Thailand Squat Toilets Burmese hoarding squats

Thailand Squat Toilets. It seems that Myanmar nationals are afraid that Thailand will stop producing the low-riding toilets

Source: Thailand Squat Toilets Burmese hoarding squats

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Thailand Really is the Land of Smiles say Bloomberg

Land of Smiles according to Bloomberg.

Thailand ‘least miserable’ place in the world.

Discover Thailand with Thailand Discovery

Bangkok 09/08/2016

Land Of Smiles

We’re not sure if Thailand is Thailand Really is the Land of Smiles say Bloomberg, but it has just been named the ‘least miserable’ of 74 surveyed countries, according to this year’s Bloomberg Misery Index.

The Misery Index, which was released yesterday, tracks how miserable countries are by adding their inflation rate to their unemployment rate. Supposedly, this produces a numerical percentage that tells how unhappy a population is. Thailand ranks lowest, or least miserable, with a score of just 1.11 percent, lower than each of the other 73 countries surveyed.

Singapore, the former ‘least miserable’ country, is now the runner-ups at 1.40 percent. Japan comes next at 2.70 percent.

Surprisingly, the two powerful countries didn’t rank so well. The U.K. is in the 17th spot and the U.S. is number 21.

At the other end of the scale are places like Venezuela, whose lost oil income, scarce food and medicine and high inflation (181 percent!) make it the ‘most miserable’ place on Earth. It’s preceded by Bosnia and South Africa.

Thailand’s jobless rate is hovering right around one percent, while its consumer price index has risen less than half of one percent. These numbers sound terrific, but Bloomberg points out that this isn’t all great news for Thailand. Slow inflation can also be a sign of an unhealthy economy.

Though it feels great to buy things for less, the indication of low prices is that there are more goods available than people that want to buy them.

This is all well and good but, honestly, we’d rather rank highly on a ‘most happy’ scale than on a ‘least miserable’ scale.

Thailand Really is the Land of Smiles

Original article

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Koh Samui Island the Top 12 Things To Do

The Top 12 Things to do on Koh Samui Island

1. Visit Koh Samui’s Famous Big Buddha

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Big Buddha

The best known and most famous of all the landmarks on this island is the Big Buddha temple. Sitting just off the corner of Koh Samui on a little tiny island is a 12 meter tall statue of Buddha in a seated position. The local name for the temple is Wat Phra Yai and it is connected to the main island by a causeway. Made of gold and sitting in the Mara position it shows a time when Buddha was rejecting all temptations that were forced upon him. When you fly into Koh Samui the statue is usually the first thing that you will spot due to its prominent location. There are a few food and amulet stalls at the temple which are also worth looking at either when you arrive or depart.

 2. See Awesome Scenery At Namuang Waterfall

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Namuang Waterfall

Set in Jungle surroundings are two beautiful waterfalls that are certainly worth a visit, the waterfalls are known as Na Muang 1 and Na Muang 2, the first waterfall flows into a small pool that you can swim in, the second waterfall is about thirty minutes further uphill and is also just as stunning. The park featuring the waterfall is completely free of charge and there are lots of beautiful spots along the way as well as small food stalls and souvenir huts to make purchases from. With many tourists choosing to go to the various beaches this makes for a nice change and an idyllic spot for a swim

3. Meet The Ladyboys at Chaweng Beach

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Chaweng Beach – Moulin Rouge Cabaret Show

When you are in the area near Chaweng Beach there are many different ladyboys shows on offer, they are all close to each other and vying for your hard earned money so competition is fierce and you will often find they are trying to drag you into their show. The shows usually consist of popular songs being lip synced whilst the performers wear beautiful costumers and make up, the ladyboys are all at various stages of their journey but in most cases it is very hard to tell that they are men. The shows are light hearted so sit back and enjoy.

4. Hide Away At The Secret Buddha Garden

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Secret Buddha Garden in Koh Samui

Back in 1976 Nim Thongsuk started putting up many beautiful statues in the land that he and his family owned, the land is hidden away in the center of the island and surrounded by lush forests. The area is very peaceful and has a stream as well as a waterfall, a journey to the garden is a challenge as the road leading to it is very steep, if you have a four wheel drive you will be fine. From the top most point of the garden you can enjoy panoramic views over the island and take in all its splendor and beauty.

5. Get In A Boat And Go Diving

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Go diving

The Gulf of Thailand is an absolute paradise for diving fanatics and you can get tours from reputable PADI certified instructors who will take you on a boat trip to see the marine life for yourself. The best diving area is 60 kilometers out from Koh Samui so you will go out on a big boat with the other divers and participate in a two dive course. Each dive usually lasts about 40 to 50 minutes and is suitable for complete beginners. If you are going to go diving make sure you always check the schools certificates are current and that you are completely happy with all their safety procedures.

6. Everything Happens At Chaweng Beach

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Chaweng Beach

Chaweng Beach is the hub of Koh Samui, it is the biggest and largest town and has the busiest and possibly most beautiful beach. This is also where the main nightlife is located with plenty of bars and restaurants to keep everyone happy. The strip in Chaweng is nearly three kilometers long and the young and young at heart make their way from one bar to another taking advantage of the cheap drinks and the loud music. If you want a drink in quieter surroundings then there are also some nice beach front bars offering a relaxing view and see breeze to help you wind down of an evening.

7. The Laidback Life At Lamai Beach

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Lamai Beach

Unlike Chaweng Beach, Lamai Beach is a lot quieter and not as busy. The beach is just as beautiful though so if you like the quieter life this is the place to head. The water is deeper at this part of the island making it better if you want to go swimming. Like most beaches in Koh Samui there are a selection of beach bars and restaurants selling cocktails and good food, meaning you never have to wander too far when you are hungry and thirsty. If you do leave the beach there is a main road which also has a lot of places to eat and drink.

8. Chill at Lipa Noi Beach

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Lipa Noi Beach

Lipa Noi Beach is the most child friendly of the beaches on Koh Samui, the water is completely clear of rocks and coral and the beach has beautiful white sand stretching along it. The water remains shallow for a very long way and it is not till you get over 100m out that it starts to get deep. The area is quite remote and you will notice upon arrival that it is a place for relaxing rather than partying, there are several restaurants around selling delicious seafood which are worth stopping for lunch at.

9. See Something Different At Fisherman’s Village

Koh Samui Island

 Koh Samui Island Boput

Away from the busyness of Lamai and Chaweng is a gorgeous little fishing village called Bophut. The village is growing in popularity but it is still quiet enough that you can enjoy the tranquil beach or a coffee in one of the nearby restaurants. When you are in the village you will see there are various original wooden homes, these were built in the 19th century by a group of Chinese immigrants that set up home here. The village is worth exploring and even has its own walking street full of eating places, food stalls and cafés.hut

10. Go For A Hike At Elephant Rock

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Elephant Rock

Elephant rock actually looks nothing like an elephant but the size of the rock formation was where the name originated from, the rock is located in-between Chawang and Lamai Beach. The rock itself is in a very peaceful area so if you feel like some time away from all the activity this is the place to go. There are plenty of spots to go for a hike around this area and if you climb to the summit you will be greeted with beautiful views of the Gulf of Thailand.

11. Take A Boat To Angthong National Marine Park

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Ang Thong National Marine Park

The Ang Thong National Marine Park is visited by catching a boat that leaves from Koh Samui, it is an archipelago made of 42 islands sitting in the Gulf of Thailand. The area covers more than 100 square kilometers and consists of mountains, jungles and white sandy beaches, there are also coves, waterfalls and lakes to explore whilst on your trip. The area itself is protected and home to a wide variety of exotic creatures. You can choose to camp the night on one of the islands by hiring a tent during your tour. In the novel ‘The Beach’ Ang Thong was the location where the backpackers set up their secret camp, the movie however was filmed on Koh Phi Phi.

12. Take In The Interesting Sights At Hin Ta And Hin Yai

Koh Samui Island

Koh Samui Island Hin Ta & Hin Yai

All throughout Thailand you will see things that shock and surprise you, but maybe nothing quite like this. The rocks were discovered by locals many years ago and are naturally shaped to look like male and female genitalia. The rocks have been fondly named Ta (Grandpa) and Yai (Grandma.) The rocks have a story that has become part of folklore over the years and you can see the story on a sign as you get closer to the rocks, the story goes that an old couple called Ta Kreng and Yai Riem were traveling to a neighboring province to see a man called Ta Monglai to ask that his daughter marry their son, on the way the boat ran into a storm and they died at sea. The couple then turned into rocks as a symbol of their intentions.

More blogs on Samui

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Top 10 Pattaya Thailand Attractions

Top 10 Pattaya Thailand Attractions

Discover Thailand with Thailand Discovery

The Top 10 Pattaya Thailand Attractions. Thailand’s famous beach resort town of Pattaya has developed a colorful reputation over the years. Located less than 200 km from Bangkok, it’s a convenient place to enjoy sun, sand and sea. The beach town has drawn tourists and ex-pats from all over the world ever since US soldiers “discovered” the once-sleepy getaway destination during the Vietnam War. Since then, Pattaya’s profile has steadily increased and it is now one of the most popular beach destinations in Southeast Asia.

After a spate of development in the 1970s, the city became known as a haven for sex tourism, though in recent years the government has made efforts to turn Pattaya into a family-friendly destination. Still, Pattaya remains more of an adult’s destination. If you are traveling with the family or are seeking a more subdued location, check out Jomtien Beach. The area is still touristy, but quieter than the bustling center of town.

1. Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark Pattaya

Pattaya Thailand Attractions

Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark near Pattaya is larger and more spectacular than anything of its kind in Thailand, with 30 state-of-the-art water rides and slides and other attractions including Disneyworld-style mascots, entertainment shows, a food court with many regional food types and all-round aquatic fun for the whole family. The park is logically split into sections catering to smaller children and teens and fully-grown children with families of their own. Located on Sukhumvit Road about 20 minutes drive from Pattaya Beach, there are 10 entertainment zones, featuring characters such as Ben 10, The Powerpuff Girls, Gumball, Darwin and others from popular shows on Cartoon Network. There is enough to do to keep the whole family occupied for an entire day, including the Surfarena (a flowrider which recreates a perfect breaking wave for surfing) and Mega Wave (which simulates the more gentle waves of the nearby sea, only without the riptides, jellyfish and hidden rocks).

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 – 18:00
  • Location: 888 Sukhumvit Road, Na Jomtien
  • Tel: +66 (0)3 823 7707
  • Price Range: 1,800 for foreigners; 1,200 for Thai citizens and those with Thai ID

2 Nong Nooch Village

Pattaya Thailand Attractions

The sprawling park at Nong Nooch (pronounced “nung nut”) Village offers a little bit of everything on the spectrum. There’s a magnificent orchid garden that will awaken the inner horticulturist in everyone, and a zoo that’s fun for all ages. Guests can also see Thai boxing matches, cockfights, and an elephant show (the latter two being of dubious ethical quality). Door-to-door transportation can be arranged through the park or a local tour company.

Hours: Daily 8am-6pm

Admission: 500 THB for adults, includes full park access, cultural shows, and elephant performances

Address: 34/1 Moo 7 Na Jomtien, Sattahip

3 Jomtien Beach

Pattaya Thailand Attractions
Jomtien Beach

Escape the bustle of the main city, but still enjoy Pattaya’s highlights by relaxing at Jomtien Beach. Sun yourself near the peaceful shoreline or take refuge in shade provided by trees at the beach’s edge. Water lovers can take advantage of all kinds of activities, including jetskiing, parasailing, and windsurfing. When in need of refreshment, guests will find plenty of restaurants serving up local fare and fresh seafood.

4 Sanctuary of Truth

Pattaya Thailand Attractions
Sanctuary of Truth

Billed as “the magnificence of heaven recreated on Earth”, this massive building is a study in Thai architectural styles. Every available space is intricately decorated with wooden carvings and the entire structure was built to pay homage to ancient religions and philosophies – a reaction to modern egotistical behaviors and attitudes. While visiting the sanctuary, guests can take in Thai cultural shows and Thai boxing, or go elephant trekking, horseback riding, or hop on a speedboat to get around.

Admission: 450 THB for adults, 225 THB for children (when purchased at a discount online)

Address: 206/2 Moo 5, Soi Naklua 12 , Naklua, Banglamung

5 Wat Yansangwararam

Pattaya Thailand Attractions
Wat Yansangwararam
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As with all of Thailand’s impressive wats, this one offers insight not only into Thai design and architectural traditions, but also into the society’s values. This temple was dedicated to King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1988 to commemorate the 42nd year of his reign. To the right-hand side of the path leading to the temple there is a lake with attractive Chinese pavilions and other buildings. Wat Yansangwararam’s shrine stands on a hill, reached by a flight of 299 steps lined with naga snakes.

6 Mini Siam

Pattaya Thailand Attractions
Mini Siam
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A fun way to see the wonders of Thailand and the world, Mini Siam displays models of some of the most famous international sites. Among those on display: Bangkok’sVictory Monument and Wat Arun (also known as the Temple of the Dawn), New York’sStatue of Liberty, London’s Tower Bridge, Sydney’s Opera House, and Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. Bookings should be made at least a day in advance.

Hours: Daily 7am-10pm

Address: 387 Moo 6 Sukhumvit Rd., Pattaya City Naklua, Banglamung

7 Four Regions Floating Market

Pattaya Thailand Attractions
Four Regions Floating Market Leo Fung
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The first and only floating market in Pattaya, this bustling hive of commerce gives guests an opportunity to experience local living and indulge in excellent Thai fare. If meandering through the market doesn’t seem like enough excitement for you, hop on a tour that includes boat rides, visits to rice fields and traditional Thai houses, wicker crafting, and a stop at the kite museum.

Hours: Daily 8am-6pm

Admission: Free, but tours can cost up to 300 THB

Address: 451/304 Mu 12, Sukhumvit Road, Tambon Nong Prue, Amphoe Bang Lamung

8 Pattaya Park

Pattaya Thailand Attractions
Pattaya Park
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A day spent at Pattaya Park will be a fun one, whether you’re young or young at heart. Get the adrenaline pumping with a ride on the roller-coaster or indulge that childhood nostalgia on the carousel. There’s a water park for cooling off and the Pattaya Park Tower affords you beautiful views of the surrounding area while you indulge in a good meal.

Hours: Daily 10am-7pm (Fun Park)

Address: 345 Jomtien Beach, Pattaya City

9 Underwater World Pattaya

Pattaya Thailand Attractions
Underwater World Pattaya
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A trip to Underwater World is not your average day at the aquarium. Here, at Thailand’s first modern aquarium, guests can spend the night among the animals, feed koi fish from bottles, and dive with sharks and rays. Other activities and tourist attractions include otter and shark feedings. Be sure to book in advance for diving, snorkeling, and other special programs.

Hours: Daily 9am-6pm (last guests admitted at 5:30pm)

Admission: 500 THB for adults, 300 THB for children (diving and other special programs cost extra)

Address: 22/22 Moo 11,Sukhumvit Rd.,Nongprue, Banglamung

10 Naklua

Pattaya Thailand Attractions
Naklua

For some quality time at the markets, head to the small town of Naklua. Plan your excursion in the morning to take advantage of the fish market, or in the evening for the night market. You’ll find several good restaurants in the area and get a taste of local life away from the tourist crowds in the heart of Pattaya. It’s best to take a group taxi, so make some new friends while lounging at the beach and make an outing of it together.

 Pattaya is slowly changing are there are far more family visitors than ever before, so there will be many more attractions to visit in the future.
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Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

Author: Josh@AsiaBackpackers

Discover thailand with Thailand Discovery

Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival. This unique Karen festival is to help return wandering lost souls and to show more of the rich culture of these ancient people

Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

When: held on the full moon day of the ninth lunar month (17th Sept 2016)

Where: Ratchaburi or Rat Buri Western Thailand.

Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival (ประเพณีกินข้าวห่อ หรือ อั๊งหมี่ทอง), is a spiritual festival of the Karen people living in this western province of the Kingdom. While The Karen of Thailand mostly live in the more remote mountainous areas due west of Chiang Mai in the Mae Hong Son Province, in Ratchaburi 1.1% of the population are members of what is coloqually termed as Hill Tribes, mostly Karen with most living near the border to neighbouring Myanmar

For the local Karen people this annual festival is a time to appease the demons, as they believe that the ninth lunar month is an ominous time when ghosts and evil entities hunt and eat “Klar”, the spirit of people.

The 37 spirits of each Karen

A hugely important Karen Animist belief is that everyone has thirty-seven klar (also known as ‘Khwan’ or spirits) living within them: thirty-six minor klar and one major klar. If one or more minor klar wander away from the body, the person may become sick, Klar are known to be quite fickle and some simple love to roam, which can result in the soul being unable to return to the body, because it gets lost or is caught by evil spirits.

It is also believed that if the major klar wanders away the person may become crazy. In either case to call the Klar back to the body a traditional healer will conduct a ‘Phook Khaen Riak Kwan Ceremony’, where the wandering klar is lured back with incantations, gifts of fruit, cooked rice and betel nut. After the ceremony, a red string is tied around the wrist of an adult, or the neck of a small child, to prevent the klar wandering away again, (it is said that if all thirty-seven klar leave, a person they will die).

 

Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

 Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

Tying White String around the Wrist

The Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival has its roots in the ceremony known as Baci (Lao: ບາສີ; Thai: บายศรี-bai si) and su kwan (Lao: ສູ່ຂວັນ; Thai: สู่ขวัญ), meaning “calling of the soul”.

‘Baci’ is an  important ceremony practiced in Lao culture plus Northern and Isan Thai culture, and is considered aphi ritual (“religion of the Gods”), it is used to celebrate any number of important events and occasions, such as births and marriages, entering the monk-hood, departing or returning home, beginning a new year etc.

The ritual of the baci also involves tying strings around a person’s wrist, (normally white in colour) to preserve good luck, and can be seen almost everywhere in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Food at the event

Another difference in this local Karen festival is in the food that is offered, in this ceremony, people cook “khao ho” which is sticky rice molded and wrapped into a cone shape, which they then steam similar to khanom chan. The Khao Ho, once cooked is dipped in either honey or coconut.

 

Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

 Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

What more to expect

The day is also the chance for guests and visitors to immerse themselves in Karen culture, with numerous performances in folk music and dance. There are also demonstrations in the traditional Karen pastimes; a race with a basket on ones back, an oily pole climbing competition, the game of tossing Saba seeds, plus of course your chance to try more traditional local delicacies such as Kaw Naw and see many local handicrafts.

 

Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

 Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

While this festival is a uniquely Ratchaburi event, it is your chance to witness first hand some of the traditions of these ancient people, who like most of the Hill Tribes of Thailand were persecuted and driven from their home lands to eventually seek sanctuary in the Kingdom of Thailand

For more on the Karen people click here

 

Not to be confused with the other festivals around the kingdom held to appease the ghosts that will walk once more among the living, they are The Festival of the Tenth Lunar Month, which is mainly a southern festival, the biggest held in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Southern Thailand. The Por Tor Festival or ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’, that is held annually across southern Thailand. The Tiggkrahad ritual is also is similar to the purely Thai event; Festival of Offerings to the Dead (Sart Day) วันสาทรไทย, which is held all over the Kingdom and the purely Mon festival, The Mon Floating Boat Festival, which is held in September in the same district.

Thailand Info Khao Ho or Ang Mi Thong Festival

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Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand

Author: Pen Drageon

Discover Thailand with Thailand Discovery

Bangkok Thailand 06/08/2016

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand

Traveling is an adventure in itself. We need no rules to travel where our heart desires so this time I chose the small little town of Mae Saiin Northern Chiang Rai, Thailand. Thought by many as a sleepy hollow town, it is far from quiet and thriving as a border town bwtween Thailand and Myanmar, formerly Burma. The Thais know it as the “Northern Most of Thailand” but it is more of the gateway into Thailand from the north. With one main road which doubles as a highway, there are many small lanes known as “sois” in the area for you to explore. The little town of Mae Sai has been on my bucket list of travel destinations for quite sometime now.

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand

There are a few motels in Mae Sai but I wanted to try the small little motel of Kong Kam House which is just behind the border gates of Thailand and Myanmar. This little motel is very comfortable, clean and just a 5 minute walk to the Myanmar border. The street is a little quiet at night but just around the corner from the motel is a shopping centre and a 10 minute walk will bring you to the main road which is bustling in the evening with street food vendors and people crossing over the border to Myanmar and vice versa. You can make abooking to KongKam House here. (Please note that I make a small commission from bookings made from my site at no extra cost to you which goes towards helping me to review more places of interest)

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand

This is the small gateway that most pedestrians use to cross-over from Thailand to Myanmar. Across the road from this will be theimmigration checkpoint for Thailand and Myanmar. Some people do visa runs here but beware of changing Thai immigration laws which tries to deter frequent visa runs to Myanmar and back to Thailand. The walkway leading to this gate has many small shops which sells souvenirs and trinkets including Burmese Jade pendents, amulets and bands. You have to know how to differentiate between genuine jade and coloured jade before attempting to buy them.

 

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai
Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai
Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand

These are Burmese puppets made in the likeness of olden Kings and warriors of the Burmese regime. They are very intricate in design and not expensive for the amount of handwork. Burmese handicrafts are very unusual and make nice collections if you have the space to carry them back. They also have very nice handcrafted trinket boxes, fans and all manner of decor for the homes.

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai © Hidden Trails Thailand

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand

Along the roads from Chiang Rai city to Mae Sai, you will see plenty of pineapple sellers along the way. The province of Chiang Rai is known for growing a variety of pineapples which are miniature in size and naturally sweet. These miniature Thai pineapples are currently in season between April to August or September. Other seasonal fruits native to this region are lychees, longans, and in the colder months you get strawberries.

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai © Hidden Trails Thailand

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand

It is not difficult to find food in Mae Sai, shops sell the very popular “kuay teow moo” or pork kuay teow noodles, “yen ta foh” and a good choice of street food vendors selling barbecued meats, Thai desserts, Northern Thai sausages, the popular signature dish of Chiang Rai the “Khao Soi” noodles and even fresh crab fried rice. These street food vendors are on both sides of the main road and you will be spoilt for choice as to what you want to try. On weekends they have a Mae Sai night market where there are even more varieties of Thai Northern food and items on sale.

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai
Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai

Northern Thai style barbeques and fresh crab fried rice are some of the recommended food  in Mae Sai. The wonderful aroma of freshly barbequed meat with spices waft down the whole road making it easy for you to locate them!

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai
Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai

Life in Mae Sai is simple yet colourful. There are as many Myanmar, Laotians as there are Thai people in this little township. Early mornings will see Myanmar school children making their way to school and they do dress differently from Thai students. These trio of school girls were more than happy and obliging to have their photos taken. Most people in Mae Sai are petty traders and life can sometimes be hard to eke out a living but you can always see a smile on their faces.

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai
Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai

The people in Mae Sai are very innovative. Transportation to carry goods is a great necessity here and creating motor vehicles that can carry as much goods as possible is quite a challenge. Here is a souped up tuk tuk three-wheeled bike that can carry more than a ton of goods! Most items are ferried between borders in these contraptions or by hand carts which is a testament to the strength and resilience of the Northern folks.

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai
Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai © Hidden Trails Thailand

Religion plays an important part in the daily life of ordinary people in Mae Sai, so it is no surprise that even the very young get inducted into monkhood at the monastries to learn the finer points ofBuddhism. Most Thais, Myanmar and Laotions are predominantly Buddhist so it makes integration into each others society much easier. Here this little boy is no more than 7 or 8 years old and on his way to collect alms in the traditional Buddhist way.

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai

This is the immigration checkpoint between Thailand and Myanmarat the end of the main road in Mae Sai. You can drive through here to Myanmar but not in a rented car. Most people park and walk across as you have to exit Thailand to enter to Myanmar and vice versa on the way back. A tourist visa from Thailand at the immigration checkpoint is USD10 per entry. Please note that in order to cross over you must have a multiple entry visa if you already have an existing visa from Thailand and you have not renewed your visa before at any immigration in Thailand prior to going to Myanmar. If you are on a tourist visa, chances are your re-entry to Thailand will be either 15 days or 30 days. Sso please do check your visa requirements before crossing.

Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
Mae Sai Chiang Rai © Hidden Trails Thailand
Thailand Info Mae Sai Northernmost part of Thailand
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Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

 Wat Phu Khao Thong (or the Monastery of the Golden Mount)

Author: Josh@AsiaBackpackers

Discover Thailand with Thailand Discovery

 

Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

 Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

If only these walls could speak they would tell an ancient story of, pillage, war, slavery and a nation reborn

WAT PHU KHAO THONG (วัดภูเขาทอง) of Ayutthaya. The location has had a long and at times bloody history, it is believed the first temple, was founded King Ramesuan in 1387, but was known by another name. Today there is a relatively new structure built on the remains of the ancient ruin. The foundations and part of the pillars of the old ubosot or ordination hall are still visible.

 

A brief The History of the Chedi

The History of the Chedi is intertwined with the history, of the people of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya and their bitter rivals the Burmese. Starting in the middle of the 16th century, the kingdom of Ayutthaya came under repeated attacks by the Taungoo Dynasty of Burma. The Burmese–Siamese War (1547–49) began with a Burmese invasion and a failed siege of the city of Ayutthaya.  A second siege (1563–64) led by King Bayinnaung forced King Maha Chakkraphat to surrender in 1564. The royal family was taken to Bago, Burma, with the king’s second son Mahinthrathirat installed as the vassal king.

In 1568, Mahinthrathirat revolted when his father managed to return from Bago as a Buddhist monk. The ensuing third siege lasted almost 3 long years and ended on the 30 August 1569, the conquering army ransacked the city taking many of its people back to Burma and slavery. The Burmese King Bayinnaung made Mahathammarachathirat his vassal king and ordered the building of a Mon-Burmese styled Chedi to commemorate their victory over Ayutthaya. The reluctant vassal king ensured the victory monument and the Chedi was never finalized.

 

Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

The city was not to become a Thai stronghold again until 1584, it was then to withstand repeated Burmese invasions (1584–1593), capped by an elephant duel between King Naresuan and Burmese heir-apparent Mingyi Swa in 1593 during the fourth siege of Ayutthaya in which Naresuan famously slew Mingyi Swa (observed 18 January as Royal Thai Armed Forces day and remembered in the statuettes of Roosters you see all over Thailand).

Prince Naresuan (r. 1590-1605) had the yet to be completed monument converted to a Thai style Chedi in 1587 to commemorate Ayutthaya’s newly declared independence. While the Chedi was seen as the last monument to the former Burmese usurper King Bayinnaung, under Buddhist law the Chedi was not to be touched or defiled and so it remained for almost 200 years a thorn in the side of the local people as a reminder of Burmese occupation.

 

Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

When the original Chedi finally collapsed, the Thai King Borommakot promptly had a new pagoda built more or less as you see today on top of the original Burmese base, but unfortunately just in time for the Burmese to attack again and completely destroy Ayutthaya.

The Chedi was recently completely restored and a huge statue of King Naresuan was installed on a marble base about 100 yards away, on the road leading up to the temple.

Climbing the original Mon-Burmese base, you are greeted with a view of the distant city of Ayutthaya, on a fine day you can spot the needles of Wat Phra Si Sanphet. On the north side, facing the new statue of King Naresuan, a cramped passage curves down and back up to the center of the Chedi, but without a light you won’t see anything.

 

Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

A little on the Ayutthaya Kingdom (Wikipedia)

Ayutthaya (also spelled Ayudhya) was a Siamese kingdom that existed from 1351 to 1767. Ayutthaya was friendly towards foreign traders, including  the Chinese, Vietnamese, Indians, Japanese and Persians, and later the Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch and French, permitting them to set up villages outside the walls of the capital, also called Ayutthaya.

In the sixteenth century, it was described by foreign traders as one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the East. The court of King Narai (1656–88) had strong links with that of King Louis XIV of France, whose ambassadors compared the city in size and wealth to Paris.

By 1550, the kingdom’s vassals included some city-states in the Malay Peninsula, Sukhothai, and parts of Cambodia.

In foreign accounts, Ayutthaya was called Siam, but many sources say the people of Ayutthaya called themselves Tai, and their kingdom Krung Tai “The Tai country” (กรุงไท)

Thailand Discovery Wat Phu Khao Thong

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