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Huahin and Cha-Am: Temples & Historical Park

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Hua Hin/Cha-Am

Khao WangPhra Nakhon Kriri Historical Park or Khao Wang

This hill originally called Khao Samana or Khao Khiri, is located in the vicinity of Amphoe Muang Phetchaburi. The peak is 92 meters high. King Mongkut, Rama IV of the present dynasty, saw this hill and was so fond of the location that he gave an order to Phraya Phet Nisai Sisawat, Chief Administrative Officer of Muang Phetchaburi , to carry out the construction of a palace which he could use during his picnic trip. The construction was completed in the year 1860. It was named by the royal command, Phra Nakhon Khiri, But folks of Phetchaburi commonly call it Khao Wang (Palace Hill) until now. Phra Nakhon Khiri comprises royal halls, palaces, wats, and groups of buildings. The complex which was constructed mostly of harmonious Western neoclassic and Chinese architecture tops the following 3 large mountains : Eastern mountaintop, location of a hillside temple called Wat Maha Samanaram within the rite hall of which there are mural paintings by Khrua In Khong, a renowned painter in Thai history. Middle mountaintop, location of a 40 meters high chedi called Phra That Chom Phet inside of which the Buddha’s relic had been placed. From here, a wide view of buildings on another 2 nearby mountaintops as well as Phetchaburi’s provincial city can be seen. Western mountaintop, location o froyal residence complex including Phra Thi Nang Phet Phum Phairot, Phra Thi Nang Pramot Mahaisawan, Phra Thi Nang Wetchayan Wichian Prasat, Phra Thi Nang Ratcha Tham Sapha, Ho Chatchawan Wiang Chai, Ho Phiman Phet Mahesuan, Tamnak Santhakhan Sathan, Ho Chatuwet Parit Phot and Sala Thatsana Nakkhataroek. There are also several other buildings which are typical of palaces within the complex such as garage, stable, Sala Mahat Lek (royal page hall), Sala Lukkhun (official hall), Sala Dan (post), Sala Yenchai (hall for relaxation), Thim Dap (bodyguard rooms), and kitchen.4 forts stand at the 4 corners of the complex, each was named in rhyme starting with Thatarot Pongpok in the east. Wirunhok borirak in the south, Wirupak Pongkan in the west, and Wetsuwan Raksa in the north. Some parts of the complex on this western mountaintop were altered into Phra nakhon Khiri National Museum where priceless antiques such as King Rame IV’s and King Rama V’s paraphernalia, bronze and brass sculptures used for decorative purposes in several rooms of various buildings, and ceramics from China, Japan, and Europe are put on exhibition. The museum is open daily between 9.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. except Monday and Tuesday. Admission Bt 5 each. Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park is open everyday between 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m. Admission Bt20. The mountaintop palaces are accessible either o foot or by cable railway which charge Bt10 each for one-way and Bt15 each for round trip.

 

Wat Mahathat WorawihanWat Mahathat Worawihan


This is a very old monastery of Changwat Phetchaburi and there are clearly divided areas, i.e., the Phetchaburi or the temple area and the Sangkhawat or the monk’s living quarters, inside the monastery. The interesting construction of the monastery is the five-topped prang which was constructed in accordance with Mahayana concept as an offering to the five Thayani Buddhas. There is a replica of each on each top of the prang. It is presumed that this five-topped prang should have originally been a five-topped pagoda as same in Changwat Nakhon Si Thammarat and was then transformed into a five-topped prang later.

 

Wat Khao TakhraoWat Khao Takhrao


This monastery is located at Tambon Bang Khrok, Amphoe Ban Laem and is accessible by two routes, i.e., through a 15 kilometer left hand branching road not far from Phetchaburi township (coming from Bangkok) where one can recognize a clear sign board, and another route is going from Phetchaburi township to Ban Laem Where one has to continue the journey for another six kilometer distance.

This monastery houses a sitting Buddha images in the subding evil attitude having a height of 29 inches and a lap width of 21 inches it is called Luang Phao Khao Takhrao. There are a huge number of villagers and visitors who make a trip to pay homage and affix to the image, as an offering, gold leaf thus currently causing non clear vision of the original image’s characteristics. There is a legend saying that this luang pho is one of the three brother Buddha images and the other two are : Luang Pho Sothon of Changwat Chachoengsao and Luang Pho Wat Ban Laem of Changwat Samut Songkhram. Some other legends say this image is one of the five-brother images, i.e., to include Luang Pho Bang Phli Yai and Luang Pho Wat Rai Khing of Changwat Nakhon Pathom to the above three images.

However, the source of origin of this Buddha image is that during the fall of the Ayutthaya era, the villagers of Ban Laem migrated from Phetchaburi to the mouth of the Mae Klong River (the present Samut Songkhram folks descend from those people) just to be away from the Burmese troop marching route. One day a fisherman found two Buddha images through his usual trawling, in the bay area. One image is a standing buddha in the attitude of carrying an alms bowl, and another is a sitting Buddha in the attitude of subduing evil. Ban Laem folks enchrined the standing Buddha at Wat Ban Laem which is now Wat Phetch Samut Wiham in the heart of Samut Songkhram township while the rest was give to relative at Bang Tabun to be enshrined at Wat Khao Takhrao of Amphoe an Laem, Changwat Phetchaburi.
 

 
Wat KutiWat Kuti


A temple at Tambon Bang Khem with a teak bot (a rite hall). Its outer surface of the walls is carved into scenes depicting the Ten Incarnations of the Buddha and the door panels in to openwork of inter twined sprays patterns, all with masterly craftsmanship.

Huahin and Cha-Am: Natural Beauty

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Hua Hin/Cha-Am

Cha-AmHat Cha-Am

This beach is located 41 kilometers from the township area where a two kilometers road branches off on the left to the beach. Cha-Am beach is the most beautiful beach of Chang Phetchaburi. Originally, Cha-Am was a tambon of Amphoe Nong Jok. After Hua Hin became popular , thus causing its land to become occupied by high rank and royal family members. They tried to locate a new resort location and under the leadership of HRH. Prince Narathip they recognized that Cha-Am beach was just as beautiful as Hua Hin Beach. Since then Cha-Am has become much more well known to the public. It was developed and promoted , and now has a district status. The State Railways of Thailand operates a special trip to Cha-Am on every holiday. Detailed information can be obtained from Travel service Section, Tel 2237-010, 2237020.
 
 

Kaeng KrachanKaeng Krachan National Park

This is the most extensive national park of Thailand occupying an are of 2,915 square kilometers or 1.8 million rai. It was declared to be a national park on June 12, 1981 with clearly defined areas for reservoir and the jungle to the north of the dam in the park area. Its general characteristic is that it is a year round green jungle originating many rivers.
 
PLACES OF INTEREST WITHIN THE PARK AREA :
The Lake : The lake occupies an approximate area of 45 square kilometers. It is generally called Kaeng Krachan Reservoir. A cruising trip is very popular with tourists visiting here.

Natural Pine Trees Hill : This Place is located nine kilometers from the park office along the topped dam road. On the hill top there are scenic spots, cliffs, and a rock garden.

There are several more tourist attractions in the park area but it is not yet developed. Therefore, those who are interested to visit such places have to make a foot trip. It is advised that a trekking trip should be made with the cooperation of Forest Department officials.
 

Huahin and Cha-Am: Palaces

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Hua Hin/Cha-Am

Phraram RatchaniwetPhraram Ratchaniwet

This palace, originally called Ban Pued Palace, was located at Tambon Ban Mo, Amphoe Muang Changwat Phetchaburi. King Chulachomklao, Rama V, desired to have it built as a rainy season palace with his own money. The plot of land was bought from a villager and the design was made by a German, Mr.Karl Deurring. Admiral HRH Prince Boriphat of Nakhonsawan HRH Prince Damrony were assigned to monitor the construction. The palace is of European design and construction began in 1909 and completed in 1916. The palace was named during the reign of king Rama VI as Son Phetch Prasat Palalce. The name was changed to be Phraram Raatchaniwet in the year 1918 when it was used as palace to welcome and accommodate state visitors.
 
During the reign of King Rama VII the Place was utilized, by the royal command, as Boy Scout Commanding School, Agricultural Teacher Training College, TamBon Public School, etc. In the year 1986, the Royal Thai Army requested the cooperation of the Fine Arts Department to renovate the palace spending the budget of the fine Arts Department to the amount of 2.8 million baht and the budget of the Royal Thai Army to the amount of 8.3 million baht. The renovation was completed in the year 1987. It is expected that this palace will be used as the Phetchaburi National Museum. To enter Phraram Ratchaniwet, a notifying letter must be delivered in advance to Commander of Military District, 3 rd Battalion, 11 Infantry, Amphoe Muang, Phetchaburi 76000.
 

    
Ma Ruk Ha Thai Ya Wan PalaceMa Ruk Ha Thai Ya Wan Palace

This palace is a royal seaside resort. The construction materials were obtained from the demolished Hat Cho Samran Palace by th royal command of king Vaijravudh in the year 1923. Located at Tambon Huai Nua , Amphoe Cha-Am KM.216, it is a litte bit beyond Cha-Am Beach (going from Bangkok).

This palace is noted for three two – storeyed wooden pavilions facing the sea, and is referred to as “the palace of love and hope”. Series of halls are linked together throughout the palace. Residential halls of the royal consort members are located on the right wing. The central group of halls which is the royal residence consist of royal sitting and relaxing rooms, accommodations for close royal servants called Phisan Sakhon Hall, and the reading room.

In addition, Samoson Sewakamat Hall, a two-storey open pavilion, is used as a meeting place, and sometimes as a theater. Two important dramas were shown on this stage in 1941 : “Phra Ruang” and “Wiwah Phra Samut”. Chao Phraya Ramrakhop ordered a statue of King Vajiravudh, as a royal dedication, to be enshrined in the hall of Marukhathaiyawan Palace. An annual rite is conducted on November 25, the aniversary of King Vajiravudh’s death.

Hua-Hin / Cha-Am Travel Guide

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Hua Hin/Cha-Am

Cha-AmPhetchaburi is a very old town and used to be an important royal for a along period of time. There were so many names by which to call this town in the old days, such as, Phripphri, Phripphli or Phetchaphli. Some historians have said that the name Phetchaburi could be the original name because it is found on Stone Scrip-true No.1.

It could have been named after the Indian style, according to Indian influence during those day, like some other towns in Thailand, such as, Ayothaya, Kanchanaburi, Suwannaphum. In addition, it is also believed that the name Phetchaburi might have originated from the Phetch River which is an important river of this town.

Koh Samui: Getting There

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Koh Samui

By Air

Bangkok Airways operates several flights each day between Bangkok and Ko Samui, which is by far the easiest way to get to the island. Flights take just 1 hr. 20 mins. For bookings, call 66 (0) 2229 3456 (Bangkok) or 66 (0) 7742 2512 8 (Ko Samui).

 

By Train

Trains leave from Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok to Surat Thani every day, from where it is necessary to take a bus to Don Sak and then a ferry across to the islands. For more information, contact 66 (0) 2223 7010.

 

By Bus

Buses from Bangkok leave frequently for Ko Samui, but the fare does not include the ticket for the ferry. Journey time is around 14 hours. Call 66 (0) 2435 1199 for information about airconditioned buses, and 66 (0) 2435 5557 8 for information about regular buses.

 

By Boat

(to Ko Samui) Both passenger and car ferries run from Don Sak Pier, taking about 1 hr. 30 mins. to complete the crossing. An express boat leaves Surat Thani every morning and takes 2 hrs. 30 mins. There are also overnight boats-one leaving from Surat Thani at 21.00 and arriving at 04.00, and the other leaving Ban Don Pier at 23.00 and arriving at Ko Samui at 05.00.

(to Ko Pha-ngan) Direct boats from Don Sak Pier to Ko Pha-ngan leave several times a day and take 2 hrs. 30 mins., while regular ferries from Na Thon on Ko Samui take just an hour. (to Ko Tao) Daily boats between Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao take about 2 hours., while those from Ko Samui (which also stop at Ko Pha-ngan) take 3 hours. An alternative port of departure for Ko Tao is from Chumphon on the mainland, from where the journey also takes about 3 hours.

Koh Samui: Getting Around

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Koh Samui

Getting AroundGetting around is relatively easy – all roads seem to lead back to the same place. You won’t find any highways on Samui.
Instead, there is one main road which goes around the island. Approximately 50 Kms long this road connects the main beaches to the town center, airport and vehicular ferry. Side roads feed off the main road to towns and villages.

Most travelers who have enough time can appreciate exploring the many interesting sites. The best mode of transport, although somewhat dangerous, is moped.

If the weather is nice, a moped allows you can see a lot more. Renting one is cheap about Bth. 250-300 and fuel is inexpensive. A tour around the island will take you approximately 3 – 4 hours (or more) depending on how many stops you make along the way.

Samui is an explorer’s dream. It is just big enough to offer a wealth of diversity of landscape, vistas, flora and fauna, and yet small enough to seek adventure in its many out-of-the-way places, while hardly ever losing sight of sea. Below are some ways in which you can do this.

 

TaxiBy Taxi

For many reasons, the least suitable for exploring, but the safest and easiest way to get from point A to B if you don’t know where B is! Drivers of public (red) taxis have operated uncontrolled for years. Regrettably they have been the source of many complaints. These have included rudeness, overcharging, and occasionally worse. Efforts are now being made to address all these problems. In the meantime however: obtain a copy of our TAKS “Getting the Most from Samui” guide booklet when you arrive. Use the instructions and the chart inside to ensure that you pay fair rates and avoid confrontation.

If you rent a Jeep
Available from many family-owned agencies and some large companies whose names you will recognize, the rental of a 4 wheel drive vehicle will allow you a lot of freedom. It will serve as your basic transport, but you can also use it to circumnavigate the entire main ring road of the island (about 1 hour) and more. You can visit many hillside natural and man-made attractions which are easily accessible from the ring road. You can stop at them all, going at your own pace. If you are especially adventurous and have experience in off-road driving, you may head up unto the mountains. (Rented dirt bikes are another option for those who want to go off-road.)
There, if you can negotiate the ruts and sometimes seemingly impossibly steep inclines, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding islands, as well as flora and fauna that is overwhelmingly beautiful. If Samui is paradise, its mountains are its Shangrilah.
Some of these vehicles come with insurance, but the coverage is limited. You had better ask for the details.

MotorbikeBy Motorbike

Many of those who remain down on earth, seem to opt for motor bikes to get around town, go to the beach and go out for the evening; making these inexpensive rentals the most popular option by far. They are fast, fun and easy to park. But BEWARE. Many local drivers have not received proper instruction in traffic safety, and tourists are often riding these bikes for the first times in their lives. Many SERIOUS ACCIDENTS happen.

People are killed, and the statistics are alarming. However a prudent person need not panic. These accidents are almost always due to a serious lapse in judgement. Remember that while Samui may be a paradise you are still a mortal. Upon your arrival, see the TAKS Guide Booket for the safe driving tips you will need.

Koh Samui: Nearby Islands

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Koh Samui

ANG THONG MARINE NATIONAL PARK

Situated about 20 km. west of Samui, this archipelago of 42 islands fits everyone’s image of a tropical paradise, with huge, limestone rocks covered in virgin rainforest rising out of the aquamarine waters. Most people go here on a day trip from Ko Samui, which is easy to organize.

There is a fantastic viewpoint on Ko Wua Talap, just above the park headquarters, looking out over the uninhabited, pristine islands. Trips around the park usually include a visit to a delightful concealed lagoon on Ko Mae Ko, as well as the opportunity to paddle a sea kayak around the strange limestone formations.
 

 
Pha NganKOH PHA-NGAN

Just 20 km. north of Ko Samui and a short boat trip away, Ko Pha-ngan is a mountainous island ringed18 by secluded bays that offer ideal getaways. Its only town of any size, Thong Sala, has a bank, post office, supermarket and shops selling beach equipment and souvenirs.

Many of its beautiful beaches are accessible only by boat, though pick-up trucks and motorbikes also ply the island’s rough roads. Its most famous beach is Hat Rin, in the southeast corner of the island, which is the location for the world-famous full moon parties that attract thousands of visitors each month to dance the night away on the beach.

The island’s most picturesque beach is Thong Nai Pan, a double bay in the northeast of the island, which has good swimming and snorkelling, as well as the island’s most comfortable accommodation. A little south of Thong Nai Pan is Than Sadet, the island’s most impressive waterfall, which was once a favourite place of King Chulalongkorn.
 

 
KOH TAO

‘Tao’ means turtle, and the island is named for its shape west on the mainland. The island is particularly popular among divers, and has a reputation for some of the most exciting dive sites in the entire gulf. Several companies based at Mae Hat, the island’s only town, can arrange dives for beginners and experienced divers. There are many peaceful and idyllic beaches on the island, such as Sai Ri, the island’s longest beach on its west coast, and Chalok Ban Kao and Sai Daeng on the south coast. There is also a unique geological phenomenon at Nang Yuan, a tiny cluster of islets just off the northwest coast of Ko Tao, where stunning causeways of sand join the islands, offering visitors the choice of two seas to swim in.
 

Koh Samui: Beaches

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Koh Samui

CHAWENG BEACH

Situated on Samui’s east coast, this is Samui’s longest and most beautiful beach, a 6 km. strip of powder-soft sand fronted by crystal-clear water. It also has the island’s largest concentration of accommodation, ranging from five-star resorts to simple bamboo bungalows. Chaweng is the centre for watersport activities like windsurfing and jetskiing in the day, and it has a great social scene at night, when the dance halls pulsate to the latest rhythms.
 

Lamai BeachLAMAI BEACH

Also on the east coast, just south of Chaweng, Lamai attracts surfers to its playful waters, which run a little deeper than at Chaweng. Behind the beach there are several spas, where visitors can treat themselves to a herbal sauna, a relaxing Thai massage, or even a mud facial.

 

Bangrak beachMAENAM, BOPHUT AND BANG RAK BEACHES

These are all located along the north coast, and ideal places for those who want to get away from it all. Bang Rak is often called ‘Big Buddha Beach’ because of the huge Buddha image at the eastern end of the beach that looks particularly impressive at sunset.

 
Taling NgamSOUTH AND WEST COAST BEACHES

Even more isolated than the north coast beaches, those on the south and west coasts are not linked by the island’s ring road, though access is easy enough for anyone curious to take a look. At Laem Set in the south, the sea is too shallow for swimming, but the huge, smooth boulders on the beach and coconut palms leaning over at impossible angles give it a special feel.

In the island’s southwest, Taling Ngam Bay may not be quite as perfect as Chaweng, but has a long strip of sand that is often deserted and makes an ideal spot for a beach ramble. At the northern end of the bay, the luxurious Ban Taling Ngam Resort has several swimming pools and villas set on a hill with great views of the beach.
 

Koh Samui: History

Written by admin on January 7th, 2014. Posted in Koh Samui

Koh SamuiSamui Culture & History

Perhaps you have friends or family who have visited Thailand and told you of their experiences. If Samui will be your introduction to the Kingdom, bear in mind there are some similarities and some differences between islanders and city folk. To compare residents of Bangkok with those of Samui would be like comparing big city dwellers from any country in the world with those in the villages.
 
Samui is home to about 40,000 full-time inhabitants. Like the surrounding islands, it was first settled by ethnic Malay fishermen from the mainland, as well as immigrants from Southern China; at a time when the surrounding waters teemed with fish. Maps dating as far back as 1687 have the island identified as “Pulo Cornam,” from the Malay. Little written history of the island exists, and most of the knowledge we have has been passed down through generations.
There are two theories as to how the island was named. The first suggests that the name of a commonly-found tree called “mui” was lengthened at some point. The second, and probably more likely notion, is that “Saboey” which is a Chinese word for safe haven (certainly an apt description of the island’s largely protected waters) was adopted by Chinese fishermen, and later become the name we use today.
Vestiges of the once thriving fishing communities can still be seen in villages such as Nathon and Maenam. Lucrative coconut and rubber farming industries also developed, and harvesting of these crops still takes place in the hills of the island’s interior. Samui is home to more varieties of coconut palms than any other place on earth.
Until not much more than a decade ago, folks on Samui had scarcely seen foreigners. With the influx of tourists an industry sprung up, and thousands of jobs were created. Foreign currency flowed in, benefiting many.
Ship
These former fishermen and farmers now suddenly competed to fulfill Western tastes and demands. But the well-known patient and adaptable nature of Thais, and the new opportunities that tourism represented, made it easy for them to accept the oddities of their new visitors with mostly good grace. Their entrepreneurial spirit helped compensate for their limited knowledge of other cultures, and many have succeeded remarkably well.
Most Thais are Buddhist, though a small percentage of the population is Muslim. You may wonder about the role religion plays here. In fact, the philosophy of Buddhist thought is more significant in the life of the average Thai than is the dogma of the religion. Most people don’t allow themselves to get too worked up over the problems and minor inconveniences of this life, after all, it is only a passage into another one! Consider this, and the island’s benign climate, its history of bountiful harvests from the land and sea, and the almost complete absence of the kind of strife that has devastated so many of the world’s peoples, and it becomes easier to understand the “take life as it comes” approach which continues to astonish and perplex visitors.