Royal Crematorium adds to magnificent landmarks of Bangkok’s historic Ratanakosin Island

From now until 30 November, 2017, an exhibition will be on view at Sanum Luang showcasing the Royal Crematorium for His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It offers visitors the chance to learn more about the Royal Cremation Ceremony, its background history, art and culture when they visit many beautiful landmarks in Bangkok’s historic quarter, or Ratanakosin Island, on the Chao Phraya River.

The Royal Cremation ceremony attracted a worldwide outpouring of sympathy from the far corners of the globe over five days from 25 to 29 October, 2017. The ceremony itself signified the great reverence all Thai people have for their beloved late King and now travellers can also gain a unique historical perspective of this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle as part of other timeless monuments in the area.

The Royal Crematorium

Royal Crematorium - kingrama9.net
Photo credit: http://kingrama9.net

This is a must visit for any visitor interested in Thai culture, the Thai Royal Family and the incredible life of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Here they can marvel at the Royal Crematorium located on Sanum Luang ceremonial ground with daily viewing from 07.00-22.00 Hrs.

The Royal Crematorium is where the Royal Urn is placed on the pyre for cremation. According to tradition it is always a temporary structure constructed in the middle of the city for the cremation rites of a deceased king or queen, or high-ranking royal with the tradition dating back to the days of Ayutthaya Kingdom of the former Siam.

It is both an architectural achievement and work of fine art modelled after the imaginary Mount Sumeru, also referred to as Phra Merumas, the centre of the universe in Buddhist mythology. In ancient Thai Kingdoms, like in many monarchies, the concept of King as a divine being was firmly established and institutionalised by both Hindu and deism influences.

Visitors are allowed one hour to tour the site around the Royal Crematorium and admire the magnificent Thai art that has been handed down through generations. They will also learn construction technics that include the renovation of royal chariots and palanquins, as well as how architectural works and artistic creations are integrated from adjacent pavilions.

The Royal Merit-Making Pavilion, or Phra Thinang Song Tham, offers a detailed historical perspective of the late monarch’s many achievements as part of his tireless approach working to improve the daily life of its subjects during his record-setting 70-year reign. The hall also features an exhibition of murals of his royally initiated projects that touched all parts of the country.

All structures relating to the Royal Crematorium will be dismantled after the special exhibition ends on 30 November. the Thai Government is considering whether to extend the exhibition period due to strong public demand at time of publication.

Dress Code and Social Etiquette

For security reasons visitors are asked to show their ID cards (Thais) or passports (foreigners) when pass through any of the following five checkpoints: at Tha Chang pier; near the Mother Earth statue; in front of the Territorial Defence Department; outside Thammasat University’s Tha Phra Chan campus, and behind the Defence Ministry. There are clearly marked individual for Thais and foreigners.

All visitors are also required to dress respectfully – basically smart casual with no bare skin. Men should wear long pants, dress shirts with sleeves; women should wear dresses below the knee, slacks and sleeved shirts.  No beach attire, see-through clothes, tank tops, bare shoulders, sandals or flip-flops.

Views is capped at 5,500 people per hour with a maximum carrying capacity of 104,000 people per day. As it is a place of mourning, respectful behaviour is required always. Touching any of the exhibits is strictly forbidden as is taking selfies or live-broadcasting of any kind.

After Bangkok’s famous landmarks beckon. The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Temple of the Reclining Buddha are both within easy walking distance and the new restored Temple of Dawn is just a short boat trip away on the opposite site of the Chao Phraya River.

The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha

Wat Phra KaeoThe Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaeo, was one of first attractions introduced to the world when Thailand’s tourism promotion began in earnest during 1960. Located within the Grand Palace compound, the temple is the home of the Emerald Buddha, and highlights the architecture of various periods. Majestic historical embellishments of the enthralling epic of the Ramayana adorn the compound walls in what is said to be the world’s longest mural painting of its kind. Visitors can also visit the Royal Thai Decorations and Coins Pavilion before entering the compound. It is always open daily from 08:30 to 15:30 Hrs. Admission is 500 Baht for foreigners and free for Thai citizens – proper dress code is also enforced.

Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

Wat PhoWat Pho is the oldest and largest religious site in Bangkok located behind the Grand Palace and near the Tha Tien pier. It is regarded as a showcase of Thai craftsmanship and one of the jewels of Rattanakosin Island. It has developed a unique reputation for its Wat Pho School of Traditional Medicine and Massage where people come to study and enjoy a massage from trainees. Must see features of the temple include Phra Buddhasaiyat, or the Reclining Buddha statue at 15 metres high and just over 43 meters long and the temple’s principle image Phra Buddha Dheva Patimakorn. It is open 08:00 to 18:30 Hrs. Admission is 100 Baht for foreigners and free for Thai citizens.

Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)

Wat ArunThe temple recently completed the historic renovation of its main feature, the 66.8-metre-high pagoda which is decorated with seashells and bits of Chinese porcelain that glimmer in the sunshine. To get there take a ferry from Wat Pho at the Tha Tien pier to Wat Arun pier located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. A 10-day long celebration of the completion of Wat Arun’s renovations will take place at the end of this year from 27 December through to 5 January, 2018. Open daily from 08:30 to 17.30, admission is 30 Baht for foreigners and free for Thai citizens

Blooming flowers and cooler days await at Poinsettia Festival in Loei

Poinsettia Phu Rua Festival

The cool season in Thailand brings with it various attractions associated with the annual drop in temperature, most notably unique local festivals and spectacular displays of flowers in bloom across the countryside. Among these is the annual Poinsettia Festival in the northeastern province of Loei, which this year is in its 6th edition and will take place from 28 November through to 31 January, 2018.

Held at the entrance to Phu Rua National Park on the border with Laos, the festival celebrates the poinsettia plant which, with its green foliage and bright red flowers, is widely associated with Christmas floral displays.

The poinsettia plants are grown commercially – nearly 100,000 of them – over an area of some five rai (two acres) in Phu Rua district. These are in full bloom during the Poinsettia Festival, creating a glorious scarlet carpet that attracts sightseers and photographers in their throngs who at the same time also get to appreciate the cooler weather. Many enjoy the novelty of putting on warmer winter clothing as they visit the festival’s location and perhaps travel further afield into the hills and surrounding countryside.

Named for a natural cliff feature that resembles a boat, Phu Rua National Park offers nature-based sightseeing and activities such as walking trails, waterfalls, a pine forest, different species of wildlife and observation points for taking in the scenic views while enjoying a picnic. The park’s summit rises 1,365 metres above sea level and offers some of the best views.

During the cool season the temperature here can drop to as low as 0 degrees Celsius, bringing fog and mist more usually associated with Thailand’s northern region.

For more information, please contact:
TAT Loei Office
Tel: +66 (0) 4281 2812; +66 (0) 4281 1405
Email: tatloei@tat.or.th
TAT Contact Centre 1672

Or:
Phu Rua National Park
Tel: +66 (0) 4281 0965

Jim Thompson Farm Tour 2017 opens on 2 December  

The annual Jim Thompson Farm Tour will open from 2 December, 2017 to 7 January, 2018 with a theme of “Rushing Water – Life Force of Isan”, which aims to help visitors discover the story of water and its significance in the region’s culture, traditions and ways of life while they enjoy the picturesque natural surroundings of Jim Thompson Farm.

Jim Thompson Farm Tour December 2015

Coinciding with the opening is a day of walking, running and fun running on 2 December. A Half Marathon (21 km) will start at 5 a.m., a Mini Marathon (10 km) at 6 a.m., and a Fun Run (5 km) and Walk-Run (1.5 km) both at 6.10 a.m.

The Jim Thompson Farm Tour is an agro and eco tourist attraction offering some unique Thai local experiences. Attractions and activities include the picturesque pink cosmos field, the giant pumpkin patch and colourful flower field, ‘Jim Village’ where visitors can get hands-on and try the silk production processes of the renowned Jim Thompson brand, and ‘Jim Market’ for vegetable, fruit, pot flower and fresh produce shopping.

Jim Thompson Farm Tour December 2015_01

Travel Tips

Located in Pak Thong Chai district of Nakhon Ratchasima province, Jim Thompson Farm’s opening hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Farm Tour tickets are 150 Baht for adults and 100 Baht for children on weekdays and 180 Baht and 140 Baht respectively on weekends, if bought from Thaiticketmajor.

For tickets bought at Jim Thompson Farm the price is 180 Baht for adults and 130 Baht for children on weekdays, and 220 Baht and 160 Baht respectively on weekends.

Ticket prices for the races on 2 December are 850 Baht for the Walk-Run, Fun Run or Mini Marathon and 950 Baht for the Half Marathon. This includes a Jim Thompson admission ticket, versatile fabric, running shirt, cloth bag and finisher shirt (exclusive for the Half Marathon).

For more information, please visit: www.jimthompsonfarm.com

The sunflower season starts in Central Thailand

The sunflower season has stated in Central Thailand. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Lop Buri Office, the first sunflowers of the year can now be seen at some fields nearby Khao Chin Lae in Lop Buri, just a short drive northeast of Bangkok.

Sunflower field at Nong Khaem in Lop Buri
Sunflower field at Nong Khaem, Lop Buri (Photo file)

The sunflower season in Lop Buri and Sara Buri provinces in Central Thailand normally starts around November and goes on until January or February, depending on the weather. Each farm in the two provinces takes turns in planting the sunflowers so that there is at least one area of blooming flowers during this period. This year, the season covers from 1 November, 2017, to 31 January, 2018.

Each sunflower field lasts about 10 days, and most farms offer free entry, some might provide extra services; such as, pony riding and exploring the field on a mini tractor. There are also booths selling sunflower oil and seeds as well as fruit, food and beverages.

Here are some of the best places to visit the sunflower fields in Lop Buri and Sara Buri:

Lop Buri offers the first places to see the sunflowers in bloom in Phatthana Nikhom, Chai Badan, and Khok Samrong districts. The most famous location is at the fields nearby Khao Chin Lae, where the limestone mountain provides an impressive backdrop for the vast landscape of beautiful yellow flowers as they turn their bright faces to follow the sun.

Sara Buri is another home of sunflower fields in Thailand. Travelling by car is recommended as you’ll need to drive along the areas, including Khao Din Phattana in Amphoe Chaloem Phra Kiat; Nayao in Amphoe Phra Phutthabat; Hinson in Amphoe Kaeng Khoi, Salaengpan in Amphoe Wang Muang, Ban Kluai in Amphoe Nong Don, and Mittraphap and Amphoe Muak Lek.

For a unique experience, take the ‘sunflower tour’ that the State Railway of Thailand normally organises during December, from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station to Pa Sak Cholasit Dam in Saraburi, at a reasonable price. For more information of the trip, please contact the State Railway of Thailand at +66 (0) 2225 6964.

Since it’s a bit of a challenge to map which fields will see the sunflowers in bloom at which time, you might like to call the TAT Lop Buri Office for some recommendations at Tel: +66 (0) 3677 0096-7.

Aon Names Colliers International Platinum Level Best Employer in Canada

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