Thailand Holiday page.This was a another fantastic holiday.
The tour company, Hayes and Jarvis, are a world class outfit and the accommodation, rep's and excursions were again first class. Our first 3 days were spent in Bangkok, and what a city this is. On the one hand it's modern with high skyscrappers, wide motorways and modern shopping centres and on the other, it's very third world with poverty on the streets. We visited some temples but not the kings palace as Thailand's Princess Galyani Vadhana, elder sister of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej, had just died, and the palace was closed for 10 days mourning. This Sukhothai Traimit Golden Buddha is the largest Golden Buddha in the world and is made of pure gold. The image is unrivalled in beauty, and has a height of 15 feet 9 inches and weighs approximately 5 tons. It is over 700 years old and had been completely covered with plaster to conceal it from the enemy then invading Thailand. in 1955 when a new building was completed and while preparations were being made to move it, the covering plaster was partly broken to reveal that underneath was it was solid gold.
Wat Pho Temple. This world famous temple is located on Thai Wang Road next to the Grand Palace. It is Bangkok's oldest and largest temple. The gigantic gold plated reclining Buddha with inlaid mother-of-pearl soles is highly revered among Buddhists. Also regarded as the first centre of public education, or sometimes called "Thailand's first university", the temple houses mural paintings, inscriptions, and statues which educated people on varied subjects; for example, literature, warfare, archaeology, astronomy, geology, meditation, medicine, and Thai traditional massage.
'Noah' was our tour guide and showed us the all the sites on the 6 day TurismoAsia tour of Classic Thailand which comprised of many fine temples, palaces and gardens. This was a stop at a floating village which we took a 'long boat' to get there. Talk about traffic jams, you couldn't move for about 20 minutes, we eventually alighted and walked through the market which was one of the best we have visited.
Natalie 'pretending' to barter, she says whats a few more pounds to us, when these people are on the poverty line, good point, but I still bartered to the last Baht, why not!! When we returned to Bangkok, after this tour, We spent the evening walking and bartering our way through the night markets. We have really improved since we first arrived: in fact, we got so good that we had to buy another bag for the flight home!!
40 miles north of Bangkok on the banks of the Chaopraya River will bring you to Bang Pa In, summer palace of the kings of Thailand. The palace dates back to the 17th century, pre-dating the establishment of Bangkok as the capitol, although it did fall into disuse for a long period. All the buildings you see date from its revival by King Mongkut (Rama IV) in the 19th century. Today, the palace is only used infrequently, and then mostly for state occasions rather than as a royal summer residence. The buildings are laid out along an artificial ornamental pond. In what was formerly the public area of the palace, the lake is a long rectangular pool, lines with formal plantings and the odd folly. The most obvious of the ornaments is a modern copy of a Khmer style prang. In this pond you see what has become the "signature piece" of Bang Pa In. It is an elegant Thai-style pavilion in the middle of a pond with the rather daunting title of "The divine seat of personal freedom." It is really the only example of classical Thai architecture within the palace and was built by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). It now houses a statue of him. The pond also serves to divide the "public" outer area of the palace from the inner private areas. Within the inner palace are several buildings in various styles. The main residence, the Chinese throne hall,is a modern reconstruction of the original building. Although the original building was said to be in the style of a Swiss Chalet, the modern building has a more "Paris Metro" art-deco feel to it. Note that the building, still occassionally used by the royal family, is not open to the public. Perhaps the most interesting building in the inner complex, and the only one open to the public, is the Chinese style residence built in China and gifted to King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in 1889.
Then on to Ayuthaya to see the ruins and temples. We stopped of at Lopburi Inn for lunch before continuing to Phitsanulok which is an important and historic city in lower northern Thailand and is the capital of Phitsanulok Province, which stretches all the way to the Laotian border. Phitsanulok is one of the oldest cities in Thailand, founded over 600 years ago. It is probably best known as the birthplace of King Naresuan, who freed the country from Burmese domination in the late 16th Century, and his brother and successor King Ekathosarot (Sanpet III). Overnight at the Amarin Lagoon.
Morning drive to the ancient cities of Sukhothai and Sri Satchanalai. After lunch continue to Lampang. Overnight at the Lampang River Lodge.
Stop monkeying around. Today Lopburi is famous as "Monkey City" because it has monkeys running wild throughout the city. They stay mainly at the San Phra Kan temple in a traffic circle in the center of town. Food is taken to them daily, and they manage to stay there eating most of the day.
We stopped of to see rice production in this very very dusty and copwebbed factory. A steam engine provided the power and nothing was wasted, even the cinders from the fire were bagged up for fertiliser!!
Fantastic ruins! sukhothai recognized as the first Thai kingdom, the city gained prominence and its independence in 1238. Nine kings rules over an expanding area. The city was annexed in 1376 by the rulers of Ayuthaya. The most famous king of the Sukhothai was King Ramkhamhaeng, under which rule the Thai alphabet was developed, and the city's influence extended beyond its borders. Sukhothai is located about 450 kilometers from Bangkok, about halfway betwen Bangkok and Chiangmai.
A nice place for the lovers of animals and birds, Sri Satchanalai National Park is located in the vicinity of Sukhothai Park. Home to more than seventy species of birds, the Park also presents many other attractions like waterfalls, caves and vantage points. The Park provides an interesting tour to the visitors.
One of the very many enjoyable lunches
Talk about never walking under a ladder, what can you say about walking under an elephant, rather Natalie than me!
Now we are staying in the Lampang River Lodge
This temple is dedicated to the Cow. As in china, Thaoland follow different animals each year and Natalie was born in the year of the cow, nence this photo. High in the hills above Chiang Mai is Doi Suthep temple, a spectacular shrine commissioned by King Kuena, ruler of Chiang Mai from 1367-88. According to an old legend, the king was persuaded to build the temple when the monk Sumana presented him with a bone relic of the historical Buddha. The king searched far and wide for a suitable spot to build the temple, but none could be found. Finally, he resolved to let fate decide its location, and he tied the relic to the back of an elephant and set it loose. For days the elephant stomped through the jungle, shadowed by the king's men, until it reached the mountaintop of Doi Suthep. The elephant made a good choice because the king readily agreed to the spot. Construction began 1386 and was completed within a few years. Doi Suthep sits a good thousand meters above the surrounding landscape, so it is a great place to view the countryside. Once the difficult ascent had to be made on foot, but a motor road was added in 1935 and a funicular (lift) was recently installed as well.
Chiag Mai, Evening Kantoke dinner with a wonderful performance of the hill tribe dances
Dont look down! Elephant ride at Mai Ping elephant camp
Longboat to Chiang Rai stopping at several hill tribe villages
This was a lovely afternoon, kids from one of the hill tribe villages.
This woman was over 80 years old, but her birthdate is unknown
We took a ride on this longboat.... if this is what a third world country looks like, I'll gladly swap.
Chiang Rai. Just across the river from her is Burma, or as it's now known, Myanmar. This Monk was very interested in where we were from, so I told him London, we spoke only for a couple of minutes but when I asked him if he would ever visit London he said he didn't need to now as he now knows all about it! From here we saw more hill tribes and then went to the 'Golden triangle' the term applies to the opium growing region covering northern Thailand, eastern Burma and western Laos. Afterwards a short stop at the ancient Chiang Saen then onto Phi Phi.
Phi Phi Village from the ferry showing the spectacular views. Phi Phi (or to give it its correct name Koh Phi Phi Don as there's aslo the uninhabited island Phi Phi Lei) is Thailand’s island-superstar. It’s been in the movies. It’s the topic of conversation for travelers all over Thailand. For some, it’s the only reason to touchdown in Phuket. Even with all the hype, it doesn’t disappoint. Phi Phi’s beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to beach-fronted jungle. It’s love at first sight.
We climbed to the top of these cliffs, from which you could see all the tiny islands that surround this part of the andaman sea.
Lovely views from our bungalow!
Bungalows are the accommodation of choice on Phi Phi; in fact, there aren’t many other options, but this were something special, right on the beach, traditional Thai style decoration inside, with walk in wardrobes, Jacuzzi, LCD TV with Satellite, it was heaven!!
My little darling in the Jacuzzi.
Created Wed Oct 29 19:11:58 2003