Thailand

Welcome to Thailand: Suvarnabhumi Airport


 

Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok

Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok

Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok

 

Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

 

Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, Chiangmai

 

Figures Leading to Temple at Wat Yai Chaimongkol, Ayutthaya

 

Schoolchildren at Wat Yai Chaimongkol, Ayutthaya

In January 2017, we visited Thailand, Laos, and very briefly Hong Kong.  The trip was full of adventure, sights, sounds, flavors, and people.  The markets are among the most colorful in the world, and the freshly picked vegetables and fruits are delectable.  Of course it is critical to follow the well-publicized rules about not eating street food and drinking and brushing your teeth only with bottled water.  Tempting as you may find the street food, you will want to protect yourself from gastrointestinal problems during your trip.

Mouth-Watering Vegetables, Wang Mai, Bangkok

The food in  restaurants is uniformly delicious as well as hygienically handled, so you can enjoy many culinary treats. Before you leave your home, check with your local travel immunization clinic to be sure your shots are up to date and, if you are traveling in a malaria zone, take the prescribed malaria pills.

The Many Wonders of Thailand. We visited several marvelous places in Thailand:

  • Bangkok, Riva Surya Bangkok Hotel, a lovely hotel situated on the Chao Phraya River, which provided transportation by private boat (cost $3 US each way) to a lovely restaurant across the river, Supatra River House (see photos), a gracious dining venue with delicious food
  • We enjoyed a private dining experience in Bangkok, at Nang Gin Kui housed in the charming Chinatown apartment of the chef and her architect husband, Goy Siwaporn and Florian Gypser, overlooking the river with commanding views
    • The chef, her niece, and her assistant cooked an intimate twelve-course dinner for about six-eight guests, of all ages and nationalities
    • We met our wonderful Chinese friends there, Peter Lo and Kat Chan, who graciously hosted us a couple of weeks later in Hong Kong; Peter, an architect, designed a connecting building in the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre in Kowloon Park, and Kat is an accountant with an NGO in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd.
  • Samyan Market, Bangkok
  • Ayutthaya, UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Samut Song Kram, home of the Tha Kha floating market (open Saturdays and Sundays only), Asita Eco Resort (see photo below)

Monk Gathering Alms at Maeklong River, Below Asita Eco Resort

Patara Elephant Farm

Arnie with His Elephant, A Romance

 

River Prawns, Samyan Market, Luscious

A Delectable Treat

Appetizing Chicken

 

Women Making Floral Wreaths, Samyan Market

 

Flowers and Wreaths, Samyan Market

Land of Buddhist Temples. Thailand is a land of exquisite Buddhist temples.  Below are photos of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, considered the most sacred in Thailand.  This magnificent temple compound  is located in Phra Nakhon District, the historic centre of Bangkok, within the precincts of the Grand Palace.

 

Train Traveling Through Market

 

 

Samut Song Kram, Market Along Railroad Tracks

 

Tha Ka Floating Market

 

The Matriarch at Multigenerational Prapat Cooking School, Chiang Mai

  • Kanchanaburi, home of the famous Bridge on the River Kwai, Float House River Kwai in Floating Villa, a dramatic floating hotel on pontoons accessible only by longboat (see photos below)
  • Chiang Mai, including visits to Lamphun (on the banks of the Kuang River), home to Wat Phrathat Haripunchai, one of Thailand’s most revered and ancient temples; Patara Elephant Farm; and a cooking class hosted by a local family, 137 Pillars House, one of the most exquisite hotels we have ever had the privilege of staying in, with outstanding personal service
  • Chiang Mai sits astride the Ping River, a major tributary of the Chao Phraya River
  • We enjoyed two wonderful restaurants in Chiang Mai:
    • Deck 1, near the Night Market, which hangs over the river illuminated by lanterns,  with delicious food and excellent service
    • Ginger & Kafe, near the City Wall, a charming, comfortable bistro with a unique twist on traditional Thai food, as well as Western food

Entrance, 137 Pillars House, Chiangmai

Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (known locally as the Don-Rak War Cemetery) is the main prisoner of war (POW) cemetery for victims of Japanese imprisonment while building the Burma Railway (see photos below). It is on the main road, Saeng Chuto Road, through the town of Kanchanaburi, Thailand, adjacent to an older Chinese cemetery. It was designed by Colin St. Clair Oakes and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There are 6,982 POWs buried there, mostly Australian, British, and Dutch. It contains the remains of prisoners buried beside the south section of the railway from Bangkok to Nieke, excepting those identified as Americans, whose remains were repatriated. There are 1,896 Dutch war graves, the rest being from Britain and the Commonwealth. Two graves contain the ashes of 300 men who were cremated. The Kanchanaburi Memorial gives the names of 11 men from India who are buried in Muslim cemeteries. Source: Wikipedia.

 

Soldiers from Many Countries and Faiths Died as Japanese Prisoners of War

 

Arnie & Ellen, Bridge on the River Kwai (see movie theme song below)

 

 

Float House, River Kwai

 

Wat Prathat Haripunchai, Lamphun

It is located in Phra Nakhon District, the historic centre of Bangkok, within the precincts of the Grand Palace.

Young Monks

EXO Travel, with offices in Bangkok, Chiangmai, and Luang Prabang, arranged our trip and provided experienced guides, as well as modern vans with skillful drivers.  When appropriate, they provided tuk tuks, the delightful motorized wagons common in Asia.  On one occasion they reserved a rickshaw for us.  EXO is a top-flight travel agency, with superb accommodations and action-packed daily programs.  They are flexible and willing to adapt their planned agendas to surpass their clients’ expectations. May in the Bangkok Office was an excellent planner, and Damrong in Bangkok and Daravone in Luang Prabang were fantastic guides.