Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bangkok's Great Chao Phraya River

Bangkok's Chao Phraya River Views A trip down the Chao Phraya River is a great way to get to know Bangkok. Getting there is easy, starting at the Taskin Bridge and the Sathorn Road Pier. Take the BTS (sky train) to the Safon Taskin Station, which is located just before the pier. Boats for tourists that have guides explaining the sites along the river. If you are the adventurous type, there are many commuter boats that are very affordable. Here is a great website for information on the boats available:

Getting on and off the boats takes only a little bit of nerve, the boats come in and leave the pier quickly. Once on the boat try to find a seat, which may be difficult. You can stand in the back area of the boat, just keep in mind that if you are one the opposite side of the boat from the sun you will get better pictures because you will have the sun behind you.


On both sides of the Chao Phraya River, there are many temples and interesting buildings including the First Presbyterian Church, the Royal Thai Navy Dockyard, the Thai Maritime Navigation Company, the Old Customs House, Wat Prayunwong, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace, Wat Rakhang Kositaram, and the Royal Boat House, some are shown below:

  Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Bangkok's Chao Phraya River' set on Flickriver 

 The sun setting on the river is an awesome site. There are often many beautiful sun sets in Bangkok but the buildings obscure there view. There are also many great restaurants along the river's edge. I stopped at the Grand Temple pier and ate a great dinner at the Royal Thai Navy Yard located adjacent to the Grand Temple. I had a great view of the Wat Arun (Dawn Temple), which is lit up after dark (see the picture below).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grilling Tasty River Prawn

Delicious river prawn I learned the secret of grilling river prawn... Yes, but i am not sure i should share it.  First of all i need to explain a few things about river prawn.  The yellow gooey stuff that makes river prawn even more tasty is the freshwater crustacean's liver (I am told).  The best way to ensure the liver is cooked just right is to first freeze the prawn.  Once frozen the prawn is cut in half and placed on the grill with the shell.  The prawn should be covered so the prawn sort of grills and steams at the same time. The result is tender tasty meat and gooey liver just waiting for spicy Thai seafood sauce (which is a must!).

Well there it is - the secrete of grilling river prawn from Thailand. If you can get your hands of some - give it a try.

Ton Nam Restaurant in Bang Pa In near Ayutthaya is my favorite.  They grill their prawn perfectly and the atmosphere is perfect.  Take a look at the video below:


YouTube Channel: Thailand Travel Explorer

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A brief Trip around Lumpini Park

Admittedly I have a lot of posts about Lumpini Park. I live very close to the park and it is one of the best city parks in Bangkok, although there are many nice parks. I go to the park to exercise often, either jogging or walking around the 2.5 kilometer walkway they have in the park for runners and bicyclists. This wasn't as easy as it looks as I had to hold the camera while walking around the park but it gives a fast motion view of the trail in the park.

YouTube Channel: Thailand Travel Explorer

The Ancient City of Ayutthaya

Wat Mahathat in Autthaya Historical ParkAyutthaya was once a great kingdom that extended right across Northern Thailand and encompassed the whole of the land of the million elephants, which today covers Laos and part of Cambodia, Myanmar and Malaysia.  The city was founded in 1351 by King Ramathibodi I (U-Tong), when he turned an existing settlement into what was to become the ancient capital of Siam. During its history, the Kingdom was ruled by 33 kings, who, unlike the kings from the neighboring Kingdom of Sukhothai, had absolute rule, were declared devaraja (god-king) and considered to be the earthly incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.

Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Ayutthaya National Historical Park' set on Flickriver 

Ayutthaya flourished for over 400 years and despite it being a turbulent time with battles, invasions and assassinations peppering much of its history, the Ayutthaya Kingdom is seen as the pinnacle of Thai power and influence.  In 1360, King Ramathibodi declared Theravada Buddhism the official religion of Ayutthaya and invited Ceylonese monks to establish new religious orders and spread the faith. He also compiled a legal code, much of which remained in general use right up until the late nineteenth century. In 1378, the King Thammaracha II of Sukhothai (the previous capital of Siam) relinquished his power to Ayutthaya and by 1438 Sukhothai became a province of the Kingdom of Ayutthaya.

Throughout its history the Burmese tried to capture Ayutthaya. They had already succeeded in claiming Chiang Mai and Laos, but in 1569, the Burmese successfully captured the city of Ayutthaya. However, in 1593 King Naresuan fought and killed the crown prince of Burma, Prince Min Chit Sra during hand-to-hand combat from the back of elephants. The defeat caused the Burmese to retreat and Siamese authority was reinstalled in Ayutthaya. During the following year, the Siamese invaded and captured Tenasserim and Tavoy in Burma. King Naresuan then sent 100,000 men to successfully conquer Cambodia. With Cambodia under Ayutthaya's rule, the Siamese continued to rage war with Burma and other neighboring kingdoms.

Meanwhile, Ayutthaya grew into a cosmopolitan and outward looking Kingdom. It became a major trading center with diplomatic ties to countries such as China, Japan, Persia, Spain, France and Portugal. Many of the early European traders were clearly amazed by the richness of the Kingdom. One report described the major cities of Europe as being mere villages when compared to the wealth of Ayutthaya, while another suggested that London should adopt Ayutthaya's idea of using street lights at night.

By the late 1700s, Ayutthaya had become a very rich and powerful Kingdom. However, the nation was suffering from an internal crisis. The absolute power of the King meant that commoners had no rights and hence no interest in the politics of the Kingdom. On the other hand, the ruling classes fought bitterly for power. Throughout Ayutthaya's history there were countless rebellions and attempts to seize the throne. As a result there was no unity among the people and insecurity within the Kingdom raged.

Then in 1765, the Burmese converged again on Ayutthaya. They took siege of the city for a year and two months, during which time they robbed and killed the people and raised the city to the ground. By 1767 the city was in ruins, with many buildings, art treasures and historical records being destroyed. The Burmese occupied the city for two years and the Thais fled to establish a new capital in Thoniburi, ending the great era of Ayutthaya.

Today, visitors to the World Heritage Park in Ayutthaya will find that only a few ruins remain, so it is difficult to visualize the splendor of Ayutthaya in its glory days, but what fragments there are, help us to realize that Ayutthaya was a very rich and vibrant period in Thai history.

YouTube Channel Playlist: Thailand Video Tours

YouTube Channel: Thailand Travel Explorer

Eating Roti on the Streets of Bangkok

Eating Roti on the streets of Bangkok can be a warm tasty treat.  Roti is a fried flat bread that is often served with many different fillings.  The various roti vendors have different optional fillings such as fresh eggs, nutella, peanut butter, sugary condensed milk, and various syrups.  My favorite is banana and egg, topped with condensed milk and a bit of sugar.   

The Roti vendors are simple carts that crop up all over Thailand.  So I recommend that you try one while walking off a great spicy Thai meal.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rama IX Botanical Gardens in Bangkok

Rama IX Botanical ParkA day trip to the Rama IX Botanical Gardens is a great way to spend the day in Bangkok in an out-of-the-way scenic area, little frequented by foreigners. The gardens are located to the east of Bangkok center city, costing about 100 baht for the taxi ride. The gardens are full of exotic flowering plants, aquatic animals and an amazing assortment of birds. I captured a lot with my camera and I hope you enjoy but I recommend a visit if you get the chance.

Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Bangkok's Rama IX Park' set on Flickriver

The video below is a video tour of the park, followed by video of some of the park birds.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Queen's Birthday Celebration

Bangkok is preparing for the Thai Queen’s Birthday by lighting up the roads around Old Town Bangkok.  I started around the Dusit area and drove to the Grand Palace and back again.  It was an amazing drive with the lights along the road lighting my way.

The Queen’s Birthday is August 12th, so I am sure the area around the Grand Palace will continue to get brighter…

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thailand Explorer e-Magazine Update

Royal Palace - Phra Nakhon Khiri (Palace on the Mountain)
Royal Palace - Phra Nakhon Khiri (Palace on the Mountain)
I am so excite about my Thailand Explorer Flipboard e-magazines I curate that I wanted to update you here.  I have added links to my top six e-magazines but I have 24 total.  Each magazine focuses on a Thailand topic, whether it be presenting the very best of my photos of a certain category of showing you my new video tours i am now creating for my Thailand Explorer Blog and my Thailand Explorer YouTube Channel.

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