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||According to most historians, the ancient town of Kanchanaburi was located near Ban Lat Ya, a small village situated approximately 16 kilometers north of the present town. The site was repeatedly recorded in Thai history as an invasion route which the Burmese used to enter Thai Kingdoms.
Kanchanaburi, which has mostly mountainous terrain, covers an area of approximately 19,473 square kilometers and is the third largest province in Thailand after Chiang Mai and Nakhon Ratchasima. Situated approximately 129 kilometres west of Bangkok, Kanchanaburi shares a border with Myanmar to the west, Tak and Uthai Thani Provinces to the north, Suphan Buri and Nakhon Pathom Provinces to the east, and Ratchaburi Province to the south.
In north and west Kanchanaburi, the terrain is comprised mainly of mountains and high plains, with the Thanon Thongchai Range acting as a natural border between Thailand and Myanmar. The range is the source of Kanchanaburis two most important rivers Mae Nam Khwae Noi and Mae Nam Khwae Yai, which form the famous Maenam Mae Klong. As a result, several of Thailand's largest Namtok (waterfalls) and most extensive wildlife sanctuaries are found in this area.
The magnificent landscape and charming beauty of Kanchanaburi have resulted in major tourist attractions including several well-known waterfalls, caves which were once inhabited by Neolithic man, pristine national parks, tranquil rivers, virgin forests, and reservoir. Together, they offer an intriguing experience for first-time or repeat visitors. Whether its fishing, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, bird-watching, star-gazing, golfing, elephant and jungle trekking, or even living in bamboo rafts, Kanchanaburi takes pride in offering them all.
The city of Kanchanaburi is located at the point where two tributaries, the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai meet and form the Maenam Mae Klong. This is the location of the notorious Death Railway and the Bridge on the River Khwae one of the worlds famous World War II sites which have been immortalized in print and film.
In economic terms, Kanchanaburi has been doing well on a national scale, with over 10 per cent growth annually. Important industries include sugar, agricultural products and jewelry. Tourism is also a main source of income for the locals as the provinces high tourism potential has made Kanchanaburi number one among the west provinces in having the highest number of visitors each year.
Residents of Kanchanaburi are engaged in agricultural activities. Most of the locals are of Thai ancestry with notable Mon and Karen minorities. Rural dwellers enjoy living simply and respecting nature. Moreover folk music and dances dating back at least 500 years are still performed today.
||Bangkok was founded in 1782 by the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty. It is now the country's spiritual, cultural, diplomatic, commercial and educational hub. It covers an area of more than 1,500 square kilometres, and it is home to approximatlely ten million people or more than 10% of the country's population.
Over the last few decades, Thailand's capital city, Bangkok, has changed into a modern, exciting and sophisticated city. It offers to visitors not only the cosmopolitan amenities they would expect from other big cities, but also a unique treasure trove of cultural attractions. Thailand, in the heart of Southeast Asia, was never colonised and thus kept its unique culture and heritage intact. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience fascinating glimpse of Thailand's gentle culture amidst the bustle of a great and dynamic metropolis. This great city has had astounding success in combining the ancient and modern world.
For tourists, Bangkok has a feast of attractions to offer. The city is dotted with 400 glittering Buddhist temples of great beauty and fascination, magnificent palaces, classical dance extravaganzas, numerous shopping centres and traditional ways of life, especially along the "Venice of the East" timeless canals and the Chao Phraya River of the "River of Kings" winding through the city. It is worth taking a trip along its waters before exploring further into different canals to take a glimpse of old Bangkok.
||Ratchaburi, a glorious town during the Dvaravati period, is located on the bank of the Mae Klong River. The provincial area abounds in natural attractions and historical sites. It is located 80 kilometres west of Bangkok and borders on Myanmar to the west having the Tanaosi Range as a borderline.
Ratchaburi occupies an area of 5,196 square kilometres and is administratively divided into nine districts: Muang Ratchaburi, Photharam, Damnoen Saduak, Pak Tho, Chom Bueng, Bang Phae, Wat Phleng , Suan Phueng, and Ban Pong, and one sub-district: King Amphoe Ban Kha.
||Samut Prakan, also known as Pak Nam, is located 29 kilometres south of Bangkok, around the area where the Chao Phraya River flows into the Gulf of Thailand. It is a town of the Ayutthaya period. Samut Prakan is home to countless historical and cultural sites. It occupies an area of 1,004 square kilometres and is administratively divided into 5 districts (Amphoes) and 1 sub-district (Ging Amphoe); Amphoe Muang Samut Prakan, Amphoe Phra Pradaeng, Amphoe Bang Phli, Amphoe Bang Bo, Amphoe Phra Sumut Chedi, and Ging Amphoe Bang Sao Thong.
||Samut Sakhon was formerly called Tha Chin probably because, in the old days, it had been a trading port dealing with a vast number of Chinese junks. In 1548, a town named Sakhon Buri was established at the mouth of the Tha Chin River. It was a centre for recruiting troops from various seaside towns. The name of the town was changed into "Mahachai" when Khlong (canal) Mahachai was dug in 1704 to join the Tha Chin River at the town. Later, the town was renamed Samut Sakhon by King Rama IV but it is still popularly called "Mahachai" by the villagers.
Samut Sakhon is located 30 kms. from Bangkok. The province occupies a total area of 872 square kilometres and is administratively divided into 3 districts: Muang Samut Sakhon, Krathum Baen, and Ban Phaeo. It is a major fishing port and also the biggest producer of brine salt.
||Phetchaburi, locally known by Thais as Muang Phetch, is located 160 kilometers south of Bangkok. One of Thailands central region provinces, Phetchaburi is situated on the western shore of the Gulf of Thailand with an overall area of approximately 6,225 square kilometers. Its terrains throughout the western border, where Tanaosri Range lies as a natural border between Thailand and Myanmar, are mountainous dense jungles. In the east, there is an 80-kilometer long coastline towards the Gulf of Thailand.
A very old city which used to be an important royal fort town, Phetchaburi had been given several names such as, Phripphri, Phripphli or Phetchaphli. Some historians have gone as far as to say that Phetchaburi could have been named in Indian style, as the Indian influence in those days day was strong. Others put forward the idea that the name Phetchaburi might have originated from Maenam Phetch the most important river of the town.
Whatever the assumptions are, the fact that Phetchaburi is an ancient city with a very long history is undeniable. This has been proven by many archaeological findings which could be dated back to the Dvaravati Period.
During Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Kingdoms, Phetchaburi was a strategic royal fort in the west. Only a lineage of Kings had the rights to rule this historical city. That is why Phetchaburi has been called by some scholars as the "Living Ayutthaya" as the town shares many similar things to the City of Ayutthaya. The prosperity of the Ayutthaya Kingdom can be seen and appreciated in Phetchaburi's wealth of fine old temples.
In the Rattanakosin Era, Phetchaburi has changed its character to a town of charming beauty, with peaceful seaside resorts and superb natural reserves. The three Kings of the Rattanakosin Period, King Rama IV, V, and VI established their retreats here. They built the three palaces namely Phranakhonkhiri, Phraramrajanivet, Phrarajnivesmarugadayawan in Phetchaburi thus, Phetchaburi is also known as Muang Sam Wang (the city of the three Palaces). The province is also well known for its splendid historical park, ancient temples, wonderful beaches and caves, as well as a great variety of local and fresh seafood. Phetchaburi also has a popular resort town, Cha-am which is the premier beach resort in the province.
The majority of the local residents are engaged in agricultural activities including rice farming, upland crop farming, fruit farming, palm sugar production, animal husbandry and sea and fresh water fisheries.
There are three important Maenam in Phetchaburi including "Maenam Phetchaburi with an overall length of 227 kilometers, "Maenam Bang Kloy", with an overall length of 44 kilometers, and "Maenam Bang Tabun", with an overall length of 18 kilometers.
||Samut Songkhram is the province of fertile land, of plants and food grains, the production source of vegetables and fruits, as well as a vast variety of seafood products. It is also an interesting historical source for the early Rattanakosin period.
Samut Songkhram is an ancient province with a long history. Originally, it is believed that this province was once a part of Ratchaburi province, and called Suan Nork at that time. Then, towards the end of the Ayutthaya period going on to the Thonburi period, it was separated from Ratchaburi province and was called Mueang Mae Klong.
Samut Songkhram is located 72 Kilometres from Bangkok, occupies an area of 416 square kilometres and is administratively divided into 3 districts: Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Amphawa, and Amphoe Bang Khonthi
|Prachuap Khiri Khan
||Prachuap Khiri Khan
(including Hua Hin)
The provincial capital is a fishing port with a superb location beside beautiful curving bays and amongst steep mountain outcrops. About 100 kilometres to the north of Prachuap Khiri Khan is Hua Hin, Thailand's first beach resort which is renowned for golf and spa. Between Hua Hin and Prachuap Khiri Khan are Pran Buri with many boutique resorts and Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park with soaring peaks, numerous caves and exotic bird life.
281 kilometers south of Bangkok, Hua Hin, which literally means stone head in Thai, is the oldest beach resort of the country and is still very popular. Clean white sand, crystal clear water and a tranquil atmosphere has continued to attract tourists in search of peaceful and relaxing holidays.
The town was originally known as Ban Samoe Rieng, or Ban Laem Hin (Stony Point Village). The construction of a railway station in the city as part of the Southern Railroad in the reign of King Rama VI resulted in making Hua Hin stand out from many quite fishing villages. In addition, the construction of a Summer Palace of King Rama VII totally transformed the village into a high-society resort town for royalty. Even today, the Royal Family continues to reside at the Palace for part of the year.
Hua Hin's consequence came with the opening of the Railway Hotel (known today as the Sofitel Central Hotel), an elegant Victorian-style resort hotel, and also the countrys first standard golf course. A cluster of royal and high-society residences gradually became more visible resulting in the transformation of the whole village into the first seaside resort of the country, where visitors could enjoy swimming, fishing, and golfing in the country's first standard golf course.
Today, Hua Hin is a well-established beach destination with word-class facilities coupled with a true sense of Thai hospitality. Despite its expansive growth and development as a luxurious destination, the splendor of Hua Hin remains intact. Remaining content in itself, Thailand's oldest seaside resort has never sought international recognition. It has continued to provide a peaceful and relaxed sanctuary in a picturesque environment that comes with a true sense of historical identity.