Spend a short but happy holiday to Bangkok with friends. It was the birthday of His Majesty, the King of Thailand, the longest-serving monarch in the world, so the streets were busy and full of people. Buildings and homes were full of decorations, flowers are everywhere. It is the best way to go strolling together with the crowd with no traffic for a very memorable experience. In the evening they have fireworks.
Our first day was spent visiting the different temples of Bangkok. Then our second day, we all had fun at the Dreamworld, the Snow Town, and the river cruise is a must. Temples at night beside the river were nice to see and the food they served during the cruise were delicious and with the live band playing, what else can i ask for. It was a very joyous evening and we all enjoy it.
Our last day was to visit the tallest building of Bangkok, the Baiyoke Sky Hotel with 88 stories above the Bangkok famous Pratunam. Went to its 77'th floor, at the Observation deck where you can see the beauty of Bangkok. You can buy tickets at their restaurant with dinner and a good place to enjoy the view.
If HongKong has Disneyland, Bangkok have Dreamworld also. It is a huge amusement park not for children only but for grownups like us also who love to enjoy life. They have plenty of rides also like the roller coaster, drenching water rides, and a lot of family entertainment and fun activities. I love the cable car rides as you can see the good view of the place.
The park is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Spending a day at a cooking school in Chiang Mai gives you not only a delicious meal, but a much better appreciation of Thai cuisine. Most cooking schools include a visit to the local market where your guide will explain common ingredients in Thai cooking. They will also generally give you tips and advice on how to substitute some ingredients for those found easily in your home country - which makes the cooking skills you develop a valuable 'souvenir' to take home.
Chiang Rai city is not as robust as Chiang Mai or Hatyaai in the South. This city is a stop over for those who needs to travel to the North border to extend their Visa in Burma or Laos. The city is quite than Chiang Mai. When I was there at the Bus station to ask for direction to Pu Chi Fa, I was directed to one counter after another, and even I was avoided by the officer in the Information Office, which give me the impression that the people in Chiang Rai are not as courteous or as helpful as in Chiang Mai.
The Night Market is very popular, plenty of eateries and singing entertainment. There are two section of food court, one with the yellow tables and the other with table cloth which is higher end and with classic and international music for entertainment and the foods are more expensive.
One of the most popular attraction in Chiang Rai is the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun is a contemporary unconventional Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai, It was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat. Construction began in 1997 and yet to be completed, which is very beautiful, I feel it is more art than religion. I shall say it a must visit in Chiang Rai.(Rent a bike and you are on your way, if you travel by bus to Chiang Rai, before you enter the city about 10 km you will see the wat on your left hand side memorised the route it will be helpful if you intend to visit the wat by bike.
There are few popular wats, Wat Phra Keaw, Wat Phra Singha, Wat Jedyod , Wat Klang Wiang. If one is interested in local foods visit the evening(4.00 pm) market beside the Wat Phra Keaw.
After the humid and buzzing of Bangkok, book a evening train to the north. It leave 7.00 pm and arrived Chiang Mai the next morning 9.00 am Bht 791 with sleeper a/c for 2nd class. Meal on board, diner Bht 180, Breadfast Bht 120. You can buy Beer at the dining coach too. At Chiang Mai Railway station remember to get a city map, and hop on to the Red Taxi to the Old Town Bht 50-70. Recommend Kristi Guess House at 14/2 Ratchadumnern Road, Soi 5 A. Muang,Bht 200-300 per double with bath and fan.
After settle down with a budget guess house walk around and look for a Motor Bike Bht 150-200 or Bicycle Bht 50-70 rental. It is quite safe to roam around with bike or bicycle, you never get lost in old town. There is a Sat & Sun night market which is very popular for local and tourist, very interesting, plenty of handicrafts, foods stalls, massages, etc.etc..
Chiang Mai with glorious Lanna Kingdom at its heart ,rich in history, culture, and romantic appeal, There are hundred years old temples,magnificent natural scenery, Lanna architectural.
Chiang Mai was found in 1296 by King Mengrai. Burmese conquer Chiang Mai in 1558 and was over thrown by King Naresuan of Ayutthaya. In 1774 King Taksin joint forces with Phraya Chaban and Chao Kawila captures Chiang Mai. North & West of Chiang Mai has more Burmese influence.
Down South of Chiang Mai you can visit Doi Inthanon, Lamphum and Lampang. Doi Inthanon is a must stop for the South. The highest mountain in Thailand.
To the North you can visit Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle, Pu Chi Fa. In Chiang Dao District you can visit the Chiang Dao Cave, Doi Luang Chiang Dao (third highest peak 2,195 M).
In the North Western side you can travel to Pai-Mae Hong Son-Mae Sariang then back to Chiang Mai.
Beside these few places there are many other destination to satisfy different taste of travel. There are plenty of White Water Rafting, Elephant Center, Handicraft Center, Hot Spring, cave, tracking etc.etc....
The best to travel in the Northern Thailand is backpacking travel.
The Thai Local Government has done a good job on reducing smoking in Northern Thailand
Long necks were considered to be a thing of beauty in traditional Karen culture. The girls started wearing brass rings on their necks at a very early age. It has now been shown that the rings do not lengthen the neck but in fact lower the shoulders. It is said that the original purpose of the rings was to protect the women from tiger attacks but this is not true. The practice was becoming less traditional but the Kayan realized that tourists would pay to photograph the women. The Kayan women are very kind and try to be patient about all the picture taking. The elderly lady in the picture even had rings on her calves. In March 2001 at 73, she was the oldest woman in the village of Huay Pu Keng.
The Kayan are a subgroup of the Red Karen (Karenni) people, a Tibeto-Burman ethnic minority of Myanmar (Burma). Padaung (Yan Pa Doung) is a Shan term for the Kayan Lahwi (the group whose women wear the brass neck coils). A 2004 estimate put the Kayan population at approximately 130,000 in Myanmar. About 600 Kayan reside in the three villages open to tourists in Thailand's Mae Hong Son Province, and in the Ban Mai Nai Soi refugee camp. They refer to themselves as Kayan and object to being called Padaung (or "Padung" like in Frommer's Thailand 4th edition, 2000), which means "copper neck."
In Mae Hong Son you can get a tour to Huay Pu Keng, which is next to Ban Nam Pieng Din (called "Nam Plong Dim" in Frommer's Thailand 4th edition, 2000). A few of the approximately 100 long-neck Kayan women in Thailand live there (note that this may not be by their choice). I did not know before I visited, but there is much controversy about visiting these villages. Some say you should visit because the village depends economically on the income generated by tourists (the 250 baht fee includes letting you take photographs), but others say that you should not visit since the girls and women have no choice about what they do. A Thai middleman no doubt gets most of the tour fees, so buying things in the village may be a better option.
To get to Huay Pu Keng, you take a long-tail boat from Mae Hong Son down the Pai River. In March 2001, it cost 500 baht for the boat and 250 baht fee for a foreigner. We went a little later in the morning and passed all the boats coming back with the early morning visitors. By the time we got to the village, there were maybe 6-7 other tourists there. At that time, there were many forest fires during the dry season and that was why the air was smoky.
As you climb up the hill at Huay Pu Keng, almost every house has handicrafts for sale. Some were quite good and reasonably priced. This young girl was minding the family table in front of the house. However, you could hear that she was getting tips from inside the house about how much to charge. It was March 2001 when I was there. She was tiny then. By now, I am sure she is a strikingly beautiful young woman.
Wat Arun also known as Wat Makok, after the village of Bang Makok in Thai for the Spondias pinnata plant.) According to the historian Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, the temple was shown in French maps during the reign of King Narai (1656–1688). The temple was renamed Wat Chaeng by King Taksin when he established his new capital of Thonburi near the temple, following the fall of Ayutthaya. During one dawn Taksin saw this wat in depleting state and vowed to maintain it. And after it was called Wat Dawn. The temple enshrined the Emerald Buddha image before it was transferred to Wat Phra Kaew on the river's eastern bank in 1785.
The temple was located in the royal palace during Taksin's reign, before his successor, Rama I, moved the palace to the other side of the river. It was abandoned until Rama II, who restored the temple and extended the pagoda to 70m.
The main feature of Wat Arun is its central prang (Khmer-style tower) which are encrusted with colourful porcelain. The corners are surrounded by four smaller prang. The prang are decorated by seashells and bits of porcelain from China. The presiding Buddha image, cast in the reign of Rama II, is said to have been moulded by the king himself. The ashes of King Rama II are interred in the base of the image.
Construction of the tall prang and four smaller ones was started by King Rama II during 1809-1824 and completed by King Rama III (1824–1851). The towers are supported by rows of demons and monkeys. Very steep and narrow steps lead to a balcony high on the central tower. The circumference of the base of the structure is 234 meters, and the central prang is 250 feet high.
The central prang is topped with a seven-pronged trident, "Trident of Shiva". At the base of the prang are various figures of ancient Chinese soldiers and animals. Over the second terrace are four statues of the Hindu god Indra riding on Erawan. At the riverside are six pavilions in Chinese style. The pavilions are made of green granite and contain landing bridges.
There are two demons, or temple guardian figures, in front. The murals were created during the reign of Rama V.
If you start your Thailand trip from Bangkok then make it Two days first and last two days. The first two will allow you to visit Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and take a boat to Wat Arun. For a budget traveler and if you happen to choose Kao San Road for your lodging then head to Chak Kraphong Road and head west and you will see a big field (Ratchadamnoen Nai Road) about 2 km or just hail a Tuk Tuk Bht 50-60. Plan this trip early, 8.00 am, wear long pant or knee length skirt with sleeve shirt or blouse. Entrance cost Bht 400. to the Grand Palace, incl. Queen Sirkit Museum of Textiles, Emerald Buddha, Vimanmek Mansion Museum, Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall, Sanam Chandra Palace. (For the Grand Palace is one time entry only and the rest within 7 days from issue date. You can also visit Wat Pho (Sleeping Buddha) just in front of the way to the pier.
After the Grand Palace just walk to the Pier just around the West side of the Palace called Tha Tien to Wat Arun.
In Grand Palace there are 10 must see place in the Palace.
1). The Grand Palace Complex
It was established in 1782 and consists of Royal residence & throne hall. King Rama I (Chao Phraya Chakri) ascended to the throne in 1782. others important places in the complex are Dusit Maha Prasat Throne and Phra Maha Monthian.
2). Royal Monastery of Emerald Buddha
The most venerated site in Thailand. This Green Jade Buddha was first discovered in 1434 in the stupa in Chiang Rai in which was covered with plaster. The Emerald Buddha was enshrined in Loas Capital for 226 years until 1778 when King Rama I captured Vientiane and bring back the Emerald Buddha to Bangkok.
3). The Upper Terrace
There are four monuments in the Upper Terrace, Golden Chedi, The Mondop, The Royal Pantheon, Miniature Angkor Wat.
4). Scripture Library (Upper Terrace)
Hor Phra Monthian Dharma, Phra Viharn Yod, Hor Phra Naga (Royal Family Ashes)
This galleries has pictures & story of the passed Kings.
6). The Phra Maha Monthian Group Temples.
There are Royal Bedchamber, Reception Chamber, and Royal Regalia.
7).The Chakri Temple
Central Throne Hall, there are four notable painting a) King Mongkut's reception of the British envoy, Sir James Bowring. b) reception of Queen Victoria of King Mongkut at Buckingham Palace. c) Louis XIV's reception of Gallerie des Glaces at Versailles. d) King Mongkut's reception at Fontainbleau by Emperor Napoleon III.
8). Dusit Temple.
This temple was used for Coronation Day.
9). Borom Phiman Mansion
The western style building built in 1903 by King Rama V, and function as a Royal Guest House.
10). Queen Sirikit Textiles Museum
This is the latest addition to the Royal Palace, and open to public in spring 2012.
After two or three days in Bangkok, head north to Chiang Mai for your Northern Thailand exploration, and escape the pollution & heat of Bangkok
Wat Lok Molee was most neglected in the tourism of Chiang Mai or even Thailand. I feel this is one of the most beautiful wat you can find in Chiang Mai. Even the actual record did not mentioned when was it built. The earliest date you can find regarding this wat is in 1367, when King Mengrai invited a group of ten monks from Burma to share their study and practice of Buddhism to the Lanna Kingkom and they were sheltered in this wat.
After a lengthy stay in this wat, Phra Kaew Muang order a chedi to be built in 1527 and the main hall was built in 1545.
The record shows that ashes of King Mengrai families was place in the wat during King Mengrai period and was also maintain by the King until the end of King Mengrai dynasty.
If you happen to visit this wat, look at the main carving it deplete the Ku Ma (Horse) and Ku Chang (Elephant) which was during Queen Chamadevi period in 755 AD.
This wat was decorated with a unique style on top of the main hall and the chedi are different from most wat in Chiang Mai. I also found the this wat house a "four face buddha" and a Chinese style Buddha which is very rare in Chiang Mai.
And for those married woman whom has no child and love to have one, she can go to this wat to pray to the little buddha for the buddha blessing, it is very popular to the local.
Wat Pho temple lies in central Bangkok on the left bank of the Chao Phraya river, just a ferry ride from the Wat Arun temple across the river.
There are several buildings in the temple complex and one of these hosts the large Reclining Buddha gilded statue (Phra Buddhasaiyas) visible for a 100-Baht admission fee.
Length of the statue, per different sources, is indicated to be 43 or 46 meters (141 or 150 ft.).
Expect plenty of visitors and consider enough time to visit the other wonderful buildings in the complex.
The rivers and tributaries that flow down from Thailand's northern mountains, which are the southernmost outliers of the Tibetan Plateau, drain into the Gulf of Thailand via the Chao Phraya River. Throughout Thai history, this river has served as a major route for trade, commerce, and invading armies. Important historical cities such as Ayutthaya, and present-day cities such as Bangkok, grew up along the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
Nowadays, the river is still a busy artery for commerce, especially in and around Bangkok, as evidenced by the numerous water taxis, barges, ferries, express boats, and long-tailed boats that seem to cause traffic jams on the water. In addition, many important buildings, such as the wat pictured here, line the banks of the river.
The Chao Phraya River is the largest river situated entirely within the borders of Thailand. (The Mekong River is much larger, but it forms part of the border between Thailand and Laos before flowing into Cambodia). Its watershed drains an area of about 60,975 square miles (157,924 square kilmeters), which makes up about 35 percent of the country's land.
The river begins at the confluence of the Ping and Nan rivers at Nakhon Sawan, and flows south 231 miles (372 kilometers) from the central plains, through Bangkok, and empties into the Gulf of Thailand. In Chainat, north of Bangkok, the river splits into the main river channel and the Tha Chin River, which flows parallel to the main river and empties into the Gulf of Thailand about 22 miles (35 kilometers) west of Bangkok.
Officially called Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon, the Golden Buddha is the centerpiece of Wat Trimit. At five tons (4,536 kilograms), it is the world's largest and heaviest solid gold object, and is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The image's gold is 40 percent pure from the base up to the neck, 80 percent pure from the chin to the forehead, and the hair and topknot are 99 percent pure.
The Golden Buddha was probably forged sometime during the Sukhothai period between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in the Kingdom of Sukhothai. It was moved to the emerging Kingdom of Ayutthaya around 1403, and was later completely covered with a coating of plaster stucco to keep it from being stolen, and then it was painted. Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767, but they failed to find the golden treasure hidden inside its stucco disguise.
In 1801, after King Rama I had established his capital at Bangkok, he ordered that various old Buddha images be brought to the new capital to be placed in the numerous new temples that had been constructed there. The Golden Buddha was therefore moved to Bangkok where it remained in obscurity for many decades. During the reign of King Rama III, the Golden Buddha was placed in Wat Chotanoram, but Wat Chotanoram eventully fell into disrepair and was closed. The Golden Buddha was then moved to Wat Trimit in 1935. However, the wat did not have a room big enough for the image, so it sat outdoors under a tin roof for 20 years.
Wat Trimit was renovated and expanded in 1955, and it finally had room for the large Buddha statue. When it was being placed in its new temple, the Golden Buddha was finally discovered. Because of its great weight, the sling being used to move the statue snapped, and it fell to the ground. The stucco cracked, revealing the golden image inside.
Wat Trimit, variously written in English as Wat Trimitr, Wat Traimit, and Wat Traimitr, among others, is a Buddhist wat located in Bangkok's Chinatown. It is often referred to as the Temple of the Golden Buddha because it houses the Golden Buddha, the world's largest solid gold object. (See my tip on the Golden Buddha for more information).
What is now Wat Trimit was built in 1939 and was originally called Wat Sam Chin, which means "Three Chinese Temple", because three Chinese men donated money and property toward the construction of the wat. The name was changed in 1956 when it became a royal temple.
If it were not for the Golden Buddha, it is unlikely that anyone but locals would visit Wat Trimit. Compared to the many magnificent wats in Bangkok, Wat Trimit is rather plain architecturally, and it is located on a small side street in an out-of-the-way section of the city. Away from the tourist crowds who come to see the Golden Buddha, the wat does offer an interesting glimpse into Thai Buddhist practices. Devotees light sticks of incense to carry prayers heavenward, and worshippers apply thin sheets of gold leaf to images of the Buddha to make merit.
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