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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.
||Just a hundred kilometres away from Bangkok, Suphan Buri is an ancient town rich in natural and historical heritage. The province was once an important border town involving battles and important wars during the period of the Ayutthaya kingdom. So, today, travelling around the province is like drifting through historical novels. Historical evidence leads you to travel to the past such as Don Chedi Monument, Wat Khao Khuen whose abbot played a significant role in Thai history, U Thong National Museum, etc. Furthermore, various natural wonders such as Phu Toei National Park, Bueng Chawak Aquarium, as well as the famous local-style cake Sali Suphan always impress visitors.
Suphan Buri occupies a total area of 5,358 square kilometres and is administratively divided into 10 districts (Amphoes); Muang Suphan Buri, Doem Bang Nang Buat, Bang Pla Ma, Si Prachan, Song Phi Nong, Sam Chuk, U Thong, Don Chedi, Dan Chang and Nong Ya Sai.
|Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya
||The Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya or Ayutthaya in short, is one of Thailand's historical and majestic highlights. Serving as the Thai capital for 417 years (1350 1767: Kingdom of Ayutthaya), it was once glorified as one of the biggest cities in the world a Southeast Asia center for civilizations. During the 17th century, most foreign visitors to Ayutthaya, traders or diplomats alike, claimed Ayutthaya to be the most illustrious and glittering city that they had ever visited. The map of Ayutthaya published in 1691 by Simon de la Loub?re in Du Royaume De Siam is proof of such recognition.
The Kingdom of Ayutthaya reached its apex in terms of sovereignty, military might, wealth, culture, and international commerce in the 16th century when the Kingdoms territory was extended far beyond present-day Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Ayutthaya even had diplomatic relations with Louis XIV of France and was courted by Dutch, Portuguese, English, Chinese and Japanese merchants.
Visitors can explore and appreciate Thai history in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, which is situated only 86 kilometers north of Bangkok. Visitors to Ayutthaya can marvel at its grandeur reflected through numerous magnificent structures and ruins concentrated in and around the city island surrounded by Maenam Chao Phraya, Maenam Pa Sak and Maenam Lopburi.
More importantly,Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Historical Park, an extensive historical site in the heart of Ayutthaya city, has been included in UNESCO's World Heritage list since 13 December, 1991.
||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
||Nonthaburi is over 400 years old, dating back to when Ayutthaya was the capital. The town was originally located at Tambon Ban Talat Khwan, a famous fruit orchard where the Chao Phraya River and various canals pass through.
King Prasat Thong ordered the digging of a canal as a shortcut from the south of Wat Thai Muang to Wat Khema because the old waterway flowed into Om River to Bang Yai then to Bang Kruai Canal next to Wat Chalo before ending in front of Wat Khema.
After the new shortcut was completed, the Chao Phraya River changed its flow into the new route that remains today. In 1665, King Narai the Great noticed that the new route gave enemies too much proximity to the capital. Therefore, he ordered that a fortress be built at the mouth of Om River and relocated Nonthaburi to this area. A city shrine still stands there.
Later during the reign of King Rama IV of the Rattanakosin period, he ordered the town moved to the mouth of Bang Su Canal in Ban Talat Khwan. King Rama V then had the provincial hall built there on the left bank of the Chao Phraya River. In 1928, the hall was moved to Ratchawitthayalai, Ban Bang Khwan, Tambon Bang Tanao Si. It is now the Training Division of the Ministry of Interior on Pracha Rat 1 Road, Amphoe Muang, on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. The building is of European architecture decorated with patterned woodwork. The Fine Arts Department has registered it as an historical site. The provincial hall is now on Rattanathibet Road.
||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.
||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.