Thursday, May 21, 2015

Phi Phi Islands - Island Paradise

Ko Phi Phi is a small archipelago of six islands in Krabi Province, Southern Thailand within the Andaman Sea and south of the Krabi Beaches.  The two main islands are Koh Phi Phi Don and Koh Phi Phi Ley with three smaller islands of Koh Mai Phai, Koh Yung,  and Koh Yung.  The islands main features are awesome limestone cliffs which often surround white sandy beaches.  Most of these islands are part of a Thailand Marine National Park System, established, in part to protect the marine wildlife.  So there are areas around the archipelago that are great for snorkeling.

Koh Phi Phi Don is the largest and only populated island and contains a whole community of resorts restaurants and shops to service the visitors to the island.

Koh Phi Phi Leh is the a smaller of the main islands and was popularized by the year 2000 movie "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed on Maya Bay located on Koh Phi Phi Ley.  There are great areas around Koh Phi Phi Ley for snorkeling,

Ko Mai Phai pr 'Bamboo Island' is a small low-lying islet to the north of Phi Phi Don with a broad sunny beach and some very limited snorkeling.

Other photos of Koh Phi Phi Islands:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Krabi Beaches

The Province of Krabi is world renowned for its beautiful and peaceful beaches which is located on Thailand’s Southern Peninsula on Phang Nga Bay east of Phuket on the main part of the peninsula. Along with their beauty, Krabi beaches are all quiet and peaceful places to visit with very low key nightlife.  The main beaches in Krabi are Ao Nang and Railay.

Ao Nang Beach is easily accessible from the Krabi airport, which brings in a bigger crowd, but it doesn’t get too crowded.  There is also a bit more to do in Ao Nang, having more restaurants and bars to enjoy at night.  At the east end of Ao Nang Beach is a cliff face with a trail leading to the next beach owned by a 5 star hotel - Centara Grand. This beach is quite secluded and worth the hike but it is private so Centara requires visitors to sign in and out. The Ao Nang  sunset is an added bonus, so have your camera ready!

Railay Beach is further to the east and is located on a peninsula jutting into Phang Nga Bay. There are two beaches on this peninsula Railay Beach East and West. The only access to these beaches is from the water and most people come from Ao Nang Beach via longtail boat taxis. Railay Beach is famous for the limestone rock walls surrounding the beaches that are used by climbers. This beach is quiet and a great place to relax the day away in the sun.

Krabi Beaches allow great access to other awesome places to visit, most within Phang Nga Bay, such as Phi Phi Islands, Hong Islands and a few other choices. There are several agencies to book your trips to choose from at any of these locations, each specializing in slightly different trips, so look around and pick a trip suited for your tastes. Most trips are just for the day and vary from sightseeing from the boat to snorkeling and SCUBA. The agency will coordinate with your hotel where they will pick you up and bring you back at the end of the day.

Railay Beach Photos

Ao Nang Beach Photos

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

View of the Clouds

This photo is of the clouds from the plane on my way home from last trip to Krabi. The thrunderhead rose above the rest with a brilliant view of the setting sun.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Songkran Water Fun - Silom 2015

This week in Thailand, Thai New Year, Songkhran, is celebrated.  Songkhran is a water festival, where the Thai People play with water.  In Bangkok there are areas where largen number of people gather to play with water using water guns, water cannons, hoses, and whatever they can find to throw water on others around them.  It is always a good time...

Songkran at Wat Sothon

Wat Sothon (Wat Sothon Wararam Worawihan) is located in the center of Chachoengsao Province by the Bang Pakong River, approximately 2km south from Sala Mang (city hall). Reportedly the largest white marble temple in the world, it was originally built during the late Ayutthaya period in around 1765. The present ordination hall has recently been refurbished and the white Italian Carrara marble looks absolutely stunning in the bright Thai sunshine.

The temple is the home of "Luang Pho Buddha Sothon", the most important Buddha image of the province. According to legend, ‘Luang Pho Buddha Sothon' magically floated up the Bang Pakong River before being enshrined in the temple. This sacred Buddha is renowned for having divine powers that can heal the sick and bring about an abundant harvest.

The 1.48 meter-high image of Buddha is seated cross-legged in the posture of meditation. What makes the Buddha image particularly unique is that the statues lap is 1.65m wide, which in the view of many Thais, makes ‘Luang Pho Buddha Sothon' extremely attractive and graceful.

The sculpture is actually made from bronze, but the monks who originally received it were afraid that it might be stolen, so they covered the shiny, gleaming surface with stucco (cement plaster). To this day, the image remains covered in stucco and this is the finish that you will see, but here and there you will also see patches of gold, where worshippers have shown their homage by applying gold leaf to the statue.

Most visitors to the temple come to worship in the single story building, which is located on the right of the main hall. Here you will find local people paying their respects, ‘making merit' by giving donations and giving thanks by paying the Temple Dancers to perform a dance for them. The official ceremony to pay homage to ‘Luang Pho Buddha Sothon' is held three times a year: during the Chinese New Year (around late January or February), in the 5th Thai lunar month (around April), and in the 12th Thai lunar month (around late November).

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