Spotlight on Thailand
Thailand - A Tourist Hotspot
I just love Thailand! so many places visited, so much to talk about, what a fab vacation location! For this page, I will concentrate on the areas that I have personally visited with Bangkok being the hub. I shall endeavor to periodically update with new postings of different locations throughout Thailand, and those areas that I have not personally visited, but know off, I shall highlight this fact.
Why I love Thailand, well to start with, the people are great, the culture is amazing, the food is just too good, the night life, well the night life is fantastic and never ends, and the history is totally awesome. Ive lost count on the number of times I have been to Thailand, and If you have never been there, then this has just got to be added to your bucket list, so sit back, relax and enjoy the lens with some of my personal pictures, and hopefully I can convince you to visit this wonderful exotic land. :-)
Where is Thailand
Thailand (formerly known as Siam) is the geographical heart of South-East Asia. The famous golden triangle, located at the nation's northernmost point, is where Thailand 's borders meet those of both Laos and Myanmar ( Burma ). The border with Myanmar continues to the west and then south as far as the Malay Peninsula, much of which is occupied by Thailand .
On the east, the border with Laos meanders southeast along the Mekong River until it reaches Cambodia , which is due east of Bangkok , the Thai Capital. In the south is the Gulf of Thailand . Roughly the size of France (200,000 sq. miles).
Thailand is composed of four main regions. The northern mountainous region contains numerous ruins and temples, the ancient city of Chieng Mai , and Thailand 's highest peak, Doi Inthanon (2,576 m). This region is also home to the hill tribes of Thailand, distinct ethnic groups which settled in the area thousands of years ago after migrating from as far away as Tibet and central China .
The north-east of Thailand occupies the semi-arid Korat plateau, the most desolate and least-visited part of the country. An interesting blend of Thai, Lao, and Khmer influences characterise the culture of the Korat. Central Thailand, which consists of the fertile plains surrounding the Chao Phraya River , is the country's most populous region and its rice basket.
Thailand 's alluring and congested capital city of Bangkok is located along the banks of the Chao Phraya, near the river's outlet into the Bight of Bangkok and the Gulf of Thailand. The southern region of Thailand, which stretches for hundreds of miles along the Malay peninsula , abounds with stunning beaches and scores of tropical islands.
Thailand enjoys a tropical climate that is typically high in both humidity and temperature with an important feature being the monsoons. Anyone who is traveling to this wonderful country needs to know about the climate so as to make their journey more comfortable.
The months of April and May are the hottest and even the locals have been known to complain about the searing heat of summer. The South west monsoons arrive in June bringing some relief to the parched earth. This season continues till the end of October with intermittent bursts of rain.
The months from November until the end of February is a little more pleasing than the rest of the seasons with a decrease in the levels of humidity and cool breezes blowing from the North East. This is the best time to visit Thailand as the weather is just fine and absolutely suitable for touring.
Thailand climate can be divided into three main seasons. The climatic conditions that are prevalent in the north are favored greatly by the Thais as it is comfortably cool. With the temperatures remaining 3 to 5 degrees lower than the rest of Thailand.
Winter- The temperatures in the mountainous regions are lower than the Chiang Mai city and tourists should bring adequate clothing to brace against the cold. The temperatures at night can drop to as low as 2 degrees in the cold season.
Monsoons-There is hardly any rainfall in the months between May to September. Continuous rainfall is rare and the north differs to a great extent from the central and the southern parts of Thailand. A large part of the country during the monsoons suffers from flash floods especially in the central, north and the north eastern regions. The monsoons are the best season for river activities like rafting. The monsoon season is brief but the downpours are heavy.
Summer- the country is the hottest between the months of March and May and the heat is really scorching. Temperatures range from 32 degrees to 35 degrees. Bangkok is especially hot with temperatures rising to as high as 35 degrees.
Pair of Thai Handcraft Wooden Real Gold Leaf Gilding Fern Leaf on Stand
Made in Thailand, these beautiful Gold Leafs will look good in any environment, whether it's the office, home or somewhere you want to give the spa look, these are very nice traditional Thai ornaments at a nice price!
Culture of Thailand
The culture of Thailand has been greatly influenced by Buddhism. But there have been dominating influences of Hinduism as well as influences from its neighboring nations of Myanmar and Laos. Chinese and Indian culture has also had influences on the Thai culture and cuisine.
Arts and Crafts of Thailand
Traditional visual arts in Thailand bear a great influence of Buddhism but contemporary Thai art is a combination of the modern techniques along with the traditional styles. Thai literature is influenced by Indian culture. Crafts include textiles and decorative items that bear the distinct Thai style.
Architecture of Thailand
Classical Thai architecture is found in the temples and royal palace buildings and the best examples of Thai architecture are the Grand Palace, the Wat Benchamabophit, Wat suthat to name a few.
Thai cuisine is extremely popular due to the blending of the four fundamental tastes of saltiness, sourness, spiciness and sweetness. Most of the dishes combine all of these along with innumerable spices and herbs to prepare Thai dishes.
Music and Dance in Thailand
Music consists of both the folk music and also the classical traditions along with pop or string music. The Ram Thai is the main art form while the dance forms can be divided into the high art or classical dance and low art or folk dance. Thai dance can be divided into 3 forms namely khon, likay-khon and lakhon.
Religion in Thailand
Thailand is predominantly a Theravada Buddhist country but there are minorities like the Phra Nyanasamvara Suvaddhana Mahathera and Muslims as well.
Thai Customs and Traditions
The most distinctive Thai custom is the Wai that bears resemblance to the Indian namaste which is a demonstration of affection among people. It is considered rude to put the feet above someone's head or step on a Thai coin as it has the King's head engraved upon it.
Thailand Hill Tribes (Akha, Karens, Lahu, Lisu, Meo, Yao)
The tribes of the Akha, Karen, Hmong, Yao, Lisu had migrated to Thailand about a 100 years back from the southern part of China and Myanmar and they have their own religion, art, culture and dress.
Fashion in Thailand
Thailand is a land where the latest styles and traditional crafts have been well blended and there is some thing for every buyer irrespective of their budget.
Thai etiquette is based on traditions of Buddhism. The society is non- confrontational in nature and so disputes need to be averted at all costs. Thai people stress on proper behavior and dress. Revealing clothes and behaving rudely in public needs to be avoided at all costs.
Bangkok - The Capital of Thailand
Splash all the vibrant hues on a glass & concrete, and out pops a unique amalgamation of ethnic culture and dazzling skyscrapers. A place where tradition coexists in total harmony with economic development. Malls, marts, spas, luxury hotels, glamorous nightlife and more define Bangkok. Wealthiest and the most populated, Bangkok, originally called Krung Thep, this city of Angles was constructed in 1782 by King Rama I.
Bangkok has innumerable tourist attractions ranging from distinct Museums on diverse topics to intricately carved temples, mansions, immaculate gardens, zoos and national parks.
A few famous Museums to look out for are:
1. Royal Barge National Museum
2. Ancient City - worlds largest outdoor museum
3. Vimamnek Mansion Museum -world's largest golden teak building
4. National Gallery Museum
Seeing is believing and unless you have a look at these exotic temples your visit to Thailand will be incomplete. Some of the world famous temples are:
1. Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo
2. Wat Saket and The Golden Mountain
3. Wat Suthat and 'The Giant Swing -
4. Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple)
Bangkok has a huge choice for wining and dining. You can choose from a variety of Thai delicacies or tantalize your palate with an assortment of dished from around the world. Some famous places are:
1. Zub Zip
2. Bed Supper Club
3. Baan Kanitha
Bangkok's glittering nightlife is world famous. This City Of Angles with its notorious nightlife boasts of some of the most renowned beer bars, go-go bar strip Patpong. Some other well known night joints are Vertigo, Sirocco, Thong Lor etc. Bangkok also has many Hippie hangouts and also an active gay nightlife scenario.
A variety of accommodation is available here, from the low budgeted guesthouses and motels to the exquisite rooms in a five star hotels. While Khao San Road represents a backpacker city, Sukhumvit Road has hotels for all budgets. Bangkok also showcases some of the world famous hotels like:
1. Banyan Tree Bangkok
2. The Oriental, Bangkok
3. The Peninsula Bangkok
Often marketed as a shopper's fantasy, Bangkok can fulfill all your desires. From cheap stoles to exquisite Swarovski, from Gucci, Hugo Boss to Porsche Design here you can start your spree with the Chatuchak (Kampaengpet Road) weekend market, Suan Lum Night Bazaar and graduate on to Siam Paragon, Ocean World, Jim Thompson, River City Shopping Complex for antiques, Pantip Plaza (computer Mall). And a visit to Bangkok's floating market- Damnoen Saduak is a must.
For more information on this beautiful city, just click on the nightlife picture and be memorized.
Coffee At Sea - 954 Sukhumvit 71 Road, Klongton Nua, Wattana, Bangkok 10110.
Terrific little coffee shop, put your feet up, kick back and relax, very warm and friendly. Great staff, and signature coffee a must have. Snacks available and free wi-fi.
Walk with the Tigers - Kanchanaburi Temple (The Tiger Temple)
It's not every day you get the opportunity to do this, and it just had to be done. This was an awesome experience and I loved every minute of it. There's not many places in the world where you can sit down with, touch, or walk with a fully-grown tiger, but if you visit the Kanchanaburi Temple (The Tiger Temple), they allow you to get up close and personal with these big cats.
About a three hour drive outside of Bangkok in the Kanchanaburi province, not far from the world famous Bridge Over The River Kwai, lies the Tiger Temple of Thailand, formally known as Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno. Since 1999, the monks here have taken care of tigers which have been rescued from poachers in the nearby Thai-Burmese border jungle, and as of March 2011, the total number of tigers living at the temple has risen to almost 90, and I managed to experience holding one of the cubs.
Every day, the tigers are let out of their cages and taken down to a quarry which has a natural pool for them to bathe and play in. Visitors can stroll into the quarry and check them out from a short distance away. The tigers usually laze around all day basking in the hot sun. A couple of them did decide to get up and let their presence be known, what a sight, spectacular beasts.
Keeping a watchful eye over the operation is the Abbot Phra Acharn Phoosit Khantidharo and a lot of volunteers, who are clearly identifiable by their green t-shirts, mainly Thai, but tucked away in the crowd is also a few international volunteers who return year after year for the wonderful experience. Their job is to grab hold of the tiger's if they start moving out of their allocated territory, good luck to those guy's, you would only see a cloud of dust if looking for yours truly :-), actually it is a well controlled operation and I felt safe and comfortable throughout the entire experience. The volunteers are quite professional, know how to handle the tigers, and treat them with the respect they deserve.
With the careful eye and guidance of Abbot Phra Acharn Phoosit Khantidharo, volunteers lead visitors into the quarry, one by one, and strategically place you alongside the tigers for photo shoots. People continue to ask me, weren't you scared ?, what if they pounced on you?, as well as many other various questions. Well to tell you the truth, I never gave it a thought, I was in awe, I was overwhelmed with the entire experience, and any fear or negative thought never even entered my mind.
I had a fantastic day out, left with a feeling of excitement and great admiration for the Temple. Will I return ?, you bet, and certainly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Thailand.
Tickle the tiger to find out more about them and the Temple, enjoy the wonderful pictures and upcoming slide show.
Sightseeing in Thailand
Thailand is full of color and vibrancy and the sites spell out just this. The places in and around Thailand are as fascinating as it can be and they have all the ingredients to make your tour a fascinating experience. Here are some of the places that you can visit:
Ancient City (Muang Boran)
This city is almost like a doorway to the multi faceted cultural heritage of Thailand.
Buddhist Temples of Bangkok
This temple is the highest in Bangkok constructed on a man made hill.
Grand Palace, Bangkok
This has been the home of the king and also the seat of administrative practices of the land.
Bang Pa-In Palace, Ayutthaya
It has a history that dates back to the 17th Century and it is located just 40 miles north of Bangkok.
Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai
This temple is one of the most popular and the most revered among all the temples in Thailand.
Chao Phraya River
This lies in the central part of Thailand and it is considered to be the life line of the people.
Suwan Ku Ha Cave
It is famous for the innumerable beautiful Buddhist statues.
Suan Mokhaphalaram Temple
This famous temple is set in a forest and it was built by Ajarn Bhikkhu Buddhadhasa.
It is just 7.7 km from Pattaya and it is one of the biggest in the eastern part of the Gulf of Thailand.
This is the merging point of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar and it is the northern most point of Thailand.
Elephant Camps in Thailand
Here one will enjoy soccer being played by elephants and how these creatures can take in about 200 commands.
Ao Nang Beach
This lies at the center of Krabi and it has grown from a small fishing village to a popular tourist destination.
Hot Springs, Chiang Mai
These are located in the Fang district and there are about 50 hot springs here.
Nightlife in Bangkok - Experience the Wild, Winsome and Wonderful Side of the City of Angels
Are you ready to swing all night? Take off into a velvet Bangkok night and watch as the moon disappears into a burst of twinkling sunbeams. Nightlife in Bangkok throbs to the rhythm of live music, the buzz of trendy bars, pubs and clubs and wafts on aromas of 1000 flavors. As one of the must-do experiences, the nightlife in Bangkok offers a kaleidoscope of things to do and explore. Tourists can have a smooth and exciting boat ride on a teak antique rice barge down the Chao Phraya River and view exciting sights that have made Bangkok famous like the Grand Palace, the Temple of Dawn, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, innumerable interesting historical places and luscious orchards.
Bangkok invites its visitors to relax at her hip and happening night clubs that offer a delectable six-course Thai meal, or a candle-lit romantic dinner or even a 'lady-boy' show with amazing glitz and glam that blends with the dazzle of the night. As the night rocks into the wee hours, Bangkok opens out the pleasures of a sizzling vacation hotspot and takes entertainment into dimensions of spaced out heights with rooftop party places while DJs backspin, break and build into a stormy crescendo.
Entertainment of a Colorful Kind
With various markets, malls and mega shopping arcades, Bangkok spins out a colorful parade of clothes, food, consumer products and every kind of temptation that keeps the shoppers on the streets and on their feet! Visitors can experience the pulse of shopping places at Khao San Road, Patpong Night Market in Soi and the stalls in Suriwongse and Silom Roads. With everything from pins to PCs, the market places in Bangkok hold the ambience of all things dubious and desirable.
If the shopping bug has bitten you or if you are a shopaholic, take off to see the bustle at Suan Lum Night Bazaar and the Ratchada-Lad Phrao junction night market in Bangkok that offer the visitors a tempting array of things to buy and see or feast on a variety of dishes at the innumerable food stalls that abound the streets. Originally known as the 'Flashlight Market', Klong Thom Market has been known for its range of assorted goods and secondhand products and functions from 17:00 onwards to offer an exciting and affordable way of spending an enjoyable evening.
Buddhism - The State Religion
Thailand is one of the most strongest Buddhist countries of the world.; around 90 percent of the Thai's practice Buddhism. As Buddhism is the state religion, the King (Long Live The King) has the right to appoint the supreme patriarch of the sangha (Buddhist clergy). There is strong awareness of the sangha and around half of the male population spend a period of monkhood during their lifetime. Monks are highly honored and respected. In towns and villages the wat (temple) is the heart of social and religious life.
The Purpose of Buddhism?
The purpose of Buddhism is to enable all people, regardless of our present life condition, to fuse our lives with the life of the Buddha and experience the Buddha nature that exists within our own lives to achieve true happiness. Several things are happening when this occurs: First, we purify our lives, second, we erase our negative karma and, third, we experience enlightenment. Ultimately, the aim is to create a truly peaceful society.
What is Karma?
Do you know the meaning of karma? We constantly hear the word 'karma' in conversations without knowing the true meaning of the word.
Someone may be describing an accident or a terrible incident that has happened in his or her life. Then in the next sentence you hear, "I must have been a terrible person in a past life", or "I guess it's my karma." Many people use the term without knowing the meaning of karma. They usually use 'karma' to explain bad things that have happened to them. According to Wikipedia, the definition of karma is the concept of "action" or "deed". So it refers to positive and negative experiences. In short, the meaning of karma simply refers to the process of cause and effect. Action causes reaction. Whatever you do, something will happen .Karma is the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results.
What is the Purpose of Meditation?
To cleanse the mind of irrelevant thoughts and enhance concentration on the central aim of achieving nirvana (The ineffable ultimate in which one has attained disinterested wisdom and compassion). Many schools and teachers have different methods, but they all have the same ultimate goal.
Would you like to Visit Thailand?
More Tours of Bangkok!
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace construction started on 06 May 1782, it's a rather large complex of buildings in the heart of Bangkok and should really be your first tour, set aside the entire day and explore until your hearts content!
Since 1782, the Palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Thailand, know then as Siam. The construction and history is spectacular and I never tire of visiting, there is always something new to learn on every return.
Siamese Royal Treasure
This spectacular hall, built in 1907, was used as the first Thai parliament until after the construction of new parliament, where it is now used for important state ceremonies and houses the Royal Family's private treasures. Now open to the public!
A Taste of China in Bangkok
A massive and popular tourist attraction, Chinatown is not a location to be missed when touring Bangkok! A food haven at sunset for anyone who wishes to explore the street cuisine or just enjoy a leisurely stroll through the many interesting areas of shops, markets, restaurants, or check out the old Chinese Herbalists!
An experience not to be missed and want's you coming back for more, I know, I visit here every time I am in Bangkok!
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A Touch of Thailand from Amazon
One of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok features the famous Reclining Buddha, which is the largest in Thailand measuring more than 150 feet in length.
Check out the regions and some of the worlds greatest beaches that you will not want to leave, all located within this guide book.
A recommended guide with great pictures and directions, lots of information and will give you a great head start on your lifetime experience of Thailand!
Lots of essential information contained within, some swear by this book, others have different opinions, each to their own I guess, never the less a very informative guide to Thailand.
I always tend to lean towards Frommer's publications if looking for guides, they are packed with maps, directions, reviews of hotels, restaurants, shopping and nightlife as well as tours and trip planning ideas, all from local experts, what more could you ask for!