Chiangkhan

What: The century-old small village on the bank of Mekong River is another fast-growing tourist hotspot thanks to its descendent traditions and tranquility. The archaic wooden houses lined along the road are also captivating.

When: Everyday but long holiday is highly not recommended if you prefer to experience the real Chiangkhan.

Where: Loei, 583 Km. away from Bangkok

Why: Despite over a century, the riverside community still holds its old vibe which umpteen old-time hunters are after.

Note: There is a tradition of offering sticky rice to monks in the early morning, and some travelers are likely to do inappropriate manner. Make sure you don’t bug the local or violate the monk’s prohibition (Monk is not allowed to be touched by women).

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Nakhon Nueng Khet Market

What: The recently relaunched market, Nakhon Nueng Ket Market, is revived after its speepy atmosphere thanks to the advent of the road. Despite a massive revamp, the market still retains its charm which is scarce in modernized city.

When: On weekends, 9am – 4pm.

Where: Chachoengsao

How: Take the Suwintawong Rd. (Route 304) and you will be directed by the signs for 20 kilometers, more or less.

Why: The market is really in a good shape. The quaint wooden houses and people’s way of life greatly reflect the trace of ancient community.

Ko Kret

The long-history island now becomes the major tourist attraction of Nonthaburi province welcoming load of tourists each weekend.

History
The island was born in 1722 when a canal was made as a shortcut to bypass Om Kret branch of the Chao Phraya River. The manmade cannel was gradually widened due to the tide of water, and the land was finally separated, becoming an island.

Getting there
Starting from the heart of Bangkok, drag yourself to the Victory Monument and take the bus No. 166 or 505 from Central World till the terminal stop at Pak Kret market. Then, do an exercise by walking to Wat Sanam Neua to take a ferry boat (B2/person) to reach the island. Actually, there are load of options to get on the island. Try Googling and pick the easiest one.

Getting around
Walking is the most effective but you won’t complete the whole thing around the island. Too tried to go on foot? Bicycle (B40/day) is available for rent, but it is pretty hard to cycle through the crowded narrow path along the island. Sightseeing boats (B50/person) is available to take you around the island. It leaves the pier every hour from 9.00am – 5.00pm. This service enables you to reach Ban Khun Aew, the Thai sweet house, and other attractions nearby. Each round takes more or less a hour.

Free deal
If you would like to save your money in the end of month, get yourself to Wat Yai Sawang Arom. The Sub-district Administration Organization of Nonthaburi offers a free boating service to let you pay a visit all nine temples near Ko Kret area. Sat-Sun, 9.00am-2.00am. The service will actually be over in the end of Aug 2009, still it is finally extended for unknown period.

Sightseeing
Ko Kret doesn’t have much attraction except the antique temples and the local lives. Crossing the river from Wat Sanam Neua, you will notice the white leaning pagoda with red cloth. Some might feel like déjà vu as you might have seen this scene before in postcard or on the Net. This Mon-style pagoda is owned by Wat Poramaiyikawat, and it now becomes the icon of this island. Apart from this, there are a few Pottery Factories on this land. The island is famed for pottery. Here you can observe the life of a potter. Photography is allowed as well.

Eating
Food and drink is sold all over the way you walk on the island. The must-try seem to be Tod Mun No Kala (Fried Fish Patty mixed with local plant) which costs B20/cup and Dok Mai Tod (Deep-fried flowers); B20/cup. Coffee shop can be seen along the path as well but the most striking one seem to be Kafae Ban Lek Tee Nueng. The shop is greenized by plants giving a relaxing feeling, and the refreshment is reasonably priced.

Pattani Thailand


Life is so unpredictable. I have never thought of visiting Pattani in such a situation. It was last week that I headed down to Pattani to hold a seminar entitled “The United States and the Muslim World: Implications for Peace in Southern Thailand”. Anyway, this becomes a great opportunity to take photo of certain sight-seeing spots where million of people aren’t  access.

Pattani is one of the deep-south provinces of Thailand where we always hear the news about bomb or any violence took place. Then again, going to Pattani isn’t fearsome as I imagined. People still live their lives normally, walking on the street, riding the bikes, performing the Islamic ritual, and so on.

To get there
Flew to Hat Yai airport and then took the van for about one hour and a half. Driving for a while, check points can be spotted along the road leading to Pattani. The more you go deeper, the more you see a stronger protection. The soldiers wear the armors carrying the gun in hands. The bases are surrounded by the fort. Frankly, I felt a bit shocked but later got used to seeing them.

Sightseeing
I didn’t expect the sightseeing after all but, again, it is a rare chance to come here. The beach here is clean and beautiful. The highlight of the trip seems to be Krue Sae Mosque, the historical mosque of the incident on 28 April 2004. The trace of the tragedy could still be seen on the wall of the building. Wat Chang Hai, the renowed temple of the province. Central Mosque, the most colossal and elaborate mosque in the province. Night Market. Pattani night isn’t speepy as you think. People still go out and walk through the night market as usual. Then again, don’t stay too long, for we don’t know what would occur. More soidiers show up in the night time, patrolling around the city.

Eating
Local food is a bit spicy yet toothsome. It could be found any where in the city, but the biggest source for the local food is the market, of course. One thing you shouldn’t miss is Cha Chuk (Pulled tea). Sipping hot tea in the afternoon is very perfect. Cha Chuk here is unlike those in Bangkok after all. Its smell, taste, and color are really original. It can be hot or iced, still I recommend the former one to get the pure taste.

Warning
Supposing you are going to the deep-south and you don’t want to lost contact, do this. The prepaid phone user have to register with the phone provider (AIS/DTAC/TRUE), or else your number will be automatically locked as long as you are the designated zone. This is for the security reason.

Things in the seminar went quite well. I would like to say million thanks to those who helped me in the seminar. It was such a hectic day In have ever had, and I got so many things from this.

Kao Hong Market

Kao Hong market is located in Bang Pla Ma District, Suphan Buri Province. Some of you might have heard this name or seen it on the the tv.

Of all the old market I visited, I dare say I like this one most. The place is unlike other market as it isn’t touristy after all. The old market perfectly retains its charm and nostalgia. No cement building can be seen here. The famous tourist sports remain in a good condition and, above all, they are clean. The local people are rally nice and friendly. You can see the smiling faces while strolling in the market.

Once you make a visit, don’t forget to make a climb on the Hor Do Jon (the  building constructed for the folks to fight agains the bandit) so that you can look around this area from the bird’s eye view.

Green Bangkok Bike

Have you ever noticed the green bicycles parking on the footpath around Rattanakosin Island? They are owned by Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and we are entitle to free borrow these bicycles to go around Rattanakosin Island, exploring the traveling spots of the City of Angels.

To borrow the bicycle, you just need to fill out the form and give the service staff your ID card, and you will get it back as soon as you return the bicycle.

My friend and I started from the spot under Phrapinklao bridge, going along the map till we got to the beginning spot. It was approximately 18 kilometers. (I don’t believe I can make it.) For those who are planning to enjoy this activity, strong cycling skill is recommended and be aware of the cars running on the road. Although bicycle lane is provided, some cars park over it. If possible, don’t go alone.

Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-8pm. Now through to April.

Necessary items:
– ID card
– Hankie
– Shirt (only if you don’t want to be wet after cycling)
– Camera (if you would like to keep memorable shots)
For more information, go: http://www.green.in.th/tag/green-bangkok-bike

Museum of Siam to charge for entrance fee

Yesterday, I made the third visit to Museum of Siam. No, I didn’t take many photos as it wasn’t a photography trip but rather an unscheduled trip.

Before leaving, I picked up a postcard and flipped over. I was informed that, from 2nd Apr on, visitors will be charged for entrance fee, B100 for Thais, and B300 for foreign visitors.

Alright, making money isn’t an evil. It is worth paying as the museum will gain money to maintain the place so that all damaged items will be working as usual.