A Travellerspoint blog

Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park

sunny 33 °C

On the way to Hua Hin, there is an old royal palace built during the reign of King Mongkut that worth a detour to take a closer view of the architectures of this ancient Thai royal residence. Due to the location of the palace which is situated on top of the hills, the palace is known as Khao Wang to the locals and Thais. As for foreigners, this former palace of King Mongkut is named Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park where the main royal residence area has turned into a museum for purpose of preservations and knowledge centre for Thais and foreigners. To get to the palace ground from the base, visitors most common and frequent entry point is through the hills tramcar. This is being the most convenient and comfortable access mode to the historical park in particular if you reached the place mid afternoon.

THE TRAM TO PHRA NAKHON KHIRI HISTORICAL PARK
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On reaching the base of the hill, you will be greeted by the lush surroundings with leafless trees lined up the landscape of the palace ground. There were few old buildings with one and two storey structures which were used as living quarters for palace guards and workers as well as kitchen seen around here as well as an old fortress. This is where the Western Peak of Phra Nakhon Historical Park is situated. At this Western Peak, few important structures to note including the museum which is the main royal residence, Wichien Prasat Throne Hall, Ratchathamma Sapha Throne Hall and the Chatchawan Wiengchai Observatory Tower. There was a staircase leading up another level of the hill where the Phra Nakhon Khiri National Museum. This main museum premise showcase the King Mongkut residence hall in Khao Wang where you need to dressed appropriately to enter or be provided with sarong to cover up before entering the museum. No photos are allowed inside which is basically being the residence area with various function rooms constructed within the building. The view from the palace museum was just spectacular ovelooking part of the city of Phetchaburi province with lush greenaries and tree landscape. The wind can be felt blowing constantly through the wide open windows and doors from all parts of the hills as you tour the museum.

THE OLD PALACE LIVING QUARTERS FOR PALACE WORKERS & ITS SURROUNDINGS ON WESTERN PEAK @ KHAO WANG. THE NATIONAL MUSEUM WHICH IS ALSO THE PALACE RESIDENCE HALL

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From the national museum, there was another short staircase that leads to several other ancient structures including Witchayan Prasat Throne Hall, Ratchathamma Sapha Throne Hall and the Chatchawan Wiengchai Observatory Tower. The Witchayan Prasat was used as a worshipping or the royal holy place for the King to perform rituals and religious prayers while the Wiengchai Observatory Tower was used by King Mongkut for purpose of palace surroundings views and observations.

WITCHAYAN PRASAT THRONE HALL & THE VIEW OF PETCHABURI CITY FROM THE WESTERN PEAK @ KHAO WANG
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RATCHATHAMMA SAPHA THRONE HALL LOCATED BELOW WICTHAYAN PRASAT THRONE HALL
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CHATCHWAN WIENGCHAI OBSERVATORY TOWER
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On the Middle or Central Peak was the Phra That Chom Phet which is a huge old chedi structure similar to those found in Thai temples. It is located just next to the Eastern Peak. I had a good view of the chedi from the Western Peak also overlooks the Eastern Peak which consist of the Wat Phra Kaew Noi similar to the one located in Bangkok but a smaller version. There was also a Red Pagoda or Chedi Daeng within the Eastern Peak.

CENTRAL PEAK WHERE THE PHRA THAT CHOM PHET (HUGE OLD CHEDI) IS LOCATED
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EASTERN PEAK WITH WAT PHRA KAEW NOI (SMALL WAT PHRA KAEW), THE RED PAGODA AND A CHEDI
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Khao Wang is worth a short detour to have close view of the old palace and hill top view of Phetchaburi city either on way to or return from Hua Hin. The view of the city and the atmosphere of the hill palace which can be summed up as lovely and delightful.

Posted by kidd27 07:07 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Swiss Sheep Farm

Side tour to a small but lovely show farm on way to Hua Hin

semi-overcast 28 °C

Swiss Sheep Farm in Phetchaburi province Thailand is not exactly a sheep farm but mainly an establishment as a side tour product as you travel from Bangkok to Hua Hin. It is not only for family with children but anyone who does not mind to experience such side tour on first visit. One of course should not expect much from a tour set up such as Swiss Sheep Farm but to me it is still worth a visit at least for once just to check out how this place look like and what to see and do. As the farm name suggested, you will definitely have the chance to see some sheeps not commonly seen in South East Asia countries such as Thailand except goats. But be well assured this is surely not a real sheep farm. And you would also see the year 2012 on the name of the farm which probably is to suggest that it was established in year 2012.

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The area of which the Swiss Sheep Farm covered was quite sizeable and the owner has successfully created a real sheep farm experience to those who visited this place due to the right landscape and natural surroundings on the background of the farm. It has some hills on one end of the farm and large open field which has created a real farm atmosphere. There were several replicas such as trucks, pick up vehicles, cows, bicycle, graveyards, farm house, warehouse, jeep, windmill, sheep, barns and some fun replicas for photography sessions. Other than sheeps, there were also other animals such as chicken, rabbits and horses on display.

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It basically provide some nice opportunity for photography sessions for those who loves such hobby or even wedding photography preferred by Asian couples. There was also a 3D art photo house where visitors can play around with various paintings on the walls to take some fun photographs with it. Overall, as I mentioned earlier Swiss Sheep Farm is not waste of your resources in particular for first timers and those who are always has the mind to explore new adventure. This sheep farm in Phetchaburi province definitely has provided me yet another good exploration opportunity.

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Posted by kidd27 06:18 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The Venezia Hua Hin

semi-overcast 28 °C

I have been to Hua Hin for several times but has never before visited this theme park which supposedly also double as a place for dining and shopping for tourists while on holiday here in this royal beach retreat city. As the name suggest, the park was established with an Italian taste to its building architectures and the landscapes of its surroundings which shown very much Italian and European characters to it. I did read about some unfortunate fate of this park, which started operations no more than 5 years ago, As I have never visited this entertainment and shopping themed outlet, curiousity has got the better of me to check out how true were those informations. Sadly, those stories were reality and the Venezia over at Hua Hin was indeed in its most sorry state. Due to some success of such European themed entertainment and shopping outlets in some other provinces of Thailand, these has attracted interests from individuals or corporates to established such park obviously for business interests and ultimately of course the good financial gains. Nevertheless, this is common for those with business interests and for tourists be it local or foreign, this provide additional choice of travel itinerary options which is good.The Venezia Hua Hin has high potential to be one of the place to have fun, chill, shopping and dine. It is hopeful that someday, the owner(s) could work out things with relevant parties to seriously revived the park. It already has the right facilities within a good location in Hua Hin but currently has little to offer to attract visitors apart from its iconic man-made river cruise on boats manually rowed by the park's boatmen and the 3D art house for photography tricks purpose. Most shops have stop operations due to lack of visitors.

IMPRESSIVE ITALIAN & EUROPEAN STYLED BUILDING @ THE VENEIA HUA HIN
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DECORATIVE SCULPTURES @ THE VENEZIA HUA HIN
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There were various other replicas of different characters for purpose of photography around the park and a 3D art house and train rides of which requires payments for entrance. No entrance fees are charged contrary to some informations available on the net. Other than that most services and entertainment activities including the boat ride incur fees. The Italian and European styled building designs were grand and provide very good and beautiful photo taking opportunities nevertheless. Those buildings were grand and beautiful and quite impressive on a glance. Its indeed provide a nice and marvelous photography opportunity and at the moment it stops there. Maybe some fun too at 3D art house.

RETAIL SHOPS & CAFES?RESTAURANTS @ VENEZIA HUA HIN
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VENICE BOAT RIDE STYLE SEEN @ THE VENEZIA HUA HIN
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The Venezia was similar to that of The Mimosa in Pattaya city in Chonburi province, which was much livelier due to the availability of ladyboy shows which somehow has able to attract visitors due to its funny and entertaining nature of such show performances which include singing, dancing, jokes and inviting participation from members of the floor to join in certain activities. Ladyboys have gained support in Thailand by certain individuals in particular in Pattaya to offer them a new lease of life to earn money in decent ways. I too was amazed by the entertainment shows performed by the ladyboys in Pattaya including the one at the Mimosa. But over here at The Venezia, this is definitely a different side of Hua Hin and maybe some fresh ideas or some tested model in different ways shall be developed to bring this park a fresh lifeline so as this will add up as another interesting tourist spot in Hua Hin.

DECORATIVE & ARTWORKS @ THE VENEZIA HUA HIN
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Posted by kidd27 05:08 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Splashing time in Hua Hin

semi-overcast 27 °C

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Hua Hin should be the 3rd nearest beach retreat from Bangkok after Pattaya and Bang Saen. But there is something distinctive about Hua Hin which why this beach retreat city is well adored. The most notable icon in Hua Hin is its train station which has maintained much of its original structures to date. The red and light yellowish paint on the wooden structures of the station somewhat created an unforgettable memory of this train station visit or even just a few seconds of passing through it. I appreciate this Hua Hin train station on how the building has been preserved and maintained appropriately which has turned it into one of the place to be to have some good photography. Apart from the train station, Hua Hin is also a royal city that has also made this beach city yet another reason why Hua Hin is distinctive.

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Taking a dip into the beach is somehow a normal activity when visiting Hua Hin. There were also few other attractions in Hua Hin and surroundings for 1st timer to Hua Hin. I visited Hua Hin for several times and this visit I took time to visit and enjoy some splashing fun time at one of its water park, the Black Mountain Water Park. This is not the latest water park in Hua Hin and is not a huge water park. The location of Black Mountain Water Park is about 11 km away from Hua Hin city and the place surrounded this water park is mostly undeveloped with lush landscape. As such, the atmosphere of the water park is relaxing, peaceful, quiet with minimal pollution. On how the Black Mountain Water Park got its name, I believe it must be the few small mountains that have been preserved on the background of this water park. Apart from its green surrounding landscape, another thing I like about Black Mountain Water Park is the size of the park which is small and not overcrowded. Perhaps due to its slightly away from city location and new as well as larger water park that came up after Black Mountain Water Park, this water park is able to maintained its current relaxing atmosphere.

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There is a locker area where you could keep your belongings safely in which a deposit of THB 500 need to be placed and you will be given a magnetic rubber hand grip which is used to open and secure the locker. Changing and shower room located just next to the locker area. Once you have changed and keep all belongings safely, its time to head to the sliders and have splashing good time.

There are few sliders at Black Mountain Water Park that you should not missed to have fun time out. The signature of Black Mountain Water Park is The Bee, the black and yellowish stripe covered slider. The colour of this slider must have been how it got its name. You can either go on solo or double on a single or double tube. The Bee slide provides a very smooth and just nice speed level, length of slide and comfort. Once you were out of the slide, due to its smooth speed level , you would land on the base pool without being thrown deep into it . The Bee is definitely a good start to a more other thrilling slide adventure at Black Mountain Water Park.

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THE BEE SLIDES SIGNATURE IN BLACK & YELLOW @ BLACK MOUNTAIN WATER PARK

Next was the Blue Snake slide which is just on the side to The Bee slide which is the longest slides among all the slides at Black Mountain Water Park. The length of slide, smoothness and speed level is about the same as The Bee but what differentiates The Blue Snake and The Bee slide was that the former will plunge you into darkness just like a sudden blackout as you slide into it. Fear may soon be replaced with excitement and fun as you splash down knowing that you are on the right track due to the smoothness and the good speed level coupled with the fact that you will noticed small multiple led like lightning placed on top left of the slide. Once out of Blue Snake, you feel how the fear of darkness has been greatly relieved by the huge amount of rapid adrenaline push this slide has provided.

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THE BLUE SNAKES SLIDES IN BLUE

The White Ring slider has similar speed as that of The Bee & Blue Snake and is the third longest slide at Black Mountain Water Park. The difference between White Ring and its 2 other siblings was that this one is an open slide.

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THE WHITE RING SLIDES

Head over then to the Grey Screw which is the second longest slide after Blue Snake. The Grey Screw slide also provide one of the most fear due to its speed level that can be very fast. Just as you slide down the White Snake in the dark, you will start to feel the great adrenaline push as you were being cornered by each of such edges of the slide at high speed. This is definitely not for those faint hearted person as the great amount of fear and fun as well as excitement could be just to much to managed.

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THE GREY SCREW SLIDES IN WHITE

Then there is the Purple Speed slide which is a short length slide but enough to keep your heart pumping at the speed you could ever imagine. It was a fun slide just as you splash down the slide but as you reach a point, there was this sudden slide down edge that will make you feel as if you have plunged down out of nowhere from a high place down into somewhere. And this is where The Purple Speed slide provide the real enjoyment of water slide fun.

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THE PURPLE SPEED SLIDES IN PURPLE IN BETWEEN GREY SCREW & BLACK WAVE SLIDES

The Black Wave slide is located next to Purple Speed slide. Black Wave provided not quite the same adrenaline push in comparison to Purple Speed but just as excited and fun as Purple Speed. Its speed level is similar to that of Purple Speed but there feel of sudden plunge was not there for this one, but then came the roller coaster feel on a good amount of fastness which make it fun.

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BLACK WAVE SLIDES IN BLACK ON THE FAR RIGHT

There are few other slides which are suitable for children under the age of 12 under supervision of parents. 3 sliders side by side for fun of parents and their kids include Wide Wave, The Magenta and The Green slides provide some good fun splashing day out with family in Hua Hin. There was also the Wave Pool for a good feel of having fun swimming at the sea as well as the Lazy River where you can sit on the tube and tubing through flow of water on this river like pool. Few relax benches are available with roof shelter within several sections of the pools and slides. It was one of the best fun day out splashing and sliding through the various sliders at Black Mountain Water Park and I hope I could be back for yet another great splashing fun here.

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THE WIDE WAVE, THE MAGENTA & THE GREEN SLIDES

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THE WAVE POOL

THE LAZY RIVER FOR TUBING
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Relaxing benches with shelter

Posted by kidd27 07:45 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Yaowarat

The Chinatown of Bangkok

sunny 32 °C

Yaowarat is the Chinatown of Bangkok and its very unique because this is the district within Bangkok that has different characteristics from other Bangkok's districts. The Chinese in Thailand has blended into the Thai society for as long as 200 years ago. Though the Thai Chinese is still regarded as minority in the Thai population demographic, it has played major role in shaping Thailand's economic growth over the years. Today, Thailand is rapidly growing and transformed into a developed country, leading its other counterparts in the Indochina region. There are some few interesting things to do and take note while walking through Yaowarat. The main activities in Yaowarat focused along the Yaowarat Road and Charoen Krung Road, which are parallel against each other. If you come to Yaowarat from the Chao Phraya river, the pier to get down would be the Ratchawong pier and exiting from the pier, you would come to the Ratchawong Road, which would come to intersect with Yaowarat Road and then Charoen Krung Road. When you see the goldsmith shops which were crowded with customers, you know you have arrived at Yaowarat Road. Yaowarat is the place for Thais to purchase gold accessories from rings, bracelets, ear rings to necklace.

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A gold shop in Yaowarat

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Yaowarat Road is always busy and congested

Many Thais like to buy gold as form of investments as well as for speculations. There are dozens of goldsmith shops along Yaowarat and Charoen Krung Road and mostly are crowded with customers though not all enjoy the same rate of popularity. Some shops still maintained its olden days structure without any renovations done and still without air-conditioned. For Thais, gold is not only an investment tool but represents some kind of status within its society and level of wealth among the Thai society. There are many gold shops within Thailand not just in Bangkok or Yaowarat but Chinatown is the best place among all or well preferred by Thais when purchasing gold items and accessories. Therefore, gold shops are very special to Yaowarat, which means if there isn't a gold shop, it isn't Yaowarat. Traffic in Yaowarat is as chaotic, busy and noisy as ever. During the day, the big and oversize signboards mostly red and yellow coloured along Yaowarat Road are one of the iconic item to be well-noticed in Chinatown of Bangkok.

SHOPS ALONG CHAROEN KRUNG ROAD, YAOWARAT
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During the night, these signboards turned into bright neon lighted boards so bright that you would feel like being in probably another city due not only to the bright lights but the many Chinese characters reflected from the signboards. Other than gold shops, there are many Chinese medical shops which operate within next to each other or 2 or 3 shops away. These shops have many other items available other than Chinese medicines including herbs and ointments , snacks, candies, dry food and many other provisional items.

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Some of the best thing to do while on walking tour during night time in Yaowarat is to savour some best Chinese speciality such as kway chap (thick flat noodles in peppery soup mix with roast pork, pork meat and other pork intestines). I did mentioned before previously that the Isaan kway chap is a different version from Bangkok's version. The Isaan's kway chap has flavour and similarity with the Vietnamese "bun" which either mixed with deep-fry fish cakes, snails or the pork sausages, meatballs and pork ribs. The noodles used in Isaan kway chap is a tiny long noodle (rice vermicelli) and mixed with pork ribs. The soup of Isaan kway chap is not peppery thus not spicy. The Bangkok version of kway chap is spicy due to the peppery flavour broth. But what makes this Bangkok kway chap special is the tasty roast pork. Though soaked under the broth, the flavour of the roast pork remained despite overcome by the watery broth. Remember also that I wrote about the roast pork available at Or Tor Gor Market? Thailand has one of the best roast pork available within the South East Asia region from what I had observed and tasted. You can never missed kway chap stalls when touring Yaowarat as the best kway chap vendors located along the main Yaowarat Road with set-up of chairs and tables on the shops' five foot walkways. I had a try of kway chap on 2 different vendors. The one along the main Yaowarat Road was said to be famous and well-known among locals and tourists but not quite sure about that. That was the second I try out. The first one I got a taste from was a push cart kway chap vendor which located on the left side of Soi Yaowarat 11 where I found out were much tastier than the one at Yaowarat Road. Firstly, the broth was much more flavourful with lots of pepper, secondly, it was more generous in its add-on dish, more roast pork and pork meat (I avoided the intestines). Anyhow, its up to individual's taste buds. Overall, both shops still served good kway chap and worth the money spent for a dish distinctive to Yaowarat and Bangkok.

KWAY CHAP EXCURSIONS AT YAOWARAT, BANGKOK

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After dinner, its best to have some Chinese "kung fu" tea and savour some desserts which also located along the Yaowarat Road. There was a new Chinese "kung-fu" tea shop I guess has just opened quite recently in Yaowarat and this is yet another new things to do when in Yaowarat as it is very rare to have such tea shops in Bangkok. Even in Chinatown like Yaowarat, it was never before such establishments available though tea drinking is very much a Chinese culture. So, I found such rare opportunity something to cherish about. There are several tea drinking package available and for as low as < THB 200, you get a basic tea package which include, a traditional Chinese pot of tea with the selection of tea leaves chosen, hot water pot and plate of snacks. It was one of the unique tea drinking experience in Bangkok which is quite common in country like Taiwan.

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After tea, I head back to walk along Yaowarat Road and this time, its for the popular toast bun which is unique to Yaowarat. This Yaowarat toast bun is being served with selections of sweet pastes including chocolates and peanuts. I had tried this out when in Yaowarat about 8 years ago but did not actually wrote about this distinctive dessert experience. The push cart stall was located just in front of a local government bank and basically, people would queue in front of the stall to have their orders taken. On a usual day, the queue was said to be quite long as the night gets late as most customers were here to have late night snacks. There are also selection of bread available. Most people would purchase the toast buns for take away but you still can have it fresh from the grill as there were some tables and chairs available for dining along the small five foot walkways in front of the bank. The bread with the fillings were sweet, flavourful, tasty, fresh and the bread well grilled. There were many coffee shops within the South East Asia region such as Singapore and Malaysia serving such toast bread but my opinion is that they still cannot beat this one in Yaowarat. To add up some further great experience to this toast bread snacks, order the Thai milk tea or coffee from the stall next door. The tea and coffee beverage has equal quality as that of the bread stall. Its aromatic and delicious with strong tea flavour for the milk tea and perfect to topped it with the toast bread.

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Posted by kidd27 11:29 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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