Tag Archives: Thailand

Thai International’s Popular Destinations Of Bangkok & Hong Kong Are Fantastic For Chinese New Year

Bangkok and Hong Kong are two of the major cities in which to celebrate Chinese New Year. As major travel hubs, both are served extensively by flights from around the world and for those revelers wanting to experience the celebrations in both places there are daily flights linking the two operated by numerous carriers including Thai national flag carrier Thai Airways International.

 

Chinese New Year’s Day in 2016 is on 8 February, and celebrations can stretch for about two weeks up to the Spring Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the new Lunar Year.

 

In the Thai capital Bangkok, Chinese New Year celebrations are mainly centered around the large Chinatown area, known locally as Yaowarat, which becomes thronged with crowds of people. While Chinese New Year is a big event, the Lunar New Year is not an official national holiday and government offices and services remain open. Some businesses may close for the Chinese New Year.

 

On the day before Chinese New Year, Chinatown bustles with various events and small parades in an entertaining build up to the following day. On Chinese New Year’s day itself drummers, lion dancers and a long dragon make their way to major temples.

 

The next day is largely considered a day of rest, although there are still events taking place around Chinatown.

 

The Spring Lantern Festival marks the official end to the Spring Festival and colourful lanterns can be seen everywhere.

 

In Hong Kong a central element of the Chinese New Year celebrations is the International Chinese New Year Night Parade in the Tsim Sha Tsui tourist district of Kowloon. Each year tens of thousands line the streets to watch this dazzling spectacle of local and international performers that transforms the habourfront area into a giant outdoor street party.

 

In 2015 the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade saw around 150,000 people take to Tsim Sha Tsui’s streets, and the 2016 event is promising the usual fantastic spectacle.

 

In Hong Kong most government offices, banks and public utilities close for the Chinese New Year public holidays. However, most shops and restaurants in the busiest districts remain open, some shopping malls may extend their service hours and major attractions, theme parks and public transport operate as usual.

 

Street markets and stalls usually close on the first and second day of the Chinese New Year (8 and 9 February in 2016) and resume business from the third day.

 

The Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show that lights up the nighttime Hong Kong sky by Victoria Harbour, will coincide with Chinese New Year celebrations from 10 to 29 February 2016. This spectacular 3D light show with exciting audiovisual effects plays four times each night at 8.20 pm, 8.45 pm, 9.15 pm and 9.45 pm with each session lasting about eight minutes.

 

The show is a sight to behold, as it turns the iconic Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Clock Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui into colourful canvases, adding to the festive ambience.

 

As the Thai national flag carrier, Thai Airways International or THAI flies to Bangkok from more than 60 destinations around the world, including 48 points in 19 countries in the Asia Pacific region, 11 cities in Europe and two in the Middle East. This provides plenty of choice for travelers to book international flights to Thailand and also to book flights from Bangkok to destinations like Hong Kong.

 

They can search the Thai airline’s website for great deals on flights to Thailand, and if traveling from Europe or the United Kingdom, for example, can book flights from london to Bangkok, flights from Frankfurt to Bangkok or flights from other destinations in the region.

 

While online they can also read up on the Royal Orchid Holidays product of THAI and the rewards to be enjoyed as a member of the Thai airline’s Royal Orchid Plus frequent flyer program.

7 Tamples in Bangkok

Bangkok temples known in Thai as “wats.”

Some are small, located far down tiny sois and well out of the way of  tourist traffic. Others are part of massive complexes filled with halls, schools and revered statues, earning them a place in all the Bangkok guidebooks.

Here are seven of the best Bangkok temples, a list compiled based on both historical significance and pure aesthetics.

Remember to dress appropriately — keep those legs and shoulders covered — or you may not be allowed in.

1. Wat Arun.

Wat_Arun_0You know a Bangkok temple is special if its image is on Thai currency, in this case the 10-baht coin. Among Bangkok’s most revered icons, Wat Arun –- the Temple of Dawn — sits on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River.

Construction of the stunning “phra prang” (towers), which are covered in tiny pieces of colorful Chinese ceramics, was started by King Rama II (1809-1824) and completed by King Rama III (1824-1851).

Though Wat Arun’s phra prang are the biggest attraction, they are actually only a small part of the complex, which also hosts lovely white buildings, shrines, ponds and tiny lanes.

From a snapper’s point of view, the best place to get a shot of Wat Arun is actually from the other side of the river, particularly at sunset. The restaurant at Arun Residence has great views and good food.

2 . Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram or Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok on February 28, 2010. AFP PHOTO/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram or Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok on February 28, 2010. AFP PHOTO/PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)

Tourists are likely more familiar with Wat Phra Kaew’s home, the grounds of the legendary Grand Palace. Wat Phra Kaew — Temple of the Emerald Buddha — enshrines one of Thailand’s most revered Buddha statues, which was carved out of a single block of jade.

This Buddha image is certainly well travelled. According to Thailand’s official palace website, it was first discovered in Chiang Rai in 1464, brought down to Lampang where it remained till King Tilok of Lannathai brought it to Chiang Mai, his capital. Then it was brought to Luang Prabang, Laos, before heading to Vientiane.

Then, the King of Thonburi sent an expedition to bring it back. When King Rama I built the city of Bangkok, including the Grand Palace, the Emerald Buddha was installed in the chapel, where it remains today.

Also worth checking out in this Bangkok temple are the murals, which depict the traditional life-story of the Buddha, proverbs and episodes from the Ramakien — the Thai version of the Ramayana.

3 . Wat Pho

A picture taken on March 13, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand shows the huge reclining Buddha measured 46 metres long and covered in gold leaf in the Wat Pho temple. AFP PHOTO PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

A picture taken on March 13, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand shows the huge reclining Buddha measured 46 metres long and covered in gold leaf in the Wat Pho temple. AFP PHOTO PHILIPPE HUGUEN (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Right next door to the Grand Palace, Wat Pho is home to Thailand’s biggest reclining Buddha statue. The soles of the 46-meter-long statue’s feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl, depicting the 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha, while the statue itself is covered in gold leaf.

According to the Thai history books, after moving to the Grand Palace, King Rama I recognized the old temple as a site of religious significance and ordered his noblemen to restore it in 1788. This first restoration took seven years, five months and 28 days. During the reign of King Rama III another great restoration/expansion period took place, which took 16 years and seven months.

Wat Pho is also home to a highly respected massage school, where Thai masseurs have been training since 1955. Visitors can drop in for a full traditional Thai massage or enroll in short or long-term courses.

4 . Wat Benchamabophitr

wat_benchamalAlso known in English as “the Marble Temple,” the beautiful Wat Benchamabophitr is a royal monastery highly revered as a Thai architectural masterpiece.  Its main ordination hall was built with Italian marble and features European neo-classical influences.

Located in Bangkok’s leafy green Dusit district near Chitralada Palace, it was founded by King Rama V in the year 1900. His ashes are buried inside the ordination hall under a Sukhothai-style Buddha statue.

If it looks familiar to you already, that’s because its image is on Thailand’s five-baht coin.

5 . Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit

Wat_MahathatWat Mahathat Yuwarajarangsarit might not be one of the most beautiful Bangkok temples, but it’s certainly one of the most religiously significant.

One of six royal wats, it was built during the Ayutthaya period. When Bangkok became the capital it was used as a temple for royal ceremonies due to its key location near the freshly built Grand Palace.

Today it’s home to Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University — which was founded in 1887, making it Thailand’s oldest higher education institute for Buddhist monks — and the Vipassana Meditation headquarters. Visitors can drop by for classes.

Also worth checking out nearby are the amulet market and the National Museum.

6 . Wat Saket

wat_saketWat Saket is another one of those Bangkok temples that draws visitors to its grounds for its unique landmarks rather than the temple itself. In this case the main draw is the “Golden Mount,” a man-made hill topped with a towering chedi that offers incredible views across Bangkok.

The temple, which really isn’t that remarkable, dates back to the Ayutthaya era but was restored under King Rama I.

The Golden Mount ‘s hill was constructed under King Rama III but it was Rama IV who put up the golden chedi. Rama V added the chedi that’s still there today. Inside is a revered Buddha image that was given to him by the British.

The walk to the top can be brutal on a hot day so bring water. If you can handle crowds, the temple puts on a great Loy Kratong fair every November.

7 . Wat Traimit

Wat_TraimitAnother reason why you shouldn’t judge a Bangkok temple by its exterior, Wat Traimit is actually home to one of world’s largest solid gold Buddha statues.

Remarkably, the image sat ignored for centuries until workmen dropped what they thought was just a five-ton, 13th century image of Buddha in the 1950s, cracking the plaster to reveal the solid gold statue underneath. Apparently, it was covered to fool invading Burmese back in the day.

Outside temple on the right is giant red Royal Jubilee Gate — in Thai called “Chalermphrakiat” — built in 1999 to symbolize the prosperity of Thai and Chinese cultures under His Majesty the King.
http://travel.cnn.com/bangkok/play/7-best-bangkok-temples-697446

Best Vacation Destinations

Would you like to take some time off? If so, you should definitely visit some of the best vacation destinations in the world. Thanks to this, you’ll surely recharge your batteries. Read this article to get to know a few incredible vacation destinations. Here they are:

1. Mexican Riviera Maya

Mexican Riviera Maya is a very popular among tourists region in the Mexican Caribbean Coast. It offers one of the most beautiful vacation places in the Americas: cities like Playa del Carmen, charming small towns like Tulum, resorts for the affluent like Akumal. If you’re longing for white sand beaches with crystal-clear water, Riviera Maya is for you. The weather is perfect almost all year round, so you don’t have to worry about sunshine and temperatures.

Another advantage of this place is that it’s reasonably priced, especially when you think about quality/price ratio. Moreover, it’s easy to get there from the United States, so it’s perfect for a weekend getaway. If you love the tropics, Riviera Maya is a must-visit place for you. It’s very difficult to find such destinations close to the US which are both inexpensive and still well developed.

2. Phuket, Thailand

Phuket is a southern province of Thailand. It’s frequently visited by tourists from all over the world because of hundreds of picture-perfect tropical islands. Phuket has a great climate for vacation: it’s very hot and humid throughout the year. Since it’s one of the most popular among tourists vacation destinations of Thailand, most people speak at least basic English there (which is frequently a problem in other less popular with tourists regions of Thailand).

Thailand is a very budget-friendly country, so if you don’t want to spend a lot of money while taking some time off, Thailand is surely a good idea. Bear in mind that first you need to have money to fly there, but once you arrive- enjoy $2 meals and very nice rooms for 20 bucks!

3. Hawaii

What do I have to say about this place? It’s one of the most well-known vacation destinations in the world. You can’t find many places such as Hawaiian islands on our planet where one can be sure of perfect weather no matter when you go, when one has access to all most important tourist facilities and be able to fly home for a very low price if you wish. If you are a fan of the natural surroundings, you’ll love Hawaii. If you can’t live without water sports, you’ll love Hawaii. If you love the tropics, Hawaii is also a great place for you. It would be difficult to find people who wouldn’t like to spend some time in Hawaii if they were offered an opportunity to do it!

Visit Beautiful Vacation Spots to get to know other vacation ideas!