Friday, 18 February 2011

Wat Pasee - Bangkok

If you are into Tibetan style temples but don't want to venture to Tibet, there's a hidden gem waiting to be discovered in Bangkok.

Almost nothing is written about this temple and that is a great shame, this is a fascinating little place tucked away at the far end of Soi Ekkamai, on Soi 23. Not very easy to get to, you will probably need a taxi to take you there and wait. If you're upto it, take the skytrain to Ekkamai and it's probably a good 15-20 minutes walk.
Although there's nothing much to see inside the temple itself, it is a beautiful building. But it is the exterior of this temple which is so appealing, with lots of little shrines dotted about, a school right next door and the way the temple is squeezed in amongst the surrounding shop houses, a bridge, canal and Siemen's Bangkok HQ!

Bangkok is full of little surprises!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Wat Hualampong - Bangkok

What a great time my daughter and I had here. I had been meaning to visit here for about the last 8 years and never quite got round to it. It is not on the list of Bangkok's must see temples, but it should be. The likes of Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho deservedly take the headlines, but this temple gives you much more than just gleaming structures, it gives you a slice of daily life in Bangkok.

The temple is bustling, there was a market going on while we visited, selling various religious and royal items. Cars were coming and going and a lot of the locals wanted to stop and speak to us.

We only visited because we happened upon a shopping centre across the road, and my daughter saw the temple out of a window.

After a walk around the perimeter of the site, we walked up to the main hall to see the Buddha image, after all that's what it's all about for the Thais. You can get some great city skyline shots from the outside of the main hall as well as close ups of the gleaming roofs of the temple.

At the rear is the temple's main golden chedi where my daughter insisted on taking a photo of me!

The temple is located on Rama 4 road, with Sam Yan underground station right outside. It is also a short walk from Hualampong train station.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Mini Siam - Pattaya

One sight often overlooked by visitors to Pattaya is Mini Siam. It is exactly what the name suggest, small models of famous buildings across Thailand and some models of buildings and structures across the world.

Just a short drive out of Pattaya, close to Jomtien beach, it is well worth a look. When we visited it was fairly busy, as a school coach trip had just arrived, but this didn't detract from the visit as the park is reasonably spacious.

Take advantage of the free umbrellas at the entrance, it was searingly hot when we went.

A sample of photos is below:

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Three days in Chantaburi

My family decided it was time to visit somewhere different for our beach break. We've done Koh Samet several times, Koh Samui, Phuket, Hua Hin etc etc. They all have their advantages but we plumped for somewhere new and Thai people rave about Chantaburi.

It was very quiet compared with all the above, but this is low season I guess. The beach we stayed on had black sand as opposed to the usual white. This is mainly due to the fact the beach belongs to crabs and black shelled hermit crabs which you can see everywhere along the beach. The black colour comes from their broken shells. Don't let that put you off, the sand, you shouldn't get nipped as the crabs are only babies and run away as you approach. The sand is OK for kids to play in and the water clean and warm. Best of all the beach was pretty much deserted and there were no annoying vendors or jetskis.

We visited Oasis Sea World to see the rare pink dolphins they keep there. There is a dolphin show a few times a day and you can book to swim with the dolphins. This place is pretty shabby though and I'm not sure how clean the water is. Make your own choices whether you should visit or not.

It is roughly a 4 hour drive from Bangkok depending on traffic, well worth a look for something different.