Tag Archives: Bangkok

Our Story : Enjoying holiday – Part 21

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

We took a few more tours while we were in Bangkok and they were quite interesting.

Floating Market

I had heard a lot about the floating markets in Thailand so we planned to see it. Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets is a prime tourist attraction that not too far from Bangkok.

We were picked up from the hotel in a van and driven 100 km southwest of Bangkok to Damnoen Saduak. As soon as we were in the canal area I saw lots of floating boats some with tourists and some selling colourful souvenirs, fruits and other items.

The floating markets of Thailand is a great place to view colourful boats with vendors selling fruits, vegetables and other delicious goods. It’s a great place to also see a traditional way of buying and selling goods of the Thais.

The best things about these markets are the food stalls. There is no Thai dish you cannot find here. The hardest decision is narrowing down your choice to one or two. Squashed in amongst the food and tables lining the canals are handicrafts, plants and clothing stores too.

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We were asked to hop into one of the boats and we had a guide who took us around the 32 km canal. Sitting on a wooden long tail boat, we ventured out to the floating market. It was fun passing through narrow canal lanes and underneath bridges. It was a really fun way of seeing the market.

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Once we were back where we had started, we had some time to look around by ourselves. I ended up buying lots of souvenirs like a floating boat, a tuk tuk, a hat and a beaded earring.

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River Kwai and The Jeath War Museum

The next stop for us was in Kanchanaburi province where we went and visited the war museum and the river Kwai.

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Once there we went to the war museum and there were lots of information about World War II.  Then we went to the bridge over the river Kwai which was built-in World War II.

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The JEATH War Museum is situated on the junction of the Rivers Khwae Yai and Khwae Noi, right on top of the old rail tracks. The name is an acronym recognising the primary nationalities of those involved in the construction of the Death Railway; Japanese, English, Australian, American, Thai and Holland. To the locals it is known simply as the Wat Tai War Museum.

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The museum is divided into several sections. While the main path through the exhibitions charts Thailand’s involvement in the Pacific War (from the first invasion through to the destruction of the bridge, and finally Japan’s retreat accompanied by the release of prisoners), other areas offer a range of different perspectives on the region.

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One room focuses on the prehistoric evolution of the area, while another charts the annual winners of the Miss Thailand competition. There seem to be Buddhist shrines tucked away into every empty corner, and there isn’t an inch of wall space that hasn’t been written on. Some of it in Thai, other passages in French, English or German, and these verses range from military history through to religious philosophy. To read them all would have taken a day at least.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the museum however, are the wooden effigies used to depict the suffering of Allied POWs. Carved in a similar style to those that appear in Thailand’s numerous Buddhist Hell Gardens, these often crude figures show naked men engaged in hard labour, being tortured, or lying dead and bloody at the bottom of rivers.

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The intention is to shock… but also to bring home the very real pain and suffering which prisoners were subjected to. Towards the end of the museum, a courtyard is walled in with mounted figures of WWII’s military leaders: Churchill and De Gaulle; Mussolini and Hitler; Japanese Generals Tōjō and Yamashita; Joseph Stalin and General Douglas MacArthur. On an adjacent wall, written in both Thai and English, hangs a sign which reads, “War is sinful behaviour”.

Perhaps the most poignant feature at the JEATH War Museum however, is the broken wooden structure which protrudes from the riverbank beneath an observation platform. This is all that now remains of the former bridge, and is a stark reminder of the tragedy that befell here; in 1945 both the Royal Air Force and the US Army Air Force mounted bombing raids on the bridge, but after both attacks it was repaired using prisoner labour.

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Finally, on 24th June 1945, an RAF squadron was ordered to halt the Japanese movement into Burma at any cost. Fearing defeat, the Japanese filled the bridge with as many Allied prisoners as they could fit, in a hope to deter the bombers. It failed however, and when the bridge was finally put out of action, its destruction came at a cost of many Allied lives.

Kanchanaburi’s ‘Tiger Temple’

The last stop of the day was the Tiger Temple and it was the highlight of our trip. It is a Buddhist temple where there were many monks, lots of tigers and few other creatures.

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Almost a decade ago, monks started to look after tiger cubs whose mothers had allegedly been killed by poachers. With the outbreak of tiger-euphoria, tourists reported enthusiastically how the monks of this remote temple devotedly cared for the animals. Initially there were just a few young tigers – joined by freely roaming deer and other small mammal species. Therefore, it all started as a neat little temple zoo with lovely deer, orphaned tiger cubs and monks as keepers.

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For around fifty dollars each, we were allowed to be up-close and personal with the tigers. This was 600 Bhat admissions and 1000 Bhat for photo with the tigers. It was a really unique experience and I was a bit scared but then it was all good as there was a guide with us all the time. I patted the tiger and he didn’t eat me 🙂

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We also saw a cub on the way back and we were allowed to take pictures and pat it. It was a really nice experience.

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After coming back from the holiday, I did some research about the place and I found lots of negative things so I am still confused as to what to believe.

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Also if you are going there make sure you wear a covered dress as they will not allow you in otherwise as they have a dress code for both men and women.

By the time we got back to Bangkok both of us were tired and ready for bed.

For the next few days in Bangkok, we met AS’s cousin and went shopping. I was feeling sad already as I knew we were going to different places once the holiday was over.

More on that in the next post. Till then take care.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Go to Part 22

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Our Story – Sawadeeka Bangkok – Part 20

This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.

As you can read from my post, we had a great time while were in Phuket. It was all about enjoying ourselves and enjoying each other’s company. We loved the place, the people and the food. The massages and shopping made our holiday even better. But as every other good thing in the world, it was time for us to bid farewell to Phuket so we caught a plane to Bangkok.

When we arrived in Bangkok and I could feel that it was so hot and humid. It was a quick dash to pick up our luggage and then a cab to our hotel.

Bangkok

The hotel, Chateau de Bangkok seemed like a nice big hotel. We always research a lot about the hotel before we book it and so far we have been happy with the result.

We were greeted with fresh orange juice when we arrived. Lucky for us, they upgraded our room to a suite so it offered a master bedroom with king-sized bed, plus a large lounge, fully fitted kitchen and spacious marble-clad bathroom with Jacuzzi. We felt happy and it was really a great start to our Bangkok trip.

That evening we were very tired so staying in seemed liked a great idea so we decided to order in and rest for our big trips ahead.

We ordered Thai style fried rice and a prawn dish. I loved the way they had our fried rice in a pineapple. Then we enjoyed some movies and also planned what we wanted to do for rest of our days in Bangkok.

The next morning, we woke up, showered and finished our breakfast before 8am. We had booked a Bangkok City and Temple tour so the guy came to pick us with a van and when we got on the van he informed us that we were only two people taking the tour that day. We both smiled as it was going to be a private tour for us and we loved it.

Wat Traimit

First stop was visit to Wat Traimit, the temple with world’s largest solid gold Buddha, 5 1/2 tons of solid gold 3 meters high Buddha . They charge an entry fee but ours was paid by the tour guide. He explained the history behind the temple.

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The Buddha status is made from pure gold and the statue is said to be worth millions of dollars at today’s gold prices. The Golden Buddha was cast sometime in the 13th century, and it survived until now because it was covered in plaster to hide it from thieves. It was discovered by accident when it was accidentally dropped as it was being moved, revealing, under a casing of plaster, a beautiful solid gold Sukhothai style Buddha. Pieces of the plaster are still kept on display at the museum.

On the way to the next stop we went around Chinatown and I was so amazed to see that Chinatown looked similar everywhere in the world. The place looked so much like the one I had seen in Malaysia.

Wat Pho

Next stop was Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). This Buddha was 46 meters long and 15 meters high and it was almost impossible to take a photo of the whole statue in one shot. This Buddha holds the dual honour of having both Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha image and the most number of Buddha images in Thailand. It also had giant feet, 3 meters high and 4.5 meters long with mother-of-pearl soles.

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The Reclining Buddha was built during the mid-19th-century and is brick covered with layers of plaster and gold.

On our way out to walk around the complex, we passed a long line of bowls into which people were dropping coins.

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The guide explained to us that there are 108 bronze bowls (symbolizing the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha) and people drop coins in the bowls for good fortune and to help the monk maintain the wat. We also did our bit and it was fun 🙂

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By the time we finished this tour me and AS both were exhausted because of the humidity. The guide gave us a bottle of water to drink.

Live snake experience

While we were coming out from the King’s palace, there was a guy with a live snake around his neck offering photo opportunity with the snake for small amount. We both were excited and decided to give it a go.

Loving the snake

Loving the snake

I had done something similar in Malaysia before so I was not scared at all so we had our photo taken with the snake around our neck.

Wat Benchamabophit 

From, Wat Phra Kaew, we went to Wat Benchamabophit (marble temple). Wat Benchamabophit is a royal monastery belonging to the first class ranking of Rajavaravihara made out of Italian marbles. Our guide told us that the main statue of Lord Buddha sitting in the main hall was a copy of the famous “Phra Buddha Chinarat” in Pitsanulok province, north of Thailand.

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The temple is a prime example of modern Thai architecture. It is a four-sided structure with four-tiered roof and a corridor in the back.

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Wat Intharawihan 

Our last stop for the day was Wat Intharawihan (temple of Standing Buddha). The main features of this temple is a 32-metre high, 10-meter wide standing Buddha referred to as Luang Pho To or “Phra Si Ariyamettrai” (Maitreya).

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It took over 60 years to complete and is decorated in glass mosaics and 24-carat gold. The topknot of the Buddha image contains a relic of Lord Buddha brought from Sri Lanka.

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This temple also has a statue of the Hindu god Brahma.

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I was really fascinated by our tour of the temple that day. I can imagine now what tourists who visit Kathmandu feel like. They say Kathmandu is a city of temples and each temple is different from others.

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That was one of the many days we spent in Bangkok. Then there was my favourite thing to do in Bangkok and yap you guess it right, it is shopping.

Shopping

We caught a taxi to go to different shopping malls and markets every day. There are so many colourful taxis in Bangkok, you can easily have fun in traffic as well. You can’t believe some of the colours like baby pink, purple, yellow, red, bright green, bright yellow etc. They told to us that the colour is company coordinated so people know which cab they are in.

I knew by that time AS was shocked by the way I shopped in Phuket. So I decided that I would slow down a bit. We were still in the stage where we were getting to know each other better and definitely, I did not want to scare him 😉

Bangkok  is sometimes referred to as a “shopaholic’s paradise” so there was so little I could do to hide my excitement. There are variety of malls, markets, and everything in between and some of the best deals are even found late into the evening at trendy night-bazaars.

Just for this reason I took an empty suitcase from Sydney. We went to MBK Shopping Center, Siam Paragon, Pratunaum Market and many more. Every evening we came home with heaps of bags full of dresses shoes, bags, accessories. I used to weigh my suitcase every night to make sure I hadn’t gone over the limit. By the last day I was over 10kg of my allowed limit. This whole time AS did some shopping but was really happy for me to buy stuffs and he was getting used to my habit. 🙂

Spending time with AS was so much fun but our holiday was almost coming to the end. I will write what happened next in my next post. Till then take care.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

Go to part 21

Our Trip to Thailand Part II

This post is a continuation of my previous post Our Trip to Thailand Part I.

Krabi

Beautiful Krabi

We decided that we also need to do a trip to Krabi since AS’s cousin highly recommended it. As it was more remote that Phi Phi, she said it had even better view.

So we booked our trip through the hotel again. This trip cost us around AUD$80 p/p which also included island visit, snorkelling, lunch, afternoon tea and pick up/ drop off to our hotel.

 As on our previous tours, a van came to pick us up and then picked up a few other people on the way to the port. We were given a sticker and we introduced ourselves. This group was smaller than the one we went to Phi Phi with.

Karbi and Us

It took us more than an hour in the speed boat to reach Krabi but it was all worth it when I saw the magnificent view once we reached there. It was really quiet; only one other tour boat was there with us so I felt like we were in some remote part of the world, far away from civilization.

 We had time to relax and see the place while the lunch was getting ready. We went for a long walk .It was really nice to be with AS after being apart for so long. I got carried away and made a big heart in the sand and wrote A+ M. We had lunch and were off for snorkelling. It was great fun to swim so close to so many beautiful coloured fish.

After that it was a long ride back to the port and then to the hotel. Once we had shower and rested for a while we went for our pampering session. We had massage and I also had manicure and pedicure.  It was great to be able to relax at the end of the day.

 Bangkok

After our splendid stay in Pukhet we took a plane back to Bangkok. In Bangkok we were booked at Chateau de Bangkok. Once we were in the hotel, we were informed that they had upgraded us so we had 1 Bedroom Apartment which had a king-size bed and bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub. It was really a great start on our

Our room service

Bangkok trip. That evening we were very tired so decided to order in and rest for our big trips ahead.

We ordered Thai style fried rice and Prawn dish. I loved the way they had our fried rice in pineapple then we enjoyed some movies.

The next morning we had booked a Bangkok City and Temple tour. It is a must if you are in Bangkok as it covers lots of sightseeing and is worth it. Luckily enough , we were alone on this trip so we had the guide to ourselves all the time.

Wat Traimit

First stop was visit to Wat Traimit, the temple with world’s largest solid gold Buddha, 5 1/2 tons of solid gold 3 meters  high Buddha . They charge entry fee but ours was paid by the tour guide. He explained the history behind the temple and took some photos for us. The Golden Buddha was cast sometime in the 13th century. On the way to the next stop we went around Chinatown.

Next stop was Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). This Buddha was 46 meters long and 15 meters high and it was almost impossible to take a shot of the whole statue in one shot. This Buddha holds the dual honour of having both Thailand’s largest reclining Buddha image and the most number of Buddha images in Thailand. It also had giant feet with mother-of-pearl soles.

Wat Pho

The guide explained to us there if we want to donate the money, we can buy the coins and put in the bowl around the Buddha. It will bring good luck to us so we did.

While we were leaving for our next stop, on the way we saw many colourful taxis. You can’t believe the colours like pink, purple, yellow, red, etc. The guide explained to us that the colour is company coordinated so people know which cab they are in.

Bangkok

The next stop was Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) which is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It had lots of holy buildings, statues, and pagodas. The Buddha itself was green in colour made out of a single piece of jade.

Then we went to Grand Palace which was built by King Rama VI. It has impressive interiors and big halls with lots of antique furniture.

While we were coming out from the palace, there was a guy with live snake around his neck offering photo opportunity with snake for small amount. AS and both were excited so we had our photo taken with the snake around our neck.

Bangkok Standing Buddha

Our next stop was Wat Benchamabophit (marble temple). It was really nice temple made out of Italian marbles. Our guide told us that the main statue of Lord Buddha sitting in the main hall was the copy of the famous “Phra Buddha Chinarat” in Pitsanulok province, north of Thailand.

Our last stop for the day was Wat Intharawihan (temple of Standing Buddha). The temple has tall standing buddha which is 32 metres tall. This temple also has a statue of Hindu god Brahma.

It was really long and informative day. We again ordered room service and enjoyed some movie.

Floating Market, River Koi and Kanchanaburi

Floating market

Next morning we had a trip book to Floating Market, River Koi and Kanchanaburi. We waited for our van to pick us up to go there early in the morning.

The van took us out of the city and we were in Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi Province, about 105 kms from Bangkok. As soon as we were in the canal area, I saw lots of floating boats some with tourists and some selling colourful souvenirs, fruits and other items. It is a traditional way of selling and buying in Thailand and really nice.

Loving the snake

We were asked to hop on to one of the boats and we had a guide who took us around the 32 km canal. We had some time to look around by our selves once we finished our boat journey. I ended up buying lots of souvenirs like floating boat, a tuk tuk, a hat and a beaded earring.

Then we were back in the van to our next stop River Koi. We headed to Kanchanaburi province. Once there we went to the war museum and there were lots of information about World War II.  Then we went to the bridge over the River Kwai which was built-in World War II.

There we had lunch and visited a few shops. I ended buying a few beautiful brooches.

Up close with the tiger

The last stop was Tiger Temple and it was the highlight of our trip. It is a Buddhist temple where there were many monks, lots of tigers and few other creatures.

For around a few hundred dollars, we were allowed to be up-close and personal with the tigers. It was really unique experience and I was a bit scared but then it was all good as there was a guide with us all the time. I patted the tiger and he didn’t eat me 🙂

Bangkok Taxi

We also saw a cub on the way back and we were allowed to take pictures and pat it. It was a really nice experience.

After coming back from holiday, I did some research about the place and I found lots of negative things . I am still confused on what to believe.

Also if you are going there make sure you wear a covered dress as they will not allow you in otherwise.

By the time we got back to Bangkok both of us were tired and ready for bed.

The next day we went shopping. There were so many shopping malls in Bangkok that you will be overwhelmed with choices. I end up buying a few shoes and so many dresses. AS also bought a few shorts, t-shirts and some other items. We also bought gifts for our family and friends.

I really wanted to shop more but we were meeting AS’s cousin that evening so we went to the hotel to pack up and check out from our hotel.

We met his cousin and his Thai wife. They were really nice and we spent the  last few days with them exploring the local markets and eating traditional Thai food. We also had opportunity to go to AIT (Asian Institute of Technology).

For more photos on Thailand please click here.