Ancient City

SUMMER IN ANCIENT CITY


Ancient CityThe weather in Bangkok is good this time of year and makes visiting an outdoor iconic site one of the best activity for any visitor to Thailand! This tour is one of the most popular sightseeing in Bangkok tours.

One of the most notable and must not miss tours in Bangkok is Ancient City or better known as Muang Boran. No visit to Bangkok is complete without a tour to Ancient City on their list. Just a mere 40 minute drive by arranged transfer from your hotel, getting to Ancient City is a comfortable ride.

Did you know that you can visit all 77 provinces in Thailand just by going to Ancient City? Every icon of each province is represented here in this vast open park and included is a Thai Village where you can do a spot of shopping and have some refreshments.

Ancient CityAncient City was named as such as each of the buildings and structures are exact replicas of the originals down to the last detail and you can get some really beautiful pictures of these buildings. Do not miss the opportunity to stop by the workshop where artisans are busy at work crafting more buildings and sculptures. You get a first-hand view of these master craftsmen at work and realize the intricacies of each of these replicas that have been created.

Ancient City is one of the most beautiful miniature cities in the world and there is nothing quite like it anywhere else.

 

 

Advertisements
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.

Sampran Riverside

The odd blend of roses kick boxing and thai culture at sampran riverside


Sampran RiversideWhat would roses have to do with kick boxing when they are on opposite sides of the spectrum? Bangkok is famous for the unusual; therefore it is not unusual to find just such a mix in a tourist attraction in Bangkok City! While you are in Bangkok and not sure of what else that would be of interest aside from the regular temple tours and shopping sprees, give the Thai Cultural at Sampran Riverside Tour a try for something of the unusual. It is one of the sightseeing in Bangkok attractions that offers something of the unusual that you would normally have to go out of your way to the rural countryside to experience but can find it right here in Bangkok City. Quite a number of the attractions at Samphran are a lost art but brought to the venue for the education and entertainment of tourists so that they can better understand Thai culture and traditions.

A visit to Sampran Riverside which was formerly known as the Rose Garden starts off in the afternoon. Tours for Sampran Riverside can be booked online from the Thaitourismguide website and it is best to book in advance. Transfers are available from any hotel in the central business district (CBD) of Bangkok which makes it easy for tourists to visit the place as it is quite a distance out of the city. The tour starts daily at 12.00pm to 6.00pm and is one of the also popular tours for sightseeing in Thailand among tourists. Your arrival at Samphran Riverside would be warmly greeted with a refreshing drink and cool towels to freshen up before heading for a tour of the facilities. The concept for Samphran Riverside is a blend between cultural, ecotourism and agro tourism. They are well noted with numerous certifications for organic farming and if your tour falls on a weekend, you will have the opportunity to visit the farmers market and the floating market. On regular week days there are still ample activities to keep you fascinated during the entire tour.

Sampran RiversideThe shows at Sampran Riverside are divided into two sections; one is a cultural show with more than one hundred and fifty performers while another section provides demonstrations of cultural handicrafts, traditional Thai foods and a sampling of traditional herbal remedies from their organic farms. First item on the itinerary upon your arrival at Samphran Riverside is a walk to their auditorium. The ring side seats at the auditorium gives you a good all round view of the stage where the performances are held. The Thai Village cultural show consists of traditional ceremonies, cultural dances, rituals and sports. The show lasts about an hour and guests will have a chance to see and experience the Thai heritage, culture and way of life.

See what a Thai wedding is like! The lively performance follows the ancient Thai marriage customs which depicts the courting of the bride by the groom, the arrival of the bride and groom to the family house and the ritual of the marriage vows. These customs encompass all the Thai values of being humble, filial, joy of togetherness as a family and friends as well as all the pageantry that goes along with the custom. It is a noisy and colourful event shared not only by family and friends but also the community. Did you know that if you would like to have a Thai traditional wedding in Thailand it can also be a formal marriage registration complete with just such a wedding ceremony? Or maybe you would like to renew your wedding vows with a Thai wedding ceremony!

Next up is a form of Thai martial arts. Kick boxing or better known as Muay Thai is now fast becoming a popular sport even in the Western countries. However, Muay Thai is a martial arts sport that has a lot of beliefs, customs and traditions embedded in the sport. It was a form of self-defence during the warring years of old Siam but now a popular form of extreme sport and recreation. The rituals leading up to the actual kick boxing performances are steeped in a unique form of ceremonies where homage is paid to the deities of each fighter and also their masters. The kick boxing sport requires a very high degree of stamina, endurance and physical fitness and the kick boxing matches are action packed but always with a good example of sportsmanship. Fighters use their hands, elbows, feet and knees as weapons of attack and self-defence. You will get to watch the rituals and ceremonies leading up to the kick boxing demonstration and even get the chance to try a few practice moves with the boxers themselves if you dare!

Sampran RiversideAnother martial art performance is the Thai traditional sword fighting that is practiced by both men and women warriors and it dates back almost six hundred years in Thai history. The skills of each warrior are honed to perfection and in the performance you will get to observe the intricate moves and skills with the swords by these men and women performers.

Following this would be the Thai cultural dances from the north, south, east and west of Thailand. Each of these dances differs in their costumes, moves and music. The elegance of a Thai dancer is quite bewitching to watch and these performances were a form of entertainment in olden Siam especially in the royal courts and on special ceremonial days.

Outside of the auditorium is the elephant show where you can have the opportunity for an elephant ride or to watch a short performance by the elephants on the type of work roles that used to be done in the logging industries. The show is kept to a short minimum so as not to tire or agitate these docile mammals. For most part of the day they are sheltered, fed and bathed by their caretakers and actually enjoy a semi-retired status at Samphran Riverside.

The other interesting activities at Samphran Riverside are their demonstration workshops where guests are given a tour of the various cultural and traditional activities, some of them now considered a form of lost craftsmanship. One such workshop is where you can learn to weave traditional toys from bamboo leaves and rice stalks. The skill is in the weaving of the leaves to form items like fish and grasshoppers which are then attached to dried stalks. These toys were made for children mostly in the rural areas or in the olden days to keep them entertained. There is also a workshop that teaches you how to make medicated balms and massage balls which are used in traditional Thai massages. The ingredients of herbs and various roots are picked from the organic farms at Samphran Riverside. You can make these medicated balls and take them home as a souvenir to be used for joint pains and a light herbal massage.

Sampran RiversideThose interested in Thai cuisine can see a demonstration for fruit carving at one of the booths. The Thai people are noted for their intricate fruit and vegetable carvings that accompany the table dressing for a colourful culinary display. If you are also interested to know how certain traditional Thai desserts are made, there is a stall where you can learn how to make a grilled banana and coconut dessert. You can sample the dessert at this stall. There are also clay work stalls where you can make small pots and figurines or even learn how to make flower decorations from orchids and other sweet smelling flowers.

A must not miss place is the organic Rose Garden of Thailand in Samphran Riverside where they have the biggest variety of roses now grown and cultured successfully at Samphran. Some of these roses are award winning varieties that you do not often see elsewhere such as the Black Rose.  There is also a tour of the rice growing section where you can experience rice growing and harvesting activities. Try your hand at the wooden mills that are used to separate the husk from the rice grains and you will appreciate the efforts and hard work that goes into that serving of fragrant rice on your plate the next time you eat a plate or bowl of rice!

There are demonstrations of bamboo stick dancing for those who feel energetic enough to participate. It is a lot of hops and skips to a rhythm and can be quite fun to try. Otherwise you can take home a picture souvenir of yourself in traditional Thai costumes at the traditional dressing booth. If you are not afraid of snakes you can take a picture with their resident albino snake which is a fairly large sized python, this is not for the squeamish!

Before departing back to your hotel, the tour ends with a visit to the local product and produce retail outlet where you can buy memorabilia and souvenirs to remember your trip to Samphran Riverside. Most of the products here are made by the local farmers who are learning how to do organic farming methods. You can purchase items such as balms, organic soaps and skin cleansers as well as local produce such as honey, snacks and even t-shirts and decorative items.

Sampran RiversideAll tours to Samphran Riverside include full transfers from hotels located in the city centre and the tours to Samphran require advance booking from Thaitourismguide in their online site. The tour duration is a good five hours or a little more but the amount of activity makes it a well worth visit. The Thai culture at Samphran Riverside is one of the attractions for sightseeing in Bangkok activities for a lot of tourists who would like an agro tourism experience that is not too far out of the city. So the next time if you are visiting Bangkok, try not to miss this tour to Samphran Riverside and have an eye opening cultural and traditional experience the Thai way!

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!

Thai Alangkarn Theater

THE GRAND THEATRICALS OF ALANGKARN IN PATTAYA


Thai Alangkarn TheaterThe meaning of the word “Alangkarn” in Thai is huge or grand. You can expect no less when you visit the famed Alangkarn Theatre in the city of Pattaya. Located just an hour and a half out of Bangkok, Pattaya City along the southern  east coast of Thailand has much to offer in almost any form of entertainment. There are few epic sized theatre performances around the world of noteworthy mention with the exception of those in London and America, but you can find one of it right here in Pattaya City.

The Alangkarn Theatre situated a little out of the city centre boast a two thousand seat auditorium with a seventy meter “Hexa” stage that has a one hundred and eighty degree view and state-of-the-art sound systems  with three large entry walkways that can accommodate a troupe of elephants literally! It is a most impressive stage not to mention impressive performances that go along with it.

While you are in Pattaya, make sure that you do not miss this epic extravaganza. The Alangkarn Theatre experience tour booking is made through Thaitourismguide and it is advised that you include the transfer from hotel to Alangkarn Theatre in your booking. Please note that there is only one show per day and the pickup time is at 4.00pm as the show starts early at 6.00pm and it takes about half an hour to forty five minutes to get from your hotel to the theatre venue. This leaves you with an hour to walk around the Cultural Rostrum which is packed with pre-show activities. Your bookings for Alangkarn Theatre can also include a Thai and International Buffet dinner at the Alangkarn Restaurant which is served after the show.

Thai Alangkarn TheaterArrival at the theatre grounds will see you first entering the walkway into the Cultural Rostrum entrance. The walkway itself is impressively decorated with huge sculpted Korn theatre masks depicting the many characters of deities and villains found in the Ramakein stories. These colourful masks make a good background picture for your memorable experience at the Alangkarn Theatre. At the end of the walkway as you turn right, is the open air cultural rostrum. The first to greet you would be the star of the elephant cast, a female elephant, who is a young 22 years old. Astride her is her handler and also stage performer. She will oblige you for a ride with a mere fee of THB100 which is equivalent to USD3. This would be bare back elephant riding so it is a different experience altogether compared to those you would find in an elephant village where you rode on a “howdah” which is a sedan chair strapped onto the back of an elephant. You will be able to play with this beautiful pachyderm and also pose for pictures with her and her handler.

There are many activities all around the rostrum that will entertain you. In the centre of this courtyard is a huge bell tower with some very intricate sculptures of mythical creatures such as one with the body of a dragon and the head of an elephant as well as a few life-sized and true to life sculptures of elephants. There are many opportunities here for you to get some really nice pictures especially with the glow of the setting sun in the background, as after all, Pattaya is a seaside resort area! At the mini stage podium you will be able to watch small traditional Thai dances while along the sides leading to the main auditorium will be mini stalls setup with games and souvenirs. Watch out for some of the cartoon dressed characters from the old Thai traditional stories; they are bigger sized than normal and sometimes may seem to be just statues without moving save for the occasional twitch.

Thai Alangkarn TheaterThe show in Alangkarn starts promptly at 6.00pm and there are several entrances into the theatre. Those requiring a wheelchair can obtain them from the front registration counter and one of the ushers will bring you up to the theatre by a separate entrance. The services for the disabled and handicapped are remarkable so it is very convenient even for those who are not mobile. The reception of the theatre is enormous with several more huge masks of deities and mythical creatures, a central display of a Royal Barge and several stage mock-ups in the corners. Making your way upwards will bring you to the theatre stage where seating is numbered. The show starts with two clowns entertaining the crowds using a large ball which is thrown to and fro to encourage audience participation. This goes on for about ten to fifteen minutes followed by the opening of the stage curtains.

There are three parts to the one and half hour show starting with an introduction to Thai beliefs in mysticism. Here you get to experience the first wonders of this extravaganza show with real life fire effects, fireworks and surreal settings. There is a beautiful “naga” or better known as a dragon on stage ending with an epic fight with the Thai elephant. You will also get to see actors flitting across the stage on aerialist wires adding on to the mystical allure of the performance. The entire scene and play in the first part symbolizes the track of Thai civilization, a belief inculcated about the origins of Thailand and its cultures. This is followed by the second scene where you get to see a fire breathing “naga” in all its glory. You can even feel the heat from the many fire spouts along the front of the stage! Watch for the enactment fight between the “naga” and the elephant star of the show, it is truly remarkable. This first act in the show will give you some understanding of Thai mythology and what shapes Thai culture as you see it today.

Thai Alangkarn TheaterThe show consists of three acts with seven different intricate stage settings including a pyrotechnic display at the end of the show. The opening of this wonderful epic stage play begins with the symbolic title of “Belief”. This scene depicts the dawn of civilization based on mythology and the age of fairies. The scene is rich in mythical creatures such as half man/bird which is symbolic of the Thai national emblem the “Garuda” as well as a fire breathing dragon. Great pains have been taken to create all the magical backdrops such as this first scene that is reminiscence of a mythical and magical forest. Look out for the great scene where the elephant battles the dragon which shows the Thai reverence for the “Chang” or elephant in scene 2 and the triumphant elephant as it overcomes the dragon or known in Thai as a “Naga”.

In Act 2 you will experience the different Thai culture and arts through an introduction to the four regions of Thailand which is the North, South, East and West. In this sequence you will see a wonderful parade of elephants in full regalia with a Royal entourage consisting of fire torch bearing troupes, a dais borne on the shoulders of the performers in glittering gold adornments, some very beautiful Thai female performers in intricate headwear and costumes on the top of six elephants parading from the stage to the broad centre aisle among the spectators! This is one of the highlights of the performance not to be seen in such splendour at any other epic performance in Thailand and is a definite MUST-SEE when you are in Pattaya. This is truly one of the best Pattaya travel experiences you can have and it comes highly recommended. Also in this act in scene 4, is to look out for the left and right stage ends where you will get to see beautifully sculpted Korn character statues that are almost as high as the stage. “Korn” is the Thai character from stories and myths based on the Ramayana. Here you are introduced to a fascinating culture of the Royal Mask drama that re-enacts Korn scenes as performed in days of old in front of a Royal audience as a form of entertainment.

 

Thai Alangkarn TheaterThe final act will bring you to three well known periods of Thai history which are the Sukhothai, Ayuddhaya and Rattanakosin Kingdom. These were the periods of creation, conquests and prosperity in the Thai history. The Sukhothai period is depicted as a time of early creation and discovery under various Kings of Thailand who slowly brought prosperity to the country. In the Ayuddhaya period, there are scenes of conquest between the ancient rivalry of Thailand and Burma. Finally in the Rattanakosin period it is a time of prosperity and wonderment. There are comedy sketches between the scenes with a traditional courting and wedding period, followed by rivalry between suitors ending in an outbreak of war where full ancient Thai and Burmese war regalia are worn complete with war elephants on stage. The last scene in a setting of peace and wonderment another highlight of aerial artistry is displayed with floating fairy like performers gliding down from the back of the audience to the stage and ending in a great fireworks display. In the final Act, there are instances of audience participation so you do get your five minutes of fame on an epic stage! Do marvel at all the wonderful backdrops and stage scenes that must have taken a whole troupe of artisans to create that makes this show so worthwhile watching.

 

As you leave the stage on the way out to your waiting transportation, the theatre lobby is alive with the performers who are available for photo shoots with you for a mere THB20 or USD0.90 per session. You can always tip them more if you like for the great performances. There are in total about five different scene settings that you can take pictures of with the casts as a good memory of your visit to Alangkarn. This is one of the must see performances in Pattaya, and it is always best to make sure your tickets are booked in advance. There are two options, one is just for the show and the other is for a show and dinner. The dinner is an international and Thai style buffet after the show. There is only one performance a day, so do make sure that you do not miss your transport and to be on time for your transfer arrangements to Alangkarn!

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!

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)