Thailand
ubein

The Grand Palace

Bangkok

the-grand-palace
Image courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand, used with permission

Opening hours:  Open daily from 8:30am to 3:30pm except during special royal ceremonies.

Probably the most visited and remembered landmark of Thailand, The Grand Palace in Bangkok is where every visitor must pay a visit at least once in their lifetime. Aiming to recreate the glory of the former capital city of Ayutthaya, the construction of the Grand Palace began in 1782 during the reign of King Rama I, the founder of Chakri Dynasty, to become a royal residence. It has been the utmost architectural symbol of Thailand ever since. The Grand Palace served as a significant royal residence until 1925 and is now used for ceremonial purposes only.

The Grand Palace is divided into three main zones: The Outer Court, home to royal offices, public buildings and the Temple of Emerald Buddha; the Middle Court, which is where the most important residential and state buildings are; and the Inner Court, which is exclusively reserved for the king, his queen and his consorts.

The major attraction of the Outer Court is the Temple of Emerald Buddha, the residence of Thailand’s most sacred Buddhist sculpture: Phra Kaeo Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), which was carved from flawless green jade, situated amid gold-gilded sculptures and ornaments, and fresco paintings of the main ordination hall.

Situated at the center of the Middle Court is Chakri Mahaprasat Throne Hall which was ordered by King Rama V to become his residence and a major throne hall. The construction began in 1876 and completed in 1882, revealing an outstanding architectural-style combining European structure and traditional Thai roof tiles and spires. The interior sees sophisticated decorations inspired by European renaissance era, adorned with royal portraits of Chakri Dynasty’s monarchs. The building now only serves state functions and royal ceremonies.

At the far right of the Middle Court is Borom Phiman Mansion, which was also constructed during the reign of King Rama V in neo-renaissance style to become the residence of the crown prince. This most modern architecture within the Grand Palace compound later became the occasional residence of three succeeding kings. The mansion is not open to public and currently served as the official accommodation for visiting heads of state. Borom Phiman Mansion is part of Sivalai Garden complex, where the office of the Royal Household Bureau is. The garden was a recreation area for the royal women and children and is now used for receptions.

Sat between Sivalai Garden and Chakri Mahaprasat Throne Hall is Maha Monthien Prasat complex, home to the Audience Hall of Amarin Winitchai where royal ceremonies usually take place. While on the far left is Dusit Mahaprasat Thone Hall, which is an ideal archetype of traditional Thai architecture.

 

Sukhothai Historical Parks
Sukhothai Province

sukhotha-historical-park
Image courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand, used with permission

Opening hours:  Open daily from 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.

Sukhothai, which literally means “Dawn of Happiness”, may be the most romantic of all former Thai capital cities closely linked to Sri Satchanalai. The superb temples and monuments of this great city have been lovingly restored and Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a must-see for all travelers.

The 70 square Kilometers of Sukhothai Historical Park or “Muang Kao” (called locally) is full of the remains of the civilization that developed during the Sukhothai era (founded 1238). Sukhothai used to be the capital of Thailand, nowadays it is known as a popular tourists stop. Sukhothai province was designated a World Heritage site in 1991.

Sukhothai Historical Park comprises the ruins of the royal palaces, Buddhist temples, Buddha sculptures, the city gates, walls, and other interesting remains of Thailand’s first kingdom can be seen. The old city is rectangular 1,400 x 1,810 meters with four city gates and surrounded by three walls, separated by 20 meters of canal. Even though the Sukhothai Historical Park is very big, the places inside are not very far apart.

Ramkhamhaeng National Museum is a place that tourists should not miss. The museum displays basic knowledge about the Sukhothai National Park and background information about the Sukhothai kingdom. There are many antiques such as striking Sukhothai sculpture, chinaware and statues. All of the remains show the prosperity of the Sukhothai Kingdom. Most of the antiques were discovered during the restoration of Sukhothai, others were recovered from nearby cities such as Srisatchanalai, Kampaengpetch, Petchaboon and Pijit.

The ancient remains in Sukhothai Historical Park are divided into two groups; the remains in the inner city and those in the outer city.

The inner city (Muang Chan Nai) is the royal palace of the king and some fine temples. It is the heart of the city and is still used today. In the northern part of the inner city, are many interesting places that are not as crowded as the inner city. There are plans that show where each attraction is situated. Many places such as Phra Atchana, Sri Chum temple are well known to history lovers.

In the southern outer zone, the interesting places are Chetuphon temple and Chedi See Hong temple that are located opposite each other. Both temples have beautiful sculptures that are worth a visit. The attraction in the western outer zone is Sapan Hin temple.

The best time to visit is in the evening when the graceful Buddha images are illuminated by lights, while exploring the grassy, tree lined park via bicycle, or most spectacularly, during the Loy Krathong festival, when hundreds of candle-powered, floating lanterns are released into the sky.

 

Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang
Lampang Province

wat-phrathat-lampang-luang
Image courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand, used with permission

Opening hours:  Open daily from 8.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.

The charm of Lampang can be found in the peaceful ambience and a trace of cultural the integration between Thailand and Myanmar. Over a hundred years ago, Burmese investors or “Nai Hang” came to Thailand and prospered in the timber industry. Also being faithful Buddhists, they built a great number of “Jang” or Burmese temples that can still be seen in Lampang today. Jang are uniquely built with delicately carved teakwood and prominent Victorian artistic style. If you are looking for a place where you can meditate and find peace, Lampang is definitely your destination. For nature lovers, the province of Lampang is a gateway to rich forest abundant with ecological diversity. The town is located quite high above sea level so the climate is all year long cool and pleasant. Today, Lampang still does well in preserving its natural resources; national parks and waterfalls are still intact, away from the influence of modern technology.

Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang has been a city temple of Lampang since ancient times. Legend has it that the temple was built in the reign of Queen Chammathewi, around the 15th century. It is one of the most complete wooden temples of Thailand, and boasts many beautiful structures of ancient times.

The pagoda is associated with people born in the astrological year of the ox since the construction started and was completed in the year of the ox. It has a lotus base with torus moulding with a Lanna-style circular body covered with Thong Changko (alloy plate). The umbrella top is made of gold embossed with different types of the Thai asterisk pattern. Enshrined in the pagoda are the Lord Buddha’s hair and bone relics from the right forehead and the front and back neck.

Enter the wall-less image hall of Wihan Luang and pay respects to Phrachao Lanthong, the most revered Lanna Buddha image. At the back is the Buddha image of Phrachao Than Chai. Beautiful ancient paintings on the wooden frieze panel depict the stories of the Ten Incarnations of the Lord Buddha and the Lord Buddha’s teachings. Visit Phrathat Hua Glub, one of the most famous wonders of the province and a highlight of the Unseen in Thailand project. This spectacle can be viewed in Wihaan Praputtabat (sorry, no female visitors allowed) and Wihan Praput.

Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang is in Lampang Luang Sub district, around 18 km from town of Lampang. 

 

Phanom Rung Historical Park
Buriram Province

phanom-rung-historical-park
Image courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand, used with permission

Opening hours:  Open daily from 6.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.

Phanom Rung is one of Thailand's most amazing Khmer architecture site, aged over a thousand years old. Built on an extinct volcano at a height of about 200 metres, it was originally a Hindu religious site and later became a Buddhist one. Several additions were made during the 15th-18th Buddhist century.

The first thing noticed on arrival is a grand stairway from the foot of the hill up to the top. The first part of the stairway has three landings leading through the first pavilion, then it would be a processional walkway with pillars on both sides. The walkway leads to a Naga bridge, which symbolizes the connection between earth and heaven. On the northern side of the processional walkway is located a laterite pavilion called ‘Elephant Stable’. At the end of the Naga bridge is the upper stairway which has five landings. At the end of the stairway is a large platform, with a Naga bridge leading to the Gopura, the main entrance to the inner enclosure. From here, there is another Naga bridge before reaching the main pagoda.  Most of the sanctuary buildings are made of laterite and sandstone, all with elaborate designs. The buildings are lined all the way to the main pagoda whose layout is according to Hindu belief of the layout of God Shiva’s heaven.

The large main pagoda has a square base facing the East. All parts of the principal tower which comprises colonnettes, pilasters, lintels, pediments, false windows and various roof stages, as well as antefixes were beautifully carved into various designs: floral and foliage motifs, hermits, and directional deities, telling a story of Hindu gods. Each building features descriptive motifs reciting a purpose of its construction, functionality and beliefs of ancient people.

Based on these intricate designs and architecture, it is surmised that the pagoda, the stairway and the Naga Bridge were all built during the 17th Buddhist century.

The Fine Arts Department has renovated Phanom Rung Historical Park using the Anastylosis technique-by disintrgrating the stone blocks and putting a code on each of them. Then, they reinforced the base and put the disintegrated, together with scattered, pieces back in their original places using a modern technique. 

 

Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan
Nakhon Si Thammarat province

wat-phra-mahathat-woramahawihan
Image courtesy of Tourism Authority of Thailand, used with permission

Opening hours:  Open daily from 8.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.

Nakorn Si Thammarat is a city with a long history. The archaeological evidence proves the existence of communities from pre-history. The periods of civilization is reflected in arts, sculpture, architecture, local wisdom, as well as tradition.

Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, the first-class royal temple, has formerly named Wat Phra Borom That and is one of the most important historical sites in all of Thailand. According to the legend, Prince Thanakuman and Queen Hem Chala brought Buddha relics to Hat Sai Kaeo and built a small pagoda in 291 AD. Later on, King Si-Thamma Sokarat established the city of Nakhon Si Thammarat and built a new pagoda on the same site. Although Nakorn Si Thammarat has the religion of Buddism and Bramanism, both religions can still be compatible at Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan.

The present pagoda has a distinctive Sri Lankan style, measuring 55.78 meters high. The top is entirely covered by pure gold. Apart from the pagoda, surrounding buildings also has important histories, especially the royal building which dated back to Ayutthaya period and the Sam Chom building where the Buddha image attired in royal wardrobe, Phra Si Thamma Sokarat, is housed. There are beautiful artifacts displayed in Khian and Pho Lanka buildings.
The reason that this temple has been the shelter of the southern Thai people since then is that it was the temple where the Buddha’s relics were enshrined. It is believed that whoever has a chance to come and worship the Buddha’s relics here, success will follow him/her in every aspect.

The temple contains a number of famous Buddha images. Pra Puai is one believed to grant children to the childless. Once the baby is born, its photo will be given as an offering to the image so it will be blessed and protected. Pra Add or the White Sangkadchai is believed to be able to heal backache. Those in pain are asked to support the back of the statue with a stick and the back pain is believed to be miraculously gone. Phrathat Rai Ngao (Shadow-less Chedi) is believed to produce no shadow and Jatukam Ramtep is the local guardian of the late Lanka community. The temple also has a small museum where valuable antiques from the Sri Vichai Era are displayed.The beauty of this temple has never aged. The architecture of this temple was inherited from generations to generations

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Mingalar Bad


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Shin (?)


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Travel Related Links

Association of Southeast Asia NationsASEAN
Association of Southeast Asia Nations
www.aseansec.org


Association of Southeast Asia NationsASEAN
Association of Sou<<4R543W90-=98theast Asia Nations
www.aseansec.org

Pacific Asia Travel AssociationPacific Asia Travel Association
http://www.pata.org/

Myanmar Hotelier Association
Myanmar Hotelier Association

http://www.myanmarhotelier.org



  MTFMyanmar Tourism Federation
  http://www.myanmar.travel/

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