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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.
||Nakhon Pathom is a small province located just 56 Kms. from Bangkok. The province features an ancient religious structure called “Phra Pathom Chedi”, the first religious landmark that signified the influx of Buddhism into Thailand. Nakhon Pathom is also renowned for its abundant fruits varieties and famous dishes.
Formerly situated by the sea, the city prospered during the Dvaravati civilisation. According to archaeological findings, Nakhon Pathom was the first city to possess influences of Buddhism and Indian civilisations. From the Phra Pathom Chedi and other remains discovered in the city area, it is believed that the city was a centre of civilisation in that era. People of different races settled in Nakhon Pathom. However, a change in the course of the river caused a draught that forced the people to migrate and settle on the banks of river, and these communities developed into towns. The new town was called “Nakhon Chaisi” or “Sirichai”, leaving Nakhon Pathom deserted for hundreds of years until the reign of King Rama IV. While His Majesty was in monk hood, he travelled to Nakhon Pathom and found the Phra Pathom Chedi that he regarded to be the largest pagoda of all.
When King Rama IV ascended to the throne, he commanded that a bell shaped Chedi be built to cover the former Chedi. The surrounding area was also renovated and improved. He also commanded that a water canal be dug to facilitate commuting, which was called Chedi Bucha canal. During the reign of King Rama V, the construction of railways to the south began, at that time Nakhon Pathom was still a heavily forested area. King Rama V also commanded that the town be relocated from Tambon Thana, Amphoe Nakhon Chaisi, to the Phra Pathom Chedi area as it used to be. Nakhon Pathom has been there ever since.
During the reign of King Rama VI, a palace was built at Tambon Sanam Chan as a temporary residence on his travels and many roads were constructed. A large bridge was also built over the Chedi Bucha canal, which His Majesty named “Saphan Charoensattha”. Later, he commanded that the name of Nakhon Chaisi be changed to Nakhon Pathom, but the name of the prefecture was still called “Nakhon Chaisi” until the reign of King Rama VII when the calling of the prefecture was ended. Nakhon Chaisi is now one of the districts in Nakhon Pathom.
Nakhon Pathom covers an area of 2,168 square kilometres or 542,081.6 acres. It is divided into 7 administrative districts or Amphoe, they are: Amphoe Muang Nakhon Pathom, Amphoe Buddhamonthon, Amphoe Sam Phran, Amphoe Nakhon Chaisi, Amphoe Bang Len, Amphoe Kamphaeng Saen, and Amphoe Don Toom. Most of the areas are plains with no mountainous land, plateau are found in the west east of Amphoe Muang and Amphoe Kamphaeng Saen. The plains along the Tha Cheen River (Nakhon Chaisi River) are the location of Amphoe Nakhon Chaisi, Amphoe Sam Phran, and Amphoe Bang Len. These fertile lands provide agricultural area for people, thus most of the residents earn their living from agriculture; plantations, farming, growing food crops, and fruit orchards. Moreover, Nakhon Pathom is well known for pomelo, some call the Nakhon Pathom the sweet pomelo town
||Nakhon Nayok is a destination which is often taken for granted by many tourists. The fact that it is located just 106 kilometers from Bangkok and its attractions may be visited as a day trip makes it just a stop over spot for travelers. But this is not always the case. Nakhon Nayok is famous for its refreshing natural beauty including waterfalls and parks, renowned historical sites, soft adventure activities, and its variety of fruits.
Nakhon Nayok is one of Thailand's central provinces. Covering some 2,130 square kilometres, it borders Saraburi and Nakhon Ratchasima Provinces on the north, Prachin Buri Province on the east, Chachoengsao Province on the south and Pathum Thani Province on the west.
The northern part of Nakhon Nayok is located in the Dong Phaya Yen mountain range an area covered by the Khao Yai National Park. Yod Khao Kiew, its highest peak, is 1,292 meters above sea level. The central part of the province is on a contrary, a rather flat river plain formed by the Maenam Nakhon Nayok. The southern part of the province has relatively unfertile acidic soil.
The provincial seal says a lot about Nakhon Nayok. It is a picture of a circle indicating the unity of Nakhon Nayok people. An elephant raising an ear of rice in the circle represents fertile forests with numerous elephants. An ear of rice refers to farming which is fruitful. The background with a pile of straw, trees and clouds depicts fertility and the natural beauty of the province.
||Prachin Buri used to be a very prosperous town with beautiful waterfalls and canals which are very popular among nature adventurers.
In the old days, Prachin Buri had a long history of civilization of about 800 years ago, since the Dvaravati period. The ruined town of Muang Si Mahosot at Tambon Khokpip, Amphoe Mahosot was discovered. At Ban Khok Kwang, Amphoe Si Mahosot, east to Mueang Si Mahosot, there was an ancient community at the same period as Muang Si Mahosot.
Through the traces of the ancient towns, there were discoveries of historical venues that were used for religious purposes and historic materials such as Buddha images, earthenwares, and pottery. It was also recorded that the center of civilization has been moved to the present coast of the Bang Pakong River. There were many administration alterations, from town to Monthon, and Changwat (Province) at present.
||Chachoengsao or Paet Rio is located on the east of Bangkok. Its fertility is due to Bang Pakong River. It is an important venue for agricultural products in the Central Region, with mango as the most popular fruit of the province. Moreover, it is the location of the sacred Phra Phutthasothon Buddha image.
Derived from Khmer, the name Chachoengsao means deep canal, while the name of Paet Rio (Paet means eight and Rio means stripes) has been believed to have come from the way dried fish (which are abundant in the area) were being pierced into eight stripes.
The history of Chachoengsao dated back since the Ayutthaya Period during the reign of King Phra Borom Tri Lokkanat. Most people live along the banks of Bang Pakong River and canals. Phra Phutthasothon or Luang Pho Sothon is the center of beliefs and faith. In the past, Chachoengsao was a small town, and was upgraded to a province in 1916.
Chachoengsao is 80 kilometers from Bangkok, with the area of 5,351 square kilometers. The local administration is divided into 10 Amphoe (district) and 1 King Amphoe (sub-district), namely: Amphoe Muang, Bang Khla, Bang Nam Prieo, Bang Pakong, Ban Pho, Phanom Sarakham, Sanam Chai Khet, Plaeng Yao, Ratchasan, Tha Takiap, and King Amphoe Khlong Khuean.
||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 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.
||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.
||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.
||Chonburi, Bangkoks nearest seaside town, is located on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, only 80 kilometers from Bangkok. The area boasts abundant natural resources, which are highlighted by delightful beaches, local colors, traditions, delicacies and fresh seafood. This is a popular resort among Bangkokians who seek the nearest escape from hectic weekly schedules as Chon Buri has something for everyone. In addition, Chon Buri is the center of the Eastern Seaboard Development Project, with its industrial parks and fishing villages.
Pattaya A Travelers Paradise
Pattaya is nestled along a picturesque bay on the East Coast of the Gulf of Thailand, roughly 170 kilometers southeast of Bangkok. From a fishing village in the 1960's, Pattaya has emerged as the favorite Southeast Asian vacation center. A fascinating escape where tourists, holiday makers and vacationers from around the world unfold an incomparable array of possibilities to unwind during an exotic holiday beach vacation.
Unlike other beach resorts, where natural surroundings are used as magnets to attract tourists, Pattaya makes an all-out attempt to provide the best of everything. Here, everything means everything a tourist can imagine while on holiday: recreation, entertainment, sports, sightseeing and fun. To put it simply, Pattaya is a paradise for everyone, as it has a variety of attractions suitable for all types of visitors. This is the place where you can fill your day, from dusk to dawn, with endless activities, or you may choose to do nothing at all and relax.
||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.
||Located approximately 220 kilometers from Bangkok is another delightful resort on Thailand’s eastern coast – Rayong province. A late bloomer, the province is well known for its pristine beaches stretching along a 100-kilometer coastline and scenic waterfalls amidst exotic surroundings. Aside from this, Rayong is blessed with an abundance of seafood products such as shrimp paste, fish sauce and dried seafood, and tropical fruits of which rambutan, mangosteen and durian are the most famous.
Covering a total area of 3,552 square kilometers, Rayong borders Chonburi Province on the north and the west, the Gulf of Thailand on the south, and Chantaburi Province on the east. Most of the land is marked by a series of mountains interspersed by flat plains and large tracts of forest and fruit plantations. Administratively, the province is divided into Mueang Rayong, Klaeng, Ban Khai, Bang Chang, Pluak Daeng and Wang Chan districts and Khao Chamao and Nikhom Phatthana Sub-districts.
Boasting indispensable sea-life resources, Rayong is one of the country’s major agricultural and industrial provinces. On the other hand, the province has maintained its traditions and customs in the daily lifestyle of the locals. The best months to visit Rayong are from November to February.
|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.