Thailand

1. Khon Dance Mask

Bhutesavara 3Khom is a dance drama genre from Thailand. It is traditionally performed solely in the royal court by men in masks accompanied by narrators, singers along with traditional orchestra. The orchestra mainly consists of xylophone type instrument, gongs and drums. Mask forms the integral part of the Khom dance drama and they pay a leading role in identifying the characters in the traditional Thai dance drama. The Khom mask making continues today in the same process as it was done centuries ago. The mask are made out of a special paper known as koi. Read more…

2. Pig Memorial, Pi Kun Bridge and Old City Moat, Bangkok:

Pig Memorial 1Bangkok’s most unusual memorial is the Pig Memorial. The memorial consists of an oversized metal cast pig was built in 1913 to commemorate the 50th birthday of Queen Phatcharinthra, wife of King Rama V. It may seem a strange idea but the Queen, along with the three sponsors of the memorial were born on the Year of Pig. The three sponsors were Prince Narissara Nuwattiwong, Phraya Phipat Kosa (Celestino Xavier) and Phraya Ratcha Songkhram (Kon Hongsakun). Prince Narissara Nuwattiwong, who was known for his artistic talent, was also the designer of the memorial. The main pig statue is protected by a canopy and sits high up on a stone plinth at the base of which there are also some smaller pig statues. Read more…

3. Khlong Saen Saep Express Boat, Bangkok:

Saen Saep Express Boat 1Just watch your step when boarding and disembarking as they don’t stop at the pier for long. Pay the fare to the fearless helmet-wearing ticket collectors who clamber around on the outside of the boat, ducking at bridges, as it barrels down the canal. This is Khalong Saen Saep Express Boat service. Mostly used by locals to commute to work, the service is cheap and you get to see the “backside” of the neighbourhoods, so to speak. Also, It is immune to Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams. Only 18 km of the 72 km long Khlong Saen Saep (Khlong means canal in Thai) has a public ferry service. Read more…

4. Amphawa Floating Market, Samut Songkhram:

Amphawa Floating Market 10No visit to Thailand is complete without a visit to the floating markets. Thailand is literally dotted with floating markets. Sadly many of the floating markets around Bangkok have been commercialized badly. They have  become too touristic and have lost most of their local flavour. For those wanting a real deal and experience lesser touristic places Amphawa Floating Market is the great option. The market only operates on weekends (Friday – Sunday). It starts at about 12 noon and goes on till 8 pm, but the actual activities start only after 3 pm. Read more…

5. Wat Saket and Golden Mount, Rattanakosin, Bangkok:

Golden Mount 2The glittering golden chedi (stupa) of the Golden Mount towers above the sky scrapper infested skyline of Bangkok a sight never to be missed for tourist visiting the Thailand capital. The temple of Wat Saket is located on a 80 meter high artificial mound and is crowned with 5.8 meter tall golden chedi. The temple dates back to the period of Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351 – 1767) Wat Sakae. Ever since the temple has been modified several times and presently visited by hundreds of Buddhist devotees and tourists. Read more…

6. Monks of Amphawa Canal, alms collection on boat:

Kanokart Resort 3In the olden days, before the introduction of roads and cars, the canals were the lifeline for rural Thailand. Monks would also leave their temples by boat and row along the canals on their early morning alms round. The custom is no longer in regular practice but the age old custom is very much alive in the Amphawa Canal. The monks leave their temples before dawn. They visit shops, households, resorts and home stays along the Amphawa Canal chanting prayers and giving blessing, in return the devotees give alms consisting mainly of food items. Read more…

7. Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, Thonburi, Bangkok:

Wat Arun 1Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan or simply Wat Arun is one of Bangkok’smost prominent landmark. It is located in the Thonburi region of Bangkok, which lies on the west bank of Chao Pharya River. Today the Buddhist Temple dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Aruna, with its distinctive prang (spire), dominates the Bangkok sky line. The temple dates back to the Ayuthaya Kingdom(1351 to 1767) but the prang (spire) was added during the reign of Rama II (reign 1809 – 24). Apart from the prang (spire), built in Khmer style, the Wat Arun complex contains several other shrines complete with pavilions and gateways but the 70 m (aprox) spire remains the centre of attraction. Read more…

8. Maeklong Railway Market, Samut Songkhram:

Maeklong Rail Market

We heard the whistle blow, but it was not hundred miles away, in fact it was less than hundred yards away. Vendors and sellers slowly but methodically starts moving their belongings and umbrellas from the railway track, which passes straight through the centre of the market. A charming little warning bell goes off over the speaker system just a few minutes before the train comes. Within a few minutes of receiving the warning, vendors pull back their specially designed awnings before the train comes, sometimes only moments before. Everything happens so calmly and with such clockwork precision that it’s difficult to fathom it could be a matter of life and death. Read more…

9. Fortification of Bangkok, tracking Bangkok’s forts, city walls and moats:

Phra Sumen Fort Pano

Today Bangkok is a modern city with a few ancient temples, but on closer inspection one can find an unique series of defensive mechanism which one protected the ancient city. The defensive mechanism consisting of forts, defensive walls and moats, which were constructed over a period of several centuries. Today only four of Bangkok’s ancient forts remains along with a small stretch of the defensive wall. Luckily most of the defensive moats have survived and plays an important role in Bangkok’s present daily life. Read more…

10. Benjarong Porcelain Crockery, Bangchang, Samut Songkhram:

Benjarong 6

Benjarong literally means five colours (Benja = five, rong = colour) and is a form of traditional Tahi ceramic painting. The five primary colours consists of black, green, yellow, red and white which are mixed in different proportions to produce shades of other different secondary colours. In the early days, Benjarong porcelain was made only for the royal court and the aristocracy. In recent years, however, Benjarong porcelain has become widely used in homes and hotels as decorative pieces. Read more…

11. Heritage Walk of Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok:

Golden Mount 1

The island of Rattanakosin has the Chao Phraya River on the west an on the other three side is the ring canal of Khalong Maha Nak. The canal was dug by Rama I (Reign 1782 – 1809) the founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom. Today Rattanakosin is the hub of built heritage in Bankok and also house the Grand Palace, the royal residence of the Rattanakosin Kingdom. The canal measures 7.2 km and the island covers an area of 4.142 km2, so the best way to explore the Rattanakosin Island is on foot.  Read more…

12. The Grand Palace, Bangkok:

Royal Palace 6

The Grand Palace (Phra Boromma Maha Ratcha Wang) is a complex of palaces, temples, pavilions and stupas in the heart of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand . It is located on the banks of Chao Phraya River and is on the Ratanakosin Island. Rather than being a single structure, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. Its asymmetry and eclectic styles are due to its organic development, with additions and rebuilding being made by successive reigning kings over 200 years of history. It is divided into several quarters. Read more…

13. Chao Phraya Express Boat, a river boat service in Bangkok:

Chao Phraya 4No trip in Bangkok is complete with a boat ride in the Chao Phraya River. There are plenty of options starting from luxurious sun set cruise, which comes with a gala dinner to tourist boats with English speaking guides. But if you want to experience Bangkok like the local do have a ride at the Chao Phraya Express Boat. All you need to do is to be careful and watch your step when boarding and disembarking as they don’t stop at the pier for long. Read more…

14. Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Bangkok:

Wat Pho 1Wat Pho is the oldest temple of Bangkok and is located on the Rattanakosin Isand, just south of the Grand Palace. It houses the golden statue of reclining Budhha measuring 15 m high and 46 m long. This is the largest reclining Buddha image in Thailand and possibly the largest in the world. Apart from the shrine of Reclining Buddah the complex houses several other shrines including prayers hall, giant chedis (stupas) and galleries housing 1000+ Buddha statues, more than any other temple in Thailand. Read more…

15. Ban Bang Phalp, Community Tourism, Samut Songkharam:

Asif 1Taking in the rural landscape on a bicycle, walking through coconut groves and watching local people go about their business is one of the best ways of experiencing rural Thailand. The Ban Bang Phalp community offers tourist with a first hand experience of their activities with visit to the coconut groves and even provides the opportunity of making coconut sugar. Since environmental issues are of prime importance the tour happens on a bicycle and includes walks through coconut groves. Read more…

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