ThailandPrestige issue 254, September 2014
Traditional celebrations and touristic attractions
Report: Prof. Bassam Lahoud.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam Lahoud
At the invitation of TAT/Songkran Media FAM, Prof. Bassam Lahoud made a trip to Chiang Mai and Bangkok, leading tourist destinations in Thailand at the Thai New Year, Songkran, celebrated from April 13 to 15. The ancient Siam, now Thailand, is a state of 514000 km2 of South East Asia, home to 63 million and a half inhabitants. Major celebrations planned for the New Year, the discovery of the Grand Palace and temples, through the Elephant Park and Night Safari, all unavoidable tours and interesting adventures lived in Chiang Mai, the “Rose of the North, “and” City of Angels”, Bangkok the capital. Bright and vivid pictures released by Prestige. Escapade.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam LahoudTraditional painting Suvarnabhumi at the Airport in Bangkok
Bustling City of Angels
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam LahoudView of the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit hotel. Shopping centers, multiple cinemas, entire floors of restaurants, boutiques and department stores, Bangkok is the paradise for shopping freaks.
Founded in 1782, Bangkok or Krung Thep in Thai, is the capital of the Kingdom of Thailand. The city became modern, sophisticated and a major business district following the economic boom of1980-90 and one of the most visited cities in the world. The soul of Bangkok is in its 400 Buddhist temples, Wats, sumptuous and fascinating, where the architecture is unique with designs in glass and gold decorations. The number of its inhabitants is more than 8 million predominantly Buddhists. Golden palaces, floating markets, night markets, such as the Night Bazaar of Suan Lumis an enchanted kingdom. At Pratunam and Siam Square, you can make high-end shopping. Divided into 50 unique neighborhoods, Bangkok is now a bustling metropolis, but also a commercial, educational, cultural, diplomatic and spiritual center of Thailand.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam LahoudIn Bangkok, nothing beats a boat ride along the canals of the timeless “Venice of the East” and the Chao Phraya River, or “River of Kings”, which runs through the city.
second largest temple in Bangkok
Built in the XVIth century, Wat Pho is a splendid temple of the town and the country’s largest, housing a large number of Buddha statues, including the most impressive, showing the death of the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand and his accession to nirvana. Covered in gold leaf, it measures 46 m in length and16m in height. On the feet, great inlays in mother of pearl corresponding to108 characters that distinguish a benevolent Buddha.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam LahoudA must, the elongated 46m long and16m high Buddha.
Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha in
The Grand Palace is the main attraction of Bangkok. Built in 1782, its beauty is mesmerizing. Once the summer residence of the royal family, it continues to be the spiritual heart of the kingdom. It is an architectural masterpiece where colorful gold dominates. The building also contains sumptuous paintings.
Wat Phra Kaew is the temple that dates from the XIVth century and which houses the Emerald Buddha, one of the most revered statues, carved in nephrite jade. Because of its royal status it is draped in robes of monks, that the king comes to change every year in March, July and November, when the activity stops completely in the city to make room for celebrations.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam LahoudThe magnificent Wat Phra Kaew temple reflects the soul of Thailand.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam LahoudInside the temple, men and women must have decent clothes.
Chiang Mai, the festivities of Songkran
The Buddhist New Year in Thailand, Songkran, is celebrated with great water spray. In Chiang Mai, parade of an effigy of Buddha Phra Phuttasihing receiving his ritual bath, construction of sand pagodas, blessing of elders by Buddhist monks and general watering. A true water festival that is taking place, to the delight of locals and even tourists. Traditionally, people gather with family and show their respect for their elders by giving them a bit of scented water on the hands. This tradition still continues within the families, but for more than a decade, public demonstrations have evolved. Today, the festival has become an excuse to indulge in real water fights in the streets. Everyone is excited, believing that the more one is watered, the more he is blessed.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam LahoudChildren and adults receive a water jet either from a gun, or from buckets.
Unique in Thailand, Night Safari is a tourist attraction in nature. Combining natural beauty and human creativity, the park offers an exciting safari adventure for all ages, in all-terrain vehicle. The evening starts in the company of imposing kings of the African savanna, two rare varieties of white lions, taken among the two hundred in their kind identified globally and still living in the wild.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam LahoudProf. Bassam Lahoud holding a white porcupine.
Magenta Elephant Park
Elephant Park Maetaeng. The show begins with a good refreshing bath given to the elephants, followed by a demonstration of virtuosity in forest tasks. Brave tourists will make a ride on an elephant back, beautifully perched high.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam LahoudPleasant safari chain.
Chiang Mai, the Rose of the North
At 800km north of the capital Bangkok, populated by 1.6 million people including 250,000 in the city, Chiang Mai, of a natural breathtaking beauty, is the second largest city by the number of inhabitants and the sixth largest in Thailand. Bordering Ping, the major tributary of the Chao Phraya River or river of kings, it is well established in the north, at the foot of mountains. The most significant culturally, its trade of teak, silk, silver and lacquered objects is also flourishing. Is it because of its strategic location near a southern branch of the ancient Silk Road? Nevertheless, the city is renowned for its crafts, its high-quality cotton, its umbrellas, silver jewelry at 92.5% and wood carvings. Modernized in recent years, the city offers many attractions for tourists and visitors, attracted by its rugged and verdant landscape and moderate climate. Characteristic, the friendliness of the people, who always have a big smile.
Temple in Chiang Mai Wat Prathat
Rising to over 1000 m above sea level, this sacred temple to the Thais and located 15 km from downtown, is one of the most famous popular sites of Chiang Mai, dating from 1383. It offers stunning and breathtaking views of the town and the surrounding countryside. A staircase of 290 steps, bordered on each side by a row of Naga, leads to the temple. At the top, a golden Chedi protects the Buddha relics attracting pilgrims from around the world.
© Prestige / Photos: Pr Bassam Lahoud