Bangkok was established as Thailand’s capital in 1782 by the monarch of the present Chakri dynasty. Over the next two centuries, it developed in many ways reflecting the modern dynamism. This sprawling capital straddles the Chao Phraya River ( the river of the kings) and was at one time riddled with klongs (canals). However, its ancient glories were well maintained, especially in the old areas around the Grand Palace. Today, Bangkok has become the principal gateway and prime tourist attraction for both domestic and international travelers. Bangkok occupies a total area of 1,568 square kilometers on a flat alluvial plain divided by the Chao Phraya River. Composed of about 50 districts (Khets), it is home to one-tenth of the country’s population. Thon Buri, a former capital, is now a district under the administration of the Bangkok Metropolis. According to a local magazine, no one can claim to have seen Bangkok in its entirety. The popular tourist attractions included glittering Buddhist temples, palaces, canal and river scenes (Venice of the East) and numerous shopping centers. Bangkok is one of the Asia’s most cosmopolitan cities.
In and around Bangkok:
Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo:
This inner city riverine landmark contains several buildings with highly detailed architectural features. Wat Phra Kaeo within the same compound, is a treasure house of Thai arts, and houses the Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand.
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn):
This famous Chao Phraya riverbank landmark diagonally opposite the Grand Palace, is best known for a porcelain encrusted 79 meters central pagoda which sparkles in the sun. The temple can be reached either by Arun Amarin Road or by boat from Tha Tian Pier near Wat Pho.
Vimanmek Mansion Museum:
This is the world’s largest golden teak building located in the compound of the Dusit Palace on Ratchawithi Road. The tree-storey royal mansion has 81 rooms, halls and ante-chambers containing find de siecle royal memorabilia. Other beautiful buildings in the same compound display various items and art objects including H.M. Bhumibols’s photography, H.M. Queen Sirikit’s collection of handicraft masterpieces created by rural people. paraphemalia of rank and portraits, old clocks, ancient cloth, and royal carriages.
This was a huge open space once belonging to King Rama VI, who issued a royal command to turn the area into a public park as a gift to Bangkok residents. It is located on Rama IV Road, between Ratchadamri and Witthayu (Wireless) roads, with entrance gates on all sides.
This large farm with over 60,000 fresh and saltwater crocodiles is some 30 kilometers from Bangkok in Samut Prakan Province. Other creatures including trained elephants, gibbons, lions, and snakes are also found here. The exciting crocodile wrestling show is performed every hour. There is also a Danosaur Museum where various species of life-size dinosaurs and their skeletons are on display.
This is one of Bangkok’s main thoroughfares, and the long road is lined with shops, boutiques and modern shopping plazas ranging from Soi 3 (Nana) up to Soi 63 (Ekkamai). Most shops and restaurant are concentrated between Soi 3 and Soi 21 (Asok) and along shortcuts between Asok and Ekkamai.
Chatuchak Weekend Market:
Located adjacent to Chatuchak Park, the weekend market, open on Saturday and Sunday, is a Bangkok landmark where you can buy just about everything from clothing to potted plants and everything in between-a paradise for browsers and bargain-hunters alike. The market also offers items of furniture and home decor. It is also where professional and amateur art-lovers and artists meet.
This popular attraction is some 80 kilometers west of Bangkok, accessible by regular bus from the Southern Bus Terminal. Everyday, hundreds of vendor boats crowd the market area in the early morning till noon. The Chao Phraya River and Canals: Nineteenth-century Bangkok was laced with canals, giving the capital the designation ‘Venice of the East’. Surviving canals, and the Chao Pharaya River provide memorable vignettes of traditional waterborne way-of-life that has remained essentially unchanged over the centuries. Riverine Bangkok offers some of the capital’s most arresting sights, particularly at night when the weather is cooler and light reflections bestow the Chao Phraya River with flickering magic and romance. An ideal way to cruise.
The ancient city of Ayutthaya, founded in AD 1350 was capital of Thailand for over 400 years. Its extensive ruined monuments are now protected as a World Heritage site. Besides the monuments, other sightseeing attractions are former Royal Palace compound, former elephant kraal (wild elephant training center).
Located 147 kilometers southeast of Bangkok or only about two-hour drive, Pattaya is Thailand’s premier beach resort and annually attracts hundreds of thousands of pleasure-seeking tourist from all over the world. Visitors can windsurf, water ski, swim, said, or take trips to offshore coral islands as will as enjoy the entertainment like Cabarets which offer fascinating night shows with broad popular appeal. Pattaya offers some of Thailand’s choicest seafood in several specialty restaurants. Steak houses and fast-food outlets provide attractive alternatives and gourmets and gourmands alike find satisfaction in restaurants featuring French, Italian, Swiss, German, Hungarian, Scandinavian, English, Indian, Muslim, Japanese, Chinese and Thai Cuisines. From families to individual visitors, Pattaya offers something for everyone and all the ingredients for a truly memorable holiday.
In and around Pattaya:
About 4 kilometers long, has a beach road running parallel to the beach from the north to the south. The northern part is a more quiet area of the resort while the southern part is hustling and bustling and lively section, where on both sides of the street line up with shops of all kind, department stores, restaurants, discotheques, bars and nightclubs. Shopping can be as just fun as in Bangkok.
Mini Siam & Mini Europe:
Located near Pattaya Klang, is Thailand’s first wonder displaying Thai and European heritage on a miniature scale. This is the third miniature town in the world after the Netherlands and Taiwan that brings together models of important objects and historical sites of different culture, and civilizations of various periods from the ancient time till present. More than 100 models, each on a scale of 1: 25, are displays in an area of 29 rai, surrounded by natural sceneries blended with different types of well selected trees.
Ripleys’s Museum Believe It or Not:
Located on the 3rd floor of Royal Plaza Building, Beach Road. Odd stories and objects are collected from around the world and exhibited here.
This museum is situated on Sukhumvit Road. Here, famous architecture of the world as well as boats finely crafted in miniature in glass bottles by a Dutch craftsman, Mr. Pieter, are put on display. The museum is open daily during 10.00-20.00 hrs. Admission fee 100 baht each. Million Years Stone Park & Crocodile farm, located some 9 kilometers from Pattaya township, comprises breeding pens with more than 1,000 crocodiles, a zoo, and a bonsai garden decorated with rock formations.
Pattaya Elephant Village:
Situated on the road to Siam Country Club Golf Courses. The village shows elephant displaying forestry skills, playing football and re-enact of war elephants were captured in the northeastern part of Thailand.
5 kilometers off Pattaya City on the road to Siam Country Club Golf Course, offers a tropical garden setting. The park equip with fishing gears for a well stocked fishing pond. The place also facilitate with bungalow accommodations, restaurant, jogging and cycling paths, boating and water-cycling. It gives up-country experience for staying overnight there.
The Bira International Circuit:
Located at kilometers. 14 on Route 36 to Rayong, offers international motor and motorcycle racing occasionally. The 2.4 kilometers circuit is ideal fro formula 3 races. For the one who loves speed and would like to experience real thing on the racing track, the circuit opens every day.
Hat Chom Thian:
Located 2 kilometers from south Pattaya, is good for swimming. The beach has become more and more popular for water sports and activities because it has a long straight coastline and there are less boat anchored in the area.
Between south Pattaya and Hat Chom Thian, is a water amusement park with water sliders, whirlpools and large pool for children.
Suan Nong Nooch:
About 15 kilometers from South Pattaya, is a Thai village-style recreation-cum-vacation park. The entire area of some 500 acres is beautifully landscaped, with orchid nursery and other botanical gardens. There are also cultural and traditional performances and an elephant show.
A temple under the kings patronage is unique for its modern Thai architecture. Here meditation course is offering for common men at 6.00 and 18.00 hrs. The temple is 12 kilometers south of Pattaya and only 3 kilometers from Nong Nooch Village. Nearby is a Chinese-style building called “Wihan Sian”, housing antiques and art objects from China.
45 minutes offshore by tourist boat or 15 minutes by speed boat, is the largest of Pattaya’s archipelago. Major attractions include viewing coral reefs from glass bottomed boats, snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, skiing and parasailing. There are a lot of seafood restaurants on the islands main beaches. Deep sea fishing can be arranged to Ko Lan’s neighboring islands such as Ko Khrok and Ko Sak.
Beyond Ko Lan another 40 minutes sail is Ko Phai, an island currently under the care of the Royal Navy. Visitors are not allowed to stay overnight here, but it has fine deserted beaches that are open during the day. All the nearby islands are easy to get to and charters can be arranged through the hotel tour desk or by negotiation a price direct with the boat owners.
Thailand s world-famous seaside resort puts on its most festival face for this annual event, held in April at the height of the summer season. Food and floral floats, beauty contests, stalls selling local delicacies, and a spectacular display of fireworks on the beach are only a few of the highlights that attract merry-makers.
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s principal northern province. It is some 700 kilometers north of Bangkok and covers an area of some 20,000 square kilometers. Chiang Mai was the capital of Lanna Thai, the first independent Thai Kingdom within the fabled Golden Triangle. It was found in 1 296 and flourished as a major religious, cultural and trading centre until 1 556 when a Burmese invasion reduced it to a vassal state. The Burmese were expelled in 1785, whereupon Lanna Thai once again became part of northern Thailand. Mountains surrounding the Chiang Mai city form lower extremities of Himalayan foothills and host several hill tribes. Scenic waterfalls, rivers, caves, elephant camps, cultivated orchards and plantations adorn mountain that invite detailed exploration.
In and around Chiang Mai:
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep:
this temple is Chiang Mai’s most important and visible landmark, and overlooks the city from its forested mountain backdrop. It is 1 5 kilometers from town, 3,520 feet above sea level, and dates from 1383. The temple is approached on foot by climbing a steep staircase comprising 290 steps. The less energetic may ascend by funicular railcars. The temple’s golden pagoda contains holy Buddha relics, and attracts Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world throughout the year.
Doi Inthanon National Park.:
Doi Inthanon is Thailand’s highest mountain and towers 2,565 meters above sea level. Travel 58 kilometers west of Chiang Mai via Highway 107, by regular coach to Amphoe Chom Thong and thence by minibus to the the peak for a further distance of 48 kilometers. Complex mountain ranges and a mild climate characterize an area with moist and dense summit forest which is the source of important tributaries of the Mae Ping River, one of northern Thailand’s major waterways. Various streams descend, forming beautiful waterfalls throughout the park. These include the Siriphum, Vajirathan, Mae Pan, Mae Klang, and, the largest of all, Mae Ya waterfalls. Meo and Karen hill tribes inhabit the park. Visiting the Doi Inthanon National Park is possible throughout the year. The best period for viewing waterfalls is May through November. The best period for viewing wild flowers is December through February. The best period for ornithologists is November through March.
Elephant Training Centers:
Each morning, at kilometers. 1 0 on Mae Rim Samoeng route, some 30 kilometers from town, trained elephants demonstrate their formidable and highly-valued forestry skills from 9.30 until 11.00 am, at the Mae Sa Elephant Training Centre. A jungle tour on elephant back, lasting more than two hours through adjacent forests, is offered after the show. Elephants at work can also be seen at the Pong Yaeng Elephant Centre at kilometers 19 on the same route.
Trekking Tours around Chiangmai:
Trek Meo, Lisu, Yao, Akha, Lawa and Karen hill tribes live throughout northern Thailand’s mountains. They share animist beliefs and honor numerous forest and guardian spirits. Each tribe has distinctive ceremonial attire, courtship rituals, games, dances, agricultural customs, puberty rites, languages or dialects, aesthetic values and hygienic habits. Popular `Jungle Treks’, lasting from 2 to 7 days, take visitors through forested mountains and high valleys and meadows, and include visits to remoter high-altitude hill tribe settlements for overnight stays. The best guides are hill tribe youths who customarily speak English, Thai and at least three tribal dialects. Unlike Nepal, treks commonly feature travel by foot, sometimes by boat, elephant-back, horse-back or jeep, frequently a combination of two or three modes of transportation.
Orchid & Butterfly Farms:
major nurseries are located along Mae Rim-Samoeng route (Road No.1096). These farms include Sai Nam Phung, Mountain Orchid, and Mae Ram Orchid. Each provide opportunities for visitors admire these exotic year-round blooms. Certain orchid farms also have special butterfly enclosures where in exotic species can be seen in their natural environment.
Thailand’s most northern province, is 785 kilometers from Bangkok and borders Myanmar and Laos to the north. The provincial capital is some 785 kilometers north of Bangkok, and occupies a fertile valley approximately 580 meters above sea level. The largely mountainous province is 11 ,678 square kilometers in area. The major provincial river is the Mae Kok which is some 130 kilometers in length. Chiang Rai was founded in 1 262 AD. by King Mengrai. Chiang Rai was the ancient capital of the Lanna kingdom, until it was captured by the Burmese during the 1600s. Chiang Rai did not become Thai territory again until 1786. Chiang Rai was granted provincial status in 1910.
In and around Chiang Rai:
Some 2,000 meters above sea level, is located some 18 kilometers south of Mae Sai via Route 149. In the past, its forest area was destroyed by shifting cultivation of hill tribe people. Until 1987, Doi Tung Development Project has been established according to the Princess Mother’s imitative. Along the route there are some attractions such as scenic spots, Princess Mother’s residence, Mae Fa Luang Garden, Phrathat Doi Tung (a reliclury for Buddha relics, and hill tribe villages.
The Golden Triangle:
The area is locally referred to as Sop Ruake, where the Mae Khong river meets the Ruak river . This is where the borders of three countries, Laos, Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand, come together as the natural borders. The riverine convergence of the three countresacan be clearly and advantageously seen from a hilltop pavilion at Wat Phrathat Phukhao. There are remains of many ancient places and structures attesting to the area having bee settled by people in the past, where the various legends on the Lanna ancestors originate. Around Sop Ruak are boar rental service to view the scenery around the Golden Triangle.
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island with an area of 543 square kilometers and nestles against the Andaman Sea coast 862 kilometers south of Bangkok. Phuket traditionally derives its wealth from tin and rubber. The island is blessed with magnificent caves and bays, powdery palm-fringed white beaches, sparkling island-dotted seas, genuinely hospitable people, comfortable accommodation, superb seafood, tropically vegetative mountains, lovely waterfalls and parks, and delightful turn -of-the century Sino-Portuguese-influenced architecture, which creates an enchanting ambiance perfectly suited to total relaxation.
In and around Phuket:
Karon Beach & Kata Beach:
Karon and Kata situated at the south of Patong beach, both are long and peaceful beaches and eminently suitable for swimming, sunbathing and other seaside activities.
This monument stands in the south of the town at the area called Saphan Hin, the end of Phuket road. It was constructed in 1969 as a memorial to Mr. Miles, who devised the use of a dredger in mining operations in 1909.
Located on Thepkasattri Road about 3 kilometers from the town, it offers cultural performances demonstrating the Thai way of life with folk dances, Thai boxing, the unique aspects of Phuket and the South, a handicraft center, an orchid farm, and an elephant show.
The hillsides beach with groves of large pine trees is about 24 kilometers northwest of the town. Drive along Route No. 402, turn left at the Heroine Statues, and proceed on for 12 kilometers. There is a golf course to the right. Surin beach is not recommended for swimming because of its steepness and heavy seas and winds during the monsoon season.
Located 26 kilometers from the town, turn left at the Heroine Statues past Surin and Laem Sing, this beach is 2 kilometers long, quite and not crowded. Perfect location for peace loving travelers.
Phi Phi Island: (Mu Ko Phi Phi):
An archipelago of six islands located at an equal distance of 40 kilometers from both Krabi and Phuket consists of Ko Phi Phi Don and Ko Phi Phi Le as the major islands. The superb scenery of the islands includes high hills with jutting cliffs surrounded by marvelous beaches and emerald sea, hiding underneath a bank of coral reefs and colorful marine life which are unrivalled in this whole wide area.
Phang-Nga (James Bond Island):
Phang-Nga is also known as James Bond Island, a land of tin mines and beautiful scenery, nestles among soaring mountains which rise up around the town. Phang-Nga is located 788 kilometers from Bangkok and covers as area of 4,170 square kilometers, most of which is mangrove and evergreen forest. the area is bordered to the west by the Andaman Sea and consists of plenty of spectacular island.
The name literally means” City of Good People” and is the former seat of the Srivijaya Empire. It is the largest province of the South, covering an area of 12,891 square kilometers and bordered by the gulf of Thailand to the north and the east. Surat Thani is located 644 kilometers from Bangkok. The topography includes a high plateaus and forested mountains to the west, and low basins in the centre and along the eastern coast. There are tremendous number of islands along the coast.
One of the most attractive destination in Southern Thailand is located 814 kms. from Bangkok. Krabi occupies an area of 4,708 square kilometers. To the west, it borders on the Andaman Sea where countless natural attraction abound, including white sandy beaches, fascinating coral reefs, numerous large and small islands, verdant forest with caves and waterfalls.