Teddy Bear Museum Pattaya

Teddy Bear Invasion In Pattaya!


Teddy Bear Museum PattayaSomewhere in our childhood, some of us had a teddy bear or two. If you love teddy bears and want to see one of the largest collection of these lovable and huggable childhood icons ….head on over to the Teddy Island Museum in Pattaya! We guarantee even your kids will find this more to their taste than Walking Street just down the road.

Teddy Bear Museum PattayaAt Thaitourismguide we believe that fun should not be limited to adults only, unless of course there is the child in you. Imagine rooms full of these cuddly bears in all shapes and sizes. it will take you a good half afternoon just to get through the whole space within this museum. Conveniently located along the main shopping and entertainment street of Pattaya on Beach Road, it is easy getting to Teddy Island if you are staying in any of the many hotels in this area. This is one of the new attractions in Pattaya that would be fun to explore especially if you have been to Pattaya a few times or have children tagging along.

Teddy Bear Museum PattayaThe museum is the brainchild of a Korean family that makes teddy bears for toy shops around the world. Thinking of what better idea than to have a place where all types of bears can be displayed in imaginative settings for the amusement and entertainment of visitors to Thailand, the Teddy Island Museum was created. Boasting more than one thousand teddy bears specially created for the museum, one can also have a good time taking some interesting pictures within.

There are two levels in the museum but unfortunately no little cafeteria inside where you could have refreshments. While teddy bears may not be for everyone but some of these bears are very cute and one can appreciate the art work that has gone into designing the settings for these bears.

Teddy Bear Museum PattayaWalking into the museum on the third floor, you are greeted by a family of bears in their actual life-sized pose. Beyond this point will be bears galore in Egyptian headgears, Indiana Jones style and even Bat Bear and Dracula! The first bear chamber is dedicated to Egyptian and somewhat Mayan type bears. Of interest here is actually the sculpted fiberglass bears with their colourful costumes. There are also bears of variable sizes placed on shelving, decorated bears and a few interesting mummified bears.

See “Bearcula” in the bear cave hanging from the dark corners of stalactites and stalagmites. He comes with a few minions to scare the bear out of you! Next up is a Jurassic Park adventure. There is a 3D tunnel here for an interesting photo shoot of escaping from the jaws of an ancient croc. You might want to try that picture snapping moment here. A little further up is good old T Rex and his companions all giving the bear friends a ride? T Rex is an interesting and imposing figure in this room and there is a dinosaur eye starring back at you from a corner. Unfortunately the bears were not too outstanding here in this room and overshadowed by T Rex and his friends.

However the archaeology room is a little more interesting. Indiana Jones styled bears investigating old fossils and ruins were fairly interesting. Conveniently located in each of these rooms are pose able bears where you can take some really cute pictures with bigger-than-life bears. There are also a few other stuffed toys mostly in the Safari World section. Here there are hippos, giraffes and other animals mostly for the entertainment of children.

There are many more sections to this museum, such as Underwater World with a huge pink whale on display and mermaid styled bears, Space Exploration with astronaut bears, the Movie Fantasy Room with bears from different character movies such as Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Darth Vader from Star Wars, Superman and even other Marvel Super Heroes.

Little girls would love the Fairy Tale room with winged ponies and Fairy Bears. There is even a tree house you can climb up to much like what one would have loved to have as a child and slides to slip down from the tree house. Under the tree house is a dream bedroom for the musician in you with a self-playing piano.

Pattaya Coral Island Full Day TourWhile a Teddy Island Museum is not for everyone, it is however a great place to add on to your itinerary for sightseeing in Pattaya especially if you have children or just love teddy bears. You can book tickets to Teddy Island Museum early from the Thaitourismguide website and plan your trip to Pattaya early so that you will be able to see as many attractions in Pattaya during your stay.

alcazar show pattayaThe location of Teddy Bear Island on Beach Road is near to other attractions such as Alcazar Caberat Show and the renowned Tiffany Cabaret Show. Other attractions along Beach Road in Pattaya is off course the infamous Walking Street with their nightlife and Go Go Bars, seafood restaurants and the Bali Hai Pier which has ferries to Coral Island or better known as Koh Larn.

Typical bookings to Pattaya would include sightseeing to Koh Larn, a visit to Teddy Island Museum and probably a dinner and show in Pattaya from one of the many famous theatres. Most of the admission tickets for shows in Pattaya are available via the Thaitourismguide travel website.

So if you are looking for something different to do in Pattaya and have been here a few times but want an unusual place to visit in Pattaya, head out to Teddy Island Museum for the afternoon. Remember to bring your camera along for those few good shots!

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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 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!

Nanta Cooking Show

WHAT’S COOKIN’ BANGKOK?


nanta cooking showBangkok city is thriving with new shows and entertainment. It is a city that never sleeps but what has cooking got to do with entertainment in Bangkok? In the event that you do not already know which is the current rave in this hot city, the world class comedy entertainment which has won accolades of awards worldwide since their opening performance from Seoul, South Korea and around the world has made its debut in the great entertainment city of Bangkok, Thailand. This longest running and most successful comedy show from Korea since 1997 has taken the world by storm and never cease to amaze the crowds from any age. Cookin Nanta’s international debut was at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1999, where it was presented with an award for best performance amidst a packed audience craving for more. The performance has been travelling around the world to 18 countries including the famous Broadway in New York and twice in Singapore during its world tour circuit. They are so hilariously funny and yet exciting that the performance never fails to draw bouts of laughter at every scene. Every performance is packed to a full house and Thaitourismguide is proud to present this new tour experience for entertainment in Bangkok in their growing portfolio of interesting places to visit in Thailand!

Nanta Cooking ShowOriginality and simplicity is the essence that has made this simple comedy sketch into a world acclaimed performance. With minimal stage props but depending on the comedy lines and facial expressions with hardly a sentenced dialogue attests to the skills of the performers. Surprisingly the only stage props are a kitchen and the most basic at that. That’s right, just a kitchen with a few cookers and plenty of disposable vegetables! Cookin’ Nanta is all about the kitchen and making music rolled with comedy is what makes it so funny and entertaining. This is a way to experience a Korean musical in Thailand with the entertaining “Samul Nori” traditional drum music in an ultra-modern presentation. This theatrical performance is easy to relate for audiences in general and all musical instruments are improvised from your normal kitchen utensils of kitchen knives, chopping boards and water canisters with a few hot firing stoves for added dramatic effect for an explosive performance.

Seated in the audience, be prepared to experience a total blackout in order to view the following acts. The big roll down screen tells you all about the story of the performance, which is about getting a few dishes ready in time for a wedding ceremony. Sounds simple and straight forward, but the next few instructions are rather funny as you wait for the show to start. Why Cookin’ Nanta is so original it is because there is no fancy costumes, five piece bands or fancy lighting with great backdrops. Everything is reliant on the hilarious script, skills of the performers with kitchen knives, cooking and musical sense.

Nanta Cooking ShowWhat’s so special about a cooking performance, one might ask? The everyday routines of chefs in a kitchen are brought to life on stage when an order goes out to prepare a wedding banquet within a specific time limit. The haywire scene starts when the bad tempered manager of the restaurant decides to put his rather lazy bone and incompetent nephew as one of the kitchen helpers. This is when literally all hell in the kitchen breaks loose and you wonder if they have time to complete the tasks at hand. You actually experience the aromatic smells of the kitchen on stage with an explosive display of acrobatics, pantomime and exceptional culinary skills are displayed mixed with bouts of comedy sketches and magic tricks right before your eyes as they struggle to meet the timeline! Though it is a Korean theatrical performance, few words are spoken and even if done so it is in English so everything comes together well in this awesome slapstick comedy without the audience feeling left out due to the language barrier.

The show revolves around five main characters. There are four male actors and one female actress. Featured are the manager, his wily nephew, the head chef and his two assistant chefs. Aside from the task at hand there is rivalry between the male actors for the attention of the female actress and general idiotic sequences by the manager and his nephew. All this combines into a perfect element of comedy that also displays great acrobatic kitchen skills and it is all about a blur but bad tempered manager, his incompetent nephew and the reluctant chefs contributing to the chaos. The Korean meaning of the word “Nanta” is similar to reckless punching and boxing combines all this with drumming and cooking skills brings you an evening of brilliant performance with kitchen instruments acting as percussion band pieces, so expect lots of lively action with great music. Watch out for some great cutting, chopping and dicing sequences in this performance, you will not be disappointed.

Nanta Cooking ShowThe highlight of the entire performance is in the skills of the knives at use. These performers in Cookin Nanta make it seem so easy but it is definitely no child’s play. You can be assured that the performers of Cookin Nanta are very dedicated at their practice routines to perfect their art and skills with the various kitchen knives every day, so please do not try this at home! It takes anywhere from three months to a year to bring their skills up to par for a performance and very strict selection methods are at hand for aspiring would be performers looking to join the cast and crew.

Audience interaction is highly encouraged, be it to clap along or even to get a chance to go on stage to cook with the performers. A dull audience (if there is ever one!) get a face full of dirty looks from the manager which is in itself rather funny and keeps you laughing in stitches. You might find of fun and lucky to be selected to join in the cooking activity on stage for your two minutes of fame with an international performance.

Though this is a minimal vocabulary performance, audience will be delighted by the skill of the performers in banging the “drums” which includes a special water drum sequence that is quite mesmerizing. As the story unravels, you will see why it is so hard for them to make the scheduled time delivery of the wedding dinner dishes. You would love the character of the manager. Who may seem to be the least obvious but his facial expression of dirty looks and overall character is or can be considered the actual star of the show. Some may fancy the girl chef for her obvious skills with the knife or the well-built head chef for his cool demeanour but though the manager may seem blurish or at times sleazy, his character trait is when he does a quirky pose at the oddest times!

Once the action begins in the kitchen, be dazzled with the cutting and chopping skills of the performers, they are top rate cutting and chopping chefs! Expect flying vegetables and a very messy stage during this process but no worries, it is just part of the show. There is even a short sketch of the ever popular Gangnam style dance sequence in the show which always never fails to get the crowd tapping and clapping along, after all it is a Korean production.

Nanta Cooking ShowAll-in-all, this is one of those must see performances that is now playing it world performance in Bangkok. Tickets are available on sale from Thaitourismguide and be sure to book your tickets early as it is almost always a packed audience especially on weekend nights. As the theatre is located in the busy entertainment district of Rachada amidst all the night clubs, bars and popular discothèques in Bangkok, it makes for a great opportunity to check out this area after the performance. The Cookin Nanta show starts around 7.00pm so you might want to get there early and it is best to have an early meal before you do so as the show last for around an hour. Check with Thaitourismguide for transfer arrangements to Cookin Nanta if you need transport to get there and back. We know that when we did the first review it just wasn’t enough and we had to go another time just because it was worth watching a second and a third time around and each time it was as funny as every which had us laughing and in tears with some really serious laughter stitches on our sides, so do make it a point to visit the Cookin Nanta show when you are in Bangkok!

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!

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

ayutthaya

REVIEWING THE SEARCH FOR A TASTE OF THE ANCIENT CITY ON THE BANGKOK TO AYUTTHAYA WORLD HERITAGE TOUR


 Bangkok to Ayuttaya World Heritage Tour (Join in Group Tour) for Minimum 2 PersonThe Kingdom of Thailand is rich with historical sites and traditions which makes it one of the most diverse countries to visit where history and modernization co-exist together in harmony. There are also many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Thailand from the National Parks to ancient sites of historical significance. One such site is the Ancient City of Ayutthaya located about a two hour and half hour drive from Bangkok City.

Thaitourismguide currently offers the Bangkok to Ayuttaya World Heritage Tour  as a way to visit and see one of Thailand’s national treasures. Ayutthaya is one of the most romantic of the ruined cities. Although enclosed within a modern township, it is considered as one of Thailand’s most revered national treasures. The ruins attest to the all-powerful and splendour of an empire that dominated Southeast Asia for almost 400 years. “In the bloody aftermath of a Burmese onslaught, most of the city was destroyed by fire, its people killed or taken to Burma as slaves.” It was a catastrophic loss on an epic scale that is now hard to imagine.

 Bangkok to Ayuttaya World Heritage Tour (Join in Group Tour) for Minimum 2 PersonThe Bangkok to Ayuttaya sightseeing tour by Thaitourismguide will travel to Bang Pa-In for the start of a sightseeing tour in the Ancient City. Ayutthaya was built in the Chakri Dynasty of King Rama V during the Ayuttaya period. The construction of the city included various temples, pavillions and places. The Ancient City of Ayuttaya is a must see for Thailand’s historical travel experience and this city was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 13th December 1991.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe Ancient City of Ayutthaya is one of Thailand’s most historical and majestic highlights. Ayutthaya was at that time the capital city of Thailand and was known as the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Situated in the province of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, it was glorified as one of the biggest and richest cities in Southeast Asia and a regional monarchy power for 417 years. The ruins that now remain, many of which have been painstakingly restored, have been granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.

The architecture of temples, pavilions and other buildings in Ayutthaya is a fascinating mix of Khmer and early Sukhothai styles. Some cactus-shaped obelisks, called prangs, denote Khmer influence and look something like the famous towers of Angkor Wat. The more pointed stupas are ascribed to the Sukhothai influence. When looking at these remarkable structures, it helps to understand that, throughout Southeast Asia, it had long been the fashion to construct temples in stone, while royal palaces and utilitarian structures such as homes and businesses were made of wood. This is the chief reason why only religious structures have survived the ravages of time.

Ayutthaya is only located about 90 kilometres from Bangkok and can be visited on a daytrip sightseeing tour. Visiting Ayuttaya historical park, you would appreciate the architecture, craftsmanship and sculpture of Ayutthaya art. The unique expression of Siamese style depicts elegance combined to form a new definition of Asian religious architecture.

Bangkok to Ayuttaya World Heritage TourThis is a very early morning tour and the pickup time is at 6.30 am from your hotel. You will be met by your /English speaking guide who will accompany you throughout the trip to explain all about the Ancient city and its surrounding areas. It is best for you to have a quick breakfast before your departure for the two hour plus trip to the province of Ayutthaya. Light clothing, a hat and good walking shoes is best.  The first leg of your tour will bring you to Bang Pa-in and a visit to the Bang Pa-in Summer Palace. This was formally a riverine island at the time of King Prasat Thong who was the Ayutthaya King from 1630 to 1655. This place is fascinating with five buildings of importance which is the Phra Thinang Aisawan Thippa-at and actually is a Thai design castle pavilion that stands in the middle of the lake. The architecture of this palace is exquisite and a testimony to ancient Thai architectural craftsmanship. The other place is the Phra Thinang Warophat Phiman which occupies the original site of the Pavilion built during King Mongkut’s reign. It was two levels of which one was used as the King’s apartment and the other as a reception hall. The third building is the Phra Thinang Uthayan Phumisathian which was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1938. It was formerly used as a high-water season residence when it rained a lot and chances of flooding were a possibility due to the proximity to the river but now only a few bricks remain. The fourth building is the Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun which is a Chinese-style building where the court generally resided during the rainy and cool seasons. The fifth building is the Phra Thinang Withun Thatsana which is an observatory standing on a small island between Phra Thinang Uthayan and Phra Thinang Wehat Chamrun from which a commanding view of the surrounding countryside was one of the ways that the Thai Kings of old kept a look out for the kingdom.

Other buildings in the area included Wat Niwet Thammaprawat which is a remarkable building constructed during King Chulalongkorn’s time on the outer island. It is actually a temple but was built in Gothic style, resembling a Christian church. It is one of the oddities of Western influence during that period of time. A temple of significance at that time before the capital city of Ayutthaya was moved to now Bangkok City is Wat Phra Si Sanphet. This is the most important temple within the Royal Palace compound and corresponds to The Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok’s Grand Palace.

By this time you would be hungry from all the walking and sightseeing so lunch would be a scrumptious meal of traditional Thai food with a good portion of dessert to whet your appetite. The food comes in a variety of traditionally cooked Thai dishes which is not too spicy for the Western palate and gives you an insight into traditional Thai cuisine.

After lunch, you will visit the Wat Yai Chaimongkol. “Wat” is the Thai word for temple. This temple is also called “ Wat Chao Phraya Thai” and was built By King U-Thong in 1357 for meditation purposes. It might interest you to know that Ayutthaya’s full name was “Krungthep Maha-Nakorn Boworn Tawaravati Sri Ayutthaya Maha Dilokphop Nopparat Ratc Thani Burirom.” The name was also used in the Ratanakosin Period. It is not as long as the name given to Bangkok the current capital which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest name given to a city.

Bangkok to Ayuttaya World Heritage TourAn interesting artefact to see is the Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit which is the principal Buddha image and is one of Thailand’s largest bronze images. Many small Buddha images were also discovered in the ruins. The Wihan was destroyed when the Burmese sacked Ayuttaya in 1767 and was rebuilt in 1956 in its original style.

To complete your tour of the Ancient City you will have a chance to visit one of the local product stores. Those of you who would like to get a souvenir or two can do so here or you could just mooch around while waiting for others before proceeding on the trip back to your hotel.

Ideally this trip is quite an eye opener especially when you see the rows of Buddha images fronting the centre pavilion. At certain times of the year during the Buddhist calendar year, these statues as well as the prangs of the Ancient City temples will be adorned with yellow robes to signify going into the new season. Do remember to bring along your camera for some of those memorable pictures because it is a sight you will seldom see elsewhere.

The Bangkok to Ayuttaya World Heritage Tour (Join in Group Tour) requires a minimum of two persons in the booking. All transportation, admission fee as in the itinerary, lunch and an English Speaking Guide is provided. You are only required to bring yourselves for a great time to explore this wonderful historical city and experience the might of the Thai empire for the past 400 years when they practically ruled the region, leaving Thailand as one of the countries that has never been occupied or conquered till this day!