Fun things to do in Central & Eastern Thailand

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    Erawan National Park: bath under the water falls

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    Erawan Ntl Park can be easily reached from Kanchanaburi by car or with one of the tours that get here.
    The Park is famous for its waterfall. Actually it should be waterfalls, because they are at least 7 bigger steps and unnummerable smaller ones.
    You can easily walk up the several steps and to the top, but it takes some time. Come earlier in the morning, walk up fast and down slower. Find a place to have a bath or swim in one of the many pools under the waterfalls. You can actually get lucky and have no one around (the chances get better the higher you go).

    The picture shows step 5 where we rested. It can get quite hot during the day, but for this the water is here.

    Take your swimming gear or do it as the Thai and bath in your clothes (I guess it is not so easy to walk down then, but as you like).

    Food and drinks are not allowed to be taken after step No2. And this is controlled.

    Entrance to the Ntl Park is 200 Baht per person, but the ticket should be ok for the Sai Yok Ntl park as well if you go the same day.

    The way to the waterfalls will be closed after 4 or 5 p.m.

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    Sai Yok National Park: more waterfalls

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    Right behind Nam Tok you find this waterfall next to the street.
    A nice place for Thais to have a picnic together with a bath or a shower and a lot use this, on a weekend excursion too. Further down (follow the signs) is a spring with warm water.

    Right next to the waterfall you can see an old locomotive with a steam engine. It is the end of the railroads they were building. The Hellfire pass (some kms north) was supposed to be the extension for this, but was never finished.

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    Kanchanaburi: Bridge over River Kwai

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    Here is the bridge that stood model for the roman of Pierre Boulle with the same name.
    Kanchanaburi is sometimes also called Kan or Kanburi and is visited by Thai and foreigners as well. The area is like a close retreat for the people of Bangkok, Japanese and others come to see the war museums and the historical places.

    Most things you will need as a visitor you can find in the area south of the Bridge at the roads parallel to the River. Guest houses, hotels, bars, restaurants etc.

    The bridge itself was smaller than I expected. The old parts are the round bows, the parts that have been destroyed in the war and rebuilt are square.

    A must-do is a small walk over the bridge. Under your feet you can look down to the water (far down). Just take care of the other people and don't forget that there are still trains crossing the bridge. If this happens while you are on it, you have to get on one of the small platforms at the pillars.

    Note: if you are adressed by some girls with a "take picture with me?", this does mean that if you do, you will have to pay for it later :-) it is just another (small) way to get to money.

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    Damnoen Saduak: the Floating Markets

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    I am not sure about other days, but on Sunday they have the big floating market in Damnoen Saduak.

    There is no way to miss this when you are driving through the city.
    Big street signs show you the way.
    If you are here with your own car, mind that you don't drive into the first parking place someone signs you in. They are standing at the road with their official looking gear and whistles trying to get you at their park. The first ones are actually kms off the waterways. Don't take them if you have the choice (and you do).

    Get there as early as possible! The market starts at 6 a.m. and in the morning you really have the inhabitants that are trading their goods there. After 9-10 o'clock the tourist masses begin to come in. Then it gets really crowded and you could walk over the water on all the boats there.

    To rent a boat: just go to the klongs and there will be people there where you can rent a 1/2 hour or 1 hour tour. That means you rent the boat and the driver. He/she will drive you around - with frequent stops at other boats and shops along the klong, where you can buy something to eat, drink or buy souvenirs (of course).

    Bargain hard. The prices they tell you are incredible high.
    We got the one hour drive for 400 Baht, most probably only because the tourist masses were not there yet.

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    Phetchaburi: climb up, then down Khao Luang Cave

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    The ground of Thailand is mostly limestone that is quite soft compared to other stones and water washes it out easily, creating caves. You will find many caves around Thailand. If you just have the time to visit one Thai cave, make it this one.

    Located 3km north of Phetchaburi.
    There is a road that goes straight there. In front of the hill where the cave is, it divides into 2 lanes, one goes right, the other left - and then there is a very small road going straight up the hill. Big buses can't get up there and you have to walk (10 minutes) or take a taxi. If you have a car, drive straight up, there is a parking space. Take care of the monkeys that are around here.

    From the parking, where they are busily building a pavillon it is only a short way further up.
    Entrance to the cave is free. A guide will cost you 100 Baht, but is not necessary in my opinion.

    You climb down the steep stairs into the cave. The sun is falling through holes in the ceiling.
    Especially nice to see them is between 11a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun lights up on the golden Buddha statues (see picture).

    There are 2 big caves, the sun-cave and the moon cave. The further you proceed the darker it gets. Take a flash light with you, if you want to go exploring.
    There are bats in the caves in the back.

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    Hua Hin: get touristy

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    I must confess, I did not stay here long. Coming in from Cha-am that is generally just a beach and many very big hotel complexes on it, Hua Hin looked too touristy for me. At least they also have something that is really a city, but even this is shadowed by the Sofitel and the Hilton and the Marriot and the Hyatt Regency and and...

    So we had a look around the city. Went to the AVIS center to change our car and just drove out again.

    There are no interesting temples here, no lonely beaches, no traditional points of interest, no nightlife as in maybe Pattaya or Patong.
    There are: lots of souvenir shops, seafood restaurants, busy beaches.

    The area is well known for its Pineapple plantations. There also is the Dole Pineapple firma. You can visit them from Monday to Saturday for 250 Baht.

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    Prachuap Khiri Khan: beaches and no people

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    As the title says: beaches and no people, at least it is so under the week. I guess it can also get quite busy during the weekend, if never that touristy as Hua Hin.
    The unspeakable name of the place should not hinder you to visit this.
    Prachuap Khiri Khan can also easily be reached by taking the train. The beach is not too far away from the station.
    A small mountain with a Wat on it towers over thenorth end of the beach. This is Khao Chong Krachok, the mirror mountain. Mirror because it has a hole in the side of the mountain through wich you can see the sky. You can climb up the 415 steps to the small wat to have a look over the surroundings and until Burma which is very close here. Just mind the monkeys. They can get quite aggressive. Take a stick with you.

    The city has some good fish restaurants, but as I heard most cards are in Thai only. You also find very good food at the nightmarkets.

    The best beach (in my opinion) is the 3km long beach in the Bay of Ao Manao.
    This is located 3 km south of the city on military area. Although my guide book said we might have to give our passports (which can be averted by saying you proceed further south), we were not controlled by the post we passed.
    The beach offers sun umbrellas (in military camouflage paints :-) as well as deck chairs and tires to go into the water.
    It was very clean and had a wonderful view on the bay. Clear water.

    When we were there (morning), we were all alone. Just great

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    Klong Prao Ntl Park; getting off the beaten path

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    This was quite fun, but maybe not doable for anyone.
    We did rent a 4WD car (quite big, a Toyota Hilux Vigo) and wanted to get a little off the main roads. So when we were looking how to get from Chumphon to Ranong.

    There is a big road (Number 4), that most take, a smaller one (no. 4006) that is more scenic and then I found on my map a very very small road that goes through the Klong Prao National Park. It is the 4139 until Khao Thalu and then it has no number anymore.
    It also did not have any road signs. We mostly navigated by compass (roughly west) and took the bigger road if there were two possibilities.

    In the end we were driving along a very, very narrow gravel road through wet woods, steep uphill and downhill. There was no possibility to turn around, so we just kept driving. Thank god for the 4WD. we needed it there.
    The surroundings were wild, very green and the sight on the pass we crossed just marvelous.
    Although we crossed the National Park there was no entrance we came by and the signs were all in Thai only.
    A real adventure. And worth it.

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    Enjoy the trip: see some Rice fields

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    Sometimes it really is like that, travelling is a reward by itself. It is not only important where you go, but also how you go there.
    So: get off the main roads, grab your map and a little courage and try other ways to get to where you want.
    I always like doing this (provided, I have the time).

    Thailand has some lovely rural areas.
    The surrounding of Ayutthaya for instance has many lovely rice fields. Bright green in the sun. If you are lucky you can see some workers in it.

    The area is also perfect for biciycling or biking.

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    Ayutthaya: Wat Chai Watanamaran

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    Now this is a real gem to discover!
    Located in the southwest of Ayutthaya on the other side of the River (looked from the city center), is Wat Chai Wattanaram.
    The big complex that is built in the Khmer stile was renovated and looks now as beautiful as it may have in the original times.
    It was a residence of King Prasat Thong and built around 1690.

    There is a central Prang that is surrounded by 8 smaller ones.
    You can even climb up the steep stairs of the Prang, but be careful, the structures are not so solid.

    Have a walk through the parklike area of the complex. Entrance is also 20 Baht.
    The best time to see (and photograph) this is early morning or evening when the sun is low. The golden light on the red stones and the green grass is beautiful. In the night the temple is lighted from 7 to 9 p.m.

    Wat Chai Wattanaram is part of the UNESCO world heritage.

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    Bangkok: explore the Klongs

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    The Klongs are more than just water filled channels.
    For Bangkok they are means of Transport: better than the roads that are so stuck up in rush hour. They are like the roads. All the houses at the rims have their own access to the water. You wash yourself there, you maybe trade what you have there.

    If you want to explore the Khlongs, make a tour, or maybe better: just rent one of the long tail boats you find at the jettys (like in front of Wat Arun). Don't forget to bargain. Maybe you ask others to join you, because you will pay per boat, not per person.
    We paid 600 Baht for a trip from Wat Arun to the Banglampoo Pier that took us through the Klongs way back from the main river. Time was a little more than an hour.
    I liked how our boat driver made a detour to bring something he bought home to his house at the water.

    The water does not look very clean, but it must have a lot of fish in it. People were fishing, we even saw a kingfisher bird.
    It is a very special way to see a part of Bangkok that is a little more relaxed than what you experience elsewhere.

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    Ayutthaya: Wat Mahathat: Buddha head in tree roots

    by Myndo Updated Feb 13, 2006

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    Ayutthaya used to be Thailands capital until it was destroyed by burmese soldiers in 1767, then Bangkok became the capital and Ayutthaya was just left as it was. That seemed to have preserved the ruins that would otherwise have been built over.
    Ayutthaya is located in the delta of the Chao Phraya river and has a lot of waterways. It is also a real flat area, ideal for doing bicycle tours.
    It is a good thing, if you visit the information center first to get an idea which of the many Wats you want to see here. Not only the city you can see today but also its surroundings are full of them.

    In the center of the city is the Rama Park, a green area with big lakes and walkways through it. Around this you have the Wat Mahathat that has the Buddha head in the tree roots you can see in my picture. Unfortunately there are not many trees left beside this one. The area must have looked a lot like Angkor Wat in earlier times.
    Today you walk over gras fields and have a look at the remains of Prangs, Chedis and Buddha statues. Most of this is built with tiles. It is hard to tell what has been renovated and which is still original, but it is a sight anyway.

    Entrance to the Wat is 20 Baht.

    Next to the Rama Park is Wat Ratburana that offers a restaurated Prang (lots of the ruins here have been partly restaurated, but this one is completely made over).

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    Bangkok: have a massage

    by Myndo Updated Feb 10, 2006

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    When you are in Wat Pho you can have a traditional Thai Massage or Foot Reflexology here.
    Wat Pho is Center of learning and keeping the knowledge of Thai Traditional Medicine.

    The prices are reasonable, maybe you have to make an appointment here first (before having a look around the temple).
    120 Baht for 30 Minutes
    200 Baht for 1 hour
    You can find the building on the left hand when you enter the complex.

    If you have the time, you can also make a course in Thai Massage here.
    30 hours in total 10 days and 6000 Baht

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    Bangkok: Wat Phra Kaeo and Palace

    by Myndo Updated Feb 10, 2006

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    Wat Phra Kaeo and the Palace are located right next to each other and are accessed with the same entry ticket(s).
    For 250 Baht per person you gain entry to the big complex. You also get a map with explanations. Of course you can also hire one of the guides that offer theis service at the entrance.
    We were quite put aback by the masses of people here. Groups and single travelers, both.
    Note that you can only enter the complex when dressed properly (for examples look at the local custom tip).

    Wat Phra Kaeo is Thailands most well known temple complex. It was founded 1782 at the same time when Bangkok was founded.
    At the inner sides of the wall are many frescos that are from the Ramakien - the Thai version of the indian Epos Ramayana.
    The Pantheon (Prasar Phra Tepidorm) is a sight not to miss. It is decorated all over with sculptures.
    In the Bot you can find the famos Smaragd Buddha. 60 cm hisgh and it is not Smaragd, but Jade that it is made of. The whereabouts of it are unknown.

    The Kings Palaceyou reach through a gate in the backside of the temple. The many buildings are made in the different stiles of the times they were erected during 200 years.

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    Shopping at Mahboonkrong Shopping Centre

    by victorwkf Updated Jan 29, 2006

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    Shopping at the Mahboonkrong shopping centre. The Mahboonkrong Shopping Centre is very big and they have all sorts of items at cheap prices. You can spend a lot of time here like what I did, and there are a lot of restaurants and food centres around. It is also near the Hard Rock Cafe, National Stadium and the monorail station.

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Central & Eastern Thailand Things to Do

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