Road trip down south of the Island
We hired a driver from the Merlin and just went driving south ... proved to me there is plenty more to Phuket than just Patong.
First stop was Kata Viewpoint with beautiful views of Patong, and one amazing pet eagle! This was apparently some guys pet and he was on a pretty good thing - charging 100baht for a photo with his eagle. There was a never ending line-up of people wanting pics so we recon he was one of the best paid people in Phuket!!!
Next stop was a one hour stop and swim at Naiharn Beach - picture-perfect paradise.
Next stop was Promthep Cape Lookout - which is the southern most tip of Phuket.
Then Rawai Beach quick stop.
Next was Wat Chalong - I think Phukets largest temple.
We wanted to go to the Big Buddha but it was still under construction and we couldnt go.
This was about a 4 hour trip and well worth it. We paid 1500baht total for 4 people, that worked out to $13AUD each - pretty good value I think. Im sure you could get it cheaper if you bargained on the street, as this was booked through our Hotel.
PS. On this trip I encountered the one and only toilet I just couldnt bring myself to use - it was that putrid! It was at the Wat Chalong - just your regular Asian squat over the hole in the ground that smelt absolutely horrible! I certainly had to embrace my pelvic floor muscles and hold onto my wee until we got back to the Hotel that day! Oh, and also the toilets at McDonalds on Beach Road in Patong were pretty rank, dirty, smelly and just plain yukky!
Siam Safari Elephant Trek
This was amazing - to sit on top of a HUGE majestic gentle giant and trek through the jungle. It was also very cool in the jungle so that is a welcome change from the heat. After our trek, we then got to feed the elephants which was a load of fun. Then watched a baby elephant trick show. Well worth it. This trip was well organised, although I am told that there is a better Elephant Safari at Koh Chang.
Interesting place, one which you will either love or hate. Theme Park type of place, with lots to see and do. The actual show is amazing and well worth it. Most Hotels will organise transfer and show, or transfer, buffet dinner and show. We paid $57AUD each with no dinner. It may sound expensive but I do believe it is worth it. There is so much to see outside, before you even get into the show, that I would allow several hours for this. For this reason, you may be better to perhaps get a taxi there, because when you get a transfer you only have about one hour before you go into the show. You are not allowed to take your camera into the actual show, but there are plenty snaps to be had outside. You will have to leave your camera outside, I was a bit wary about this, but got it back no probs.
Statistics of Phuket Fantasea:
140 acre Theme Park
4,000 seat buffet restaurant
Created at a cost of over 3,500 million baht
Palace of the Elephants (where the show is) is a 3,000 seat theatre with 999 elephant statuesRelated to:
- Theme Park Trips
Kanchanburi-"The Bridge on the River Kwai"
Kanchanaburi is Thailand´s third largest of 76 provinces. It is located 130 km west of Bangkok and covers an area of 19,480 km². About 735,000 inhabitant are living in Kanchanaburi Internationally famous, thanks the several motion pictures and books, the black iron bridge was brought from Java by the Japanese supervision by Allied prisoner-of-war labour as part of the Death Railway linking Thailand with Burma. Still in use today, the bridge was the target of frequent Allied bombing raids during World War II and was rebuild after war ended. The curved spans of the bridge are the original sections. A daily train is still following the historical route from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok Railway Station.
province which borders Myanmar (Burma) at the north-west.
This War Cemetery is also known as the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. It is located opposite Kanchanaburi's Railway Station on Saengchootoe Road. It contains the remains of 6,982 Australian, Dutch and British war prisoners who lost their lives during the construction of the Death Railway
JEATH is an acronym for the primary nations which participated in local action. These nations are: Japan, England, Australia, Thailand and Holland. The museum inside Wat Chai Chumphon has been constructed largely in the form of an Allied Prisoner of War camp which is managed by a Thai monk. The thatched detention hut with cramped, elevated bamboo bunks contains photographic, pictorial and physical memorabilia dating from the Second World War
Ayuthaya and Summer palace
Located approximately 85 km north of Bangkok, the city was the Thai capital from 1350 to 1767. During this period Thai culture flourished, and Ayuthaya became a centre for international commerce.
The present day city is located at the confluence of the Chao Phaya, Pa Sak and Lopburi rivers. A canal joins them and encircles the town. Ayuthaya has many historic ruins, two museums and is a fascinating place to visit.
The Burmese invaded Ayutthaya and the capital fell in 1767. Most of the city's temples and religious sculptures were destroyed. However, proud monuments to its glory are still standing, some restored.Don't try posing with a head less Buddha statue.You could be arrested!
Out of this area, there are many old wats (temple-monasteries).
A very short drive of 60 kilometers (40 miles) north of Bangkok along the banks of the Chaopraya River will bring you to Bang Pa In, summer palace of the kings of Thailand. The palace dates back to the 17th century, pre-dating the establishment of Bangkok as the capitol, although it did fall into disuse for a long period. All the buildings you see date from its revival by King Mongkut (Rama IV) in the 19th century. Today, the palace is only used infrequently, and then mostly for state occasions rather than as a royal summer residence
Grand palace and Wat Saket
The palace complex, like the rest of Ratanakosin Island, is laid out following the general outline of Ayutthaya palaces. The Outer Court, near where you enter the complex today, housed the government departments in which the king was directly involved, such as civil administration, including the army, and the treasury. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha takes up one corner of the complex next to the outer court.
In the middle is the Central Court, where the residence of the king and the halls for conducting state business were located. You are allowed to look at the fronts of the buildings in the central court, but only two of the throne halls are open to the public, and only on weekdays.
Behind the central court was the inner court. This was where the king's royal consorts and daughters lived. The inner court was like a small city entirely populated by women and boys under the age of puberty. Even though no royalty currently reside in the inner court, it is still completely closed off to the public.
The Golden Mount (Wat Saket) in Bangkok is a religious place for the Thais and also the pilgrims of the world. The unusual architecture made this a famous tourist attraction. To reach to the main chedi one has to climb 318 stairs. During the month of November Buddhist pilgrims come to the Wat Saket temple in a candle light procession and climb the stairs to reach to the Golden Mount. The top view of Bangkok city from the hill is a fascinating one. The dome is covered with golden squares which reflect the sun raise.
BANGKOK - Grand palace
1998-Armed with copy of the lonely planet and a city map thought it would be a cake walk .As soon as I got of the hotel it was chaos , not on the same scale in India but Chaos.Got taked into hiring a taxi for a day and settled for 700 bahth to take me to all the places Bangkok had to offer .at the end of it decided it was the fastest, and cheapest way to see this city and fortunately had a cabbie who was entertaining and knew the spots well and most of all patient.
Bangkok is a charming city that will impress you by its exotic blend of tradition and modernity. Dilapidated buildings to sleek pubs, Bangkok has a surprise in store for you at almost every corner of this amazing city. If you are out on sightseeing in Bangkok, your first stop over would definitely be one of the famous Buddhist temples that abound in the city. Representative of a very individualistic genre of architecture the wats are renowned for the images of Buddha that they house.
Sukothai is situated between Bangkok (430kms from Bangkok) and Chiang Mai. It was the first capital of Thailand and is famous for the extensive historical ruins, which after restoration, became a Unesco World Heritage Site. Sukothai's golden era was from the 13th to the 14th century, the art and architecture produced in this period are considered to be some of the best. Sukothai today consists of the old and new towns (located 12kms apart from each other); most of the accommodation and all facilities being in the new town. The old town of Sukothai consists mainly of the large Historical Park, where most of the remains of the original city can be seen. To explore the Historical Park, the best method of transport is bicycle, these can be hired nearby the front entrance.
CHIANG MAI and surrounds
Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand.
But Chiang Mai is not a sleepy town. Once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom (which included parts of Thailand, Burma, and Laos), there is plenty of historical significance scattered about the city. Mountains abound (actually, the foothills of the Himalayas). Rivers run through town. Anyone going to or coming from the north travels through Chiang Mai. Indeed, it still retains much of the feel of a capital.
What’s more, after the grime of Bangkok, visitors will find Chiang Mai refreshing and clean (the exception being during the harvest – around May – when farmers use controlled burns that pollute the city). A number of traditional hill tribes are easily accessible from the city – both in tourist and authentic form I was told but overall vist to hill tribe areas were a bit "touristy"
This has become the must-visit place to shop, shop and shop in Bangkok.
It is outside of downtown Bangkok and unfortunately open only on weekends. Better to go in the morning when it is not so hot and before the afternoon downpours.
Located next to a park and a bus station that has buses plying to the Cambodian border, Chatuchak has many small stalls that sell anything you want - wood handicraft, books, pets, flowers, old coins. There is a map to guide you to which section you want to go based on the products sold.
It is easy to reach by bus and faster by BTS sky train stopping at Mo Chit or Metro at Chatuchak Station. Happy shopping.
Ayutthaya River Trip
Wonderful way to see the country side. Ride on the boat from Bangkok to Ayutthaya and see ruins and country side.
Rate is inclusive of all charges for lunch, water on board boat, tour to Bang Pa-In with English speaking guide (TAT licensed), entry fees for temples visited as part of scheduled program and coach transfers, tax and services charges.
Transfer to and from Shangri-La hotel is not included. (Extra charges for transfer from hotel in Bangkok to Shangri-La hotel or vice versa is Baht 600 per car per way and Baht 800 per van per way
Price excluded : Personal expenses, optional tour
Phang Nga Bay Tour and James Bond Island
This seems to be a "Must do" for all visiting Phuket....though we found it very touristy and over rated!
We much more prefered the Koh Phi Phi tour.
Here is the website/link anyway.
The island itself was nice but VERY crowded (even though we had gone during slow season).
Once at the Muslim Village we were only given 1 hour to EITHER souvenier shop (which because of it's size it's impossible to even begin to make a dent on it) OR to have lunch (which because of the trips duration and time of day you're starvingby the time you get there.
Best to put in a food order as soon as you get to the restaurant (you have to walk through the restaurant to get to the shopping area) then pick up to food to go as you walk back through to your boat and eat on the way back to pier.
View across the bay
Wat Thammikaram sits up on top of a mountain near the town of Prachuap Khiri Khan in the southern part of Thailand.
The small monastery is shaded by beautiful frangipani trees.
This is important because it makes you very hot and tired climbing the 299 steps to get up there.
The panoramic views over the bay make it worth the effort.Related to:
- Religious Travel
Day trip to Phi Phi Island
This was a great day - lots to see and do and very well organised. Well worth doing. Best to do by speed boat, as this gives you more time on the Islands. Take shoes or flippers to Khai Nok Island for snorkelling as the sea bottom is very sharp coral!
Wat Pho is one of the must-see Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It is one of the largest and oldest. The reclining Buddha is about 46 meters in length and 15 meters in height.
Notice on the soles of the Buddha are 108 auspicious signs engraved with in-laid mother of pearl.
As in all Buddhist temples, remember to take off your shoes.
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