Being a thalassophile, I make sure my every international trip includes the ocean, rivers and lakes. My love for water bodies took me to Koh Samet near Bangkok. Its tranquility, turquoise water and sandy beaches make it a perfect holiday destination. If you are in Bangkok and want to explore a nearby beach destination, then do not forget to visit Koh Samet, a three-hour journey from Bangkok. Sharing some images of my short getaway to this beautiful island.
While exploring Kanchanaburi’s famous death bridge on a hot and humid day, my eyes caught a huge and colorful temple, offering scenic beauty with peace. The Guan Im Sutham Temple, which sits on the banks of the Kwai River, is simply spectacular and breathtaking. When I reached there I noticed that I was the only tourist present in the temple premises. This Chinese style Buddhist temple, which includes a number of Chinese and Buddhist themes, provides a glimpse of traditional Chinese culture such as the Chinese Zodiac.
The massive compound is replete with animal sculptures, dragons, gold coins and a large Chinese Goddess of Mercy statue. Besides, one can easily notice beautifully decorated pagodas and a gigantic totem pole. A golden Buddha statue is the main attraction of the temple. I recommend you to visit this temple along with the historical bridge.
Thailand’s Hua Hin is famous for its laid-back culture, something which even I felt when I landed there after a three-hour journey from Bangkok. I wanted to spend some quality time there but I had very little time on my hands to relax.
After enjoying Hua Hin’s famous sandy beaches, I headed to Khao Takiab, courtesy Google map. Khao Takiab is a small village quite famous for seaside restaurants and pretty beaches that include Hat Takiap, Suan Son and Khao Tao.
On top of Khao Takiab hill, one can enjoy monkey mountain or Chopstick hill where Wat Khao Lad temple is situated. It is popularly known as the monkey temple because many monkeys inhabit the place. On your way to the hill, you will come across a huge and impressive 20 metre high Buddha statue overlooking the sea. Using staircase one can easily reach the mountain.
The top of the mountain offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Gulf of Thailand. From Hua Hin, Khao Takiab can be easily and quickly reached. I hired a tuk tuk from the downtown Hua Hin to reach there. Have you been to Hua Hin ?
Klai Kangwon Palace is one of Hua Hin’s popular tourists spots. It used to be a primary summer royal residence of King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) of Thailand.
in 1926, the construction of the massive compound was commissioned by King Prajadhipok (Rama VII). Finally it was completed in 1933. Surrounded by sea, Klai Kangwon has become a major attraction for foreign tourists.
The palace has many colorful and buildings with peaceful and picturesque surroundings. After negotiating with the driver, I hired a tuk tuk from downtown of Hua Hin and reached the place in around 40 minutes. As it was rainy season, I was completely drenched but it was full of fun and excitement.
Surrounded by sea, one can find peace and serenity in this palace. If you are in Hua Hin, do not forget to include this in your itinerary.
My visit to Kanchanaburi was short yet memorable. Situated at the confluence of the rivers Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai, Kanchanaburi has many interesting places to explore only if you have time. As I ran short of time, I could visit only two places of interest (apart from Erawan National Park) – the Bridge over the River Kwai and Kanchanaburi War Cemetery.
The Bridge over the River Kwai is hugely popular among visitors. The Bridge over the Mae Klong was part of the Death Railway. It was built by the Japanese during WWII with the help of prisoners and slave laborers. Japan built the Burma Railway (also known as the Death Railway) to support its forces in the Burma campaign of WWII.
Kanchanaburi War Cemetery was another place which I explored on foot as it was close to my guesthouse. It was dedicated to victims of Japanese imprisonment while building the Burma Railway. It was designed by Colin St Clair Oakes. More than 6,000 prisoners of war are buried there. The place makes you realize the dark side of history.
Over the past 10 years the world has seen economic ebbs and flows, evolving global competition and partnership, and boundless technological innovation. But, one thing has remained constant: people’s growing desire to travel the world, visit new landscapes and immerse themselves in other cultures. Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, released today, quantifies this desire: since 2009, the number of international overnight visitors grew an astounding 76 %.
This year, the Global Destination Cities Index-which ranks 200 cities based on proprietary analysis of publicly available visitor volume and spend data-reveals that Bangkok remains the No. 1 destination, with more than 22 million international overnight visitors. Paris and London, in flipped positions this year, hold the No. 2 and 3 spots, respectively both hovering over 19 million. All top 10 cities saw more international overnight visitors in 2018 than the prior year, with the exception of London, which decreased nearly 4 percent. The forecast for 2019 indicates across-the-board growth, with Tokyo expecting the largest uptick in visitors.
Kanchanburi was recommended by one of my Thai friends. I had to take help of Google as I had very little time on my hands and little knowledge about the place. And Google told me to visit Erawan National Park. Located in the Tenasserim Hills of Kanchanaburi Province, Erawan National Park is quite popular among tourists and locals alike. And the famous Erawan Falls is part of the park, which was founded in 1975.
The seven-tiered waterfall is picturesque and worth visiting. Truly nature’s best gift.
The seven waterfalls are: Lhai Keun Lung, Wang Matcha, Pha Nam Tok, Oke Nang Phee Suer, Buer Mai Long, Dong Pruek Sa and Phu Pha Erawan.
Due to lack of time, I concentrated only on the third waterfall – Pha Nam Tok.
This water fall is taller than the first two falls. I spent a lot of time in the amazing natural pool, refreshing my mind and body. It was indeed a mind-blowing experience for me after three hour bus journey. While swimming, one is bound to encounter with lots of fish. If you have time, try to explore all the waterfalls and I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy being there. It is better to explore the place in the weekdays instead of weekend as it becomes over-crowded.
Few things to remember about the park: Direct bus is easily available from Kanchanburi bus terminal to the park and it will cost you THB 40 per person (one way). The three hour scenic journey will take you through green dense forest. The last bus for Kanchanaburi leaves at 17:00. It is very easy to navigate inside the park, thanks to ample signboards. Plastic items are prohibited here. They really check your bags. Carry some water bottles and swimming costumes. Completely relax your mind and soak in the pristine beauty of the vast forest.
One of Hua Hin’s popular tourist spots is Hua Hin railway station – perhaps one of the prettiest train stations I have ever seen in my life. This instagram-worthy station was built in 1910.
In 1926, it was again rebuilt by Prince Purachatra Jayakara.
Located on the Western end of Damnernkasem Road, this station attracts hundreds of tourists everyday. Brightly painted wooden buildings are some of the highlights of the station. One can also enjoy a train ride from Hua Hin to Bangkok. And the four hour journey will not disappoint you. So next time when you are in Hua Hin, make sure you visit this vibrant station.