Thailand – In celebration of a rich heritage

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A province of temples, old teak houses and stunning wood-carvings, Lampang basks in the slow life

Unlike neighbouring Chiang Mai, Lampang province has little in the way of fancy resorts or stylish restaurants to entice sybarites and well-heeled visitors. Small as it is peaceful, this northern province is a haven for culture buffs and disciples of the slow life. Rich in cultural heritage and proud of its glory days, Lampang is a destination that cries out to be discovered.

“Lampang has a reputation as a quiet northern town,” says my local guide as we make our way to Baan Sao Nak. “In fact, Lampang is very rich. The province earned a fortune from the teak and tobacco industries in bygone days. But the rich mostly left to live in big cities like Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Stroll or cycle through the city and you’ll be amazed by the heritage buildings, the old wooden houses and temples.”

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In fact, Lampang was first to enjoy much of the progress that came from Bangkok, the capital, to Thailand’s North. The railway, for example, arrived at Lampang in 1915 and the service to the North ended here for almost 10 years before extending to Chiang Mai through the Khun Tan Tunnel. The Bank of Thailand also opened a branch here to attract business in the North. The Public Relations Department built a television broadcasting station in Lampang, making the province a gateway of information.

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The province also boasted a thriving tobacco business and was for decades the centre of the teak industry – as evidenced by the lumbering elephants at its Thai Elephant Conservation Centre.

Baan Sao Nak, the “house of many pillars”, offers a picture of the wealth of Lampang’s teak barons. Built in 1895 by rich and respected Burmese log trader, Maung Chan Ong, the traditional wood house boasts 116 square teak pillars. It served as the family home for decades before being turned into a local museum. The entire house is furnished with mildly interesting Burmese and Thai antiques and pays testament to the lavish life of Lampang. 

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“When the British were commissioned to export the teak from Thailand in the 19th century, they brought the Burmese along to look after their business,” says the guide. “Some of the Burmese were master loggers, and earned a fortune. They married local women, built lavish mansions like Baan Sao Nak, contributed to Buddhism and made merit.”

Two kilometres south of Baan Sao Nak is Wat Srichum, the largest Burmese-style temple in Thailand. Home to a pagoda and chapel hall, the temple was built by a rich Burmese teak trader towards the end of the 19th century. Legend has it that U Maung Gyi, or the “big boss” as the Burmese tycoon was known, brought the finest carpenters from Mandalay in Central Myanmar to build the main viharn (ordination hall). Teak carvings and decorations of delicately and exquisitely engraved woodwork reflect the craftsmanship of these masters.

“The walls, ceiling and wooden pillars are traditionally lacquered and covered with gold leaves,” says the local guide, directing my attention to the interior walls.

Surrounded by a wall and accessed through a large, elaborately decorated entrance gate topped with a Burmese Pyatthat roof, Wat Sri Chum has been declared a national treasure by the Thai Fine Arts Department.

One of the finest temples in Lampang is Wat Lai Hin, 40 kilometres west of Wat Srichum. Small yet graceful, the temple is a diamond in the province’s crown. The arched entrance, with elegant plasterwork depicting small angels and guardians, was the prototype for the entrance of Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang – the city’s most sacred pagoda.

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“This small viharn with its multi-tiered roofs makes a bold statement about Lampang architecture,” says the local guide. “Many experts regard it as finer than Chiang Mai architecture.” A tall pillar with a swan on top in front of the viharn pays testament to the Burmese influence. 

From Wat Lai Hin, we head to Wat Pongsanuk on the bank of Wang River. Built in 1886 by the Shan-speaking community in Lampang, the temple won Unesco’s Award of Merit 2008 for restoration. Although it lost much of its character during the renovation, the small, open-sided building stands on a mound is one of the few remaining local examples of original Lanna-style temple architecture. To get an idea of what it was like previously, look at the carved wooden gateway at the entrance to the north stairway.

For the history buff, a trip to Lampang is not complete without a visit to Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Perched on the expansive mound, the visitor has quite a climb up the Naga stairway to reach the main entrance – which is inspired by the arched gateway of Wat Lai Hin. It’s worth checking out for fine plaster designs. 

The main viharn houses a bronze Buddha statue called the Phra Chao Lan Thong. At the end of the viharn is a golden pagoda in Lanna architectural style containing a Holy Relic of Lord Buddha.

“Wat Phra That Lampang Luang draws visitors for the golden pagoda,” says the guide. “But the temple also has beautiful murals on wooden walls and these are said to be the oldest in the North.”

The murals tell the tales of Jataka through paintings of serpents, elephants and Lord Buddha as well as the stories of Ramayana and some Lanna folktales. 

Despite its size and provincial mien, Lampang in many ways maintains a slow Lanna pace. Unlike the big city like Chiang Mai, it charms visitors with its old-fashioned Lanna culture. Whether you choose to move around in a horse-drawn carriage, Lampang’s signature mode of transportation, cycle or walk, you’ll be delighted with the sense of discovery.

Source: TheNation

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The Sevenseas (4 Star) Resort, Koh Kradan, Trang Thailand

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The Sevenseas Resort located on the tranquil island of Koh Kradan, The Seven Seas Resort Koh Kradan offers luxurious beachfront accommodation. Free WiFi is available in public areas. Guests can enjoy relaxing treatments at a spa.

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The Seven Seas Resort is an 80-minute long tail boat ride from Pak Meng Pier located at Trang on the mainland. The Pier is about 1-hour drive from #Trang Airport.

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Rooms at The Seven Seas Resort Koh Kradan contain contemporary designs that balance between modern comforts and exotic island luxury. Each air-conditioned room features finely polished floors, dark wood furnishings, open-air bathroom and rain shower.

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Guests can enjoy a cocktail by the resort’s swimming pool while relaxing on a lounger on the wooden deck. 

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Enjoy a soothing massage and rejuvenating body scrub at The Seven Seas Spa, which features open air treatment rooms amid the resort’s gardens.

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The open-air Barnacles Bar is the perfect place to relax during the day or night time for coffee, juice or a cocktail. 

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The Seven Seas Restaurant serves traditional Thai, seafood and innovative international cuisines all day where guests can dine either by the pool or on the beach.

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The Emerald Cove, Koh Chang, Thailand

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Boasting an outdoor pool with stunning views of the ocean, Emerald Cove Koh Chang is located just a few steps away from the private beach. Free WiFi, a spa and a fitness center are also on offer here.

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All rooms are air conditioned and equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and a refrigerator. Guests can grab a drink from the minibar and sit out on the furnished balcony. The private bathroom comes with bathrobes, a bathtub and free toiletries.

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An airport shuttle, a shuttle service and soothing massages can be arranged upon request at the 24-hour front desk. Other facilities offered at Koh Chang Emerald Cove include a tour desk, luggage storage and a children’s playground. The property also offers free parking.

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Guests can enjoy dining at the on-site restaurants or have evening drinks at the bar. Room service is also available.

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The hotel is 5.6 km from Kai Bae Beach, 8.5 km from Koh Chang National Park and 16 km from White Sand Beach.

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Klong Prao Beach is a great choice for travelers interested in beach walks, tranquility and beaches.

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This property is also rated for the best value in Ko Chang! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

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Peace (4 Star) Resort, Koh Samui, Thailand

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Situated on Bo Phut Beach, Peace Resort offers 2 outdoor pools and an outdoor restaurant. Its spacious bungalows feature a private terrace with sea or garden views. Free WiFi is available in all areas.

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Equipped with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV with a DVD player, bungalows at Peace also come with a tea/coffee maker and a minibar. Private bathrooms feature a spacious layout and include a hairdryer.

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The Sea Wrap Restaurant serves French and Thai dishes, with the option of dining outdoors right on the beach. Guests may also enjoy a refreshing drink at the pool bar. Room service is provided.

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Guests can take a dip in the spa pool or have a quiet read in the resort’s library. Day trips can be arranged at the tour desk, which also assists with car rentals.

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Located opposite the resort is Peace Tropical Spa, which offers massage treatments. Peace Resort is 1.5 km from Fisherman’s Village and 6 km from Samui International Airport.

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This is our guests’ favourite part of Bophut , according to independent reviews.

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This property is also rated for the best value in Bophut ! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

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Sirilanna (4 Star) Hotel, Chiang Mai Thailand

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Sirilanna Hotel boasts classy traditional Northern Thai decor, just 300 m from Chedi Luang Temple and one km from Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. Air-conditioned rooms come with free Wi-Fi and a private spa bath.

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Hotel Sirilanna is just 3 km from Chiang Mai International Airport. Local attractions like Thapae Gate and Sunday Walking Street are within a 10-minute stroll from the hotel.

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Fitted with wooden furnishings, the spacious rooms at Sirilanna come with flat-screen cable TVs and DVD players. Each also has a well-stocked minibar and tea/coffee making facilities.

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Sirilanna Hotel features a large outdoor pool with sun loungers, perfect for guests to enjoy the sun. They can also enjoy a quiet evening at the hotel library.

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Guests can try a variety of local dishes at Sirilanna Restaurant or enjoy drinks at the bar. Room service is available on request.

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This is our guests’ favourite part of Chiang Mai, according to independent reviews.

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This property is also rated for the best value in Chiang Mai! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

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Thailand – Bangkok, Plane Spotting

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Bangkok, Thailand, April 2016. Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is non-stop action and for visitors on foot with a reliance on public transport nearby Lat Krabang is an ideal location to obtain some landing shots. One station before the airport, Lat Krabang is situated on the extended centreline to Bangkoks landing runway and offers very close views of […]

via Thailand – Bangkok, Plane Spotting — planemadblog

Mamaison Hotel, Buriram

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Mamaison Hotel is a 10-minute drive from I-Moblie Football Stadium. It offers modern air-conditioned rooms with a balcony and free Wi-Fi. The hotel features a 24-hour front desk, pool and massage service.

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The hotel is a 45-minute drive to Buriram Airport. It is a 50-minute drive to Prasat Muang Tum and Prasat Phanom Rung.

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Rooms are furnished with contemporary décor. They are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV, minibar and electric kettle. Shower facilities are included in an en suite bathroom. Some rooms have a spa bath.

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For guests’ convenience, the hotel has meeting rooms, luggage storage and shuttle service. Free public parking is possible on site.

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Thai and fusion dishes are served at the restaurant. Room service can be arranged upon request.

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Pullman Phuket Arcadia, Naithon Beach

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Perched on the headland overlooking the Andaman Sea with direct access to Naithon Beach, Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach offers guests a tranquil and relaxing getaway. Featuring a spa centre, this luxurious resort boasts 2 outdoor pools, a children’s pool and a a gym. Guests can head to any of the 3 bars, bakery or 2 restaurants on-site.

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The property is a 10-minute drive from Phuket International Airport, a 12-minute drive from Splash Jungle and a 15-minute drive from Blue Canyon Golf Course and Laguna Golf Course. It is a 30-minute drive from Big Buddha and Royal Phuket Marina. Central Festival Department Store and Patong Beach are a 40-minute drive away, while Phuket Aquarium is a 45-minute drive away.

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Soundproof rooms at Pullman Phuket Arcadia are stylishly furnished with contemporary décor. Each one comes equipped with a balcony, a flat-screen cable/satellite TV and an iPod docking station. It has a seating area, a coffee machine and a minibar. Free toiletries are included in an en suite bathroom with a separate bathtub and rain shower.

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Staff at the 24-hour front desk can assist guests with currency exchange, luggage storage and laundry. The hotel also has meeting facilities, a library and a business centre. Other services include a shuttle service and a tour desk.

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Guests can enjoy a variety of international dishes at the restaurant. In-room dining option is available upon request.

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Kirimaya Golf Resort, Pakchong Nakornratcharima

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Leave the stress of the city behind for a peaceful retreat, as you head to Kirimaya, which offers luxurious accommodation and an exclusive golf course.

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A 2 hour drive away from Bangkok, the Kirimaya is surrounded by lush green hills and grasslands. Close to Khao Yai National Park, the area is known for its wild animals, scenic nature trails and majestic waterfalls. A shuttle to the local village is also offered.

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Rooms at the Kirimaya are furnished in a charming blend of Thai and contemporary styles. They feature hardwood flooring and a private balcony with a bamboo daybed. Amenities and services include a DVD player and wireless high-speed internet access, as well as room service.

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Lounge by the swimming pool with a good book or pamper yourself with a massage and body treatment at Maya Spa.

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If you’re looking to maintain your regular work-out, head to the fitness centre, while avid golfers will be pleased with the 18-hole championship golf course. Other activities the friendly staff can arrange include elephant trekking and visiting a local winery.

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After a long day enjoy a meal at Kirimaya’s 3 on-site restaurants offering Thai and international dishes, as well as fresh Japanese cuisine.

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Baumanburi Hotel, Patong Phuket

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One of the top picks in Patong Beach. Baumanburi Hotel offers luxury rooms with a spacious design, just a 5-minute walk from Patong Beach. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, a spa and a fitness centre. Free Wi-Fi is available in the lobby.

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Baumanburi is a 5-minute walk from Jungceylon Shopping Mall, and a short walk away from other shopping and entertainment options at Patong Town. Phuket International Airport is 45 km away.

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Rooms are air-conditioned and feature cable TV, a minibar and a tea/coffee maker. A curtained window separates each bedroom from its bathroom. Some rooms come with a private balcony.

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Guests at Hotel Baumanburi can unwind with a massage or in the sauna, or they can get active with a game of table tennis. Travel arrangements can be made at the tour desk.

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Baumanburi Hotel’s restaurant Siam Flavours, which opens from 06:00-23:30 hrs specialises in local, Chinese and international dishes. The pool bar serves a wide range of beverages. Socialise and recharge after a workout at Lobby Cafe, opens till 23:30 hr. Room service is also available.

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