Discovering Thailand’s Hidden Treasures
Thailand is famous for its countless temples, beautiful beaches and spicy dishes but there are other hidden treasures that await a tourist while visiting Thailand for the first time. Visiting Bangkok Thailand will not be complete unless a tourist sees the Grand Palace. For 150 years the Grand Palace has been “home” for the succession of Thai Kings. However during the turn of the 20th century, the Thai King stopped making it his residence. This palace was built in 1782. The intricate design and beautiful architecture displays the excellent craftsmanship skills of the Thai people. Today the Grand Palace remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom.
Within the Great Palace complex lies impressive buildings which includes the Temple of The Emerald Buddha. This temple houses the Emerald Buddha who dates back to the 14th century. Once a visitor goes to the temple he must dress appropriately. This strict dress code is imposed because the temple is considered as Thailand’s most sacred site. Important ceremonial occasions are held in the Royal Reception Halls.
Phang Nga Bay is famous for its limestone rock formations. This Bay is considered to be the most beautiful bay in Thailand. Visitors can take a 1 day tour of this place but he needs to stay more than that if he plans on visiting the larger islands along this Bay. It was in 2004 when a Tsunami disaster hit this bay which has taken the lives of thousands of people. A guest might find the Ko Panyi to be something quite out of the ordinary since this village along Phang Nga Bay is built on stilts. It is only the mosque and graveyard which are built on solid ground in this village. Khao Ping Gan (Leaning Rock) was once used as Scaramana’s hideout in the James Bond movie “The Man With The Golden Gun”.
Sea Canoeing is a popular activity on this Bay. Island Mangrove swamps and grottoes which can be accessed by canoe are spread all throughout the Bay. Cave exploration is another popular activity on this bay as well. The recently discovered Hongs and Sea Caves are considered as a tourist attraction. It was in 1990 when the Hongs (Thai for rooms) were discovered. These are not really rooms since they are open air cliff tidal lagoons connected by stalactite tunnels to the outside world. Pack along some swimming gear and some suntan lotion as well.
Similan Islands are a famous diving place and a good place to sail aboard chartered boats. Similan Islands is a nice place to do snorkeling, kayaking and bird watching. There are three kinds of accommodations on the Similan Islands. Bungalows can be rented out with a nice view of the Princess Bay. This will cost about $65.38 a night. Five room Bamboo Longhouses with fans and beddings can be rented for $32.70 per night. Large Tents complete with beddings are the cheapest accommodation for only $18.70 per night. However the Similan Islands National Park is closed until the end of October 2013.
Floating markets is a market located next to a body of water where vendors can sell things out of their boats. Floating markets are located all throughout Bangkok and its surrounding provinces. These are extremely popular on weekends for both locals and foreigners. At present the biggest attraction so far is the food that is cooked and served from the boat while it floats on the canal. For the locals the most popular floating market is Amphawa. Delicious foods are served fast here. Try their famous grilled squid and roasted shrimp. Hordes of tourists flock to Damnoen Saduak on organized tours.
Phi Phi Islands has undeniably beautiful beaches. This island became more famous when it was chosen as the location for Leonardo DiCaprio’s The Beach movie. Phi Phi Leh houses the Viking Cave which is famous for its bird’s nest soup. Phi Phi Islands is believed to be one of the oldest communities in Thailand which dates back to the prehistoric era. Phi Phi is composed of six islands; among the six are Phi Phi Le and Phi Phi Don. It is nicer to have a vacation on this island from January to April during the hot season. The rainy season is from May to December.
A visit to Doi Suthep shows the most deeply loved symbols of the Thai Kingdom. The Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep is Chiang Mai’s most revered temple. This is a famous shrine where devoted Buddhists pay their homage to Buddha. A legend has been told that one of Buddha’s bones was brought by a monk to this area. The bone has split in two. King Nu Naone placed one piece of the bone at the back of a white elephant which was allowed to roam. As a result the white elephant died and the King took this as a sign that a temple must be constructed in this site.
Khao Yai National Park boasts of Khao Luk Chang Bat Cave. This cave is home to thousands of bats. Visits are generally made one hour before sunset after taking a hike and visiting the caves. As the sun sets thousands of bats take off for hunting time. An alternative to visiting the cave is to take an elephant trekking ride. A tourist can coordinate with the nearby elephant camp for this ride. Khao Yai is also famous for its picturesque waterfalls. Heaw Suwat waterfalls have attracted even international film makers because of its grand beauty.
Ancient Siam or Ancient Thailand is dubbed as the largest outdoor museum of Thailand. It stands near the Crocodile Farm in Samut Prakan province. Some buildings are life size replicas of the former sites of this ancient kingdom. The three most famous replicas are the former Grand Palace of Ayutthaya, Phimai Sanctuary and Wat Khao Phra Viharn. Golf carts and bicycles can be hired to go around this park. Private vehicles are allowed as long as they pay the fee.
There is more to uncover about Thailand’s hidden treasures. Never forget to sample the spicy but delicious exotic Thai dishes to complete this visit to Thailand.