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Place to visit in Thailand

Amphawa &  Samut Songkhram
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 Muang Mae Klong.

Samut Songkhram a coastal province at the mouth of the Mae Klong River, is 64 kms. southwest of Bangkok along Highway No. 35. It occupies an area of 416 square kilometres and is administratively divided into 3 districts: Amphoe Muang, Amphoe Amphawa, and Amphoe Bang Khonthi. The area is a low basin with 356 canals. The people cultivate various kinds of fruits such as lychee, pomelo, and coconuts.  Amphawa Floating Market and the Bangkok famous Dumnern Saduak Floating Market are located in this province, only 1 hour drive from Bangkok where you can experience the nature with local living lifestyle.

Amphawa Floating Market
Talat Nam Yam Yen Amphawa is an afternoon floating market by the canal near Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram (parking area is available). On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, during 12.00 a.m. – 8.00 p.m., the Amphawa Canal is occupied by vendors who pack their boats with food and drinks, such as fried sea mussel, noodles, coffee, O-liang (iced black coffee), sweets, etc. There are also things for sale on wheelbarrows on the bank. Visitors can enjoy a cosy atmosphere and music broadcast by the community members, explore the market, have food, and hire a boat to see fireflies at night

Damnern Saduak Floating Market
This floating market, located on Damnern Saduak Canal in Ratchaburi Province, is an hour’s drive away from Bangkok. Busy between 8.00 a.m. and 10.00 a.m., Damnern Saduak Floating market offers great photogenic scenes and several restaurants are lined along the banks. Women wearing broad straw hats and traditional blue cotton clothing manoeuvre boats laden with fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked food, and other products. Visitors can take part in one of the organized tours available or charter a private boat to do their sightseeing at their own pace.

The Ancient City
Between Bangkok and the seaside resort of Pattaya lies the Ancient City, called Muang Boran in Thai. The vast and well-tended premises comprise replicas – on a smaller scale – of most of Thailand’s historical buildings and monuments, from Chiang Rai in the North to Nakhon Si Tammarat in the South. The 200-acre site can be visited at leisure on foot, while bicycles are also available for hire. The Ancient City has been built with considerable taste and skill as expert advice from several quarters – such as the National Museum – was given during its development. The replicas are one-third of their original size, but there are also original buildings such as the traditional village stilt-houses around the “floating market” which were once dismantled before being moved to their current location.

The Crocodile Farm
Located by the old road to Pattaya, the Crocodile Farm is believed to be one of the biggest attractions of its kind in the world with over 30,000 crocodiles from both Thailand and abroad.  These reptiles are here for the visitors’ entertainment and education, but are also bred for commercial purposes such as the manufacture of belts, shoes, handbags, and others. A daily show starts at 9.00 a.m. and features skilful handlers dealing with some of the larger crocodiles. The premises also include a zoo with several other species of animals.

 Pattaya
Renowned and exuberant Pattaya is less than a two-hour drive from Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square thanks to a new fast road which includes the world’s longest elevated expressway. Famous for its bustling night scene complete with pubs, nightclubs, bars of all sorts and for its water sports, Pattaya has recently been evolving and has acquired a new status as a residential and educational hub. New malls have been opened and some attractions have been designed for families such as zoos, golf courses, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, and the Pattaya Aquarium. Pattaya is a favourite destination among both Thais and expats wishing to leaveBangkok for the weekend and just relax on the beach.

Bang Sen
The beach of Bang Sen, located within one hour’s drive from Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square, is an ideal destination for people wishing to spend a day by the beach in the close proximity of Bangkok. Frequented by Thais mainly, the beach is reasonably clean and the area is especially famous for its fresh and cheap seafood products which can be enjoyed at one of the many eateries near the beach.

 Ayutthaya
The former capital of Siam, Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 by King Ramathibodi I and continuously flourished until its fall in 1767 when it was destroyed by a Burmese army after a fifteen-month siege. The city can be reached within approximately an hour from Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square and offers several outstanding sightseeing opportunities. The ancient ruins are numerous and include highlights such as Wat Raja Burana built in 1424 and featuring prangs, chedis, and a monumental gateway, Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit with its huge seated Buddha image, and Wat Maheyong boasting stucco elephants supporting the base of the chedi. Other attractions worth visiting while in Ayutthaya include the National Museum where a remarkable collection of Buddhist art is displayed and Chantarasakem Palace originally built for King Naresuan who reigned until 1605. A visit to this city should include a river cruise – there are several types of boats available for hire – with beautiful views of the town’s classical houses and the riverside adorned with several interesting temples and one of Thailand’s earliest Catholic churches.

Khao Yai National Park
Khao Yai National Park was established in 1962 and is Thailand’s first national Park. It is now part of the Dong Phaya Yen Khao Yai Forest Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005. The park, located within a two-hour drive north of Bangkok, covers an area of 2,168 square kilometres and is part of four different provinces. The area consists mainly of evergreen forests and grasslands and the altitude varies between 400 and 1,000 metres above sea level. There are over fifty kilometres of hiking trails from where 320 species of birds and 67 species of mammals can be observed such as Asian elephants, gibbons, tigers, and wild pigs. Its waterfalls include the 80-metre high Heo Narok and Heo Suwat featured in the movie The Beach.

Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai
Kanchanaburi, a western province adjacent to Myanmar, is easily accessible from Bangkok and features lush natural scenery and the notorious bridge on the River Kwai. The town itself and its immediate vicinity are home to the bridge, destroyed by allied bombing in 1945, the JEATH Museum that recreates the sordid conditions the 61,000 allied prisoners-of-war had to face here during the Second World War, several well-tended allied war cemeteries, and a new Australian-funded museum at Hell Fire Pass. An annual fair is held at the end of November with an impressive sound-and-light show at the bridge (see the “Festivals” section on this website for more information).

Another attraction worth visiting while in Kanchanaburi isErawanNational Park. Established in 1975, this 220-square-mile park is sanctuary to a wide variety of wildlife and its most outstanding highlight is the spectacular Erawan Waterfalls, a 4,950-foot cascade broken into seven levels. Reaching the highest level is considered by some to bring good luck for the future.

Hua Hin
The scenic seaside town of Hua Hin is now within less than three hours from Bangkok thanks to the newly-renovated road leading there. Hua Hin is extremely popular among both Thais and foreign visitors for its quiet atmosphere, great seafood, and many attractions. The town is home to one of His Majesty the King’s palaces called Klai Klangwan, meaning “far from care”. The attractive town features a popular night market and a small but bustling fishing port where fishermen can be seen bringing in their products in the early hours of the morning. The province boasts several world-class golf courses, excellent seafood restaurants, and sandy beaches. Just before reaching the city, visitors should see Marukhathayawan Palace built by King Rama VI in the early 20th century. The beautifully-renovated wooden palace is on stilts and is located at the centre of well-tended grounds.

Prachuab Khiri Khan
Approximately 54 miles south of Hua Hin lies the attractive and quiet province of Prachuab Khiri Khan. It connects with the South of Thailand and offers tourist attractions such as beaches, islands, forests, and mountains. Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, established in 1966, features mangrove woods and mudflats. The town of Prachaub Khiri Khan was re-built in the 19th century and was the first site invaded in Thailand by Japanese troupes during the Second World War. Local attractions include Pran Buri Forest Park with its white and shady sandy beach, Khao Chong Krachok, a small mountain home to many stump-tailed macaques, several islands with white beaches, coconut groves, and nice corals. Cruising along the Pran River is especially fun with opportunities to see forests, nearby mountains, and attractions such as the City Pillar Shrine and Chaomae Thapthim Shrine. The provincial slogan is “City of pure gold, delectable coconuts and pineapples, delightful beaches, mountains and caves, land of spiritual beauty”.

Koh Samet
The island of Koh Samet, popular among both foreign tourists and Thais as a weekend destination, is part of Rayong Province and within three hours from Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square. Koh Samet is one of the driest islands in Thailand with considerably less rainfall than the nearby mainland. It was off-limit until 1981 when the government made it a national park and since then the local infrastructure has been developed at a reasonable pace. The island is well-known for its beautiful beaches with white silky sand, tropical coral reefs, and crystal-clear sea. Tourists can also enjoy the superb cuisine and an interesting nightlife. Activities available include windsurfing, snorkelling and diving, fishing, volleyball and Frisbee on the beach, and boat trips. Some people believe that the island used to be a pirate hideaway and that lost treasure remains buried somewhere to this very day.

Koh Chang
Koh Chang, Thailand’s second largest island, is located on the Thai east coast, four hours from Bangkok by car. Its name means “elephant head” after the elephant shape of its headland. It is now a national park receiving 650,000 visitors annually, the majority of which are Thais. The island contains complex stone cliffs and mountains, Khao Salak Phet being the highest peak at 744 metres. Visitors can enjoy several waterfalls, splendid reefs, as well as rainforests. There are eight villages with many wooden buildings on stilts, but numerous hotels, resorts, and bungalows have also been built since the first foreign tourists started arriving in the mid-1970s. The island is sanctuary to a wide range of wildlife such as birds, snakes, and elephants. Koh Chang and the 51 surrounding small islands are ideal for snorkelling, diving, and jungle trekking. The islands’ official slogan is “With no less than fifty offshore isles, it also boasts the finest red gems, sweet Rakam fruit, indigenous dogs, the historic Koh Chang Naval engagement, the eastern-most province”.

Rayong
Rayong Province is located on the eastern seaboard, two hours from Bangkok. Apart from its sandy beaches and Koh Samet Island, the area boasts many places worth visiting. Rayong Aquarium, located in the Eastern Marine Fisheries Research and Development Centre, displays beautiful fishes and sea plants. Sopha Botanical Park is lush with Thai flora and three hundred-year houses on tilts exhibit ceramics and pottery from various periods. Local products include preserved seafood – a popular souvenir -, fruits, sedge mat products, and crystal products. The Rayong Food Festival is held every May and Sunthon Phu Day celebrates this great Thai poet on June 26.