Wat Arun

BANGKOK TOUR PACKAGES


BANGKOK TOUR PACKAGES

watarun.pngBangkok is one of the biggest megapolitan cities in South East Asia. As the capital city of Thailand there is a new city and an old city. The old city of Bangkok was first moved here in the early 15th Century, then under the primary administration of Ayutthaya. The strategic location of Old Bangkok at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River meant that it would blossom into one of the busiest trading ports in this part of Asia and the capital city was then built in the district of Thonburi on the western bank of the river. Old Bangkok was built by HM King Thaksin and was then moved to the eastern bank by the succeeding king, HM King Chulaloke many years later. This then became the New Bangkok.

As Bangkok settled in over the centuries and became more populated, temples and administrative buildings were constructed as well as churches, mosques and other trading posts by the various migrants and settlers. Today, the city of Bangkok offers some of the most diverse tourist’s attraction spots in this part of the continent, offering both old and new attractions for those who visit and are fascinated by the Thai cultures, traditions and way of life.

BangkokBangkok City is also one of the primary first stops when you enter the Kingdom of Thailand, either through the Suvarnabhumi International Airport or the budget carrier terminal of Don Mueng Airport. While there are taxi and rail services available directly from the airports when you enter, another option is arranged transfer services from the airport directly to your hotel. These transfer services are available from local travel agents such as Thaitourismguide. Starting your holiday right from the first day is the most important aspect of any traveller’s itinerary. Arranging the right tours and sightseeing options is the other unless you are a free and easy traveller or have been to Bangkok many times and have enough experience to navigate the city on your own.

Historical Bangkok City Tours

Garden of The Gods Ancient City

The sightseeing in Bangkok tour packages start with the famous iconic and historical places within the city centre. These places are some of the most magnificent historical buildings that date back at least a century old and represent the start of the city of Bangkok Administration and places of worship. Check out the temple tours in Bangkok packages and select from a choice of a join in tour or a private tour for the best options. These must see iconic places are the Royal Grand Palace with its intricate central buildings and the Royal Temple. This place is also used by the King for special occasions where he greets the public such as on Father’s Day which is the King’s Birthday and other special occasions. There is also the Wat Phra Kaew next door which houses the biggest Emerald Buddha and the dazzling Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) across the Chao Phraya River. Both these temples have beautiful structures, chedis and stupas created by ancient artisans. Other historical places of interest in Bangkok includes the Royal Barge Museum where the hand crafted barges are kept and used only on special days of the year. These barges of which there are 7 main barges measuring about 75 feet in length each with very ornate bows

Royal Grand Palace

and sterns are preserved in good condition. Some have been reconditioned while others are under maintenance due to years of wear and tear. These barges are used by the Royal Family in ceremonies to present the Royal robes to monks at the temple and has only been used about 18 times since the reign of the present King Bhumipol. On these days, about one hundred or more barges are used in naval formation to cross the Chao Phraya River from Wat Phra Kaew over to Wat Arun for the presentation ceremony. These occasions if you are lucky to see them are considered epic occasions in Thai History and a must see event. All these tours come under the temple tours in Thailand packages and combination tours mean lower rates so you have bigger savings on your tour packages. Check with us on our site from time to time for cheap price tours in Bangkok to book your memorable holiday trip with us.

Family Tours in Bangkok

Bangkok City is as diverse in its entertainment as it is in the food. This means that weather you are travelling alone or as a family, you will always find somewhere to go. For those who are travelling as a family either with or without younger children, this amazing city has something for everyone with their theme park in Thailand tours. Children and adults alike would love the zoos in Bangkok especially the Safari World Open Zoo. There is a myriad of shows and activities as well as rides to keep especially the children entertained. This one in all stop has everything including shows, buffet lunches, snack bars and animal feeding opportunities that would bring a smile on anyone’s face and a whole day spent in the great outdoors right here within the city. The Safari Open Zoo tour comes with pick up transfers, making it easy to get there and back from your hotel and you do not even have to worry about lunch or how you will visit the open safari where you can see the wildebeest roaming free. Everything is meticulously arranged for your enjoyment. Kids would love watching the parrot, sea lion and elephant shows or even feed the giraffes and play with the resident orang utan!

siamoceanworld-thaitourismguide-comFor those who love the sea and ocean life, check out the Siam Ocean World (Sea Life Ocean World Bangkok) tour where there are seven large zones to immerse yourselves in and feel the cold along with the penguins or take a dive in the tanks with the sharks! All this and more at this fabulous ocean in the city tour, and right next door to it, you can rub shoulders with the rich and famous at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. There are great photo opportunities here for you to take pictures and interact with your favourite idol, sports hero or movie star. The bonus is that the great shopping centres of Siam Paragon and Siam Centre are just next to each other for a great shopping experience all at one go.

If theme parks are your must do activity, there is always Dream World with their fantastic roller coasters and other rides. This waterpark in Thailand and theme park in Thailand tour has daily shows, plenty of amusing places to walk and take great pictures as well as a dry and wet park. So bring a change of clothes to spend a great day here. It is fun for the whole family.

Bangkok Shows and Entertainment

Nanta Cooking ShowA day is never complete without watching some of the famous shows in Thailand that is available year round in this great city. The most famous are the “Ladyboy” shows with their glitzy Las Vegas style entertainment and performances belting out popular musical numbers and crazy jokes to entertain their audience. The most famous being The Calypso Show at Asiatique. Their performance is flawless and the costumes beautiful, a show worth watching when you are in Bangkok. If you like sport active shows, and then catch the Muay Thai Life show also at Asiatique where you get a glimpse into the mysteries of Muay Thai also popularly known as Thai Kick Boxing. There are a lot of rituals and ceremonies prior to a fight night and this is one of the shows that is not only entertaining but also eye opening. Culture shows are best watched in an epic theatre and the most famous in Bangkok is the Siam Niramit Epic Culture Show. The stage can hold almost two hundred performers along with huge scene settings and even a flowing river and elephants for a most memorable performance. This is a must not miss show if you have the time to spare and want to watch something really spectacular. Comedies are also a feature performance in Bangkok and one worth watching is the Cookin Nanta show. This show is Korean by origin and one of the most successful and famous stage comedy shows in the world. It is guaranteed non-stop laughter from the start to the finish and you wanting more! A truly hilarious cast of characters as well as fantastic drum play typical of Korean music using every day kitchen utensils and equipment! Every show that you book with Thaitourismguide comes with the ease of transfers to and from your hotel to make sure you get there and safely back after an enjoyable night out.

Bangkok Cruises and dining out

Dinner Cruise

There is no shortage of the varieties of food and cuisines available in this great city of Bangkok. It is just a matter of choice as to the ambiance and settings you would like to enjoy your meals in, be it the wonderful street foods of Thailand, a romantic meal on a ship or in one of the many hotels and restaurants that offer some of the finest selections of traditional Thai cuisine or International buffets. A few of the highly recommended “Must try Dining Experiences in Bangkok” would be the romantic dinner cruises on-board a luxury liner that sails down the mighty Chao Phraya Dinner. A combination of romantic sailing with the sights of the Bangkok skyline in the evenings and a scrumptious buffet spread of International and Thai cuisine to satisfy any discerning palate is a definite must try and do while you are visiting this great city. A combination of sailing, dining and live entertainment on-board these beautifully equipped and designed ships would be an unforgettable night out for you and your travelling partners. The Thaitourismguide dinner cruise in Bangkok packages will ensure you have a good time at one of the most reasonable prices without breaking your budget, to have a memorable dinner cruise in the city.

Another great place to have a meal, be it lunch or dinner with a fantastic bird’s eye view of Bangkok City, is from the Baiyoke Sky Hotel. As the tallest building in the city with a revolving dining tower, diners get a fantastic 360 degree view of the city while they dine on the massive variety of international, Thai and seafood buffet. To top that all off, there is even a famous floating market buffet right on the top of the hotel complete with food bearing long tail boats and a nostalgic floating market setting. Give the Biyoke Dinner Buffet or Floating Market Buffet a try when you are here. It is one of the most popular and raved about buffets in the city!

Bangkok Tourism Sites

Sampran RiversideAside from the shopping, temple visits, shows and buffets in the city of Bangkok, there are also other sights of interests where visitors can enjoy the cultures, traditions and relative Thainess of the country. One such place is the Samphran Thai Village tour where visitors have a first-hand experience on trying out the demonstrations booths that make traditional medicinal balls, try kick boxing, elephant rides, and have a hand in making traditional Thai desserts and much more. It is a fun and eye opening visit without being too far out of the city. Try out the rice harvesting techniques or walk in the famous organic rose garden and harvest some of the organic plants for making your own herbal balls for a traditional Thai massage! To find out more on what to see in the city of Bangkok, drop a line to the friendly people at the Thaitourismguide office and ask for an itinerary or their special offers and promotions.

International Buffet at Baiyoke sky hotel

Gastronomic delights of high dining at Baiyoke sky hotel


Baiyoke Sky HotelThailand is notable for three things to any visitor which is shopping, sightseeing and food. More so in the city of Bangkok with its mix of Thai and international hotch potch of dining choices and experience that has a wide array of food types to suit any taste from any country. The melting pot of aromatic spices, fresh herbs, choice of local and imported delicacies, not to mention imported chefs and Thailand’s own home grown chef superstars are sure to cook up a storm for any discerning gastronomic palate.  Those with a taste for fine dining right up to the famous street food of Thailand will find the cuisines in the country a delectable smorgasbord of eating experience.

One of the popular choices for a tourist attraction in Bangkok is the dining experience at BaiyokeSky Hotel. This hotel is located in the heart of Bangkok City well within the reach of the main shopping district and easily accessible by skytrain or the many taxis that ply the route. The BaiyokeSky Hotel is also the tallest hotel in Bangkok, offering a 360 degree bird’s eye view of the Bangkok skyline.  The restaurants in the hotel are located on the seventy fourth floors to the eighty fourth floors with revolving decks for an all-round dining experience.

International buffet at Baiyoke Sky HotelThaitourismguide offers a choice of dinner buffets at the BaiyokeSky Hotel for guests who are looking for an unusual dining experience to be included in their sightseeing in Bangkok travel itinerary. There are two options available for diners to Baiyokesky Hotel. One is the International Buffet at BaiyokeSky Hotel and the other is the Baiyoke Floating Market. The significant difference between these two buffets is the choice of food styles on the menu.

The International Buffet is held from 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 6.00pm to 10.00pm daily for lunch and dinner except for special festive days where there is a difference in opening times and prices (we advise patrons to check for the prices on special days such as Valentine’s Day, Songkran, Loy Krathong, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve). The dining room for the International Buffet is known as the Bangkok Sky Restaurant and is located on the 75th to 78th floor with access to the Observation Deck on the 77th floor and access to the Sky Walk Revolving Roof Deck on the 84th floor. Seating next to the panoramic windows are on a first come first serve basis, so if you want a good seat next to the windows for an unobstructed view of Bangkok City skyline, it is best to go early for a good seating arrangement.

Baiyoke Floating MarketPatrons will not be disappointed with the offerings in the International Buffet which also includes a Seafood Buffet Dinner. There are also dishes suitable for vegetarians for those who do not consume meat. Most of the ingredients and produce are either flown in fresh or taken from local vendors who supply the catch of the day directly to the hotel, so you can expect fresh from boat to serving dish for your choice of seafood and prime cuts as well as farm fresh and organic vegetables in their menu. A cross section of dishes include authentic Japanese sushi and sashimi choices with fresh air flown salmon for that lingering taste that goes so well with Mirin sauce or large sized fresh oysters on the shell with a dash of lemon and Tabasco or eaten Thai style with chilli paste, fried onions and herbs! You can also expect large sized freshly steamed River Prawns served with a chilli dip or for those who love meat, prime cuts of beef on the wagon and succulent New Zealand lamb roasted to perfection. The vegetarian palate is also not forgotten with choices of wholesome vegetarian dishes from India which includes lentils and dhal cooked in spices and herbs served with fragrant steamed rice or rotee. Those who would like a taste of Japanese food, will not be disappointed either with a good selection of fresh cut sashimi servings, sushi rolls and tempuras as well as teppanyakis. There are also good choices of salads, cold cuts, cheese boards and a variety of breads and endless array of desserts to complete your meal while taking in a good view of the city. The buffet is also cheaply priced for such a variety of menu selection and can be considered as one of the cheap price tour in Bangkok attractions for those who are looking for a good place to dine while in Bangkok.

If you are missing out on food from the floating markets of Bangkok, you should try the Baiyoke Floating Market buffet at the Baiyoke Hotel and have a floating market experience in one of the highest hotels in the city! It can be considered the highest floating market experience in Thailand on the 75th floor of the hotel. Created to reflect the ambiance of the floating markets in the city of the old Siamese era complete with the food served on long tail canal boats and it gives a feeling of being in one of the old floating markets but with all the comforts of an air conditioned and clean environment! They have even thoughtfully decorated the place with pictures of the nostalgic era to add on to the feel of an old floating market. You even get to have a canal like experience with old wooden houses and bridges added in for that extra authentic Thai canal feel that is very similar to the original settings, off course without the waterways but yet close enough for a similar ambiance.

Baiyoke Floating MarketDiners will be spoilt with choices of more than one hundred varieties of traditional and Thai street food style servings in this eat as much as you can buffet. If you want to try a good variety of Thai desserts including the famous mango and sticky rice, this is a great place to get a mouthful of this sticky dessert. Have a healthy serving of fresh grilled chicken with sticky rice or the famous somtum (young papaya salad). For something a little more unusual, try the variety of “canal boat” noodles that come piping hot and aromatic with a serving of fresh fish balls and herbs, then wash it all down with a cool glass of lemon grass juice. You will not miss the location of this restaurant with all the aromatic cooking coming from the boats lined up in rows waiting to serve you. This floating market buffet is one of the most popular buffet attractions in Bangkok not just for the variety but also the costs which is remarkably reasonably priced and also for the simple fact that you do not have to travel out of the way to sample a good selection of local food. The proximity of the Baiyoke Sky Hotel to all the main shopping areas such as Central World and Siam Paragon mean that you can do your shopping first and then head on to the hotel a short distance away to complete your day with a good meal.

So whenever you are visiting Bangkok and would like to try something different rather than heading out to the usual fast food restaurants or not sure of where to eat, give the buffets at Baiyoke Sky Hotel a try. Who knows, you just might come back for seconds, or thirds or even more but do remember to make your booking for the Baiyoke Floating  Market and International Buffet in advance to avoid disappointment!

Manohra Overnight Cruise

Selecting a luxury dinner cruise in Bangkok – what are the options



One of the greatest highlights and the cap to a perfect holiday experience in Bangkok is a dinner cruise on one of the luxury liners that ply the mighty Chao Phraya River every night. The music wafting from their decks and tables laid out with scrumptious food that is not only a feast for the eyes but also the palate. While spectators on the shore eye these ships with a tinge of envy at the diners on board who seem to be having a wonderful time. One can’t help but also think of the life of the rich and famous where such luxury cruises are a part of their life entertainment.

Bangkok is not short of luxury cruise ship dinners as one of the sightseeing in Bangkok attractions. Scenes along the Chao Phraya River with its historic monuments and city scape offer a beautiful scenic view in the evenings with their twinkling lights and flashing neon. With so many vendors offering these cruises for a reasonable price, tourists are spoilt for choice but how would they select one of these cruise dinners and have the best experience to make their trip a memorable one?

Thaitourismguide offers a few choices of dinner cruise in Bangkok options in their online booking page. Their choice of dinner cruise includes the Chaopraya Princess Cruise, LoyNava Dinner Cruise, Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise, RiverStar Princess Dinner Cruise and the Manohra Dinner Cruise. With so many to select from, tourists intending to book online will have a difficult time choosing between these many choices unless they have the option to return and try different cruise liners every trip they make to Bangkok!

Manohra Overnight Cruise
A quick overview of their itinerary will cite almost the same contents. All the luxury dinner cruise ships depart from the River City Pier in Bangkok and each offers a two hour cruise and dining experience along the same route. The cruise starts around 7.00pm ending at around 9.00pm daily. If you are keen to select one of these dinner cruises in Bangkok on your next trip from the Thaitourismguide online site, do bear these few points in mind. As almost all the cruise ships offer the same length of time per cruise, identical start off points and almost similar buffet menu options, one deciding factor will stand out which is price options. So if you want something a little cheaper, there are a few good selections available or look out for offers which are sometimes offered by Thaitourismguide on their site.

Another option is the type of cruise experience that you would like to have. While most of these cruise dinners are on board modern luxury triple deck cruise liners, there are a few exceptions such as the Manohra Dinner Cruise or the LoyNava Dinner Cruise which is offered on converted rice barges and hold fewer passengers which makes for a more intimate dining experience. The menu offered is also a little more personalized and authentic be it the Thai cuisine or International selection. There is a romantic atmosphere when sailing in these historic old rice barges which have been comfortably decked out reminisce of the golden days of luxury cruise sailing experiences. On the other hand, cruise ships such as the Chaopraya Princess Cruise and the Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise are on board high end modern triple deck cruise ships. These cruise ships are shallow bottomed, offering a wide seating berth from the first deck up. Off course most passenger will opt for the top deck which is an open deck and offers a better view of the cruise experience but is on a first come serve basis. Some cruise services, such as the Grand Pearl Cruise has a more pompous boarding routine where passengers are given a warm welcome on the pier before boarding with a live entertainment performance.

Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise
The Chaopraya Princess Cruise, Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise and the RiverStar Princess Cruise are considered to be in the same category of cruise ships. All three provide similar sized cruise ships which have a capacity to seat around two hundred and fifty passengers. The tables set for dinner are comparatively high end hotel styled set for a western dinner. The Grand Pearl differs in their reception presentation from the boarding ceremony to their crew attendance which is formally in line with what you would experience for service on board the Queen Elizabeth II ships, and for those who like a little pomp and splendour, then the Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise is a good choice. Quality of the buffet dinner selections on board the Chaopraya Princess Cruise and the River Star Princess Cruise are very similar but a little better on board the Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise. All three serve a mix of Thai and International dinner buffet with a rotating menu every two or three months. Live entertainment performance on board is also a little better on the Grand Pearl cruise with their “Khon” classical performance. The three cruise companies provide the same sailing route along the Chao Praya River which starts from the River City Pier, past the iconic Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), the Royal Grand Palace and Wat Pra Kaew, pass the Rama VIII Bridge (where you get an amazing view of the bridge as you approach it), down to Asiatique the Riverfront and a glimpse of the Bangkok Eye (this is currently one of the trendiest shopping and entertainment districts in Bangkok) and a little further before making a U turn for the return trip. Along the way you would also see the Holy Rosary Church (the oldest Church in Bangkok), several colonial Government buildings and the scenic riverside lifestyle. In comparison price wise, the Chaopraya Princess Cruise and the RiverStar Princess Cruise offers more competitive and cheaper dining rates that make them more attractive for tourists who would like to enjoy a romantic dinner cruise without burning a hole in their pockets. So in the choice of which to choose between the three cruise options it would be service versus price as the deciding factor.

Dinner on cruise by Chaophraya Cruise
For those who have a deeper pocket and where price is not an option then you may want to try something a little different with the Manohra Dinner Cruise and the LoyNava Dinner Cruise. These two cruise ships are the classical converted Rice Barge wooden ships with a seating capacity of only forty to fifty five passengers. These cruise ships have a more private atmosphere and suitable for more intimate or private functions. The Loy Nava Dinner Cruise departs from River City Pier but the Manohra Dinner Cruise departs from Manohra Cruise pier or from the Thaksin Pier. Both cruise services offer direct pick up from the guest’s hotels or from Thaksin Pier. These two classes of cruise ships are considered original antique luxury teakwood rice barges, converted into plush seating arrangements with silk fabric seating and a grandiose interior setting. They are fitted with the most modern naval navigation equipment and safety features and both cruises offer comprehensive insurance policies for their guests on board. Both offer a first class dining experience whereby the Manohra offers a Thai style buffet selection and the LoyNava offers a set sit down dinner course of authentic Royal Thai cuisine (something which is a rarity in local Thai cuisine selections). These cruises are on an open deck giving the feel of an authentic Thai river cruise as taken by the Kings of ancient Siam when they sailed down the Chao Praya River.


The Manohra and the Tahsaneeya Nava cruise ships are reputed to have served high end guests such as dignitaries, celebrities and VIPs over their years of service, so you can expect similar service on board these two cruise vessels if you are looking for something extra special on your trip to Bangkok in terms of cruise dinners in Bangkok. Each cruise has a narrative history in English of the sights and iconic monuments as you sail past them which gives you an insight into Thai history of the Chao Praya River. The difference between the Manohra Dinner Cruise and the LoyNava Dinner Cruise is the type of dinner setting and menu available. The Manohra offers a buffet style setting and the LoyNava offers a formal sit down dinner complete with servings of different wines per dinner stage and personal table butler service. The Manohra offers one set standard package while the LoyNava offers a selection of three different packages according to the discerning taste of the guest. However, the LoyNava pays a little more attention to guest service and has a better guest presentation in terms of souvenirs and reception on board. One can expect a traditional Thai style welcome ceremony of flower garlands and water sprinkling with a cool towel for that refreshing feeling. The table settings are also more elegant with thoughtful touches for the lady guests. Guests on board will also enjoy a true traditional Thai classical performance with a live traditional band to provide entertainment while you cruise and dine. There is a full bar service on board both cruise ships with ample selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and cocktails but bear in mind that the drinks are chargeable as they are not included in the cruise and dinner price package. The LoyNava has a token souvenir of a booklet with reproduction paintings and images of the iconic sites that makes a good collector’s item of your trip on board. Where the Manohra serves a Thai buffet style dinner, the LoyNava is a little more personal with a set dinner menu of hors d’oeuvres, entrees, soups, main course and desserts with a good selection of wines for that romantic personal dining experience.

Grand Pearl Amazing Dinner Cruise
Therefore, depending on your preference of cruise and dining experience, guests do have a choice of a budget cruise dinner or a more romantic ambience. All the cruise services provide transfer to and from hotels within the city to the pier and advance bookings of the cruise dinners in Bangkok are strongly advised as these tours are very popular and mostly fully booked on short notices. Facilities for the disabled are available on request and those on wheelchairs will not have a problem boarding as there are ample hands on board to help with the wheelchair access. Your sightseeing in Thailand itinerary is not complete without an experience on one of these dinner cruise in Bangkok tours and a sail down the mighty River of Kings which offers a different perspective of sight and sound from the Chao Praya River in Thailand!

Featured Tarad Rot Fai

Like moths to light at the night markets of Bangkok


Tarad Rot FaiIt is a consumer’s market in Thailand, and none more obvious than in Bangkok City. Shopping seems to be a favourite past time not only among the Thais but apparently even tourists who would surprisingly go out of their way to try out a new shopping and sightseeing experience in Thailand. There are street markets, floating markets and of course the night markets. The latter being a little less available as the space designated are rather limited within the city. Night markets are only open on the nights leading up to the weekends very similar to the floating markets or Chatuchak Market.

These market places are one of the tourist attractions for Bangkok City, however there are very few tour agencies that actually offer these night market routes as part of their tour attractions in Bangkok. Therefore if you are visiting the Big Mango and would like to visit  one of these night markets, you would have to make an effort to find your way there. The two main night market attractions are in Rachada Road and in Srinakarin.

The Rachada Night Market is a little more accessible but is yet to be completed. It is reputed to be the biggest night market in the city and within the easily accessible areas of RCA, which is one of the main night entertainment hot spots and the MRT services. The other night market, which is in Srinakarin is a little further on the outskirt of the city and used to be at the old railway lines in Chatuchak area. It is known as the Talat Rot Fai (“talat” meaning market and “rot fai” means the railway in the Thai language).

What is it that attracts throngs of people to a night market or is it simply because people just like to shop? Unlike the other markets, in a night market you can shop in relative comfort even though it is crowded and do not have to bear the heat of the day as night markets are in an open space which also means that during the rainy seasons, business would be a whole lot slower! The night markets in Thailand are a variety of goods and food that appeal to a good cross section of the shopping taste. You can find anything from brand new clothing, second hand designer goods, old vintage toys and décor or even second hand clothing and toys. The Talat Rot Fai in Srinakarin has a good blend of up market retail shops as well as restaurants and cafes which makes it a pleasant place to hang out for those who are tired of shopping. It is a far better environment compared to the original night market which was in a dirt road back area, always muddy and dark. Night markets also offer a good bargain opportunity for those who like to haggle at prices.

Tarad Roi FaiThe night market concept offers a business opportunity for small scale proprietors that are keen to do a little side business over the weekends for extra income and this is where you can find many unusual items for sale which are homemade or customized and not found in department stores or big shopping centres. While you are at Talat Rot Fai night market, try one of the attractions here which is a big bowl of porridge with all the trimmings on it boiling hot in a clay pot at your table! You will not find this anywhere in a shopping centre or even at a food court and one pot serves up to three persons with plenty to spare even for> those with a big appetite.

Shoppers who are keen on collectibles, this is a good place to start looking for them. Some  vendors at the night markets have a good collection of vintage tin toys, obsolete comic books and collectibles or even antiques which are going for a steal. You just need a sharp eye and a good sense of what is vintage and a collectible. You can even buy some good car, bike and bicycle parts here if you like something unusual. These night markets normally start around 4.00pm and go on till 3.00 am in the morning which gives you ample time to mooch around especially if it is one of those sleepless weekend nights or you happen to be a night bird and prefer nocturnal activities. Tourists will have a fun time eating and shopping their way through or even taking some great photos of things that make up the culture of the urban Thai shopping adventure. If you are not sure what to do on weekend evenings in Bangkok, add the night market adventure into your list of sightseeing in Bangkok Experiences, hop onto a BTS train and head for On Nut station and grab a cab to Talat Rot Fai or take the MRT to Phra Ram 9 and walk from there to the Rachada Night Market.

Tarad Rot FaiThe hustle and bustle of Thailand’s night markets can best be described as an eclectic shopping adventure of local smells, taste, sight and sound. The familiar Thai greeting of “Dai na kha?” akin to “Anything?” will see you ending up with an item or two into your shopping bag! So the next time you are in Thailand, especially Bangkok, rather than just heading out to Chatuchak Market or the famous floating markets, try a night market experience in Bangkok and tell us what you think!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture credit:: Iwondered,propertyseven

Jim Thompson Farm

A cultural farming experience at the annual jim thompson farm fair


Jim Thompson FarmThe word “Farm” conjures images of sheep, goats or expanses of crops and a sweaty day in the outdoors. If you are looking for an agro cultural tour in Thailand, then the Jim Thompson Farm Fair experience is one of the highlights of the agro industry in the country. This agro farm experience in Thailand is only open to the public once a year for a month and falls in the winter month of December to January. ‘Winter’ in Thailand means the cooler months where the temperature hovers around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius with a fairly cool breeze blowing. It is a much awaited farm fair in the country and from opening day to closing, it is packed with local and foreign tourists who manage to find their way there.

Situated in the province of Nakhon Ratchasiman in the Pak Thong Chai district, the Jim Thompson Farm is a good two hour drive from Bangkok City. Visitors keen to join this agro farm fair would need to find a way to get there either by self-driving or to join special tours that would make all the necessary arrangements for transportation. Thaitourismguide is one such tour group that arranges private tours to Jim Thompson Farm annually as part of their sightseeing Thailand tours but it means you will have to book ahead. Despite the difficulty to get there, it is still worth the effort as the tour to Jim Thompson Farm is a whole day affair that has ample activities for the whole family.

The name Jim Thompson is synonymous with the silk industry in Thailand and the brand name of some of the finest silk fabrics and clothing with stores worldwide in some of the famous fashion houses of New York, Paris and Milan. However, the Jim Thompson Farm is not just all about silk. Did you know that the Jim Thompson Farm also produces some of the best melons and pumpkins in Thailand as well as signature teas, rice and a wide variety of organic vegetables? The Jim Thompson Farm Fair is open daily during this season from 9.00 am in the morning to the last guided tour at 5.00 pm in the evening and this year 2015 it is open from the 5 December till the 10 January 2016.

The idea for the Jim Thompson Farm was first established as a one stop centre to supply all the necessary raw materials that were needed by the company to produce the silk fabrics for their outlets. Within this farm in the early days of 1988, a form of silk worm culture was developed known as “sericulture” which meant the development of self-sustaining mulberry plantations and the breeding of good quality grade silkworm eggs through a breeding method to produce hybrid silkworms for sale and distribution to the company silk worm farming contractors.

Jim Thompson FarmA ride out to the Jim Thompson Farm is an enjoyable ride albeit a little bumpy in the off roads but rewarding in the picturesque scenes along the way. As the farm is situated in the Isaan territories, you will get good views of the mountains and bamboo groves along the way and at the farm itself which occupies 280 acres of land. There are two areas to the farm, one is the actual farm area itself and the other which is open for camping and outdoor activities a little further down. The idea to include ecotourism into agrotourism was to encourage the younger generations into a more outdoor lifestyle rather than an urban lifestyle and to encourage agro industrial vocations.
The silk industry in Thailand is one of the most notable products to come out of Thailand, thanks to the efforts of the legendary Jim Thompson. A visit to the Jim Thompson Farm would be an eye opening experience where you will get a first-hand glimpse into how silk is produced from the plantations of mulberry bushes all the way to the production of the beautiful fabrics. However, the silkworm and silk producing industry is not just the agenda of the farm. There are a lot of other activities for the whole family as well as an abundance of food and shopping to be done here not to mention great photography opportunities.

Once you get to the Jim Thompson Farm and have presented your entry tickets, there are guided coaches every 15 minutes to take you on a tour of the farm which is divided into five different areas. Bear in mind that the hard working staffs of the farm have spent a whole year to prepare this wonderful event for you so you can expect fresh organically grown vegetables and fruits, games, cultural shows, a farmers market, retail shops and off course plenty of Isaan food during this farm tour experience! So hop onto one of the coaches for a great tour of the farm.

First stop along the way is the Giant Pumpkin Patch and Maize farm. Here you can stroll around the pumpkin patch where the pumpkins are all ripe and ready for harvest. Among the pumpkins are also a beautiful field of marigold flowers which turns the whole area nice bright orange as well as golden sunflower fields. There is also a huge hay stack climbing facilities for the kids to enjoy themselves. If you are a little tired have a seat on one of the brightly silk covered hay bales which are ample around the place or have a drink and snacks at the coach stop. You would also not believe the varieties of pumpkins they grow on this farm of different shapes, sizes and colour.
Jim Thompson FarmNext stop is the Isaan Village tour where there are a good collection of antique teak Isaan and Korat style wooden houses, padi fields and games along with cultural shows. Where the coach stops, walk down a little to meet the resident friendly water buffalo named “Boonlai” who is more than happy to give you a nuzzle. Water buffaloes are the working backbone of the farming industry in Thailand and revered by the farmers. A walk up to the village is divided into two sections. The one on the left through the padi fields brings you to the rice harvest and milling stations. Here you get a chance to experience rice harvesting and milling using the traditional wood mill method. Did you know that the Jim Thompson Farm produces a variety of red and brown rice which is not only nutritious but has a unique fragrance when cooked? You can later buy some of this rice at the farmers market along the way if you did not mill your own harvest at the village! This village is part of the conservation project by Jim Thompson Farm to preserve the fast disappearing teak wooden houses which are being replaced in favour of the modern brick houses and apartments all over the country especially in rural northeastern Thailand. The Isaan community is a blend of Thai and Laotian cultures and unique in their traditions, lifestyle and cultures, all of which you can watch and experience right here at the farm. There are culture shows, games, ceremonies and sampling of snacks for you to complete the experience. If you make one round of this village, try your luck at the lucky draw tree. This was a form of entertainment at fairs in the villages in the olden days. Pieces of paper with numbers are formed into beautiful origami birds and hung on a big tree. For a mere few Baht, you are given a long stick to try and get one of these “birds” off the tree. If you are lucky, your number will correspond with some of the wonderful prizes prepared such as packs of red rice, vouchers and other goodies! The tree is also beautifully decorated with yards of colourful silk fabrics hung from the top to form a silk tent and worthy of a great picture. One thing you will note is the effort to decorate the whole farm area from the entrance all the way in and back again with whimsical handmade decorations of rice stalks, silk fabrics and farm produce to make your visit to the farm even more colourful and memorable. Do not forget to drop by the retail shop where you can buy beautiful silk fabrics, clothes, bags and other knick knacks or have a drink at the café while watching people try their luck at the “Lucky tree”.

Jim Thompson FarmThe Weaving village is next on the list of the guided tour. Here are a series of wooden and brick buildings that house the silk production facilities. The entranceway to this weaving village is fascinating with its spider web like weavings of silk threads along a metal arch frame and interspersed with decorations of rice stalk ornaments of various bright colours. Take a peek into the silk worm breeding rooms if you are not squeamish about caterpillars. The silk worms are bred from top grade silk worm eggs and fed with mulberry leaves until they are matured and form cocoons. The Jim Thompson Farm produces two varieties of silk worm cocoons such as the Golden Yellow Silk cocoons which are a Thai Hybrid and the Chinese White cocoon. Villagers in Isaan who supply to the Jim Thompson Farm are provided with these varieties of silk worms which they breed and harvest to be sold back to Jim Thompson Farm. The cocoons are formed in round slotted rattan baskets to make them easier to sort out and remove. Once removed, they are placed into vats of boiling water to loosen the threads of silk and unravelled. The threads are they sent for dyeing into the various bright colours that will be used to weave the silk fabrics. Here you can learn how the various coloured dyes are made and used. Most of the colours come from natural produce such as flowers, spices and minerals to give them that unique colour. Then head out to the weaving looms where you will have a first-hand experience of how silk is woven on hand looms to form the beautiful silk fabrics. The new looms are a modification of the old hand looms in the mechanism for threading the silk threads row by row. Where it used to be hand slide mechanism it is now a slide carrier to make it a little faster in the weaving process but note that all silk fabrics are still hand woven!

Jim Thompson FarmThe highlight of the tour is also the farmers market. Here are two big blocks of open market space where you can buy fresh produce or products from the weaving village. The first market block is where you can find a good variety of freshly harvested and pesticide free vegetables and fruits. They are all grown organically and the variety available is quite impressive especially the melons, cantaloupes and pumpkins. There are also fresh mushrooms from their mushroom farm, all manner of gourds, snacks and a personal favourite is bottles of fresh honey still with their combs intact. There is also an open space here for you to have a meal of authentic and traditional Isaan food. The food menu has been specially picked for you to get the best eating experience of traditional village Isaan food varieties. Some of the dishes are a little spicy but a favourite is the Isaan sausages which are all hand made from spiced meats. You can enjoy your meal here after a day in the outdoors exploring the farm area and sit down to a good meal with a view of the mountains and mulberry plantations to entertain you. The next block is the product market. Once you get inside, take a look at the ceiling, and marvel at the beautifully handmade silk lantern shades hanging from the rafters. Makes you wish you could buy a few of them to bring home but unfortunately these are not for sale! Instead there are hand woven silk carpets, silk cushion covers, straw mats, clothing, bags and other home decorative items for sale here that make good mementoes of your trip to the farm and bring a signature Jim Thompson product back home.

Last but not least on the stops is the self pick vegetable patch. Here you will find a variety of ready-to-harvest vegetables all ready for you to pick and bag to bring home. Take your choice of beans, bitter gourds, egg plants, cucumbers and vegetables for your dining table and eating pleasure. They are all pesticide free and organic. This is to encourage the consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits into the local diet especially organic varieties for better health. From this point it is back to the start and entrance way where there is the signature Jim Thompson Retail outlet that you can buy other souvenirs like mugs, magnets or an up market trend of clothing. All-in-all, the Jim Thompson Farm experience is like no other and something that should be experienced at least once to appreciate part of the culture and lifestyle of Northeastern Thailand while gaining a better understanding into the agro culture industry of the country. Do also remember that the farm is only open to the public once a year and if you miss this one, you will have to wait till the end of the year to go to the next one!

Jim Thompson House

Jim thompson house – the legacy of a legend in exotic Thailand


Jim thompson houseThe heart of Bangkok City has many surprises and one of them is the Jim Thompson House along the Saen Saeb Klong. With a quiet Soi leading to the house, it would have easily gone unnoticed with the exception of the front placard stating the name of the residence. Looking at the front entrance, it is hard to imagine the splendours of the houses within the compound which is rich in exotic tropical plants, beautiful landscaping, a great collection of Eastern and Western antiques as well as a history of silk weaving in Thailand. There are remarkably six authentic Thai styled teak wooden houses nestled within the compound now converted into a museum, retail outlet, restaurant and silk demonstration area. These houses were transported piece by piece from Ayutthaya and Ban Krua, and then reassembled in this present place.

How did a post war “farang” as foreigners are called in Thailand, achieve such a legendary status in the then mysterious Far East and of all places in Thailand? In the mid-1940s, Thailand though not actively involved in the war between Japan and the Allied countries was hardly a place frequented by the average tourist. Coming out into the post war years, Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand was not what you would expect now. There were no proper four or even five star hotels to cater to the tourists let alone great shopping and sight-seeing places.

Jim Thompson was a man intrigued by Thailand and the people after he was posted to Bangkok as an OSS officer just a little after the war ended. An architect by profession, prior to joining the military, his love for creativity in colours and design played predominantly in his life in Thailand. He was a keen collector of art objects and before long while in Thailand, he discovered the silk industry. Captivated by the vibrant and lively colours of the fabric, it soon became a passion for him to not only revive the silk trade but also improve the quality and market of this amazing material to the outside world. He soon dedicated thirty years of his life to the silk industry in Thailand until his mysterious disappearance while on holiday in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. His disappearance still remains a mystery to this day and there are many speculations as to the nature of Jim Thompson’s previous involvements with the OSS and later CIA. Nevertheless, his efforts to promote and market the silk industry and building the Jim Thompson brand name has seen the introduction of beautiful silk fabrics and clothing into the fashionista houses and glittering catwalks of famous brands in America and Europe.

 the legacy of a legend in exotic thailandThe Jim Thompson House in Bangkok is an epitome of his private collections of objects d’art; marvellous Teak houses which he relocated from Ayutthaya and Ban Krua are reassembled piece by piece in his property in Bangkok. There are in total six beautifully restored traditional Thai Teak houses now made into museums and a retail outlet at the Jim Thompson House. A trip to this East meets West enclave gives a peek into the colourful existence of a man’s passion for the Eastern lifestyle while maintaining his Western roots.

A little after walking in through the gateway are life displays of what the silk industry is all about. You can watch the traditional clad ladies and men hand processing silkworm cocoons ready for the looms. One would never think that such beautiful threads could come from a caterpillar! The first display stand shows you how the silk worm cocoons are boiled in hot water to loosen the threads of the cocoon. As the threads unravel in the hot water, the thread is woven into bundles ready for the next process. These raw threads are a tinge of brown and require a bleaching process to turn them white in order to make the dyes used to turn them into vibrant colours be more prominent. The dyes for the threads are made from various natural ingredients. An example is the bright indigo colour which is unique to silk threads. This colour is derived from the petals of the purple pea flower. This colouring is also used in Thai desserts such as sticky rice and snacks. The silk threads are then dipped into the dye and soaked until the colour is absorbed. It is then further treated to make the colour permanent in the thread before being sent for drying and rolled into spools ready for the loom. It is fascinating to understand the various stages of learning that Jim Thompson must have gone through to indulge in the industry wholeheartedly and turn the industry around from an ailing art form into a multi-million dollar cottage industry.

BenjarongBehind the display booths is the Jim Thompson Retail store. You can choose to go into the store first or on your way out after completing the tour of the Jim Thompson house facilities. It is slightly cheaper to buy from this retail outlet as compared to the stores outside under the same brand and the variety is slightly different as it is a much larger store. There is everything from the signature clothing to silk fabrics by the meter or bags and other souvenirs. Those who love the artistic designs of the Jim Thompson clothing range will not be disappointed on their visit here! Across from the retail outlet is the café and restaurant. Here you can have a snack and drink or even entertain your guests to a full authentic Thai meal. There are signature dishes here that would appeal even to the Western palate and off course a boon for the Thai food connoisseur. Some of the ingredients used in the dishes come from the Jim Thompson Farm in Nakhon Ratchasima province.

Take your time to walk the exquisite compound of this little piece of cultural sanctuary. There are a variety of old rare trees, a beautifully landscaped garden with a nice koi pond, some exotic ginger plant varieties and plenty of carved stone statues some of which are antiques from his collection adorning the garden. It is a cool and shady place where you can sit for a breather or just indulge in some really good picture taking. There are more exhibits on the silk industry housed in one of the teak house foyers including a silk weaving loom. This huge contraption is used to weave the beautiful yards of silk by hand. Weaving of the silk fabrics is not an automated process and still requires the many man hours and manpower to weave each piece, which is what makes silk an expensive fabric but worth the price.  You can also see exhibits of the actual silk worm caterpillars and the cocoons. The cocoons are bred in round rattan baskets to make them easier to harvest. Did you also know that some of the silkworm in the cocoons can be consumed? They are a local delicacy and the bigger ones are normally deep fried and served with a sprinkle of soy sauce. You can only find this at street stalls or the Chatuchak Market.

The interior of the Jim Thompson House compound houses the famed all teak buildings of traditional Thai design. Within these houses are beautiful collections of antiques collected by Jim Thompson over the years.

Jim thompsonThe first house which is the entrance foyer introduces two beautiful sculptures in the wall niches. One is of a standing figurine of Buddha and the other a teak carved figurine. This is the tour starting point of the Jim Thompson House. It costs a small entrance fee for a guided tour of the Jim Thompson House and tour times are at approximately two hour intervals. If you join a tour such as those provided by Thaitourismguide in their sightseeing in Bangkok tour packages, then it is a lot easier to get there and have all the ticketing and transfers arranged. The last tour is at five in the evening. You can buy tickets from the entrance for the tour and prior to starting the tour you will have to remove your shoes before stepping into the house. It is a Thai tradition and there are shelves and lockers for you to put your shoes.

The tour will take you upstairs and unfortunately, photography is not allowed in the house. However, you can still see the many antique murals acquired over years by Jim Thompson from various temples in Thailand. These intricate and highly detailed murals tell the story of Buddha in his passage of time through the process of enlightenment. Further into the house, in what used to be a kitchen but now refurbished into a living museum is the collection of Benjarong ceramics, which by the way is an almost complete set! Next you will head for the villa which is the dining room laid out in anticipation of welcoming dinner guests. One can imagine Jim Thompson himself during his peak years in the house, entertaining guests with the fine blue and white chinaware which was a fashion in those days.

The living room villa is a century old and was bought from the Muslim weavers of Ban Krua which was just across the canal. These weavers were the first to be employed and trained by Jim Thompson in his silk industry. Living near the weaving village meant he no longer needed to travel a distance to keep watch over the production line and more frequent inspection trips to ensure the quality of the silk products. In the living room are four magnificent figures of the “Nats”, which are believed to be spirit guardians of Burmese belief. These figures were bestowed as gifts to Jim Thompson by the Burmese Government.

One can imagine that Jim Thompson must have been a very wealthy man at the height of his disappearance in Malaya. When you tour the facilities in these houses, you cannot help but imagine the lifestyle he lead as a Westerner in Thailand, his many achievements in the silk industry and the building of a brand through his exquisite taste for finery and opulence. He was a man with keen foresight as can be reflected in his design of the houses which he acquired. These designs are only now being reflected in the architecture of homes and resorts in Thailand. He incorporated Thai traditions with Western culture to refine the layouts and design of the original housing arrangements. You might not think much of these points as you walk through the tastefully furnished enclave which displays all his collections of wealth in an artistic rather than garish manner.

In Thai tradition as is with the old traditional Thai houses, toilets are always on the outside and all windows in the house face outwards. This was redesigned by Jim Thompson when he relocated the houses to his property. All the houses were grouped in such a manner as to be interconnected with well laid out walkways, internal toilets and inward facing windows as well as out. Small little changes but now adopted by designers and architects in their building of world-class resorts and spas across the country!

The compound of the Jim Thompson House is large enough to host mid-sized events for dinners, weddings and catwalk fashion shows for the discerning customer. There are facilities provided for banquets by the restaurant that can plan your menus, displays and even for your special event. The terrace located along the canal makes for a very romantic event setting and one can actually imagine a Colonial styled white coat black tie event which would fit in beautifully to this setting!

One could say that Jim Thompson was a man ahead of his times and his lavish lifestyle is what most Westerners can only dream off to obtain in a faraway Eastern country. The romantic era of such famed persons is few and far between. The legacy of Jim Thompson is a great historical example of one man and his love of the Orient with a passion to make a difference.

Phang nga

PARADISE ON EARTH IN PHANG NGA


Phang ngaFew can boast of an eternal paradise of sun, sand, sea and adventure, but, the province of Phang Nga has all these and more to offer for those who just cannot get enough of the scenic and resplendent sights of the Andaman Sea.

Phang Nga is a province situated on the south east of Thailand with a capital city of the same name. Most often times than not, the tour destinations of Phuket  subtly blends into that of the Phang Nga province, so even if you are in Phuket, you might find similar tours offered from these provinces. There is more than enough of the place to go around for all these provinces so no harm in share and share alike!

 

Imagine a virtual playground of islands, gleaming fine white sand that melts at your touch, azure blue seas that reflect like a precious gem, rolling mountains and miles of natural forest reserves as far as your eyes can see. A short holiday stint in Phang Nga is definitely not enough.

 

IF you have no itinerary or plans on what to do once you get to the province of Phang Ngah or would like to plan your trip early, get in touch with us at Thaitourismguide for a comprehensive plan of what you can see and do in this remarkable province. There is everything for everyone no matter your age, physical limits or preferences and we can assure you of a wonderful tour experience in Phang Ngah.

 

Getting here is not difficult either; the major points of entry to the province especially for most tourists would be by flight at Phuket Airport or by rail and road. Ferries and boat transportation from the islands to the mainland is several times a day, so this also gives you the opportunity to indulge in eco-tourism on the mainland with its many beautiful National Parks and temples. Off course there are some of you who have visited countless times and may have specific places you would like to revisit or new places you would like to see and we do cater for all your requirements even up to bird-watching tours!

 

Some of the more adventurous amongst you might want to explore the mangrove marshes which are teeming with marine and other indigenous plants and wildlife or check out the Moken villages and learn their way of life, traditions and culture rather than just a one hour tour of their villages. If you have planned your trip correctly, you will also be able to coincide it with a local celebration which you can take part in while you are here. After all, the Thais are very friendly people and you will have a great time! Did you ever think you could spend a few days on a beautiful idyllic dam that is as huge as the whole city of Bangkok in one of the most beautiful resorts there? Well, there is just such a place and you would wake up to the beautiful calls of migrating and local birds and animal life or try fishing in this huge dam in the middle of a National park. You will never be bored in Phang Nga and just can’t wait to come back for more!

 

Phang Nga Top 10 Destinations

 

Limestone Cave and Formation Discoveries in Ao Phang Ngah

 

Phang Nga The Phang Ngah Bay National Park or called Ao Phang Ngah in Thai is one of the most famous marine national parks in the world aside from the likes of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in this region of South East Asia. Fortunately for Thailand, it is rich in marine diversity all along its coastline both on the eastern and western shores. The unique geographical landscapes of Ao Phang Ngah aside from its bio diversity are the lime stone formations which are found scattered along the shores and small islands in the vicinity. These are locally known as “karst” and form some very interesting shapes and as high as ten to fifteen storey buildings. The most famous one are those found near the famous James Bond island that look very similarly like nails or large wooden stakes wedged into the sea.

 

Along with these limestone formations are caves which has been formed in part during the formation of these structures. There are numerous caves to be found among these formations making it a spelunker’s dream site for explorations. Some of them are sea caves while others are located higher up the structures. The sea caves are the most popular as they can be accessed by sea kayaks on tour explorations by the many tour companies within the area.

 

Phang Nga Thaitourismguide offers some of the most interesting caves exploration tours in Phang Ngah for those who are keen to have an eco-tourism tour experience out at sea. Part of this eco-tourism tour also includes a scenic view of the many mangroves that dot the coast line near the islands and shores. Here you will be delighted to see some of the interesting marine life that makes this region so fertile with a large number of birds, fish and coral life.

 

 

 

Phi Phi Island

Island hopping tours are one of the most popular activities in Ao Phang Ngah and for the more adventurous there are scuba diving tourssnorkelling tours and even rock climbing activitiesCave exploration tours are also popular as you have the unique travel experience in sea kayaks to gain entry into these caves when the tides are low. Most of these cave explorations come fully equipped with safety equipment and a competent travel guide who is very experienced in caving activities. Check the list of tour experiences to Ao Phang Ngah with Thaitourismguide as they not only provide the tours but also ground and marine transfer services to Ao Phang Ngah as well as full board facilities for those interested to spend nights out in luxury boats for a few nights.

 

The Muslim Fishing Village of Mu Ko Similan

 

Similan islandThe Mu Ko Similan national Park is situated not too great a distance from Ao Phang Ngah and the popularity in this area are the Similan Islands. There are nine islands in this group and coincidentally the word “Similan” is actually a Malay word meaning the number nine. These islands are along the northern and southern coastline and in quite close proximity to the Malaysian marine border. The attractions of this area are the close to paradise feel that can be related to that old movie South Pacific where it is an idyllic life of swaying coconut trees on white sandy beaches with a balmy breeze blowing gently across your face and of beautiful sunsets painted in all the hues of red, gold and pink.

 

SimilanAside from the tours for island hopping in Similan is the visit to the Ko Panyia fishing village. This is one of the few Muslim fishing villages along this side of the coastland. The Ko Panyia fishermen are an old generation of sea gypsies that have made these islands their home for close to a hundred years or more. Their population is on a decline as they are replaced by modern fishing fleets and a new generation of fishermen. Life is hard on these islands for these sea gypsies who originally made their homes here from the southern parts of the region including Malaysia and Indonesia.

 

Phang Nga The Ko Panyia fishing village is on stilts and these islands offered shelter from the monsoon seasons when fishing was not an encouraged activity and the fishermen spent their time making handicrafts or other marine products for sale to the mainland. Thaitourismguide provides tours to Ko Panyia fishing village in the Similan islands among their. This is a day tour with a stopover at the village where you get to spend some time exploring what a traditional fishing village in Thailand feels and looks like.

 

As the boat docks you are greeted with the smell of the village which is predominantly the smell of fish! Not to be taken aback but this is unique in itself because it sets the ambiance for your discovery. You will get to see how the sea gypsies ply their trade, if you are lucky you get to see the catch of the day. There is an easy going life among the villagers who are darker skinned in complexion unlike the northern Thai people. They produce a variety of marine produce such as salted fish and squids as well as local marine snacks of which some are rather tasty. You also get to enjoy a nice home cooked lunch of typical southern islander treats which is somewhat different from what you would get on the mainland. As this is predominantly a Muslim fishing village, the food is Halal which means “kosher” food with no pork or lard so that would be an appeal to tourists who observe these food restrictions. The tour to the village lasts about an hour to an hour and a half before proceeding to other island destinations in the Similan area. These sea gypsies are friendly people and this is one of the rare opportunities for you to get a peek into their lifestyle which still adheres very much to the old traditions.

 

Deep Sea Fishing and Catch of the Day at Mu Ko Surin National Park

 

The Mo Ku Surin National Park and another of the large marine national parks located in the archipelago of the Andaman. Consisting of five large islands which are Ko Surin TaiKo RiKo Khaiand Ko Lang. This particular marine national park is located closer to the Burmese marine border and west to the mainland of ThailandSurin island is popular among tourists for its snorkelling and diving activities similarly Ko Khai island.

 

surinislandThe tours to Surin Island are one of the most popular island hopping trips for holiday tourists. Another activity here is deep sea fishing. Though it is a designated marine park, there are areas allocated for the deep fishing tours operated by local vendors. Thaitourismguide also offers live aboard fishing tours in the Surin islands where you get to experience the deep sea fishing activities in the area. Each of these live on-board fishing tours are well equipped with fishing equipment, bait, meals and comfortable living quarters on luxury fishing boats with modern interiors and fishing technology. It has been known that enthusiastic fishermen have been rewarded with prize catches ranging from black marlins to tuna and other marketable fish. Some fishing vendors practice a catch and release policy while others permit you to keep your catch for a meal on board or to take back to your hotel and have them cook your catch up for you.

 

These fishing tour experiences are great for those who just are not able to get enough of fishing but if you are not an enthusiastic fisherman but just accompanying your other halves, you will not be disappointed with the other activities of snorkeling and swimming which is part of the live on-board fishing tour activity. Who knows, you might even give fishing a try when you see the enthusiasm on your partner’s face!

kaocheechan

DISCOVER CHONBURI PROVINCE IN A 1 DAY PRIVATE TOUR EXCLUSIVELY FROM THAITOURISMGUIDE


When people mention the province of Chonburi, first place to come in mind is always Pattaya, BUT did you know that there is more to this province than just the beach and seedy life of Walking Street? Well, here is your chance to discover the hidden treasures of Chonburi in this exclusive private tour that will literally bring you to Heaven and Hell on Earth as well as the gems of excellent freshly cooked seafood cuisine off the Chonburi shores.

kaocheechanFirst item on the tour list for the Unseen Chonburi Tour Experience by Thaitourismguide is a stop at the Buddha Mountain or known locally as the Khao Chi Chan. Some people call it the “Laser Buddha” mountain especially if you try your GPS locater to pin your position.

Though it is known as the “Laser Buddha” it has not actually been sculpted by laser beams. The image of the Buddha in the meditation posture was projected by laser onto the face of the cliff and hand hewn by craftsmen using the laser projected guide. Gold colour tiles were later inlaid onto the crevices of the sculptured lines so that it is visible from a distance. The Buddha image stands one hundred and thirty meters tall by seventy meters wide and is considered a sculpting feat. The name of the Buddha is known as “Phra Phud-Maha-wachira-uttamopaad-Saad-sada” and was sculpted in 1996 in honour of the present HRH King Bhumipol. If you look closely at the chest of the Buddha, inlaid is a relic from the Great Buddha himself.

ViharnseanNext on the tour itinerary is the beautiful Viharn Sien museum and temple. Within the temple are large white ceramic statues of the Chinese gods and deities that are bigger than life. A short walk across the road will bring you to the Viharn Sien museum which was built by Ajarn Sa Nga Kulkobkiat. It will take approximately two hours to walk this three storey museum created in the Taoist impressionist style by Chinese craftsmen and sculptors. Outside in the museum grounds are a good collection of stone and bronze sculptures depicting various Buddha, mythical creatures, deities and scholars. This place has great photo opportunities and Thaitourismguide provides a guide that will explain the history and myths behind these various sculptures.

A walk up a flight of steps will bring you to the Great Hall which is a rendition of the Great Hall of the Emperor in China. Massive dragon sculptures adorn the entrance way and pillars in this huge hall. Inside are a great collection of sculptures from China and recreations of ancient Chinese artworks. There are no less than a hundred different sculptures in this massive hall as well as very interesting displays of the “Terracotta Warrior” site excavations. You will get to read on the history of this excavation site as well as see a layout diorama of the entire site. Included are also some samples of items excavated including two life-sized terracotta warriors, a collection of warriors and a ceramic cast horse drawn carriage.

viharnseanGoing up to the second floor will bring you to the Thai historical room where rows upon rows of Khon puppets are on display. This room has some of the most complete collection of Korn puppets used for various cultural plays and representing the vastness of Ramekin myths and legends as well as the many types of characters from Thai mythology.  Some of the puppets look very realistic but it is a rare opportunity to be able to see this many in one place that embodies true Thai culture.

viharnseanA walk up the third floor will bring you to a breath-taking view of the surrounding area including a sweeping view of the Laser Buddha Mountain. Also on the outdoor patio are more warrior sculptures in various martial arts poses as well as more interesting sculptures.

One would by this time be in the mood for food and refreshments after a morning of travelling and walking! This tour itinerary will give you the opportunity to sample some of the freshest seafood right by the sea in laid back settings. Heading toward the Ang Sila old market and Plee Harbour area, you can settle down to a good seafood lunch freshly cooked and steaming hot accompanied by a refreshing cold drink to refuel you for the next stage of the tour. By the way, this is a great pace to try the delectable horseshoe crab eggs in a typical Thai style salad. Absolutely scrumptious and a recommended must try dish! After lunch you can take a walk along the market place where craftsmen ply their trade of wicker baskets, betel nut boxes, ceramics and handmade pestles and mortar. Also found here are the fresh seafood markets where dry marine produce are sold. This is a typical Thai old style market place seldom seen in the cities which makes for a very traditional Thai way of life experience.

wangsansukThe last leg of the tour will bring you to the Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden. This place is not normally found on a tourist itinerary but in this tour by Thaitourismguide, you will get a chance to see this most unusual garden right in Baan Saen. The Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden is actually a monastery but also sometimes known as the Thailand Hell Horror Park. This place is mostly frequented by locals and very few tourists actually make their way here due to the difficulty of finding the place without transport and not many travel agents have tours to this place. The cement sculpted statues are a little worn for wear and tear but it still makes for an eye-opening visit as it brings you to the core of Thai Buddhism and its beliefs about karma and the way of life. Thai parents mostly bring their children here to teach moral lessons on behaviour and action, serving as a teaching ground for what is morally righteous. The main purpose of this monastery is to give an inclination and depiction of the Buddhist Hell or “Naraka”.

The entranceway does not look like much but starting off from the left entrance, one sees a large fat Buddha and the sign at the entrance before proceeding inside written in Thai are inscribed the words “Welcome to Hell”! Appropriately stated further in is another sign that says “If you meet the devil in this life, make sure you have given time for merit making before you can defeat him in the next life”. Words worth remembering considering the scenes you will see as you go deeper into the garden.

wangsansukInitially the statues all along the side depict heavenly Gods and deities, beautifully crafted but a little worn for a new coat of paint. Each character has an inscription that details the character. At the end of the row to these statues on your right is the monastery. On the left of the monastery temple is a large lake. In most temples, feeding the fish in the lake is one of the merit deeds you can do but this lake has other more unusual occupants, meaning tortoises. One rarely sees let alone feeds tortoises in a monastery but you can do it here. There is a vendor selling bread for the fish and vegetable for the tortoises. You can walk down the steps to the lake side to feed them which is in itself an experience while making merit.

Walking away from the lake is where literally all “hell breaks loose”. Most noticeable and towering above all the other statues are Nai Ngean and Nang Thong. These two emaciated, long limbed and tongued creatures represent the Thai Folklore of the Hungry Ghosts known as Preta. Horrific in size and looks is a sombre awakening to the possibilities of Hell as well as a Heaven in our minds.

wangsansukAlong the sides to this part of Hell is where the moral lessons begin. In life it depicts that one should not stab each other in the back, lie, cheat or whatever sins that may be committed and its retributions in hell. When a person dies, they are brought before the God who governs over sins committed in the previous life and dispenses the appropriate tortures in Hell. Around the Preta statues are twenty one animal head souls who are tortured according to their crimes. Each animal head represents a particular sin for example a pig head means the sin of corruption, cow heads mean drug abuse and so on.

wangsansukThe gory parts of the scene are where sinners are met out with punishments befitting the seriousness of their crimes or sins. The exhibits here may be a little gory but it serves as a good reminder to stay on the righteous path! Human souls are tortured by being ripped apart by hell hounds, limbs cut off and replaced over and over, disembowelment by hell birds and burnt or boiled in huge cauldrons. Note the little donation boxes next to each scene to encourage the merit of charity through penance. Laugh not for even in Western society we believe that charity begins at home!

At the end of all these cycles in Hell, the repentant sinner approaches the Buddha for forgiveness and a reincarnation into the next cycle of life where hopefully he or she would have learnt the painful tortures and lessons in Hell to have a better life in the next. All in all this is a very interesting tour where one gets to understand the root of karmic cycle in Buddhism. Some may find it entertaining, amusing or others may find it sobering depending on your view point.

The different destinations in this four point tour will give you an eye-opening view of Chonburi province out of the normal tour route with everything from breath-taking scenes to wonderful works of art, great food and off course sights for you to ponder upon about Amazing Thailand!

Bangkok

TRAVEL UPDATES IN THAILAND


pattaya

Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand is undergoing much political changes and the situation in the city is currently tense with a newly declared state of emergency today, Wednesday 22nd January for the next 60 days. This is mostly in the CBD ( Central Business District ) but leaving the outer city limits still peaceful and unaffected. If your hotel is not located in the CBD areas and you are flying in from Suvarnabhumi International Airport, tours in the sub-urban areas are still open and available. These places include Safari World, Dream World, Siam Park CityAncient City and Erawan Museum.

Bangkok to Ayuttaya World Heritage Tour (Join in Group Tour) for Minimum 2 PersonThough there are still tourists within the CBD areas and temple tours as well as cruise dinners are still available, please check with us before booking these tours. We strongly recommend that if you would like to visit these areas to please use the services of accompanied tours with the guides and transport. Please do refrain from participating in the demonstrations as will be advised by your respective embassies. Other destinations in Thailand are unaffected and you can still visit places such as Phuket, Kanchanaburi, Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya, Krabi, Khaoyai, Pattaya, Hua Hin and other outer tour destinations. Business is as usual in these places. Climates are good at this time of year for the coastal and Island destinations. Activities of interest in Thailand at this time of year includes Eco-tourism such as national park activities, bird watching tours, diving and marine activities.

Koh Tao This is also a good time of the year to tour the northern regions of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Doi Inthanon. Activities includes tribal village visits, explorations into the mountain regions on specialized bird watching tours, temple visits, day and night safaris, underwater world and cultural handicraft village visits. Please check with us for customized tour options to these destinations or others in Thailand.

  • Genevieve Pendrageon (Travel Review Writer/Bangkok)
Pattaya Dolphin World

The wild wild west and dolphins of Pattaya!


Pattaya Dolphin WorldThe city of Pattaya, an hour and a half drive from Bangkok city may be noted mostly for its nightlife and burlesque entertainments but under all that exterior there is still much to discover for those not into the nocturnal avenues. Day time activities in the city of Pattaya are varied, listings from adventure to family style entertainment.

Our recent explorations of Pattaya brought us to the new travel experience from Thaitourismguide for Pattaya Dolphin World, located about a forty five minute drive from the popular Beach Road area where most hotels are located. We recommend that it is best to include return transfers from your hotel to the Pattaya Dolphin World as even we found it difficult to find our way there otherwise. The place is located in the Jomtien district on a 50 rai piece of land which includes an amusement park, a fishing pond, a resort, Wet Park and the dolphin arena.

This is a place that would cater well not just for families but also couples and groups because there are loads of fun activities in Pattaya enjoyable for all age groups. The fun starts as you walk through the turnstiles at the entrance. If you are too lazy to walk the whole area, hop onto a pony buggy for a quick trot around the facility. Those of you walking beware and watch where you step with the buggies running around, not so much from being bowled over but more like what you might step in!

Pattaya Dolphin worldA 50 meter walk will bring you to Cowboy Town complete with a saloon and Sheriff’s office. They actually have Cowboy shows here to entertain you so you get to watch a short sketch of life in the Wild Wild West. There are also ample opportunities for you to get some really good pictures with the cast and crew and a small tip will suffice for a great shot to remember by.

You might want to remember to bring along your swimming gear on this trip. There is a nice big pool to play and swim in or even for an opportunity to later swim with the dolphins. Kids and adults would love frolicking in the pool on a hot day. Those not into swimming can just laze around at the café with a drink in hand to watch the people walking by or keeping an eye on the kids.

If all this is still not yet a tiresome trip, be adventurous and have a go at the adrenaline rush with a mock cliff climb experience or even take to the ropes for a very intricate rope climbing experience! If this isn’t enough adrenaline, have a go at the all-terrain four wheel quad bike ride around the dirt circuit. The macho guys might want a go at the BB gun shooting range where you get to fire live rounds at the bulleye target in the shooting range. There are quite some awesome BB guns and paint ball guns on sale at the adventure store next to the shooting range.

The dolphin World in Pattaya is very well laid out with enough entertainment and adventure for you to occupy yourself for a whole day. Be sure to book your tickets early from Thaitourismguide so as not to be disappointed especially for the dolphin show. There are two dolphin shows a day so be sure not to miss the show. The auditorium for the dolphin show is located near the exit of the park. You can go for the show and continue the rest of the day at the park, so do not worry about exiting after the show.

Pattaya Dolphin WorldThe dolphin show is the highlight of the park. The auditorium seats about 200 people and when you make your way in, you get the chance to watch the dolphins swimming in the big pool. These are not your average dolphins that you would see in most aquariums but rather the variety indigenous to this region of Thailand. These are fresh water dolphins and there are two varieties here in Pattaya Dolphin World. There is a pair of pink bottle nosed dolphins and a pair of Irrawaddy dolphins. The Irrawaddy dolphins have no snouts like their cousins but they are just as intelligent and awesomely interactive as well as playful. Watching them perform is such a joy and you can see that they actually enjoy their performance routines! The show goes on for about forty five minutes where there are several skills performed. You can see that the dolphins interact very well with their trainers and one can almost say that it seems like a performance time is like playtime for the trainer and the dolphins. The few lucky spectators will get to go up and play with the dolphins but at the end of the show if you really want a great picture with the dolphin, it would set you back about THB200 but I can tell you that it is well worth the cost for a great picture. Those of you, who can afford a little bit more extra, can get to don a wetsuit and get into the water to swim with them for about twenty minutes. This is where it is one of the rare opportunities where you can actually get to play up close and personal with these wonderful sea mammals and understand why it is important to keep their species protected.

Pattaya dolphin WorldAfter the show, you can make your way for another round of the park facilities such as the resort and fishing grounds. Rent a rod and try your luck in the fishing pond where there are quite a variety of fresh water fish that you could try to bait and hook. This is a catch and release ponds, so that means you do not get to bring your catch home but the fun is in the fishing. If you would like to spend a night here, there are the newly constructed resorts with Lanna style cabins complete with all the modern amenities for your creature comfort. Meals are available at the restaurant near the resort that offers a variety of local and international cuisine.

All in all, this is a great place to spend a whole day and more. The most rewarding experience would be the dolphin show and it is enjoyed by young and old alike. The travel experience in Pattaya is not complete without an adventure in Pattaya Dolphin World!

ThaiTourismGuide