Sunday, January 31, 2010

Orchestra in the Park

Last night there was a free concert in Lumpini Park, located in the heart of Bangkok. The concert was a full orchestra playing a variety of music from modern to classical. Lumpini Park offers many free events for the residents of Bangkok, and they always get a good turnout and this concert was no different. Many people of all ages were casually sitting in the grass enjoying the fantastic music. I took a brief video of the band playing and would like to share it with you here… Hope you enjoy.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Wi Harn Zean (Chinese – Thai Art Museum)

Wi Harn Zean (Chinese-Thai Art Museum)Wi Harn Zean Art Museum makes for a great day trip not far from Pattaya Beach. The museum is a mix of Chinese and Thai Art. The Chinese art was donated by the Chinese Government and includes some amazing pieces such as a few authentic clay warriors and an amazing collection of Chinese Buddha Statues. There is also a replica of the great wall of China as well as life size statues of ancient Chinese and folk heroes. The Thai section of this museum contains a whole wing of art related to the Royal House of Chakri, the current Thai King's dynasty. Another area of the museum contains large paintings of the life of the Buddha. A place worth stopping while in the area for sure.

Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Wi Harn Zean (Chinese Museum)' set on Flickriver

For a look at all my photos from this museum click here...

For more information about the museum click here...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Favorite Thai Foods - Sticky Rice in Bamboo Tube - Khao Lham

Khao LhamWhile there are many Thai desserts that are extremely delicious, khao lham is very high on my list of favorites. Sticky rice, or glutinous rice, is cook off, which I am told isn't very easy, taking 24 hours of soaking, then boiled. The rice is mixed with sugar and coconut milk and sometimes red bean and stuffed into a cut bamboo length. The knot of the bamboo stalk is kept at one end to keep the rice in the bamboo and a bit of banana leaf is place at the other end for the same reason. The bamboo stalks are placed upright over a bed of hot charcoal and cooked. The vendors on the street will have a hammer or small ax to break open the bamboo when you buy the Khao Lham. The result is an amazingly tasty treat! But be careful, the rice, coconut milk and sugar make khao Lham very filling, so don't try to eat the entire stick of khao lham by yourself!

Khao Lham

For more about Thai food here in Thailand click here...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The best time to visit Thailand to grab a cheap deal

As the end of January draws near, there is only one more month of really good weather in Thailand and I thought I would share some ideas for traveling here out of the main tourist season.  Of course, deciding to take a vacation in Thailand anytime between November and February may be great for the weather, but it may not be too good for your pocket. Because the weather is so good, the period between November and February is the peak tourist season and as a result the islands and beaches are quite busy and everything is more expensive.

If you are not bothered by rain and don't mind the a few cloudy days then choosing to come on vacation during the low season (March to October) could save you a considerable amount of money. Not only are flights cheaper at that time but many hotels and resorts will offer cut price accommodation and long-stay packages. Arriving in the low season also means that there are fewer tourists around and so there will be more room on the beaches and you will not necessarily have to book a hotel room in advance.

During the rainy/monsoon season there will be many rainless days and with temperatures in the south falling no lower than around 25°C, a beach holiday is still a good option. The oceans off the coast remain warm all year round. However, when swimming or snorkeling etc please pay attention to any warning flags and seek advice before entering the water as the seas can be dangerous at this time of the year due to strong currents and rip-tides.

Even if it does rain there are plenty of ways to keep yourself amused during the low season, below are just a few ideas:

Learn to cook Thai – it's a great time to explore the Foods of Thailand. There are many excellent Thai cooking schools around, ask for details at your local tourist information outlet. More on Foods of Thailand.

Snake head FIsh (Pla Chon)

Shop – throughout Bangkok and in many of the major towns you will find plenty of undercover shopping malls and markets offering cheap deals and end of season sales.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

White water rafting – with it being the rainy season the rivers are full and fast, perfect conditions for maximum thrills.

Trekking – Discover Thailand's natural world by trekking through one of country's 102 national parks. The diverse range of tropical vegetation is not only wonderful to explore it also provides plenty of protection from the rain, and the lower temperatures make the rainy season an ideal time to explore this beautiful Kingdom.  Learn about Kao Yai National Park...

Khao Yai National Park

Kick boxing – get fit and learn a martial art by taking Muay Thai lessons, there are many training camps throughout Thailand, or if you prefer to watch, why not visit a Muay Thai stadium and witness a professional fight?

Visit an aquarium – the Thais are big fans of fish, wherever you look you will find lakes, ponds, tanks and even bowls full of colorful tropical fish. There are large aquariums in Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Phuket with the biggest of all being Siam Ocean World in Bangkok.

Siam Ocean World

Take a trip to a spa – pamper yourself and soothe away any troubles with a wonderfully relaxing Thai Massage.  Lear more about Thailand Spas...

Visit a museum – Thailand is rightly proud of its historical past and many towns will have museums or sites of an historical nature that will metaphorically transport you back into the world of ancient Siam.  Learn about the Thailand National Museum...

Erawan Museum

Visit a hot spring – hot springs by nature are hot all year round, but there is something special about sitting in a natural hot tub with the steam rising around your ears while the cooling rain pours down your face.

Northern Roads

Kite surfing – strong winds during the monsoon season make the beaches of Phuket, Chumphon, Hua Hin, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Koh Phangan ideal for extreme sports like kite surfing.

Surfing – sssh, don't tell anyone but during the rainy season the swells are high enough that it is even possible to surf off the coast of Phuket and from the island of Koh Kraden.

Go diving – with warm waters all year round there is never a bad time to go Diving in Thailand, as long as the seas are not too rough, who cares if it rains – after all you can't get any wetter!  Learn more about Diving and Snorkeling in Thailand...

Snorkeling at Koh Rok in the Andaman Sea

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Siam Ocean World – Ocean Life While You Shop - *UPDATED*

Siam Ocean World
Siam Ocean World
I visited Siam ocean world again to enjoy the ocean life on display there. The huge aquarium is located in the basement of the Paragon Mall, located in the center of Bangkok's main shopping areas in downtown Bangkok and not far from my office. It is purported to be the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and it is quite large. The diversity of marine life makes your visit both interesting and a great break from your shopping routine. I have a sampling of the marine life below (click on the images below to see larger versions) but a larger selection of photo of marine life at Ocean World can be also found by clicking here…

Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Bangkok's Siam Ocean World' set on Flickriver 
You can learn more about Siam Ocean World by visiting their website by clicking here...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Insects of Thailand

While hiking around the trails of Thailand, I often stumble across strange and wonderful insects and I am compelled to capture them with my camera. Being a tropical country like Thailand, there are a host of insects that can be found around the many streams lakes and ponds that often catch my attention. These insects include a wide variety of butterflies and dragonflies just to name a few. The sight of them can be truly amazing and at times, I am lucky enough to capture them on my digital media. I hope you enjoy.
Butterfly at Wieng Ko Sai National Park
Dragonfly of Thailand
Butterfly at Nangrong Waterfall
Butterflys Gather
Water strider
Dragonfly with eggs in Thailand
For more photos of Thailand Insects click here...


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thailand’s Northern Roads

I really love to drive around Thailand, the roads are well maintained and driving gives you the opportunity to see parts of the countryside that are outside of the normal tourist routes. Seeing the nation this way gives you a better understanding of the way the Thai people live. I mean, how many tourists would be able to recognize the way rice paddies look right before they are ready to harvest?
Northern Roads Northern Roads
Wherever you drive in Thailand you will find plenty of rest stops with amazing views. This one took a bit of bravery, taking me off the main road on to a rarely used dirt track that was steep and rutted. But the view was worth the worry (and I had taken insurance out on the rental).
Northern Roads Rice Fields in Chaing Rai Northern Roads

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Silom Festival, Bangkok 2010

Silom Festival, Bangkok 2010Tonight was the Silom Festival in Bangkok, Thailand. Silom Road, a main thoroughfare through Bangkok, was shut down tonight to make way for artisans, musicians and entertainers of all types and ages. The festival took place from Rama IV Road down to Naradhiwas Rajanagaganndra Road, basically under the Sky Trane (BTS) at the Sala Daeng Station area. There were live bands, children dancing in the street, street music, acrobatics and even mimes along with many venders selling delicious foods.

The video below is just one of many shows at the festival but this one was by far the cutest.  These kids were really fun to watch!

For more photos and videos click here...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ice Hits Bangkok!

Ice Rink at CentralWorldYes, there is ice in Bangkok these days but it is not a coming ice age or the result of global warming. There is a real outdoor ice skating rink in downtown Bangkok. Well sort of outside; the rink is within a large tent outside Bangkok's biggest, most well known Shopping Malls – CentralWorld. While it is only open until January 15th, the site of an ice rink in Bangkok is noteworthy!

For more information click here…


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Becoming a Monk in Thailand

temple workers - Post Card
Temple Monks Working
The decision of a young man to become a Buddhist monk, and thus to make merit for his family, is extremely important to Thai people. The making of merit, the Thais believe, is always rising and falling in one's life and that merit and goodness determine a person's level of existence at any moment in time. The making of merit can come in the form of feeding fish, donating money to the poor, or volunteering your time to become a monk. Becoming a monk in Thailand requires adhering to strict moral precepts, living a rigorous lifestyle of the daily collection of alms from the local community in the early morning hours and hours of prayers and meditation and of course doing chores around the temple. The attached photos are of young monks doing chores at a temple I had visited in Chang Rai in northern Thailand.

Thailand Photo Blog - View my '12. Thailand Monks' set on Flickriver

Any man can become a monk in Thailand. To become a monk, a man should be at least 20 years old, he must be able to read and write, and he must study and understand the precepts for being a monk. He is given an examination, and if he passes, he is given a certificate of entry to the monkhood by the district head in his province. On the day of ordination, his head and eyebrows are shaved, he is given a white robe, and this is celebrated at the temple with his family and friends. Any ordained monk may leave the order at any time he chooses simply by informing the abbot at his temple. A monk in Thailand is treated with great respect, and the institution itself is highly revered and sanctioned by the government. The government encourages businesses to give time off to their employees who may want to be a monk for a short time and provide pay leave, which is a tax deduction for the business. Others may make it a lifelong vocation.

The attached Photo can be downloaded from Flickr to make a great wallpaper for your computer.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Street Craftsman

Street CraftsmanI saw this old Thai craftsman on the street of Bangkok both selling and making his crafts. He working hard on his craft but happily took a break to sell me one of his insects, handmade of palm leaves. Thai craftsmen and women can be quite imaginative with their crafts and usually produce interesting beautiful items right there on the street that often catch my eye as I walk the streets of Bangkok. The insect I bought was 20 Thai Baht or about 60 cent (USD).

Street Craft

You can see many such crafts for sale online by clicking here...

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