Built in 1782 - and for 150 years the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government - the Grand Palace of Bangkok is a grand old dame indeed, that continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, all of which is a proud salute to the creativity and craftsmanship of Thai people. Within its walls were also the Thai war ministry, state departments, and even the mint. Today, the complex remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom. Within the palace complex are several impressive buildings including Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), which contains the small, very famous and greatly revered Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century. The robes on the Buddha are changed with the seasons by HM The King of Thailand, and forms an important ritual in the Buddhist calendar. Thai Kings stopped living in the palace around the turn of the twentieth century, but the palace complex is still used to mark all kinds of other ceremonial and auspicious happenings.
the world’s largest golden teakwood Mansion, built in 1900 by the Royal Command of King Rama V as a Summer Palace. The mansion has not been used as a Royal Residence but only as a storage place for the Royal household for the past 50 years. It was renovated in 1982 on the auspicious occasion of the bicentennial anniversary of Bangkok. Now it houses a Museum to commemorate the Honor of King Rama V. by displaying his photographs, arts and handicrafts and as a showcase for Thai National Heritage for future generations.
Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It is home to more Buddha images than any other Bangkok temple and it shelters the largest Buddha in Thailand. Wat Pho was built as a restoration of an earlier temple on the same site, Wat Phodharam, with work beginning in 1788. It was restored and extended in the reign of King Rama III (1824-51), and restored again in 1982. Wat Pho is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. Even prior to the temple's founding, the site was a center 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, while in 1962 a school for traditional medicine and massage was established.
Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It is home to more Buddha images than any other Bangkok temple and it shelters the largest Buddha in Thailand. Wat Pho was built as a restoration of an earlier temple on the same site, Wat Phodharam, with work beginning in 1788. It was restored and extended in the reign of King Rama III (1824-51), and restored again in 1982. Wat Pho is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. Even prior to the temple's founding, the site was a center 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, while in 1962 a school for traditional medicine and massage was established.Program II:Floating Market and Kanchanaburi Province Floating Market, Jeaht Museum, River Kwai Bridge.
The Most Popular Floating Market The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is located at Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi Province, about 105 kms from Bangkok. According to history around 1866 King Rama IV ordered that a 32 kms long canal be dug at Damnoen Saduak. This canal would connect the Mae Klong River with the Tacheen River.
The excellent quality soil beside the canal is very fertile and suitable for growing many kinds of fruits and vegetables. The area is famous for Malacca grape, Chinese grapefruit, mangoes, bananas, and coconut.
The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a very attractive place for tourists to see the old style and traditional way of selling and buying fruits, vegetables, etc., from small boats. Tourists will also see traditional Thai houses, the way they live and travel by boats, and please try riding on a small boat to experience the floating market and to see more. This is a worthwhile trip
The province is located in the west of Thailand, and is situated 129 km from Bangkok and covers a total area of approximately 19,483 km² being the country’s third largest province after Nakhon Ratchasima and Chiang Mai. Topographically, it is covered with timber and evergreen forests. The district covers the source valleys of the rivers Kwae Yai and Kwae Noi ("River Kwai"), which merge at the city Kanchanaburi and form the Mae Klong River there.
For foreigners however, it is only Kanchanaburi’s recent history which really stands out with the name ‘The Death Railway’. During the Japanese occupation of Thailand in 1942 POWs both allies and Asian laborers were ordered by the Japanese to build a Thailand-Burma railway. Eventually, an unprecedented more than 100,000 POWs (16,000 allies and 90,000 local Asian laborers) died from horrific working conditions.
Most foreigners when they think of Kanchanaburi they think of the River Kwai Bridge and the history of the Second World War. Kanchanaburi however, has so much more in the way of waterfalls, mountains, dams, fishing, boating, trekking and cave exploration. Sai Yok National Park is very popular.
A World War II cemetery in Kanchanaburi
The province is most famous for The Bridge Over the River Kwai, which was built next to the town of Kanchanaburi crossing the Mae Klong river. The Death Railway ran all the way from the Kwae river valley up to the Three Pagodas Pass. Today only the lowest part of the railway to Nam Tok is still in use. In Kanchanaburi city, there is a war museum and a large cemetery of prisoners of war who died during construction of the Death Railway.
Nine Army War History national park (Uttayan Haeng Chart Songkram Kao Tab) located at Ladya field, Tambon Chongsadao. It’s around 40 kilometers from Kanchanaburi downtown. This place has provided historical evidence of the nine army war. The nine army war was the war between King Rama I of Thailand and King Padung of Burma. The war ended as a victorious one for Thailand.
In the Sai Yok district, there is a Buddhist Tiger Temple where tame tigers roam freely once a day. Also in Sai Yok is the Mueang Sing historical park, ruins of a Khmer town and temple, as well as the Sai Yok National Park with the two Sai Yok waterfalls.
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (Don Rak) (สุสานทหารสัมพันธมิตรดอนรัก) The immaculately maintained cemetery contains the remains of 6,982 Allied POWs who perished during the construction of the ‘Death Railway’. Its settings remind visitors of the war and its after-effects.
Death Railway (ทางรถไฟสายมรณะ), the strategic railway tracks began from Nong Pla Duk Station in Amphoe Ban Pong, Ratchaburi, and ran via Kanchanaburi across the Khwae Yai River, westbound to the Three Pagodas Pass, to end at Thanbuyuzayat in Burma. The total distance within the Thai territory was 300 km., taking only one year to complete from October 1942 – October 1943. After the war, some part of the tracks was demolished and some submerged under the lake of Khao Laem Dam.
Mueang Sing Historical Park (อุทยานประวัติศาสตร์เมืองสิงห์) is better known as Prasat Mueang Sing (ปราสาทเมืองสิงห์), The laterite sanctuary was constructed in the late Lop Buri Period ca. 11th – 13th century A.D. Influenced by ancient Khmer culture, its principal tower is encircled by a laterite wall, moat and earthen mound and was built in a mixture of the folk school of art and Bayon style of King Jayavarman VII’s period in Cambodia.
Hell Fire Pass Memorial Museum (ช่องเขาขาดพิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งความทรงจำ), located within the Division of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Office of Development, Armed Forces Development Command. Established by the Australian Government, it houses a mini-theatre and collection of data, photographs, equipment and utensils used during the construction of the Death Railway.
Sai Yok National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติไทรโยค), a park since 1980, most of the area is limestone mountains with mixed deciduous forest. It is a former location of a Japanese camp during WWII as evident from traces of stoves.The park is also home to the world’s smallest species of bat.
Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yanasampanno (วัดป่าหลวงตาบัว ญาณสัมปันโน) or commonly referred to as the Tiger Temple is quite a controversial tiger conservation area where various kinds of wild as well as domestic animals live together freely in the nature and are friendly to the monks and visitors.
Erawan National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเอราวัณ) Formerly called Khao Salop National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาสลอบ), it was proclaimed a national park on 19 June, 1975, with an area of 373,735 rai (597,976,000 square metres). Later, its name was changed to Erawan National Park as the highest level of the waterfall, Namtok Erawan, looks like Elephant Erawan’s head.
The Bang Pa-In Palace (Royal Summer Palace) The Royal Palace at Bang Pa-In has a history dating back to the 17th century. According to a chronicle of Ayutthaya, King Prasat Thong (1629-1656) had a palace constructed on Bang Pa-In Island in the Chao Phraya River. A contemporary Dutch merchant, Jeremias van Vliet, reported that King Prasat Thong was an illegitimate son of King Ekathotsarot (1605-1610/11), who in his youth was shipwrecked on that island and had son by a woman who befriended him. The boy grew up to become the Chief Minister. After having usurped the throne, he become known as King Prasat Thong, The King founded a monastery, Wat Chumphon Nikayaram, on the land belonging to his mother on Bang Pa-In Island, and then had a pond dug and a palace built to the south of that monastery.
The chronicle records the name of only one building, the Aisawan Thiphaya-Art Royal Residence, which was constructed in 1632, the year of the birth of his son, the future King Narai (1656-1688). It is not known whether or not the palace was in use till the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767. However, by 1807, when the Kingdom's best known poet, Sunthon Phu, sailed past Bang Pa-In, only a memory of the palace remained, for the site was neglected and overgrown. The palace was revived by King Rama IV of the Chakri dynasty, better known in the West as King Mongkut (1851-1868), who had a temporary residence constructed on the outer island of the Neo-Gothic style monastery, Wat Niwet Thamprawat, which was built by his son and heir, King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). The City: The ancient city of Ayutthaya, or Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, The Thai capital for 417 years, is one of Thailand’s major tourist attractions.
Many ancient ruins and art works can be seen in a city that was founded in 1350 by King U - Thong when the Thais were forced southwards by northern neighbours. During the period of Ayutthaya being the Thai capital, 33 kings of different dynasties ruled the kingdom until it was sacked by the Burmese in 1767. Ayutthaya is 76 kilometres north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins. Such ruins indicate that Ayutthaya was one of Indo - China’s most prosperous cities. Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, a vast stretch of historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city, has been included in UNESCO’s list of world heritage since 13 December, 1991.
Ayutthaya Historical Study Centre (ศูนย์ศึกษาประวัติศาสตร์อยุธยา) is a national research institute devoted to the study of Ayutthaya, especially during the period when Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam. The Centre is responsible for the museum of the history of Ayutthaya, which exhibits reconstructions from the past. The Centre also supports an information service and a library containing historical materials about Ayutthaya.
Chao Sam Phraya National Museum (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติเจ้าสามพระยา): The construction of this museum was funded by the proceeds from the sale of votive tablets discovered in the underground crypts of the principal Prang tower of Wat Ratchaburana. Since the temple was built by King Borommarachathirat II (Chao Sam Phraya), the museum was named after him. The opening ceremony of this museum was held in 1961 and was presided over by Their Majesties the King and the Queen. It was the first museum in the country to present a new form of exhibition, displaying artefacts unearthed from the archaeological excavations as well as restoration of ancient monuments.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet (วัดพระศรีสรรเพชญ์): This important and most impressive monastery is located in the Grand Palace compound like Wat Phra Si Rattanasatsadaram (Wat Phra Kaeo) of Bangkok. Used as a residential palace, it became a monastery in the reign of King Ramathibodi I. When King Borom Trai Lokanat commanded new living quarters built, this residential palace was given to be a temple area, thus originating Wat Phra Si Sanphet: The royal chapel does not have any monks and novice inhabitants.
Grand Palace (พระราชวังหลวง): Currently called “Ancient Palace”. The residential palace of every king was located close to the city wall of Ayutthaya. Important buildings inside the Grand Palace compound are Wihan Somdet Hall (พระที่นั่งวิหารสมเด็จ), Sanphet Prasat Hall (พระที่นั่งสรรเพชญ์ปราสาท), Suriyat Amarin Hall, Suriyat Amarin Hall (พระที่นั่งสุริยาสน์อมรินทร์), Chakkrawat Phaichayon Hall (พระที่นั่งจักรวรรดิ์ไพชยนต์), Trimuk Hall (พระที่นั่งตรีมุข) and Banyong Rattanat Hall (พระที่นั่งบรรยงค์รัตนาสน์)
Wat Chaiwatthanaram (วัดไชยวัฒนาราม) is another monastery; King Prasat Thong commanded it built. The great beauty has been reflected from the main stupa and its satellite stupas along the gallery, an architecture influenced by Khmer.
Wat Yai Chaimongkhon or Wat Chao Phraya Thai (วัดใหญ่ชัยมงคล หรือ วัดเจ้าพระยาไท): This monastery constructed in the reign of King U-Thong. King Naresuan the Great commanded that the pagoda be built to celebrate the victory of his single-handed combat on the elephant back. He also intended a huge construction to match the large pagoda of Wat Phukhao Thong, and named it “Phra Chedi Chaiyamongkhon”.
Bang Sai Arts and Crafts Centre (ศูนย์ศิลปาชีพบางไทร) Farmers from Ayutthaya as well as from other provinces undergo training in folk arts and crafts here. At this centre, visitors have a glimpe of how farmers in the four regions live and work and how their products of arts and crafts are produced. 9. Bang Pa-In Palace (พระราชวังบางปะอิน) Originally, Bang Pa-In was a riverine island. When King Prasat Thong became the Ayutthaya king (1630-1655), he had the Chumphon Nikayaram Temple built on his family estate. The palace surrounded by a lake 400 metres long and 40 metres wide. Bang Pa-In was used as a country residence by every Ayutthaya monarch after King Prasat Thong.