Thailand is in the Southeast of Asia, with Laos and Cambodia to the east and the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysianextto Burma (Myanmar) on its west. The capital is Bangkok, the country's official language is Thai. In touristic resorts people also speak the English language. The history of Thailand is estimated to be dating 10,000 years, up to the paleolithic era. Visitors will encounter super-rich archaeological sites of cultural heritage. The temples of worship of Buddha abound in the region, contributing to the exotic environment of the place. Thailand is the only country in Southeast Asia that avoided colonization, thus preserving the history and cultural heritage. The ancient monuments, temples and deserted cities all attest to the magnificent past of Thailand, a wonderful destination for your holidays. The historical treasures match with the wonderful nature. Thailand has many picturesque islands and beaches as well as 90 national parks and an amazing wildlife. The Thais are renowned for their friendliness and smile .
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Wettermässig besteht ein grosser Kontrast zwischen der eher flachen und mit Stränden durchzogenen Ostseite und der dem Südwest Monsun voll ausgesetzten Westseite, wo die vorwiegend grossen Boulders direkt ins angrenzende Meer übergehen und zum Teil steil abfallen.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
To get there: The village is in Na Thanung sub-district, 96 kilometres from the centre of the province. Take the Nan – Wiang Sa – Na Noi route. From Na Noi district, there is a crossroad to Na Muen district for 20 kilometres. Then, turn left into Highway No. 1339. It is an asphalt curving road along the shoulder of the mountain. Continue for approximately 25 kilometres to Ban Pak Nai.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
'Songkran' (from the Sanskrit word Sankranti, signifying the sun's shift from one zodiac to another) heralds the beginning of the solar year and is the most important festival for the people of Thailand. The festival is celebrated over three days, 'Mahasongkran' on the 14th of April marks the end of the old year, Wan Nao (15th April) is the day after and April 15 is Wan Thaloeng Sok when the New Year begins. Sonkgran is akin to the Indian festival of Holi and the Chinese festival of Ching Ming. Though it is celebrated all over Thailand with great gusto and enthusiam, it is in Chiang Mai that the Thais hold the very important ritual of bathing the Buddha and people from all over come to be witness to this event.
On New Year's Day, Thais pray to the Buddha, clean temples and houses, offer alms to the monks and sprinkle scented water on elders as a mark of respect. The pouring of water is symbolic of the cleansing of the spirit, mind and body. The water is also supposed to wash away bad luck - so consider yourself blessed if you get drenched! Happily, Songkran falls during the hottest time of the year and the water is a welcome relief.
Getting to Thailand is fairly convenient and easy, with Bangkok being the primary international airport receiving hundreds of flights from all over the world, including other parts of Asia, Europe and North America.
Read more on where to stay and things to do in Thailand.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Songkran Customs and TraditionsA period of transition, it's also a time for new beginnings. Songkran, derived from Sanskrit, means 'a move over' or 'change', marking the time when the sun leaves Pisces and shifts into the Aries zodiac for the beginning of a new solar year.To mark this 'pi mai' (new year) and get it off to an auspicious start, Thais clean. Everything from Buddha statues in streets to temples and houses gets a renewing wash; meanwhile anything old or unused is thrown out (believed to bring bad luck). They perform bathing rites for monks, and engage in pious activities like giving alms, Dhamma practice and listening to sermons to rinse the spirit clean, to wash away the previous year's bad actions. They sprinkle water on parents and elders, and shower them with gifts. Thais believe that bad luck or evil is washed away by water, the person purified, and the pouring of a small amount of holy water on another person's hand or shoulder, confers respect and goodwill. Elders in return wish the youngsters good luck and prosperity.
Get ready to get soakedKnown as the 'Water Festival', it's never long before sacred rituals involving the wet stuff give way to playful ones. Apart from religious rejuvenation, water also symbolises the end of the dry season. Considering temperatures can nudge 40 degrees by day in April, a bucket of ice-cold water over the head does a mighty fine job of keeping everybody cool!Critics of the incumbent party spirit grumble, some even stay home. Songkran has been diluted by the commercial, they say, become too dominated by revelry that cares little for its meaning. They mean partying epicentres like Khao San Road, where liquid-based festivities - water and alcohol - veer on the Bacchanalian, and an unruly carnival atmosphere takes hold. Headlines splashed across front pages each year report new peaks of nationwide delinquency, with wildly drunk teenagers, motorcycle racing, gambling, water-throwing to insane extremes and, tragically, many fatal road accidents often marring the three days.
Age-old traditions live onStill the charms of the traditional survive. One meretricious Songkran custom involves the releasing of live birds and fish. In Paklat (Phra Pradaeng) near Bangkok, beautiful girls form a procession and carry bowls containing fish to the river where they are released. Naturally, many eligible young men from Bangkok make the short pilgrimage to Paklat every year in search of their eternal sweethearts. On the second day, people carry handfuls of sand to temples, and pile it into small stupas as recompense for the dust they have carried away on their feet in the year past.
Celebrated with similar gusto by their Therevada Buddhist cousins in neighboring Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, Songkran is the biggest, most bizarre and, debatably, the best of Thailand's handful of spectacular religious festivals. A countrywide party, it also makes for a mighty dose of sanook (fun), a fitting byproduct for the fun-loving Thais' most treasured of celebrations.
Songkran Highlights: Where to goDuring Songkran, many people working or studying in the capital from other areas of Thailand leave, returning home during the extended break to celebrate the festival with their families. As a result, Bangkok is at its quietest, with roads relatively traffic-free and an eerie calm replacing the usual bedlam. That said, there's still a lot happening in Bangkok, with Songkran activities ranging from traditional to over-the-top.
Sanam LuangSacred celebrations are held at Sanam Luang, opposite the Grand Palace. Here on the first day of Songkran the Buddha image 'Buddhasihing' is brought out from the National Museum and escorted along the streets for people to sprinkle water on.
The image is then located there for three days, so people who missed the procession can pay their respects. Other merit-making customs in Bangkok include the building of sand stupas which are then decorated with colourful flags and flowers. These can be seen around key temples in the Rattanokosin area.
Beauty Pageants & Food FairsA Miss Songkran Beauty contest is held in the Wisutkasat area, accompanied by merit-making, a parade and other fun activities. Food, as is always customary in Thailand, features high on the agenda too with many mouth-watering seasonal treats available in hotels, restaurants, and from food vendors on every street or soi. Look out for special Songkran menus at some hotels and restaurants. Also have a look at our restaurant section for some recommended venues.
Water FightsWater warfare breaks out sporadically all across the city for Songkran's duration. However, for festivities that verge on the profane, but are undoubtedly lots of fun, head to Khao San Road. On Bangkok's backpacker boulevard Songkran means a Bacchanalian street carnival, the entire strip and surrounding areas turning into a free-fire water war zone.
Participants arm themselves with everything from tiny psychedelic water pistols to sophisticated pump-action water shotguns replete with water-tank backpack - and everything in between that can hold a respectable volume of ice cold H2O. Unwilling targets are advised to steer clear altogether - a severe drenching, despite pleads for mercy, is inescapable!
Making MeritMaking merit is an essential part of Songkran, and visiting nine sacred temples during Songkran considered one of the ultimate accumulators. Try temples in the Rattanokosin area like Wat Pho, Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Suthat Thepphawararam, Wat Chana Songkhram, Wat Boworn, Wat Benchamabophit, Wat Rakhang Khositaram, Wat Arun and Wat Kanlaya.
Songkran tips and etiquette
- Do not throw water at moving vehicles, mopeds or cars. Many tragic accidents occur during Songkran as a result of this.
- If people implore you not to give them a good dousing, especially elders, respect their wishes (unless they've stumbled into a water-tossing hotspot like Khao San Road of course, when they're fair game).
- Be sure to drink lots of water in addition to lobbing it - temperatures are at their highest this time of year.
- Ziplocks (sealable plastic bags) are great to put valuables in that can be damaged by water (mobile phone, cameras, watches and the like).
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Dates: April 13 - April 15At which of Thailand's many festivals do locals sprinkle water piously over Buddhist statues, but also hurl it at passersby? During which public holiday do Thais pay respect to parents and elders, make merit, give their homes a spring-clean, and still squeeze in time for partying? That's right, it's time again to celebrate the Songkran Festival. Over three hot, sticky days locals see in the traditional Thai New Year, and the whole country is gripped by body-cooling, spirit-cleansing celebrations.
The hallmark for tourists, of course, has long been the tradition of water throwing. Everything from a courteous sprinkle or polite splash to a well-aimed bucket helps participants articulate the good-natured festival fever. It's a practical and mostly welcome solution to the sweltering dry season heat.
However, there's a much deeper meaning to Songkran beyond getting drenched. Most Thais in fact head home for its duration, to enjoy a break punctuated by religious ceremonies amongst family. For them it's a time to express thanks to those they respect, loyalty to ancestors, an awareness of family and social responsibilities and their religious devotion - as well as get wet
Traditionally, Thais would politely pour a bowl of water on members of the family, their close friends and neighbours. As Songkran has taken a more festive note, a bowl becomes a bucket, garden hose and water guns, and the spirit of holiday merriment is shared amongst all town residents and tourists alike.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
New Year Traditions
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Prior to the temple's founding, the site was a centre of education for traditional Thai medicine, and statues were created showing yoga positions.
During the Rama III restoration, plaques inscribed with medical texts were placed around the temple. These received recognition in the Memory of the World Programme on 21 February 2008, according to Thailand's Government Public Relations Department. Adjacent to the building housing the Reclining Buddha is a small raised garden, the centrepiece being a bodhi tree which is a scion (cutting) of the original tree in India where Buddha sat while awaiting enlightenment. The temple was created as a restoration of an earlier temple on the same site, Wat Phodharam, with the work beginning in 1788. The temple was restored and extended in the reign of King Rama III, and was restored again in 1982. In 1962 a school for traditional medicine and massage was established.
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome recently donated survival packs to the homeless people in the Khopai community.
The architectural characteristics of the temple reflect the influence of the Sukhothai arts such as the chedi in the Lankan style (a bell shape) whose base is surrounded by sculptures of the front half of elephants made of bricks and cement. Five elephant sculptures are on each side and 1 at every corner. It looks as though they use their back to support or “Kham” the chedi, similar to the characteristic at Wat Chang Lom in Sukhothai province. Within the wihan, “Phra Phuttha Nanthaburi Si Sakkayamuni” is enshrined. It is a bronze Buddha image, with 65% pure gold, in the posture of forgiveness with a height of 145 centimetres. It is aged around the 14th century or during the late Sukhothai Period. The main Buddha image is very beautiful and large. It was made of lime, representing the Chiang Saen style of art and the skills of Nan craftsmanship.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Phrathat Chae Haeng. Its age is over 600 years, located on Doi Phuphiang Chae Haeng, Tambon Muang Tut, 2 kms. from Nan City ( Highway No. 1168 Nan-Mae Charim) and was constructed since Sukhothai period. The annual worshipping fair takes place on the full moon day of the fourth lunar month ( during the end of February and the beginning of March ). The fair includes the celebration of fire works processions and offerings processions.
Phrathat Khao Noi. This pagoda is situated on the top of khao Noi Hill, Tambon Chai Sathan, 2 kms. West of the provincial Hall. the hill is 800 feet high having an access road to the hill top.
Nan National Museum is located on the Highway 101 with a left turn before entering the Amphoe Muang, the museum puts on exhibition black ivory and various kinds of artifacts. It is open daily from 9.00-14.00 hrs. except Mondays, Tuesdays and official holidays. Tel : (054) 710561
Black Elephant Tusk. This dark tan colored tusk is presumed to be the left side, being displayed in Nan National Museum (Ho Kham), Its outlook is of long curved shape having the length of 94 cms., 18 Kgs., in weight and regarded as Nan valuable provincial property.
Wat Phumin. This Monastery is located near the Nan National Museum in Phumin Village having very unusual characteristics compared to other monasteries in general, i.e., the main shrine hall and the vihara are constructed as the same building. Other attractive items of the monastery are very beautiful wood carving doors placed in the four directions, made by the Lanna Thai artisans : and mural paintings painted on the internal wall of the vihara displaying ways of lives and cultures of the past.
Wat Suan Tan and Phra Chao Thong Thip. This monastery is located in Tambon Nai Wiang, Amphoe Muang having a beautiful pagoda with several level decorated works of art where four niches are located in the four directions at the lowest level. A big bronze Buddha image 4.11 mitres high named "Phra Chao Thong Thip " is housed inside the monastery. A grand celebration with fireworks displays takes place all day all night during the Songkran festival.
Wat Chang Kham Wora Wihan. This is the royal-grade monastery, located in the heart of Nan city, constructed in 1547. There are elephant sculptures, of front half, decorated around the base of pagoda. Moreover, there are Golden Buddha Image 145 centimeters high and a big Buddha's Teaching Hall (Ho Phra Trai Pidok)
Kat Laeng or Night Market. It is located on the Bank of Nan River in Nan city. Handicrafts, souvenirs and various kinds of product are on sale.
Pha Tup Arboretum. This arboretum is located 12 kms., from the provincial community on Highway No.1080. There are several caves in the arboretum area worth visiting by nature lovers.
Amphoe Wiang Sa
Tham Pha Mong and Tham Pha Wiang. These caves are located 10 kms. from Wiang Sa township area on the road to Amphoe Na Noi where a 300 meter access road branches off to the caves, though the hilly terrain. Beautiful stalactite and stalacmite formations are seen inside the caves.
Amphoe Na Noi
Sao Din and Hom Chom. This 4-5 square kilometers are located at Amphoe Na Noi, 60 kms. from the provincial community, dotted with various formations deriving from earth denudation caused by flowing currents and subsequently eroded by rains having sand stone as the top level.
Pha Chu or Pha Choet Chu. A high cliff in Tambon Nong Bua about 20 kilometers away from Amphoe Na Noi 80 kilometers to the south of Nan provincial town. With a flag pole erected on top and a rope hanging down to its foot, the flag rope here is very long one.
Attractions near Pha Choet Chu.
Sao Din ( Earth Pillars )and Khok Sua ( Tiger Pen), a geographic attraction 5 kilometers away from Amphoe Na Noi along the same route to Pha Choet Chu.
Haeng Reservoir, a scenic spot situated 3 kilometers from Na Noi District.
Nan River, another scenic spot 8 kilometers from Pha Choet Chu
Si Nan National Park and Doi Khunsathan, comprise high mountains with beautiful scenery and waterfalls.
Along The Nan River to Sirikit Dam. From the provincial town along the Wiang Sa-Na Noi route, a branch road runs for another 20 kilometers to Ban Pak Nai, a fishery village in King Amphoe Na Mun. Here, a boat trip along the Nan River to Sirikit Dam is available for sight - seeing of scenic views like mountains, cataracts, floating houses, fisherman's way of life, and various kinds of fresh water fishes.
Amphoe Na Mun
Ban Pak Nai. A village in Amphoe Na Mun, 96 kilometers from the provincial town along the Nan-Wiang Sa-Na Noi route and another 20 kilometers along branch road from Na Noi. From here, a winding dirt road runs along the hillside for another 22 kilometers to Ban Pak Nai, a lakeside fishery village upstream of Sirikit Dam. There are floating food shop among verdant, mountainous scenery, some of them also provide accommodation service for visitors.
Amphoe Ban Luang
Doi Pha Chi. A mountain on the Highway 1091, Nan-Phayao route, some 40 kilometers from the provincial town to Ban Luang District, with a branch road running for another 30 kilometers via Ban pi Nua to Doi Pha Chi. This forested mountain is still in perfect natural condition. The area was once an enemy base of which some basic infrastructure like electricity generator and waterwork system are still left behind. In nearby area, villages of Mong and Yao hilltribes are located.
Amphoe Mae Charim
Rafting Along Wa River. The trip takes about 5 hours, starting from Ban Huai Sai Mun in Amphoe Mae Charim to Ban Hat Rai Amphoe Wiang Sa.
Amphoe Tha Wang Pha
Thai Lu Village. Situated at Ban Nong Bua, Pa kha Sub-District, the village is accessible by driving along the Highway 1148 for 43 kilometers to Amphoe Tha Wang Pha, then further to Ban Nong Bua for another 12 kilometers. Here, the famous Nam Lai hand-woven fabric is produced. Almost every house in this village owns a loom by which the villagers weave fabric for the household use and also for sale. Products made from village hand-woven cloth, for example, skirt, blouse, tube skirt, and scarf are produced for sale by a group of farmer housewives.
Mural Painting at Wat Nong Bua. Located at Nong Bua Village, Wat Nong Bua was built by Thai Lu people migrated from Sib Song Pan Na Province in South China. The mural paintings here are believed to be the work by Thai Lu or Nan painters. The paintings' artistic style is almost the same as those at Wat Phumin. Within its precincts, the rite hall or Bot, about 250 years old, lies in deteriorated condition.
Sila Phet Waterfall. This is regarded a very beautiful waterfall, located in Tambon Sila Phet, Amphoe Pua.
Doi Phu Kha National Park. Doi Phu Kha National Park is a high mountain range in Amphoe Pua, King Amphoe Bo Klua and Amphoe Mae Charm in Nan. The apex of Doi Phu Kua is 1,980 meters above sea level. The park has a lovely scenery and abundant in various trees and plants. Furthermore, there are several nice waterfalls and caves such as Ton Tong Waterfall and Pha Khong Cave, ideal for nature lovers.
Pa Klang Hilltribe Development and Assistance Village. Located at Tambon Silalaeng, about 60 kilometers from the provincial town, Pa Klang is a village of Meo, Yao, and thin hilltribeds. After the Communist wipe-out in Nan in 1968, the tribes were separately settled in their former lifestyles producing beautiful handicrafts for sale to visitors.
Amphoe Tung Chang.
The Heroes of Pho To Tho Thung Chang Monument. It is a monument dedicated to government officials, policemen and soldiers who lost their lives protecting the homeland from communist insurgents in Nan . It tooks 3 years to build and situated in Amphoe Thung Chang alongside the Nanthung Chang road on a low hill amidst large and small valleys. A nearby area is used for relaxation with a pond and some tropical flowers.
Nan Provincial Boat Racing. After Buddhist Lent, which falls on the end of October or the beginning of November, of every year, boat racing festival takes place in the Nan River in front of the provincial community. This is regarded a big fair where several long boats, carved out of one single tree trunk, participate the racing and it is promoted, by the Province, as an annual fair of Nan
Golden Orange and Red Cross Fair. The fair is held annually around mid-December at the provincial Stadium. Golden orange, with golden peel and sweet tate, is a famous crop of Nan Province. The orange's gold color result from the province's cold weather and less sunny seasons. Main features in the fair include Miss nan beauty contest , Miss Hill Tribe Contest, booth displays by the government and private sectors and various entertainments.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
New regulations for new and renewal of non-immigrant "B" Business visas issued in Thailand by the Immigration Bureau of the Royal Thai Police make it much more difficult for foreigners to do business legally in Thailand; especially if the books of the company and the income of the foreigner are not properly documented and all taxes are not paid up to date.
Effective immediately, all business visa applications must provide proof that four Thai staff work at the company full time and pay into both the social security fund and insurance fund and those staff members must be present when Immigration comes to inspect.
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
The above story is just a historical tale. However, it is clear that Chiang Saen existed during in the reign of King Meng Rai of the Lanna Kingdom, because it known that he truly existed. In the ancient Tai language of Burma and Northern Thailand, the word ‘chiang’ means ‘a big town’, while the word ‘saen’ presumably comes from King Saen Phu, King Meng Rai’s nephew. After King Meng Rai passed away, King Saen Phu came back, renovated Chiang Saen, and was its third king. He also resided and worked there; therefore, Chiang Saen was a capital city from 1327 – 1341, spanning the reigns of King Saen Phu and his son, King Kham Fu. After that, Chiang Saen declined in importance from the capital city to simply a leading town. Nevertheless, Chiang Saen Town was well developed, and Buddhism was dearly cherished by its governors. Ruins of 75 temples have been found within the town walls, and 66 were situated outside. This large number of temples attests to the thriving civilization of Chiang Saen.
In 1557, Chiang Saen, Chiang Mai and several towns of the Lanna Kingdom were captured by Burma. Later, Ayutthaya won them back, and eventually they came under the control of Bangkok.
The many ancient ruins make Chiang Saen a peaceful tourist attraction, with lots to explore. The Town offers a charming and serene atmosphere on the banks of the Khong River, at the three-country border between Laos, Burma and Thailand. Chiang Saen has both scenic natural attractions and an impressive cultural heritage. In particular its impressive Buddha images showcase Lanka, Sukhothai and Ayutthaya art and techniques. Besides, the graceful stuccos and splendid craftwork found in the area are Thailand’s great heritage for its younger generations.
Travelling to Chiang Saen
By car: This riverside town facing the Mekong River is 30 kilometers from Mae Chan District via Highway No. 1016. Alternatively, it can be reached by taking Highway No. 110 from Chiang Rai (the city), then take a right turn into Highway No. 1016 and proceed for another thirty kilometers.
Rental car: It may probably be easier rent a car in Chiang Rai and then drive to Chiang Saen, but renting a motorbike may be a better bet as the roads one will probably explore in the area are easier to negotiate by two wheeled transport.
Buses: There are numerous buses traveling from Chiang Rai to Chiang Saen for around 20 baht one way. The trip can take from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the traffic and the number of stops it makes en-route. If you travel from Chiang Mai, it is advisable to ask for the 'new route' (sai mai) as this only takes 4 to 5 hours and makes only a few stops en-route. The old route can take over 9 hours to complete with many stops along the way.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
The Golden Triangle is one of Asia's two main illicit opium-producing areas. It is an area of around 350,000 square kilometres that overlaps the mountains of four countries of Southeast Asia: Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand. it has been one of the most extensive opium-producing areas of Asia and of the world since the 1950s. The Golden Triangle also designates the confluence of the Ruak River and the Mekong river, since the term has been appropriated by the Thai tourist industry to describe the nearby junction of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar
Sightseeing trips by boat are available to view the scenery and life styles along the Mekong River. An additional attraction is a visit to Ban Hat Bai, a Thai Lu community noted for making beautiful local fabrics. To cross over to Huaixai town in Lao PDR, contact the immigration office or tour agencies at Chiang Khong.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
To reach Doi Mae Salong, take the Chiang Rai-Mae Chan route for 29 kilometers, then turn left and proceed for another 41 kilometers (passing a hot spring). The return trip can be taken on routes nos. 1234 and 1130 which wind through Yao and Akha hill tribe villages. From Doi Mae Salong a road leads to Tha Thon, the starting point for the Kok River cruise, a distance of 45 kilometers. There are hotels and guesthouses to accommodate tourists and a paved road leading to the village.