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12 cities, Thailand hidden gems

 Posted by Germain Laroche
Germain Laroche
, May 24, 2015 at 15:28:57 :: Thailand

Lampang, a city with its own timeline

Wat Phra That Lampang LuangLampang takes her sweet time spinning around people’s lives. It’s a charming town with perfect balance in people and culture. Visiting temples in Lampang is an ASEAN experience because there are both Thai and Myanmar temples for you to visit. You can take leisure walks seeing the way local people live their lives in old architectural buildings surrounding Kad Kong Ta (Night Market) or walking street along Mae Nam Wang (Wang River), the river of life for Lampang residents. Outside of town you can find other attractions such as Wat Chalermprakiat Prajomklao Rachanusorn, stunning stupa at the top of the hill in Chae Hom District, Thai Elephant Conservation Center, Phra That Lampang Luang and make sure you stop by various ceramic shops and outlets to take home with you Lampang’s finest quality ceramics.

Petchabun, floral mountain and misty sea

Experience the cool misty breeze all year round. Every day is as refreshing as the next. Fields of colorful flowers swaying in the wind wait to greet anxious tourists. Choose to admire Por Tueng Nong Pai, one of the vibrant fields of golden blooms, or the pink cherry blossoms along both sides of the road at Phu Tub Berg. Another attraction to visit is the agriculture farm at Khao Ko where you can enjoy activities, good food and take fresh produce home with you.

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Fun facts about Koh Samui

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 11, 2015 at 17:50:26 :: Thailand

Koh Samui, Chaweng beachFacts and figures on the natural wonders and other attractions of this island paradise


The decade in which backpackers “discovered” Samui, which at the time was considered a coconut-harvesting backwater.


Elevation, in metres, of the island’s highest point: the peak of the jungle-covered mountain known as Khao Pom.


Samui’s land area, making it the kingdom’s second largest island after Phuket.


The number of dolphin and whale species found in the Gulf of Siam, where Koh Samui is located.


The number of islands that together make up Ang Thong Marine National Park, near Samui.

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Thailand and King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, July 20, 2014 at 13:41:14 :: Thailand

Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok, ThailandThe Monarchy of Thailand (also referred to as the King of Thailand or historically as King of Siam) refers to the constitutional monarchy and monarch of the Kingdom of Thailand (formerly Siam). The King of Thailand is the head of state and head of the ruling Royal House of Chakri. The king's power is limited to being a symbolic figurehead, but the institution commands the respect and reverence of the Thai people.

Bhumibol Adulyadej is the current King of Thailand. He is known as Rama IX (and within the Thai royal family and to close associates simply as Lek). Having reigned since 9 June 1946, he is the world's longest-serving current head of state and the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history.

Since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, each constitution has maintained the king as "enthroned in a position of revered worship and shall not be violated." His Majesty, however, in his 2005 national birthday broadcast, specifically indicated he was unhappy with the provision. Despite this royal wish, Thai state authorities have steadfastly refused to permit not just criticism but what they deem to be inappropriate discussion. The constitution exempts the king and the royal family from legal actions, but confers no other legal rights. Therefore, the monarchy is protected against any physical or defamatory threats. This provision against defaming the monarchy is known in the West as the lèse majesté law.

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Thailand visa part 2: Types of Visas

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, September 27, 2013 at 14:12:44 :: Thailand

Thai Tourist Visa, 2 entries

Thai Diplomatic Visa or Official Visa

Upon official request, Thai Embassies and Consulates-General may grant courtesy visas to diplomatic/official/ordinary passport-holders who wish to enter the Kingdom on official duty and/or other purposes.

Supporting documents are documents issued by the governmental agency, foreign government or international organization, certifying the identity of the person concerned and his/her purposes while visiting the Kingdom.

Thai Transit Visa

Purpose of visit

  • To transit to the country of destination (Category “TS”)

  • To participate in sport activities (Category “S”)

  • The person in charge or crew coming to a port, station or area in the Kingdom (Category “C”)

How long is the visa valid for?

The validity of a visa is three months. Travelers coming to Thailand with this type of visa will be permitted to stay in the Kingdom for a period not exceeding 30 days.

What documents will be required?

  • Passport or travel document with validity not less than 6 months

  • Visa application form completely filled out

  • Recent  4 x 6 cm photograph of the applicant

  • Evidence of travel from Thailand (confirmed air ticket paid in full)

  • Evidence of adequate finance (฿20,000 per person and ฿40,000 per family)

  • Visa of a third country in a passport or travel document

  • Letter of invitation stating the application’s participation in sports activities in the Kingdom

  • Consular officers reserve the rights to request additional documents as deemed necessary

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Thailand Visa part 1: Tourist Visas & Exemptions

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, September 21, 2013 at 13:48:20 :: Thailand

Koh Samui, Chaweng beachDo you want to visit Thailand? You are welcome! The Kingdom of Thailand currently offers visa free travel to 55 countries. Nationals from USA, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe may enter the country without a prearranged visa. Please check the Tourist Visa Exemption policy below:

90 Days Visa Free

List of countries which have concluded a bilateral agreement on visa waiving with Thailand and permitted to stay for a period not exceeding 90 days:

30 Days Visa Free

Passport holders from 49 countries (including Hong Kong) are granted visa free travel to Thailand for a period of up to 30 days if they arrive by air. For foreigners arriving via immigration checkpoints which border neighboring countries, the visa will be shortened to 15 days each time (except countries that have bilateral agreements on visa waiving with Thailand; those marked with a * behind). The exception to this rule is for Malaysian nationals who will still receive a 30 days visa if arriving overland.

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CentralWorld Shopping Center, Bangkok

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 23, 2010 at 08:36:41 :: Thailand

CentralWorld (Thai: เซ็นทรัลเวิลด์) is a shopping plaza and complex in Bangkok, Thailand. It is the second largest shopping complex in Southeast Asia, after SM City North EDSA of the Philippines. It's a landmark of downtown Bangkok and one of the favorite shopping mall of Bangkokians.

Central World (Shopping Mall), Bangkok, Thailand

World Trade Center

Originally called the World Trade Center, the eight-story mall was opened in 1990. Central Group acquired the property in 2002 from the Wang Petchaboon group and soon thereafter renamed it Central World Plaza, and in 2005 rechristened it CentralWorld.

CentralWorld Overview

With 550,000 square metres of retail space and a total area size of 830,000 square metres that is 30% larger than any other shopping centre in central Bangkok, CentralWorld is now officially the largest lifestyle shopping complex in Southeast Asia, with an unrivalled mix of products and services at prices that put the fun back into shopping for Thai consumers and tourists.

With a range of offerings that encompass more than 500 stores, 100 restaurants and cafes, 15 cinemas, Kids' Zone and Learning Centre (Genius Planet Zone), two anchor department stores, as well as a trendy food court, the largest supermarket in Asia and an outdoor square for large-scale events like Bangkok's official New Year countdown party, there certainly is something for everyone.

To prevent shoppers from getting lost, and to help circulate people to all areas and prevent clustering, a clear traffic circulation system was devised that enhance vertical and horizontal movement around the six interconnected shopping zones, each offering a different ambiance and certain unique features.

There are also more than 100 escalators, as well as see-through lifts. CentralWorld's retail layout is influenced by the shopping street concept, allowing shoppers to spec several storefronts at a glance, whilst its overall design has placed a lot of emphasis on natural light / daylight that filters through the many skylights and open wells. Spectacular sculptures by famous artists are used as decoration features, and a glass mobile consisting of 3,500 glass balls hanging in an open well has had the crowds in awe.

CentralWorld is on the forefront of technological sophistication too. Two of Southeast Asia's largest LED screens, measuring 9 x 16 metres, overlook the outdoor CentralWorld Square and will be used to broadcast major events. Inside, giant LED screens are also used to broadcast activities from one zone to another.

More than 250 interactive LCD monitors and directories have been installed throughout to provide an estimated 150,000 shoppers daily with information and shopping directories. And the 40 ATM machines scattered around are also the largest number in any commercial complex in Thailand.

The indoor parking lot - the largest in Thailand - measures 287,000 square metres and can accommodate 7,000 vehicles. Already completed is the 45-storey CentralWorld Offices, one of the city's most modern skycrapers.

The Offices at CentralWorld

The renovations included completing an unfinished office tower, on which work had been halted in 1999 with only 39 of the planned 63 floors completed. Construction was resumed in early 2003, expanding the tower to a 45-story, 204 meter, design, with the completed tower opening in 2005.

Centara Grand at CentralWorld

Centara Grand is a chain hotel built on land leased from the Crown Properties Bureau. The flagship hotel, the Centara Grand at CentralWorld, was attached to both the CentralWorld mall and the Offices at CentralWorld.

2010 Red Shirt Protest and The Following Mass Arson

After almost one month of the Red Shirt occupation of the surrounding areas, the Thai military crackdown and the surrender of Red Shirt leaders, CentralWorld was one of the more than 30 Bangkok buildings that Red Shirt protesters set ablaze on May 19. The fire got that ZEN, one of the 5 parts that made up CentralWorld, collapsed in the fire.

This part of Central World has collapsed by Move&Blog! Thailand

Although CentralWorld has been severely damaged, it is still standing and can be restored. Central Pattana have said it would take at least 6 month to repair and rebuild the building.

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Sangkhlaburi, Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 04, 2010 at 13:38:45 :: Thailand

Sources: and

When travelers dream of Thailand, they picture verdant jungles, sparkling temples and the exotic charm of its rural villages. Sangkhlaburi is home to all this. Located 225km northwest of Kanchanaburi and a mere 24km from the Burmese border at Three Pagodas Pass, Sangkhlaburi's seclusion only adds to its mystique.

Sangkhlaburi is set towards the end of one of Thailand's most spectacular roads, nestled on the low hills edging Vajiralongkorn Lake (previously known as Khao Laem Lake), and is surrounded to the north and east by higher forest-covered limestone ranges. The outlying area hosts Karen and Mon villages, caves, waterfalls, the vast Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife reserve and Khao Laem National Park.

Sangkhlaburi is a sleepy town of 15,000 people from many ethnic backgrounds. There are the Karen, the Mon, Thais, Chinese, Lao and even Arakanese and Bangladeshis. This ethnic diversity makes Sangkhlaburi district unique in Thailand.

Three Pagodas Pass, Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi Province in Thailand

While Sangkhlaburi was traditionally a Karen town, a recent influx of Thais along with numerous Mon and Burmese settlers fleeing problems over the border, has created a culturally and religiously diverse town -- yet another reason to make sure you fit this lovely town into your itinerary.

Historians believe the earliest visitors to the region were the Mons, who entered present-day Thailand sometime around the beginning of the Christian area and later established Dvaravati.

Even today, warfare, political turbulence, and migrations continue to define the ethnic and social landscape of Sangkhlaburi region. Many of the Karens, Mons, and Burmese who have settled in the region over the centuries have become political refugees, unable to obtain Thai passport or permits for residence and work. Most remain stateless individual wanderers - shunned by both Thais and Burmese.

However, Sangkhlaburi has a lot of natural attractions such as waterfalls, rough jungle and the Khao Lam Dam which flooded a valley of Sangkhlaburi and also parts of the old city.

The old half sunken temple is a beautiful scenic area especially at sunset and sunrise. Local hill tribes (Mon) build most of their houses on the water as raft-houses. The people there impress with their charm and their natural kindness.
Sanglkhlaburi is also known for its 400m long wooden bridge that spans across the Vajiralongkorn Lake to connect the Mon village "Wang Kha" with the Thai and Karen parts of the town.

This bridge was constructed in 1993 and has even attracted Thai and foreign movie teams!

The Saphan Mon wooden bridge in Sangkhlaburi city in Thailand

Despite its hundreds of years old history, today's Sangkhlaburi is a new town. When The hydroelectric Vajiralongkorn Dam neared its completion in 1984, old Sangkhlaburi had been demolished and the new town was created on higher grounds. All that remains of the past are the half-submerged structures of the old Mon-Temple and the basements of several buildings. And, the eroded remains of a 400 year old pagoda close to the impressive new Mon temple Wat Wang Wiwekaram which was fouded by the late Abbot Luang Pho Utama.

Wangka (also known as Monside) on the other side of the Bridge is well worth visiting. Watch out for the street dogs (pick up a stone and it should scare them off). The village was founded by Luang Phor Uttama in 1949 after he fled Burma with 60 other Mon Families. Uttama passed away in 2006 and since then, the village has been in mourning. ==Alcohol is not permitted to be drunk in public== and doing so would be hugely disrespectful. This only applies to the Wangka, not Sangkhla. Many of the villagers speak Mon as their first language, so don't be surprised if they cannot understand your Thai. If you eat at a Mon restaurant, an easy word to remember is "Dangoon" for "thankyou".

Sangkhlaburi is an idyllic place and well worth visiting as it is off the tourist trail and thus great for the tourist who wants to see "real thailand". The place is well known to Thais who come here for relaxing weekends away, or alternatively parties on the floating houses.

But violence is not unknown here and the market area in the centre of town is probably best not explored after it closes. There can also be clashes between Mon and Thai youth on the bridge area.

Places to see

- Wat Wang Wiwekaram and Chedi Buddhakhaya: Walk over the bridge to the Mon village, and bear left parallel to the lake. After 2km the concrete road forks. Left goes to the huge golden chedi, with a small Burmese goods market below it, and right goes to the main Wat Wang Wiwekaram. The Wat was built by the late Phara Uttama, who was one of the most important Monks in Thailand, and is still highly revered in the Mon community. There is a large, ornate viharn at the main wat, and in another building there are murals depicting stages of the Buddha's last, and previous, lives. You may wish to hire a taxi as, for some, it might be a long walk to the temple, and it is easy to get lost in Wangka village (although people are happy to point you in the right direction).

- Saphan Mon: The 400m wooden bridge itself is well worth a visit and is the longest handmade wooden bridge in Thailand. There is a small cafe on one end which is a great spot for a drink and a view. Be careful when crossing the bridge though, it is made and repaired in a chaotic manner and you need to be careful of your footing. There are donation boxes at either end which pay for the bridges constant upkeep. So consider donating, as you will receive an amazing photo in return! Local kids like to jump off bridge into lake...

The Sunken Temple in mid-April, when water level is low:
- Wat Saam Prasob (The Sunken Temple): When the water level of the lake is low (usually after winter) you can hire a boat to take you (or hire a canoe from P Guesthouse to paddle yourself out) to see the Sunken temple. The sunken wat is the last remaining vestige of the old town flooded for the creation of Khao Laem Reservoir. (Top 1-2 metres of temple is in view in September.)

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Dhammakaya temple, Pathum Thani, Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 08, 2008 at 09:25:35 :: Thailand

Located 28 km northeast of Bangkok city center, near Bangkok former Airport of Don Mueang, in Pathum Thani Province, the Dhammakaya temple was founded 20 years ago to offer instruction in Thamathayard meditation. The central bot is a marvel of modern Thai architecture which, unlike that of most Siamese temples, is characterized by pure, simple lines rather than highly ornate decoration.

Wat Phra Dhammakaya Buddhist temple (วัดพระธรรมกาย) in Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani Province north of Bangkok, Thailand

The theme of simplicity continues in the interior, where a black marble floor and plain white walls accent the presiding Buddha image illuminated with a single spotlight. Dhammakaya temple honors the legendary meditation techniques of a Bangkok monk named Pra Mongkol Thepmooni. As taught by the monk from Wat Paknam, meditation involves initial concentration on an imaginary crystal ball, then transferring that focal point to the center of the student's mind. There, the sphere expands to incorporate the universe and ultimately induces Dhammakaya, the visible Buddha.

The Memorial Hall

The Memorial Hall of Phramonkolthepmuni located opposite to the main entrance of Dhammakaya Temple, the dome-shaped shrine was built on a circular form of construction, resembling the sphere that spreads the dhamma teachings of Lord Buddha - Wat Phra Dhammakaya (วัดพระธรรมกาย), Pathum Thani, Thailand

Located opposite to the main entrance of Dhammakaya temple, the dome-shaped shrine was built on a circular form of construction, resembling the sphere that spreads the dhamma teachings of Lord Buddha.
The Great Memorial Hall of Phramongkolthepmuni was built in 2002, funded by donations from disciples of the late Ven. Phramongkolthepmuni, in honour of the highly revered monk whose rediscovery of the Dhammakaya tradition of meditation in 1914 had greatly revived the public interest in meditation and Buddhism.

Also known as Luang Pu Wat Paknam (the abbot of the Paknam Temple), the Most Venerable had dedicated himself to the study, practice and teaching of meditation. His famous concept that stillness of the mind is the key to material and spiritual success has helped many to discover the purpose of life and to experience inner peace and self-sustaining happiness.

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Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (Ayutthaya), Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 04, 2008 at 12:01:59 :: Thailand

Ayutthaya (full name Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thai: พระนครศรีอยุธยา, IPA: [aˡjutʰajaː]; also spelled "Ayudhya") city is the capital of Ayutthaya province in Thailand. The city was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong, who came here to escape a smallpox outbreak in Lop Buri, and proclaimed it the capital of his kingdom, often referred to as the Ayutthaya kingdom or Siam. Ayutthaya was named after the city of Ayodhya in India, the birthplace of Rama in the Ramayana (Thai, Ramakien). In 1767 the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, and the ruins of the old city now form the Ayutthaya historical park, which is recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was refounded a few kilometers to the east.

Ruins of Ayutthaya, Ayutthaya historical park, founded by King Ramathibodi I in 1350, Thailand

Ayutthaya is located 76 km north of Bangkok. It was one of Indo-China's most prosperous cities and is one of Thailand's major historical attractions. The grandeur of Ayutthaya is reflected by numerous magnificent structures and ruins concentrated in and around the city island surrounded by the Chao Phraya, Pa Sak and Lop Buri Rivers. Ayutthaya covers an area of 2,556 square kilometres.

Monks' statues in the Ayutthaya historical park (อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์พระนครศรีอยุธยา), ruins of the old city of Ayutthaya, Thailand

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Hua Hin, the "Royal" sea front of Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, August 26, 2007 at 12:36:58 :: Thailand

Hua Hin (Thai หัวหิน) is a famous beach resort town in Thailand, in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula, some 230 km south of Bangkok. It has a population of 84,883 in an area of 911 km², and is one of eight districts (Amphoe) of the Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

While the beaches of Phuket and Samui were discovered only recently and have since undergone rapid and sometimes destructive development, Hua Hin has already been the favourite Thai resort for over 70 years.

Hua Hin beach, Hua Hin, Pran Buri district (Thai: ปราณบุรี), Prachuap Khiri Khan Province (Thai ประจวบคีรีขันธ์), Thailand

The resort was discovered in the early 1920s by King Rama VII as an ideal getaway from the sultry metropolis of Bangkok. The tranquil fishing village was turned into the Royal resort and consequently became popular among Siam's nobility and upper-class.

The construction of a railway line from Bangkok ensured its accessibility and popularity with a wider part of the the Thai public.

Hua Hin Railway Station, Hua Hin (หัวหิน), Thailand

But it was the resort's royal endorsement which has given Hua Hin a special character of its very own.

In 1928, King Rama VII built his Klai Kangwon (Far From Worries) Palace which remains until this today an official royal residence. It is still frequently used by members of the royal family and is open to the public for visits.

Hua Hin continued to develop in its own leisurely way, both as a aristocratic resort with the added attraction of an 18-hole golf course, and as a fishing port. The Railway Hotel, today's Sofitel Central Hua Hin, was built by the State Railways of Thailand in 1923 in the architectural style of old Siam.

Royal Hua Hin Golf Course, Hua Hin, Thailand

Many of Bangkok's rich and famous built their own beachfront summer homes to the north and south along the curving sandy bay, enjoying leisurely family weekends in a resort which has maintained its unique identity.

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In The News

Christmas goes global - Bangkok, Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, December 20, 2010 at 04:39:03

Siam Paragon in Siam Square. Bangkok popular shopping center"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way" – if the year's end has a theme song in Bangkok, this is it. In scores of malls, hypermarkets and department stores throughout the Thai capital, the Christmas season brings playlists of jolly songs, forests of twinkling trees and mountains of tinsel. The central shopping district around Siam Square and the renovated Central World Plaza mesmerizes with lights. As Buddhist people, not so many Thais know what Christmas is traditionally for, but they adore the colorful trappings of the holiday season. Santa Claus – virtually unknown a generation ago – is now a favorite Thai character, with staff in stores, restaurants and clubs, especially the girls, wearing Santa hats and costumes with extra smiles on their faces. For the substantial number of expatriates and tourists, dozens of hotels and pubs lay on gargantuan Christmas dinners, and the Christian community adds spiritual echoes with special events such as Handel's Messiah.

The Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, November 16, 2008 at 17:24:13

Grand Palace, Chakri Maha Prasat Hall, BangkokThe Grand Palace complex was established in 1782 and it houses not only the royal residence and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It covers an area of 218,000 square meters and is surrounded by four walls, 1900 meters in length.

The Royal Monastery of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Kaew, one of the most venerated sites in Thailand where people convene to pay respect to the Lord Buddha and His TeachingsAfter King Rama I's ascension to the throne in 1782 the palace was built. Prior to this, the royal palace and the centre of administration had been located in Thonburi, on the west side of the Chao Phraya River. For various reasons, the new king considered the former capital to be unsuitable and decided to establish a new capital on the other side of the river. By his royal command, a new palace was built to serve not only as his residence but also as the site of some administrative offices. The royal compound has been known since then as the Grand Palace. The two earliest structures erected within the complex were the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall and the Phra Maha Monthian.

Bangkok Grand Palace, Phra MondopProminent parts of the Grand Palace:

- The Wat Phra Kaew, the temple containing the Emerald Buddha
- The Upper Terrace including a reliquary in the shape of a golden chedi, the Mondop, a miniature of Angkor Wat and the Royal Pantheon
- The Chakri Mahaprasad Hall, a building in a style influenced by the Italian Renaissance
- The Phra Maha Monthian Group including the Audience Hall of Amarindra Winitchai, the Paisal Taksin Hall and the Chakraphat Phiman Hall
- The Borom Phiman Mansion, built in western style in 1903 by King Rama V

Phuket: pearl of the Andaman, Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, November 12, 2007 at 16:46:11

Karon Beach, Phuket, ThailandLocated approximately 862 kms south of Bangkok, Phuket (ภูเก็ต - formerly known as Tha-Laang or Talang), Thailand's largest island, located in the Andaman Sea off southern Thailand, is often dubbed as "The Pearl of the Andaman", or "The Pearl of the South". Phuket is divided into three administrative counties: Amphoe Mueang Phuket (เมืองภูเก็ต), Amphoe Kathu (กะทู้) and Amphoe Thalang (ถลาง). The main towns are: the capital Phuket (เทศบาลนครภูเก็ต), Pa Tong (the main touristical town with Patong Beach (หาดป่าตอง)), Karon, Kathu, Thep Krasattri and Choeng Thale. It's natural resources - rocky peninsular, limestone cliffs, white powdery beaches, tranquil broad bays and tropical in-land forests (Khao Phra Thaeo Non-hunting Area with its three highest peaks : Khao Prathiu (384 m), Khao Bang Pae (388 m) and Khao Phara (422 m) covers more than 20 km² of rainforest) contribute to making it the South's wealthiest, busiest, most visited and most popular island and province.

Patong Beach, Phuket, ThailandNestled in the tropical zone off the west coast of the southern part of Thailand in the Andaman Sea (ทะเลอันดามัน) - southeast of the Bay of Bengal, south of Myanmar, west of Thailand and east of the Andaman Islands - and the Indian Ocean (มหาสมุทรอินเดีย), Phuket province covers an area of approximately 543 sq kms (excluding small islets). It is estimated that Phuket Province covers an area of approximately 590 sq kms if its 39 other small islands are included. The islands total lengh, from north to south, is estimated at 48.7 kms and appoximately 21.3 kms wide. Phuket is connected to Phang-nga (พังงา) by Sarasin Bridge and Thep Krasattri Bridge. It's main beaches are Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Kata Beach, Kata Noi Beach, Nai Harn Beach and Bang Tao Beach.

Nai Harn Beach, Phuket, ThailandStaying on the island is easy, as there are only two seasons in a year: the rainy season (May to October) and the hot season (November to April). The low season is between September and October, also the wettest months. It is best to visit from November to February, when it's possible to see the clear blue sky, feel the fresh sea breeze, and marvel at the crystal clear water while lying on powdery, palm-fringed beaches. Average temperatures ranges between 23°C and 33°C.

Phuket's topology is exceptional with 70% of its area covered with mountains which stretch from north to south. The mountains of Phuket form the southern end of the Phuket mountain range (เทือกเขาภูเก็ต), which ranges for 440 km from the Kra Isthmus (คอคอดกระ). The highest elevation of the island is Mai Thao Sip Song (Twelve Canes), at 529 m above sea level. The remaining 30% being plains located in the central and eastern parts of the island. The island does not have any major rivers except for a total of nine brooks and creeks. Near the southernmost point is Laem Promthep (Brahma's Cape), which is a popular sunset viewing point.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 20, 2007 at 11:30:11

Panorama of Chiang Mai and around, photo taken from the way to the Wat Doi Suthep; Chiang Mai, ThailandChiang Mai (เชียงใหม่), "Rose of the North", sometimes written Chiangmai or Chiengmai, capital of Chiang Mai Province (จังหวัดเชียงใหม่), was founded in 1296 and is Thailand's second-largest city after Bangkok (Krung Thep Maha Nakhon - กรุงเทพมหานคร) and the gateway to the country's north. Chiang Mai is the old capital city of Lan Na Kingdom. It is Located on a plain surrounded by mountains and lush countryside, with a cosmopolitan air and a significant expat population. The city, about 700 km north of Bangkok, stands on the Ping River, originates in the Chiang Dao Mountains, a major tributary of the Chao Phraya River (แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา).

Wat U-mong - One of the nicest and quietest temple in Chiang Mai13.4% of the population on the Chiang Mai province are members of the hill tribes, among them the Hmong whose homeland is in the mountainous regions of southern China, Yao people (Chinese: 瑶族), Lahu (Chinese: 拉祜族), ethnic group of Southeast Asia, Lisu (Chinese: 傈僳族), Akha, ethnic group which originated in China and Tibet, and Karen (or Kariang, Thai: กะเหรี่ยง).

Chiang Mai's historical centre is the walled city. The city used to be surrounded by a large wall. Sections of the wall remain at the gates (the most famous is Thapae Gate or Tapae Gate in the East and Chiang Puak Gate in the North) and corners, but of the rest only the moat remains.

Surprisingly cheap, modern, friendly, internationally-flavoured and somewhat cooler than the south, Chiang Mai is surrounded by mountainous terrain and offers plenty of sight seeing activities, tours and great shopping (Chiang Mai's night bazaar, Central Airport Plaza, Central Kad Suan Keaw...) to complement the hospitality of its many hotels, guest houses and restaurants.

Doi Suthep, Chiang MaiChiang Mai has over 300 Buddhist temples (called "wats" in Thai). These include:
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep (ดอยสุเทพ), established in 1383 and perched on a hilltop overlooking the city; Wat Phra Singh with its Sinhalese Buddha, and located in the centre of the city; Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple in Chiang Mai; Wat Chedi Luang (temple of the big stupa - วัดเจดีย์หลวง), founded in 1401 and dominated by the large Lanna style chedi that was unfortunately destroyed in the great earthquake of 1545; Wat Jet Yod and Wat Suan Dawk, a little out of town, are both over 500 years old; Wiang Kum Kam (เวียงกุมกาม) the site of an old city situated on the southern outskirts of Chiang Mai; Wat U-Mong, an ancient temple in the forest just outside Chiang Mai in the foothills in the west of the city, near Chiang Mai University (มหาวิทยาลัยเชียงใหม); Wat Suan Dok, a 14th century temple built by the King of Lanna, located just west of the old city-wall.

Wat Sundok in Chiang Mai, ThailandOther outdoor activities include Chiang Dao (เชียงดาว), an hour north of the city; Chiang Rai (เชียงราย), 200 km northeast, and a transit point on the way to the Golden Triangle (สามเหลี่ยมทองคำ) and Myanmar (ประเทศพม่า); Lampang (นครลำปาง), 100km southeast of Chiang Mai; Lamphun, 26km southeast of Chiang Mai; Mae Hong Son (แม่ฮ่องสอน), a picturesque little town north west Thailand along the banks of the river Pai (แม่น้ำปาย), with lush valleys, rocky streams and a lake; Pai (ปาย), on the northern route to Mae Hong Son.
The Doi Inthanon (ดอยอินทนนท์), the highest mountain in Thailand, 60km southwest of Chiang Mai.

Koh Chang, Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, August 15, 2006 at 11:37:22

Koh Chang beachPhoto of the week:
Sunset on White Sand Beach, Koh Chang, Thailand

South East Asia - Thailand - Koh Chang - Sunset on White Sand Beach

Discover Thailand

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, June 18, 2006 at 18:40:46

Thank you for submitting so many pictures of Thailand. More pictures will be added later. Thank you for all your submissions.

Photo of the week:
Ayutthaya ancient city in Thailand

SouthEast Asia - Thailand - Ayuthaya - Ayutthaya's majestic ruins

Thailand, Koh Pha Ngan

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, April 30, 2006 at 13:39:04

Photo of the week: Haad Rin Nok beach in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

Thailand - Koh Pha Ngan - Haad Rin Nok

UNESCO World Heritage

Thailand, Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 11, 2013 at 12:33:19

Location Provinces of Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Rachisima, Prachinburi, Srakaew and Burirum, Thailand
Coordinates N14 19 48 E102 2 60
Property 615,500 ha
Date of Inscription 2005

Brief Description ( )

The Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex spans 230 km between Ta Phraya National Park on the Cambodian border in the east, and Khao Yai National Park in the west. The site is home to more than 800 species of fauna, including 112 mammal species (among them two species of gibbon), 392 bird species and 200 reptile and amphibian species. It is internationally important for the conservation of globally threatened and endangered mammal, bird and reptile species, among them 19 that are vulnerable, four that are endangered, and one that is critically endangered. The area contains substantial and important tropical forest ecosystems, which can provide a viable habitat for the long-term survival of these species.

Photos from TWIP

Dong Phaya Yen mountains, View

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map

Thailand, Ban Chiang Archaeological Site

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 11, 2013 at 12:27:03

Location Udon Thani Province, Thailand
Coordinates N17 32 54.996 E103 21 29.988
Property 30 ha
Date of Inscription 1992

Brief Description ( )

Ban Chiang is considered the most important prehistoric settlement so far discovered in South-East Asia. It marks an important stage in human cultural, social and technological evolution. The site presents the earliest evidence of farming in the region and of the manufacture and use of metals.

Photos from TWIP

Ban Chiang Archaeological Site, Museum

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map

Thailand, Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuaries

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 11, 2013 at 12:18:42

Location Kanchanaburi, Tak and Uthai Thani provinces, Thailand
Coordinates N15 19 59.988 E98 55 0.012
Property 622,200 ha
Date of Inscription 1991

Brief Description ( )

Stretching over more than 600,000 ha along the Myanmar border, the sanctuaries, which are relatively intact, contain examples of almost all the forest types of continental South-East Asia. They are home to a very diverse array of animals, including 77% of the large mammals (especially elephants and tigers), 50% of the large birds and 33% of the land vertebrates to be found in this region.

Photos from TWIP

Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, River Valley Thungyai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, Ramit River Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary, Namtok Thi Lo Su

More photos:

Thailand, Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 12, 2009 at 13:01:17

Location Sukhothai and Kamphaeng Phet Provinces, Thailand
Coordinates N17 0 25.992 E99 47 22.992
Property 11,852 ha
Type Cultural
Date of Inscription 1991

Brief Description ( )

Sukhothai was the capital of the first Kingdom of Siam in the 13th and 14th centuries. It has a number of fine monuments, illustrating the beginnings of Thai architecture. The great civilization which evolved in the Kingdom of Sukhothai absorbed numerous influences and ancient local traditions; the rapid assimilation of all these elements forged what is known as the 'Sukhothai style'.

Photos from TWIP

Sukhothai Historical Park, Wat Si Sawai Columns Sukhothai Historical Park, Buddhas and Chedis Sukhothai Historical Park, Sitted Buddha, Columns and Chedi

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map

Thailand, Historic City of Ayutthaya

 Posted by Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche
, May 12, 2009 at 12:34:59

Location Ayutthaya Province, Thailand
Coordinates N14 20 52.008 E100 33 38.016
Property 289 ha
Date of Inscription 1991

Brief Description ( )

Founded c. 1350, Ayutthaya became the second Siamese capital after Sukhothai. It was destroyed by the Burmese in the 18th century. Its remains, characterized by the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries, give an idea of its past splendour.

Photos from TWIP

Ayutthaya Historical Park, Monk Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Yellow scarf statues alignment Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Lying Buddha

More photos and localization on interactive Google Map

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