificial lakes in entire Northern Thailand. In fact, this lake is the largest fresh water habitat in the upper northern part of Thailand that provides livelihood for local people of the region. Situated on the southeastern banks of this lake is the beautiful and bustling town of Phayao.

M

ajority of the water coming into the Kwan Phayao is from the Nam Mae Ing. However, a smaller percentage of water also comes from the Mae Tam. Interestingly, Nam Mae Ing empties itself on the northern side and Mae Tam fills up at the southern end. However, the water inside the lake is never allowed to rise beyond a certain level. Sluice gates are used to control the water level and there is also a spillway so that the mean water depth is always maintained at 1.7 meters. Water from the lake is emptied in the east into the Mekong River via Nam Mae Lag.

A

nother interesting aspect of this lake is that the pH of the water varies between 6.0 and 9.1, thus making it highly conducive for the growth of almost thirty-six species of aquatic plants and twenty-two species of fish. In fact, Kwan Phayao is considered as the largest semi-natural wetlands in entire northern Thailand. Kwan Phayao Lake is also known to be a preferred destination for resident and migratory birds. Apart from these, the water in the lake is also an important source of municipal water supply.


P

resent around the lake are some beautiful and picturesque locations, thus making Kwan Phayao a popular weekend destination for the locals of Phayao.


Wat Phra That Sop Waen

T

he temple is the Lord King, the very old about 800 year contained hair. And bones of Lord Buddha on the chin. That the Lord has already been renovated several times, but still maintain the Lanna Thai art is beautiful.


Dai People Tai Lu.


A

Wat Analayo

reader wrote in to recommend the temple on the opposite side of the lake from Phayao. The temple was constructed 12 years ago at the top of a hill for a much -revered abbot, who is visited annually by the king. The grounds are filled with religious statuary, including Buddha images from various Thai eras, and representations of Hindu gods such as Vishnu and Shiva. A small viham at the summit holds silver and gold Buddhas presented by the king and decorated with diamonds and emeralds. Four soldiers armed with M-16 rifles guard the viham, which also contains a large elephant encrusted with Ceylonese gems; the elephant was donated by the Sri Lankan government. Analayo can be reached by songtao or a motorcycle rented in Phayao.


Sukhothai


Source of national heritage the Thai alphabets, the best Loy Krathong celebrations firm fsoundation of Buddhism, the fine Teen Jok cloth ancient chinaware, holy Pho Khun Ramkhamhaeng’s mother dawn of happiness”

S

ukhothai which literally means "Dawn of Happiness" With as area of 6,596 sq. kms., is about 427 kms. (267 miles) north of Bangkok, and was founded in 1238. Sukhothai was the capital of Thailand for approximately 120 years.

S

ukhothai was the first kingdom of the Thais in this peninsula. Two princes-Pho Khun Pha Muang of Muang Rad and Pho Khun Bang Klang Hao of Muang Bangyang combined their forces and fought the Khmers who commanded an extensive empire throughout this part of the world


T

his is located 12 kms. from town on the Sukhothai-Tak Highway. It is open daily 08.30-16.30 hrs. Admission fee is 40 baht. Ruins of the royal palaces, Buddhist temples, the city gates, walls, moats, dams, ditches, ponds, canals, and the water dyke control system, which was the magical and spiritual center of the kingdom, are now preserved and have been restored by the Fine Arts Department with the cooperation of UNESCO, not only with a view of fostering Thailand's national identity but the safeguarding a fine example of mankind's cultural heritage. The tourist Service Centre is near Wat Phra Phai Luang. The centre provides information and facilitates visitors to the Sukhothai Historical Park, as well as displays models of historical buildings and structures in old Sukhothai.


The Sukhothai Historical Park


The Royal Palace Wat Mahathat.

T

he Royal Palace is in the centre of old Sukothai. This is a large site covering around 160,000 square meters containing two main compounds and completely surrounded by a water moat. The first of the main compounds is Noen Phrasat (the Royal Building), a site containing a stone inscribed by King Ramhamhaeng. The second is Wat Mahathat, Sukhothai's largest temple. The temple’s main ‘chedi’ is intact showing the traditional ‘Lotus’ style which demonstrates the Khmer influence particular to this area. The chedi sports Buddha images on its pedestal and images of a number of Buddhist disciples in adoration at its foot. Inside the temple's ‘viharn’ is an 8-metre-high Bronze Buddha image. The site also features figures of demons and animals with angels riding on their backs. The temple offers authentic Sukothai art and its crypt has a number of excellent murals. Wat Mahathat is a very important temple, supposedly the spiritual centre of the old Sukhothai. There are around 200 chedis within the temple compound and so there’s plenty to see and wander around.


Loy Kratong

T

he Loy Krathong festival in old cities is very famous and attracts many visitors. The glory and historical presence of the kingdom comes alive in Phao Thian Len Fai in Sukhothai.

The annual Loy Krathong festival starts in November, when tiny boats decorated with flowers, incense and small coins are set afloat in the country’s water-ways, is celebrated in Sukhothai in especially grand fashion. There is a spectacular fireworks display, folk dances and an excellent sound-and-light shows illuminating Wat Mahathat. Loy Krathong is said to have originated in Sukhothai.

T

he famous Loy Krathong and Candle Festival in Sukhothai province features a procession of offerings, including Phanom Mak – the betel nut offering – and Phanom Dok Mai – the floral offering – carried by beautiful girls, as well as banana-leaf floats accompanied by the so-called Nang Nopphamat beauty queens.


T

he Phanom Mak and Phanom Dok Mai offerings are for the homage paying rite at King Ramkhamhaeng the Great monument in the heart of the ancient city of Sukhothai. After the rites, people as well as visitors come together to float the Krathongs on ponds, known as Traphang, inside the ancient city. The bright candle light from the floating Krathongs and the cool breeze of November together creates a pleasant atmosphere for all participants.


The Northeast Nakhon Ratchasima Nakhon Phanom Loei Ubon Ratchathani


Nakhon Ratchasima


“

Land of brave women Fine Silk material Khorat Rice noodle Phimai historical park and Dan Kwian Ceramics�

N

akhon Ratchasima, otherwise known as Khorat, is the largest northeastern province, and the inhabitants of the province are mainly engaged in agricultural activities, growing such diverse crops as rice, sugar cane, sesame, and fruit. There are more than 100 savings and agricultural cooperatives in the province, 35 irrigation projects, and 7,122 industrial factories. Most of the factories are rice mills, tapioca product manufacturers, and industrial factories.

C

overing an area that is mainly plateaus and mountainous terrain, Khorat has fascinating traditions, charming hospitality, splendid natural scenery and awesome historical sites, including Khao Yai, Thailand’s oldest national park and newest World Heritage site, and the Khmer temple at Phimai, an important provincial capital of the Angkor Empire.


Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo


C

overing an area of 545 rai (218 acres), the zoo is one of the most modern in Asia. The enclosures are large and landscaped by section to match the habitat of each animal most of which have come from Africa. The most popular animals are penguins, seals, African elephants, rhinoceros, cheetahs, lions, zebras, and giraffes. There is also a reptile building and a hornbill garden. In addition to being an ideal place to study biology, the zoo is a great place for relaxation as the grounds are decorated with lovely flowers. Other than the shuttle services that are provided to transport visitors around the zoo, there are bicycles available for rent. The zoo is open daily between 8.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. The fee is 15 baht for children, 70 baht for adults, and 30 baht for four-wheel vehicles.


U

p there on the podium with some of world’s greatest parks, Khao Yai National Park (08 1877 3127; admission 400B; 6am-9pm) is Thailand’s oldest and most visited reserve. Covering 2168 sq km, Khao Yai incorporates one of the largest intact monsoon forests remaining in mainland Asia, which is why is was named a Unesco World Heritage site. The mostly English-speaking staff at the visitor centre (8.30am-4.30pm) are very friendly and helpful.

R

ising to 1351m with the summit of Khao Rom, the park’s terrain covers five vegetation zones: evergreen rainforest (100m to 400m); semi-evergreen rainforest (400m to 900m); mixed deciduous forest (northern slopes at 400m to 600m); hill evergreen forest (over 1000m); and savannah and secondary-growth forest in areas where agriculture and logging occurred before it was protected. Many orchids bloom from the middle of June through the end of July, one of the few benefits of rainy-season visits.


Khao Yai National Park

Some 250 wild elephants tramp the park’s boundaries; other mammals recorded include sabar deer, barking deer, gaur, Malayan sun bears, Asiatic black bears, tigers, leopards, otters, and various gibbons and macaques. Khao Yai also has one of Thailand’s largest populations of hornbills, including the great hornbill (nók kòk or nók kaahang in Thai), king of the bird kingdom, as well as the wreathed hornbill (nók graam cháang; literally, ‘elephant-jaw bird’), Indian pied hornbill (nók khàek) and brown hornbill (nók ngêuak si nám taan). Hornbills breed from January to March, and this is the best time to see them. Over 200 bird species make the park their home and some 315 have been recorded.

T

here are two primary entrances into the park. The first is the northern entrance through Nakhon Ratchasima Province, with sleeping and transport options originating out of the backpacker town of Pak Chong. The second option is the southern entrance in Prachinburi Province, which is closer to Bangkok and a popular weekend destination for residents of the capital.


Thao Suranari Monument T hao Suranari Monument is a memorial to the Thai heroine called ‘Ya Mo’ by locals. Built in 1933, it is located in the city centre. People from other provinces who visit Khorat and locals usually come to pay homage here and ask for blessings.

The statue is made of black copper. It is 1.85 metres high and is dressed in regalia in a standing posture. The right hand holds a sword and the statue faces west towards the capital of Bangkok. The monument base holds her ashes. Thao Suranari was originally Khunying Mo, the wife of the assistant governor of Nakhon Ratchasima. In 1826, Chao Anuwong of Vientiane had Khorat under siege but Khunying Mo rallied villagers to fight againt Chao Anuwong. After the battle was over, King Rama III promoted her to Thao Suranari. Every year during 23 March to 3 April, the people would hold a festival to honour her bravery.


Prasat Hin Phimai

P

rasat Phimai is located in Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima (Khorat) province, about 5 hours by bus from Bangkok. Phimai has a zpleasant location, with the river Moon flowing its many branches around the town. Construction of Prasat Phimai took place between the 11th-13th centuries A.D. The grounds of Prasat Phimai are spacious and well kept. The principal tower (prang) is surrounded by galleries on all sites. Possibly initially built dedicated to Hindu Gods, later Prasat Hin Phimai functioned as a Mahayana Buddhist sanctuary.


P

himai houses also a very interesting National Museum, where many of the lintels, found at Prasat Phimai and surrounding temples, are being displayed, some in stunning beauty after restoration. Close to the city center is a giant banyan tree, situated in a pond. The single tree rather looks like a giant forest.


Nakhon Phanom


“

The City of the Revered Phrathat Phanom Cultural Diversity, Beautiful Phu Thai Ladies Brilliant Illuminated Boat Procession and Picturesque Mekong River�

N

akhon Phanom, once the center of the ancient Sri Kotrabun Kingdom, lies along the western bank of the majestic Mekong River, although over the centuries it has moved back and forth across the river. The lovely setting of Nakhon Phanom town is enhanced by the rugged beauty of the jungle covered mountains that lie beyond the town of Thakaek on the Laotian side of the river. King Rama I chose the name Nakhon Phanom, city of mountains, because of the remarkable mountains found in the province.


P

hra That Phanom is 50 kilometres from Nakhon Phanom town on Highway No. 212. It is an important Buddhist site of the province.

Phra That Phanom


T

his square-shaped pagoda is 53 meters high and was built during 657-857. It is believed that it originally had Khmer design that was renovated through the years to its present Laotian design. The pagoda enshrines the holy relics of Lord Buddha. On August 11, 1975 at 19.00 hrs., the entire pagoda collapsed after many days of rainstorm. The Thai public subsequently made considerable donations to rebuild the pagoda back to its original splendour. People placed many valuables inside and topped the pagoda with a 110-kilogram solid gold spire.


Phra That Tha U Then P hra That Tha Uthen is located opposite Hin Bun town in Laos. It is situated approximately 26 kilometers north of the city on Highway 212. Similar in style to Phra That Phanom, Phra That Tha Uthen is 66 meters high. Constructed in 1912, the chedi (pagoda) houses the relics of the Lord Buddhas' disciple brought from over from Yangon, Myanmar.


Loei


“ 5

City of the Sea of Mountains Coldest Place in Siam with Beautiful Flowers of Three Seasons”

20 kilometres from Bangkok and approximately 400 meters above sea level, Loei province was only relatively recently established as a tourist destination. As a result, it remains authentic and pristine. Bordering Laos, this northeastern province bears many similarities to the north of Thailand, even to the extent that people confuse its location. A place of great natural beauty and natural and cultural attractions, Loei has a rugged landscape featuring low mountains, waterfalls and vast tracts of open, fertile land forming plains that house the province’s municipality and the River Loei (which flows into the Mekong). Loei is also a province of extremes, not least its climate! Loei gets cold… sometimes very cold! The temperature can drop to 0?C in the cool season prompting the fogs and mists more associated with northern parts of the Kingdom. In stark contrast, during the hot season temperatures go off the chart and Loei becomes Thailand’s warmest province. Agriculture drives Loei’s economy and its rural communities remain intact tending crops as diverse as highland rice, Arabica coffee and lychees. As well as physical similarities with the north, Loei shares many cultural similarities that have blended to make the province a culturally unique part of Thailand. The province has excellent National Parks in Phu Kradung and Phu Reua making Loei an excellent place for hiking from mid-October to February. Loei is also home to the famous Bun Phra Wet Festival.


Phu Kradueng National Park

P

hu Kradueng is a mesa covering over 160,000 square meters. On top, there are pine trees, plants, and waterfalls. However, the most dramatic sight is a dramatic overhang, protected by a solitary pine tree. This area is important to the people in the area and the serves as symbol of the province.


P

hu Kradueng National Park is located in Amphoe Phu Kradueng in the Loei Province. The landscape consists of sandstone mountains and has many plants and pine trees. The National Park Office is in Tambon Si Than.


Phu Rua

National Park

P

hu Rua National Park, as with Phu Kradung, is located on the western mesas and is special for its profusion of unusual plants [ orchids, rhododendrons and pines ]. Phu Rua comprises 121 square kilometres [ 47 square miles ] and is situated on one of the flat topped sandstone plateaus with a maximum elevation of 1,365 meters [ 4,478 feet ]. The peak of Phu Rua is accessible by motor vehicle driving from Loei. Phu Rua is located in Loei and at its highest peak is 1,365 meters above sea level. The other lesser peaks are Phu Ku at 1,000 meters and Phu Sun at 1,035 meters above sea level. ''Phu'' is the Tai Lao word for mountain just as ''Doi'' is the Khon Muang word for mountain in Upper North Thailand.


P

hu Rua comprises open pine forest, savannah fields with diverse ground flora and large natural rockeries on which growRhododendrons and other epilithic plants.There are approximately 105 bird speciesand the animals to be seen are Barking Deer, squirrels and Siamese Hares. One interesting feature of Phu Rua is the rock formations cut by wind and rain into the sandstone. The wildlife at Phu Rua comprises barking deer, wild boar, monkeys and squirrels. The terrain is not desirable for larger mammals.


L

ess frequently visited than Phu Rua or Phu Kradung, Phu Luang is another mountainous National Park in the province of Loei. Boasting 1571 m peak, and a wide assortment of natural wildlife, Phu Luang is one of the most restrictedparks in Thailand, carefully preserved by the Forestry Department. One of these controls is a relatively steep entrance fee, nearly 700 baht for adults and 600 baht for children.


Phu Luang National Park

Wildlife Sanctuary T his jungle plateau with a cool climate the whole year has certain areas that are open tothe public. A trail leads from Lon Mon past a pineforest, a grass field, a flower field on a rock plateau,and various cliffs, for a total distance of about 6kilometres. From Pha Lon Tae, visitors can see PhuHo and Phu Kradueng. The sanctuary is coveredwith Lady’s Slipper orchids, white wild orchids,white and red rhododendrons and dendrobiums.Besides seeing animals, do not forget to visit thedinosaur footprint on the rock located on theeastern side of Phu Luang. This footprint isestimated to over 120 million years old. Inaddition, there are different types of forestsincluding mixed deciduous, dry evergreen and hillevergreen forests. However, the most distinguishingfeatures of Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary are thepine forests, savannah on the plains, mounds andstone terraces.


Wat Phra That Si Song Rak


P

hra That Si Song Rak is located on the PhraThat Si Song Rak bank of Man River about onekilometer away from Amphoe Dan Sai. Constructedin 1560, it commemorates the mutual cooperationbetween Krung Sri Ayutthaya and Krung Sri SatanaKanahut (Vientiane). The structure is about 30meters high and its annual celebrations areattended by thousands of people.


Chiang Khan

T

ucked behind the Mekong River northof Loei and west of Nong Khai, ChiangKhan is not to be missed. It offers the samebeautiful scenery and slow afternoons asother border towns, but steps it up a notchwith relative seclusion and spectacularguesthouses. Life remains fairly slow and isolated here along the meandering Mekong.With a soothing atmosphere and few sights todistract you, you’re free to kick back, enjoy the cultural enrichment, and rejuvenate.


Ubon Ratchathani


U

bonratchathani is the easternmost province in Thailand. There is a sign posted on the Mekhong River stating that from this point you can be first in Thailand to view the sunrise. Ubon is one of seventeen provinces that make up the Northeastern or Isaan Region of Thailand. The people here are the grassroots of the country. The service andnagricultural industries thrive because of Isaan.

A

province known for its Isarn style food which gets quite spicy even by Thai standards. There are also many local Thai handicrafts here as well as Thai silk. Ubon offers Thailand and it's culture for you who want a break from the beaches and tourist towns. Ubon and the northeast are the real Thailand, head upcountry and give us a visit.


Wat Thung Si Muang W W at Thung Si Muang was constructed during the reign of Rama III (1824-1851) to house a replica of the Buddha's footprint. Perhaps its most beautiful feature is the wooden tripitaka library (Ho Trai) that sits on stilts in a pond. It was designed in such a way to prevent insects (ants and termites) from reaching the palm scroll materials inside. The architecture is a mixture of Lao and Rattanakosin styles (Rattanakosin refers to the era after 1782, when Bangkok was the capital of Thailand).

at Thung Si Muang is located on Luang Road in the municipal area. The temple was built during the reign of King Rama III and has a beautiful ordination hall in the northeastern architectural style. A scripture hall is located in the middle of a pond, featuring a roof that shows the Burmese architectural style while the lintel was carved in Laotian architectural art. Mural paintings in this temple feature the civilisations and cultures of the people of Ubon Ratchathani over 200 years ago.


National Museum

T

he Ubon Ratchathani National Museum is located on the corner of Khuanthani Road and Upparat Road in a very attractive building. It was built in 1918 and was originally used as the offices of the Provincial Governor. A new City Hall was built in 1968 and in 1983 the then Governor presented the building to the Fine Arts Department for restoration and use as a museum. HRH Princess Sirindhorn presided over the inauguration ceremony on 30th June 1989.


A

series of rooms surrounds a large central hall containing Buddha images, which is used on occasion as a lecture hall. Either side of this hall are two rectangular garden areas. In one of the gardens is this wooden bell (you can see an even bigger one near the entrance to Wat Si Pradoo at the eastern end of Sapphasit Road):

Everyone will have their own idea as to the highlights of the main exhibition, but there are some particularly important exhibits, all of which were found in Ubon Ratchathani Province (although some were found in what are now Amnat Charoen and Yasothon, provinces that were created at a later date).


P

hotography is not allowed inside the museum, but if you particularly wish to take photographs you can appy to the Director as I did by asking at the ticket counter. Permission will be allowed or refused more or less immediately and involves a certain amount of formfilling, but this will only be required once permission has been granted.


Pha Taem

National Park


P

ha Taem National Park overlooks the Makong River and Laos. Here the view from the sandstone cliffs is special. Pha Taem National Park is northeast of Ubon Ratchathani City and follows the banks of the Mekong [ Mae Kong ] River. Immediately south of it and also facing Laos on the Mekong river is Kaeng Tana National Park which can also be visited on the same trip.

Pha Taem is also important for its collection of prehistoric paintings which are over 3,000 years old. These 300 paintings stretch along some 180 meters of rock and are the finest prehistoric paintings in Thailand. The subjects painted include, animals, human hands, human like figures, hunting scenes and fish. Here also are numerous waterfalls including, Soi Sawan, Na Muang, Thung Na, and Saeng Chan waterfall.

Other important geographic formations are the Chana Dai Cliff and the sand stone formations [ Sao Chaliang ]. The best times to see the wild flowers are during the months of October to November inclusive.


Pha Taem Ubon Ratchathani


Kaeng Tana

National Park

K

aeng Tana was declared as the 31st national park of Thailand on 13 July 1981. It lies in Khong Jiam district of Ubon Ratchathani province.

The 80 square kilometers park contains small hills, under water caves with fishes. Moon river flow through the park, and later meet the Mekong river on Thai - Lao border. In the middle of Khong river there is a large rock island.

The average elevation is about 200 meters above sea level. Ban Tad mountain is the highest point at 543 meters above sea level. Compared to the surrounding flat lands of Ubon Ratchathani, the park is not too hot in summer and it is not very cool in the cool season.

The park is coverd by deciduous forest which has dwarf Shorea obtusa, Shorea siamenses, Dipterocarpus obtusifollus and so on. Besides, there are some dry evergreen forests found parts of the park. Main plants are Eugenia cumini, Pterocarpus macrocarpus, xylia, kerrii, Teak, grassland and bamboo.


The Central

Ayutthaya Kanchanaburi Bangkok Lop Buri


Ayutthaya


Old capital city food larder of the country poet laureates galore, and national heroes”

T

he ancient city of Ayutthaya, or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, The Thai capital for 417 years, is one of Thailands major tourist attractions. Many ancient ruins and art works can be seen in a city that was founded in 1350 by King U - Thong when the Thais were forced southwards by northern neighbours. During the period of Ayutthaya being the Thai capital, 33 kings of different dynasties ruled the kingdom until it was sacked by the Burmese in 1767. Ayutthaya is 76 kilometres north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins. Such ruins indicate that Ayutthaya was one of Indo - China๏ฟฝs most prosperous cities. Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, a vast stretch of historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city, has been included in UNESCO๏ฟฝs list of world heritage since 13 December, 1991. Ayutthaya covers 2,556.6 square kilometres, and is administratively divided into 16 districts (Amphoes). It is conveniently accessible due to good roads and a short distance from Bangkok.


Chedi Phra Si Suriyothai

C

hedi Phra Si Suriyothai ,the memorial for the first heroine in Thai history, is located in Ko Muang to the west. Among various places of interest within the Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, this ancient place is of much importance as a proof of honour that ancient Thai society gave to Thai women. Phra Si Suriyothai was the royal consort of Phra Mahachakkraphat. In 1548, only 7 months after being crowned as king he was challenged by a Burmese attack under the supervision of Phrachao Tabeng Chaweti and his warlord, Burengnong. The Burmese army intruded into the kingdom through the Three Pagoda Pass in Kanchanaburi and came to set up military camps around the royal compond. During the fighting on elephant back, Phra Mahachakkaraphat faced danger. Phra Si Suriyothai, clad in a warrior๏ฟฝs suit, interrupted the fighting with the intention to provide assistance for her husband. She rode her elephant in the way of Pharachao Prae, a Burmese commander, and was cut to death by his sword. After the end of the war, Phra Mahachakkraphat arranged a funeral and established the cremation site to be a temple named Wat Sopsawan.


I

n the reign of King Rama V, there was a quest for the historical sites as mentioned in the Royal Chronical. The exact location of Wat Sopsawan was identified with a large indented stupa which was renamed by King Rama VI as Chedi Phra Si Suriyothai.

In 1990, the government assigned the Fine Arts Department and the National Security Command to restore the chedi, which had deteriorated over time. Fortunately, on 20 May 1990, some antique objects were found such as a white rock crystal Buddha image in the posture of subduing Mara, a chedi replica, and a golden reliquary. These ancient objects were brought to be under the care of the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum.


Wat Phra Si Sanphet

T

his is the most important temple within the Royal Palace compound and corresponds to The Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok's Grand Palace. In 1500 a 16-meters high standing Buddha was cast by King Ramathipodi II. The image was covered with gold weighing some 170 kilogrammes. In 1767, the Burmese set fire to the image to melt off the gold, completely destroying the image and the temple.


N

earby are three Ceylonese-style chedis built during the 15th century to enshrine the ashes of three Ayutthayan kings. These were renovated in 1956.


Wat Ratburana

T

his temple is situated opposite the Maha That temple and should he considered its twin. It is the most important temple built by King Boromraja II, the seventh Ayutthayan King, at his brother's cremation site. During restoration in 1958, many ancient valuables were found, including Royal Regalia made of gold and jewels, rare and antique jewel and gold pieces of superb craftsmanship, and golden Buddha images.


Wat Phra Maha That

P

robably the best known temple in Ayutthaya, Wat Phra Mahathat is part of the World Heritage site in the old city. Apart from the famous Buddha head in the roots of a Bodhi Tree the site is somewhat disappointing. Most of the original chedi and brickwork are decayed and there only a few Buddha statues that have survived the test of time.


Kanchanaburi


“

A province of ancient community three pagodas pass, precious stones River Kwae Bridge, Minerals and waterfall resources�

K

anchanaburi is Thailand's fourth largest province. Kanchanaburi covers some 19,486 square kilometres, and borders Myanmar (Burma) to the west . Kanchanaburi is the site of the world-famous Bridge Over The River Kwai, immortalized in books and movies, and is noted for rugged natural beauty where mountains and river valleys have inspired development of hydroelectric power and where labyrinthine dam reservoirs provide further scenic elements to the province's natural beauty.


Erawan T

National Park

he Erawan Waterfall was really an impressive series of seven waterfalls each with a shape and character all its own. All the waterfalls typically fell over limestone cliffs resulting in colorful plunge pools as well as interesting rounded formations reminiscent of something that appeared to belong in a cave. However, we also saw some unsigned waterfalls that seemed legitimate but didn't appear to count towards the seven.

In any case, we thought this waterfall had it all - the scenery, the swimming, and the exercise. It was no wonder why it was popular and quite busy here. Of course, given how typically hot it was in this part of Thailand, I guess the swimming or playing in the plunge pools of many of these waterfalls as well came as no surprise.

It took us about 3.5 hours to do the entire round trip to visit all seven of the Erawan Waterfalls. From the car park, the trail started off flat (there was even an option to take a tram which we didn't do) ultimately reaching the first waterfall. This one didn't seem to have many swimmers though there were a handful of people scrambling around for a closer look. And maybe the lack of people in the water here might have been a big reason why we saw lots of fish in the travertine pools further downstream of the falls. In fact, I couldn't remember the last time we had seen so much fish before a waterfall in any of our waterfalling excursions. And the travertine pools really reminded me of Havasu Falls.


A

short distance later, the activity picked up and there were lots of people swimming, wading, and even scrambling into a small alcove behind the second waterfall (see photo at the top of this page). We thought this one was one of the more scenic ones given its unusual rounded underlying limestone over which the water flowed. And we had a good time taking photos from here before beginning to climb up to the waterfalls further ahead.

On the way, we were stopped at a check point where we had to register with the authorities there while I recalled having to leave some kind of collateral (Thai baht I believe) in exchange for the plastic water bottles we were carrying with us. I thought it was a good system (to minimize the amount of litter in the ecologically sensitive areas) though they probably should've charged a little more money to really make it attractive to bring the water bottles back here and get back their money. It took a few more minutes of uphill hiking before we finally encountered the third Erawan Waterfall. And like the first waterfall, this one also had lots of fish swimming in its plunge pool. However, this one was significantly taller than the first two (possibly 20-25m I think) though not nearly as wide. It was up there with the 2nd waterfall as one of our favorites in the lot.


T

Bridge On The River Kwai

he real name for this famous waterway is actually "Kwae" (pronounced "Kware") and is a tributary of the Mae Klong (Mekong). The river has gained international fame due the construction of the Death Railway and the famous "Bridge on the River Kwai". The curved spans of the bridge are the original sections. Although the movie of the same name is highly inaccurate in it's facts, there's no question the horror that the prisoners of war had to endure during construction of two bridges. All over Kanchanaburi are testements to the suffering of the labourers who were forced to work under appaling, inhumane conditions.

An estimated 16,000 war This event brings in prisoners and over 100,000 local thousands of visitors and is quite spectacular! River boats and labourers died between 1942-1943. The celebrated war floating restaurants cruise up and down cemeteries and war museums are the famous old waterway offering beautifully kept and maintained and excellent views of the show and help keep Kanchanaburi in the minds of some superb photo opportunities! historians from all over the world! The River Kwai is an important landmark in central Thailand. Along the banks are several guesthouses, hotels and some excellent restaurants. The main "Travellers District" of Kanchanaburi follows the river down from the bridge. Each year in November is the "Light & Sound Show", which replays the events leading to the destruction of the bridge using impressive lasers, fireworks and sounds!


Chalerm Rattana Kosin National Park

C

haloem Rattanakosin National Park is with its 59 km² area the smallest park in Kanchanaburi province. Its main features are fertile forests, steep limestone mountains, waterfalls and mysterious caves. The park was designated in February 1980 as Thailand's 17th national park. The forested, limestone mountains of the park are the watershed of Mae Klong river. The highest peak in the park is Kam Paeng Mountain which reaches 1260 meters.

The park is mostly covered by dry evergreen forest, deciduous forest with some areas of bamboo forest. There are many kinds of animal in the park, such as leopard, deer, white-handed gibbons and other monkeys. Over 60 species of bird have been recorded in the park, including Oriental Pied Hornbills, Francolin, Tickell's Blue and Red-Flycatchers and Coppersmith Barbets. A special type of animal is the water dog or also called the barking tree frog, a rare frog with a croak that is remarkably similar to a dog's bark.


Bangkok


A

lot of first time visitors aren't quite sure what to expect when first arriving in the capital of exotic Thailand, and some may be disappointed by their first impressions on the way into town - endless high rise buildings, busy expressway flyovers and billboards of western companies advertising in English. Yet while Bangkok has undoubtedly embraced westernization and modernization, you only need to look a little under the surface to see that it remains undeniably a Thai place at heart. In between the skyscrapers and sophisticated shopping centers there's still the remarkable Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace (pictured), the Temple of the Dawn and many more. Traditions live on too: don't be surprised, for example, to find a large dedicated spirit house built for good luck alongside almost every major building, or to see files of Buddhist monks making their early morning alms round - and it's surely one of the only major cities in the world where seeing an elephant paraded round the streets hardly even ranks as being unusual.


Wat Phra Kaew

W

at Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the adjoining Grand Palace together form the greatest spectacle for the visitor to Bangkok. Despite the fact that the whole compound is so full of tourists you spend half the time trying to avoid getting in people's photos, it's still a pretty amazing place to visit. It consists of over 100 brightly colored buildings, golden spires and glittering mosaics, and dates back to 1782, when Bangkok was founded. When you enter the compound, you first of all see Wat Phra Kaew and the nearby attractions, and then move on to the Grand Palace afterwards.

Wat Phra Kaew itself is the main attraction though. This is Thailand's most important and sacred temple, so you're expected to act with due respect inside it. It houses the tiny (between 60 and 75 cm) Emerald Buddha, which is located high above the heads of the worshippers and tourists. Not much is known for certain about the statue, except that it isn't actually made of emerald but rather of green jade or jasper. Getting a good look at it is difficult as photography is forbidden inside the temple, and it's perched so high up inside it's glass box that it's difficult to really see.


Wat Arun

T

he famous Wat Arun, perhaps better known as the Temple of the Dawn, is one of the best known landmarks and one of the most published images of Bangkok. It consists of a massive elongated prang (Khmer-style tower), and is surrounded by four smaller prangs. The prang is described by the Tourism Authority of Thailand as 104m high, while most other sources quote figures around 80-85m. It is decorated by bits of porcelain which had previously been used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China, a hallmark of the reign of King Rama III. The Wat had a brief period as host of the celebrated Emerald Buddha, which now resides in nearby Wat Phra Kaew. The Wat really looks better from a distance than close up, and you're not missing out too much even if you only view from across the river. The grounds are fairly pleasant and peaceful though, with good murals and a main Buddha image supposedly designed by King Rama II. The mythical guardians here are also quite impressive, though very similiar to those at Wat Phra Kaew. It is possible to walk a limited way up the (very steep) stairs of the main prang, which gives a reasonable view of the Chao Phraya river. Despite its name (coming from Aruna, the Indian god of the dawn), the best views and photos of Wat Arun are in the evening with the sun setting behind it. There are some restaurants on the opposite side of the river that are good for watching this, though you'd be lucky to see the image of Wat Arun that's on all the postcards - that of the red sky sunset with the sun setting directly behind the temple. Sunset is around 6pm - 7pm all year round in Bangkok.


Wat Pho

W

at Pho , or Wat Phra Chetuphon as it is generally known to the Thais, is mainly famous for the huge Reclining Buddha statue it houses. At 20 acres large, it is the largest Wat in Bangkok, and is technically the oldest too, as it was built around 200 years before Bangkok became Thailand's capital. However, today the Wat today bears virtually no resemblance to that originally constructed, as it was almost entirely rebuilt by Rama I when the capital was moved to Bangkok. It holds the dual honors of having both Thailand's largest reclining Buddha image and the most number of Buddha images in Thailand. The highly impressive gold plated reclining Buddha is 46 meters long and 15 meters high, and is designed to illustrate the passing of the Buddha into nirvana. The feet and the eyes are engraved with mother-of-pearl decoration, and the feet also show the 108 auspicious characteristics of the true Buddha.

The large grounds of Wat Pho contain more than 1000 Buddha images in total, most from the ruins of the former capitals Ayuthaya and Sukhothai. The grounds are split in two by Chetuphon road. The northern section is generally the only one most people go to, and it includes a large bot (temple hall), enclosed by 394 bronze Buddha images. Outside the bot, there are 152 marble slabs depicting the second half of the epic Ramakian story. Also near here are four chedis, constructed to honor the first three Chakri kings (two for King Rama III). There are also a massive 91 others Chedis of varying sizes arounds the grounds, along with chapels, rock gardens, an array of different types of statues, inscriptions, belltowers and resident fortune tellers. The library is nearby too, decorated impressively with figures and pagodas made of porcelain, in much the same way as Wat Arun across the river. The much less visited southern section has less of interest, but makes a good place to find a monk to chat to for a while. Most would welcome the chance to practice their English on visitors.


L

umpini Park, Bangkok's oldest and largest park, is an inner-city haven of tranquility, fresh air and shade - offering city dwellers the perfect connection to nature. Named after the birthplace of the Lord Buddha in Nepal, the park is more than half a million square kilometres big, and the habitat of various flora and fauna.

Historically, it dates back to the 1920s, and was a gift from King Rama VI to the people of Bangkok. Under the royal vision, Lumpini was to be an exhibition centre for Thai crafts and flower displays. Although this original vision was never fulfilled, Lumpini Park has over the years grown into the endearing centre for outdoor leisure activities for Bangkokians, who would convene before and after sunset to enjoy a round of jog, light workout, aerobics and a host of other recreational activities.

Lumpini Park


K

hao San Road in Bangkok, Thailand is now a world famous destination for travelers and budget tourists. The extraordinary popularity of the area coupled with the exposure it received from the book and film 'The Beach' and countless newspaper and magazine articles has given Khao San Road a solid niche in the world's popular culture. So, what's it all about then? Khao San Road and the surrounding area is a maze of hotels, guesthouses, travel agents, restaurants, pubs, clubs‌ Whatever you are looking for! It's a world within a world where you can arrange your whole Southeast Asia trip, sample some great food that won't cost an arm and a leg, and find somewhere to stay that meets you exact requirements and budget! So popular is Khao San Road as a destination that it is now best to book somewhere to stay to avoid disappointment. Below are listed some of the areas prime accommodation either located on Khao San Road or a few minutes away. Check it out - coming to Bangkok, Thailand and not going to Khao San Road is now equivalent to going to Paris and missing the Eiffel Tower - so make the most of it and book somewhere to stay so you can have a good look round‌

Khao San Road


Lopburi


National Treasures of King Narai’s Palace and Phra Kan Shrine Famous Prang Sam Yot City of Din So Phong Marl well-known Pa Sak Cholasit Dam and Golden Land of King Narai the Great”

L

op Buri is an interesting town of 153 kilometers north of Bangkok. It was one of the oldest capitals of the Khmers who expanded their power to the town of Lawo and Lop Buri at the beginning of the 10th century and ruled over the area until the middle of the 13th century when the Thais, who had already migrated from the North and had settled down in this country, fought against them and declared the independence of the Thais. Since then Lop Buri has been ruled by the Thais. Many monuments in Khmer style were constructed in Lop Buri such as the Hindu Shrine, Phra Kan Shrine etc. These monuments still exist in abundance.


Phra Prang Sam Yot

P

hra Prang Sam Yot once a Hindu Shrine, is the landmark of Lop Buri, and only 200 metres from the train station. It was constructed in Lop Buri style with laterite and sandstone decorated with stucco. The adjoining prangs signify the Hindu Trinity of Brahman, Vishnu and Siva. In the reign of King Narai, the Shrine was converted to a Buddhist temple as some Buddhist designs can still be seen on it.


N

Narai Ratchaniwet Palace

arai Ratchaniwet Palace built by King Narai of Ayutthaya took 12 years to be completed (1665-1677). It is located in the centre of the town between Ratchadamnoen Rd. and Pratu Chai Rd. which is not too far away from the railway station. Most of the structures of the Palace are of King Narai's period. Now the whole compound has been turned into the National Museum of Lop Buri. Apart from ancient art objects displayed in the Museum, every pavillion in the royal palace has an interesting history.


Sunflower Field

T

his is the largest sunflower field in Thailand, located in Tambon ( Bong Sarika, Amphoe Phatthana Nikom. Travel 30 kilometres along Lop Burt-Saraburi Road, then turn left into Highway No.21 and travel further for 15 kilometres. The beautiful sunflower field have become a tourist attraction when the sun flower trees are in full blossom from November to January.


Statue of King Narai T

he great The Statue of King Narai the Great is situated at the entrance of the town. King Narai the great had Lop Buri built as the second capital and made it prosperous. He also ordered his architects and his engineers to build Phra Narai Ratchaniwet Palace, Pavilions, fortifications and the Buddhist sanctuary. He was the first to bring modern technology into use in the observatory and in laying terracotta pipes to supply water to the palace.

Apart from this, for his foreign policy, King Narai was It the first Thai Monarch to establish a diplomatic relation with France and attribute friendly policy towards other foreigners especially the Europeans.


The South Krabi Phang Nga Phuket Songklah


Krabi


“

The province of coal mines, Fossil shell beach towering mountains, beautiful streams, an abundance of islands palm plantations, sandy beaches, wonderful sea world Emerald of Andaman, and heavenly Phi Phi Islands�

K

rabi, a province with 160 kilometres of coastline along the Andaman Sea in southern Thailand, is home to some of the most extraordinary natural wonders of the world. Idyllic islands and coves, powder-white beaches, stunning coral reefs, dramatic limestone karst formations, lush jungle and mangroves are all within easy reach. Just 80 minutes from Bangkok by air and a few hours by road or boat from Phuket, Krabi is a dream locale for nature lovers, adventurers and romantics alike. Many plan to come to Krabi only for a day or two, but fall in love instantly; Krabi is an itinerary-changer. Its power of attraction is born from the beauty of the natural surroundings combined with the graciousness of its residents. There’s no place on earth like Krabi...


PHI-PHI Islands

K

rabi's main attractions are the numerous and yet unspoiled beaches nearby that offer a wealth of snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. The most important is Hat Noppharat Thara-Ko Phi Phi National Park, better known as Phi-Phi Island, due west and south of Phuket Town. The park contains extensive mainland beaches, over 80 lesser islands, and two islands of outstanding physical yet contrasting beauty which have become the symbol of the perfect tropical island. The boat ride to Phi Phi Lea and Phi Phi Don from Krabi Town's Chao Fah Bridge Pier, at the right time of year, November to April, is a pleasant journey and can take anything from an hour and a quarter to three hours depending on the size of boat taken. The rest of the year conditions in the Andaman Sea can be choppy and the weather can cause involuntary changes of travel plans while at sea.

Phi Phi Lea covers an area of just six square kilometer and is characterized by rugged, steep and lightly vegetated cliffs rising from the seabed, hidden bays concealing small pristine beaches and calm clear water whose colour is a kaleidoscope of greens and blues. Its Viking Caves gets its name from the ancient murals depicting Viking-like sailing vessels. The caves are home to sea swallows whose nests are much sort after for the Chinese delicacy Birds Nest Soup.


Thum Sua

T

hum Sua (Tiger Cave) is nine kilometres from Krabi town and home to a meditation monastery. It has a collection of Thai Buddhist and Chinese objects. Khao Phanom Bencha National Park covers an area of 50 square kilometres of forested mountains, streams and waterfalls. It is a 30-minute drive from Krabi Town Two waterfalls, Namtok Huai Sad and Nomtok Huai To, number among the major park attractions. A popular cave, Tam Khao Phung, is filled with stalagmites and stalactities. Nature lovers will also enjoy the Tam Bok Korani Arboretum, a 40minute drive from Krabi town. This natural reservoir home to hundreds of birds provides an ideal setting for picnics and swimming.


Emerald Pool

E

merald Pool came from the warm water stream. Plain forests in the lower southern style hot spring pools, hot water pool, three clear emerald green with temperatures around 30-50 degrees Celsius. Around the forest trees are green bushy plants that are attractive as well as for birds. More difficult as Black-breasted Pitta. Rufous-collared Kingfisher and Black Hornbill.


E

merald Pool in Krabi is one of the most interesting Eco-tourism places I have visited in a long time. This stunning place also known as Sa Morakot or Thung Tieo Emerald Pond is located about an hours drive from Ao Nang in Krabi. The pool showcases the amazing green aquamarine colored waters after a perfect nature trek through the beautiful Khao Pra Bang Khram Wildlife Reserve. For nature lovers or Bird Watchers, this is one place that you should not miss out when visiting Krabi in Southern Thailand. The route of a natural study “Joe Cliff (Tung Teo)� that Named after Tina Jo Cliff British who introduced the idea to maintain conservation of tropical rain forest land is to prevent damage to commemorate their intention, and a memorial for Tina Jo Cliff, That is the nature of this line a path Tina Jo Cliff (Zhang field).

The route are walking distance of 2.7 km along the path are signs convey to wait to tell stories for travelers in the forest to study by themself. The starting point is before the Emerald Pool of Sanctuary wildlife Kho Pra- Bang Kram around 800 meters route is through forest small, the wild plains under the remaining few in the South of Thailand, This path shows the characteristics of tropical rain forest under a truly flat surface. After it was established wildlife sanctuaries, Kho Pra- Bang Kram.


Phang Nga


Massive mining industry, Ban Klang Nam “floating house” delightful caves, strangely-shaped hills Jampun flower, rich in resources”

T

he province of Phang-nga is located some 788 kilometres from Bangkok. It covers an area of 4,170 square kilometres. Phang-nga is a province with two characters - land and sea - and packed with national parks that guard magnificent scenery with immensely different attractions. Most famous is Ao Phang-nga National Park, a geological wonder filled with islets, sunken caverns and startling rock formations rising sheer out of the sea. The bay is extremely sheltered ideal for expeditions of sea canoes to explore the many fascinating caverns with their own eco-systems.

Phang-nga's andaman coast offers parks of a different kind. The island groups of Surin and Similan are renowned for their beautiful unspoilt beaches and spectacular underwater scenery, attracting divers from around the world. Khao Lak is a coastal park full of birds, mammals and scenic waterfalls, with a number of hotel developments after Tsunami disaster in December 2004.


Phang-nga Bay

T

he Phang-nga National Park covers a vast area both onshore and offshore of about 250,000 rais (100,000 acres), covering the areas of Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Takua Thung, and Amphoe Ko Yao. It was declared a national park on 29th April B.E. 2524 (1981). Ao P h a n g - n g a N a t i o n a l Park is the second seacoast national park after Tarutao National Park. It has striking scenic views because of a mass of limestone formations scattered around in the sea near the shore. Also, as a result of natural changes; caves and rock formations have been formed. The park is also fertile with mangroves. Best time to visit is between December and April. The most popular way to visit is a boat ride to various islands, which include:


K

Ko Panyi Ko Phanak K

K

Ko Miang Sa Nang Manora S

o Panyi is a small island made from limestone hills and plains. This is an interesting Muslim community. There are about 200 households of fishermen. On the island, there are many restaurants and souvenir shops.

o Miang is the second largest island where the office and the guesthouses of the national park are located. The island also has beautiful beaches and coral reefs.

o Phanak is a beautiful island with caves that house stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as small cascade, which flows onto several tiers.

Forest Park

a Nang Manora Forest Park is located in Nop Pring Subdistrict. To go to the park, you have to follow Phang-nga - Krabi Route (Highway No.4) about 3 hours, then turn right at the intersection next to the power station.


Khao Phing Kan

K

hao Phing Kan Named so because of its nature of being split into two halves. The smaller rock slid down, with its foundation stuck under the ground and the upper parts still leaning against each other. Behind the mountain is a superb scenery. Looking into the sea one finds Khao Tapu, a nail-shaped island, a solitary pillar in the sea. It is the most remarkable attraction of Ao Phang-nga National Park.


Ko Similan T

his is the largest island with a long curving bay and fine sandy beach. At the northern part, there are large stones of different shapes, including one looking like a boat and another like a sailboat. It is suitable for diving to look at coral reefs and colourful fish.


Surin Islands

T

his world-renowned marine national park, occupying an area of 128,000 sq.km., is 50 kilometres off the west coast of Phang-nga in the Andaman Sea. Due to the plentiful natural beauty found on the islands and the abundant coral gardens and marine lives under the sea, the Similan Islands are rated by the Skin Diving Magazine of USA as one of the top ten island groups on earth. Lined from north to south, the nine islands are: Ko Bon, Ko Ba Ngu, Ko Similan, Ko Payu, Ko Miang, Ko Payan, Ko Payang and Ko Hu Yong.

Marine National Park


T

his temple is situated in Krasom subcounty, about 7 km. from Phang-nga town. Take the Phang-nga -- Khok Kloy Road (Route 4) until arrive at Km. 31, then turn to the right. The temple is about 1 km. down the road. Called Wat Tham (Cave Temple) by the localpeople,thisisanimportanttempleforitsbeingan archaeological site of the province. In the vicinity of the temple, there is a limestone mountain riddled with caves large and small.The most important one is Tham Yai or Big Cave which is located at the lowest level and serves as the entrance to other caves. It is about 20 metres wide and 40 metres long. The cave walls are decorated with earthenwares of various colours, sizes and designs. Inside the cave are stucco Buddha images and a splendid 15metre-long reclining Buddha.

Wat Suwan Khuha


Phuket


“

The pearl of Andaman, number one of the South about two heroines, wonderful place of golden sand beaches meritorious priest Loung Por Cham�

P

huket has a lot more to offer its visitors other than its natural heritage sea, sand, sky, beach, forest, and world renowned diving sites. Sino-Portuguese architecture casts its spell delighting travelers to the city, while Phuket-style hospitality has never failed to impress visitors from all walks of life. In addition, accommodations ranging from world-class resorts to tropical-style bungalows have warmly catered to the different needs of travelers. For seafood lovers, there is a lot more to sample than just Phuket's famous lobster. Altogether, these characteristics have made Phuket a truly unique destination.


Thao Thep Kasattri and T hao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon were styles awarded to Than Phuying Chan, wife of the then recently deceased governor, and her sister, Khun Muk, who defended Phuket Province in the late eighteenth century. According to popular belief, they repelled a five-week invasion by Burmese in 1785, by dressing up as male soldiers and rallying Siamese troops. Chan and Muk were later honored by King Rama I with the Thai honorific Thao, as Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon, respectively.

The "Heroine's Monument" honouring them is situated on the main highway (402) between the Phuket International Airport and Phuket town.


Thao Sri Sunthon Monument


Old Phuket Town

C

hange is inevitable, and necessary to keep the culture and society alive and full of vitality. However, change should come slowly and gradually; all cultures, old and new, have their dangers, with problems to be solved. To adopt new cultures which are wholly unsuited to the particular needs and characteristics of the place and its people, is a dangerous game. Cultures are best kept varied, with a happy blend of characteristics and traditions which harmonize with the whole. Where better can this be seen, than in Phuket, where a colourful and vibrant history has led to a diverse mix of peoples, cultures and religions living peacefully side-by-side.


Wat Chalong

W

at Chalong is Phuket’s most important Buddhist temple and is the biggest and most ornate of Phuket’s 29 Buddhist monasteries. The architecture is typical of wats found throughout Thailand. Wat Chalong is associated with the revered monks, Luang Pho Chaem and Luang Pho Chuang, both of whom were famous for there work in herbal medicine and tending to the injured. During the tin miners’ rebellion of 1876 they mobilized aid for the injured on both sides. They also mediated in the rebellion, bringing the warring parties together to resolve their dispute. Statues honoring them stand in the sermon hall (viharn). Many Thais come here to be blessed by the monks and receive a good luck charm in the form of a string tied around the wrist, which they believe protects them from injury and illness.


Many local Thais and Asian tourists will set off fire crackers and ask for the lucky lottery numbers, and have their fortune told. Just inside the main hall on the floor before the image are two cans of what looks like shaved bamboo chopsticks. Pick one up and shake the can back and forth rhythmically until one of the sticks works its way to the top and falls to the floor. Read the number, then walk around the corner to the right where there is a wooden cabinet on the wall. Open the drawer with the corresponding number and take one of the slips of paper inside. Get someone to translate it for you or hold onto it until you get back to your hotel where the desk clerk can translate it. Also on the floor are several pairs of red wooden blocks made from bamboo roots and shaped like twin halves of a mango. These help you make decisions. Pose a question that requires a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Toss the a pair blocks in the air and watch how they land on the floor. If both land with the same side up the answer is ‘no’; if they land, one up and one down, the answer is ‘yes’. Whichever form of divination you choose, be sure to leave a donation at the alter. It will go towards the upkeep of the shrine.


Patong Beach

P

atong Beach is a beach on Phuket's west coast. It is the main tourist resort in Phuket and contains the centre of Phuket's nightlife and cheap shopping on the island. The beach became popular with western tourists, especially Europeans, in the late 1980s. Numerous large hotels and chain hotels are located in Patong Patong Beach is maybe more famous for its nightlife than the 2-kilometer beach that runs the entire length of Patong. Nightlife is centered on two main areas Bangla Road and Paradise Complex, with Bangla Road being predominantly straight and Paradise Complex being predominantly gay. Much mixing of the two scenes occurs due to Phuket Island's tolerant nature.


Surat Thani


City of 100 islands, delicious rambutan big shells and red eggs, center of Buddhism”

T

he largest province of the South, Surat Thani was once a provincial capital of the 10th century Indonesian Srivijaya Empire, and now covers an area of approximately 13,000 square kilometers of both low basins and high plateaus with forested mountains, as well as some of Thailand’s most famous islands including Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and the Mu Koh Ang Thong Marine National Park. The name of Surat Thani may mean "City of the Good People" but Surat Thani is also known as “the province of a thousand islands” -- many of which lay off the coast in the Gulf of Thailand, including the archipelago that contains Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, and the Mu Koh Ang Thong Marine National Park.


Koh Nang Yuan

K

o Nang Yuan is a group of three islands northwest of Ko Tao. The pretty little islands are interconnected by a long sandy beach. The long stripe of smooth white sand can be explored on foot. The beaches on the islands are undisturbed and quiet, and they are all clean. The highlight of Nang Yuan is the beautiful scenery of the underwater world. The most magnificent and deepest spot is called Kohng Hin Nang Yuan which has unspoiled and untouched coral reefs.

Nang Yuan is also good for snorkeling. Just 10 m away from the shore, the deepwater coral reefs and marine life are clearly seen in the transparent blue seas and the bright sun. The stunning view of a panoramic scene of the sandy beach that links all three islands together can be reached by a 50 m staircase.


Khao Sok

National Park

K

hao Sok National Park in Southern Thailand is an amazing place. It is covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, huge limestone mountains shooting straight up in the air, deep valleys, breathtaking lakes, exciting caves, wild animals and much more. Khao Sok is perfectly situated on the mainland between Phuket, Krabi, Khao Lak and Koh Samui, the most popular destinations in southern Thailand. It is a fantastic place to go on vacation. Elephant trekking, trekking on foot, canoeing and jeep safaris are all possible activities, which will give you the experience of a lifetime. We also recommend tours to visit various locations in Khao Sok. One of the most interesting areas is stunningly beautiful Cheow Larn Lake in the heart of the National Park with its floating raft houses and luxury tents. In addition to recommended tours Khaosok.com features information on the vast variety of flora and fauna in Khao Sok, as well as facts and history about the area. We aim to promote and preserve Khao Sok by making you appreciate this beautiful area just as much as we do.


Mu Koh Ang Thong T his comprises some 40 islands about 20 kilometres or two hours by boat northwest of Koh Samui. The park covers 250 square kilometres, of which approximately one fifth is land mass. The most attractive islands include Koh Wua Ta Lap, Koh Mae Ko, Koh Prayat, Koh Sam Sao, Koh Nai Put and Koh Wua Te. Most islands comprise limestone masses reaching heights of up to 400 metres, and fringed by beaches and rain forest.

Marine National Park

An emerald saltwater lake known as Tha-le Nai (Inland Sea) on Koh Mae Ko is the park’s major scenic attraction, and entails a mildly strenuous climb. The resultant views are well worth the effort. Another popular venue is Koh Sam Sao where an extensive span of coral reef and a huge rock arch offer scenic fascination.


Wat Khao Suwan Pradit

M

ost tourists only know Don Sak , the easternmost district of Surat Thani province, only because the main ferry from the mainland to Ko Samui leaves near this small town. Though it is not that spectacular, a stop-over in the town is a worth it, not just the sea food restaurant directly at the mouth of the small river into the sea. On the hill overlooking the town is the temple Khao Suwan Pradit literally the "hill of artifical gold".

The buildings at the entrance, the area usually used for parking the park, are not much spectacular, the only interesting was a smaller shrine with the mummy of a monk inside. I guess this is Luang Pho Choi, who founded the temple in 1982. To me it seemed quite strange to have him laid out in that glass shrine.


B

ut the much more interesting place is reached after walking up the long stairs. These lead to the hilltop pagoda, a beautiful white chedi surrounded by a building. This chedi enshrines a Buddha relic, originally from Chiang Mai. But for me as a non-Buddhist, apart from the beautiful building the view from the hill to the sea was much more breathtaking. One can see the Ang Thong archipelago and Ko Samui easily, as well as look down to the town center.

As this temple and especially the chedi is the most important landmark of Don Sak, it is no wonder the municipality Don Sak uses it in their official emblem . Quite nicely to see in the top of the street signs, like the one of the road from the town center to the temple.


Thailand Travel  

Thailand Travel of 541153015

Thailand Travel  

Thailand Travel of 541153015

Advertisement