Friday, March 24, 2006

Mum and Dad in Thailand

My Mum and Dad have just flown back to Australia after spending two weeks visiting me in Thailand. There are some pictures on comments on where we went and what we did below.

The trip started (and ended) in Bangkok. On the first morning we visited the Chatuchak weekend market. Then we took a boat ride along the Chao Phraya River. Later in the afternoon we visited Jim Thompson's house.

Mum and Dad in the garden at Jim Thompson's house
Mum and Dad in the garden at Jim Thompson's house

The next day we visited Bangkok's most famous landmark, the Grand Palace (also known as Wat Phra Kaeo or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha).

wat phra kaeo, bangkok
Grand Palace in Bangkok

After a couple of days in Bangkok we travelled to Kanchanaburi, just a two hour bus trip away. The last time I visited this province was ten years ago so it was a chance for me to rediscover a few things.

We took a one-day minibus tour that allowed us to see some of the major sights outside the town. Kanchanaburi is well known for the bridge over the River Kwae and the Burma Railway built by prisoners of war and slave labour during WWII. We visited the Hellfire Pass and also travelled by train on a section of the railway.

hellfire pass, kanchanaburi
Mum and Dad at Hellfire Pass

A first for the whole family was riding an elephant!!!

riding an elephant!!!
Elephant riding in Kanchanaburi province

My memories of Kanchanaburi ten years ago were fairly hazy. However, this Chinese temple makes a beautiful and striking addition to the riverside. Its design is reminiscent of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing

chinese temple
Chinese temple in Kanchanaburi

After Kanchanburi we travelled to Nakhon Pathom where we caught an overnight train to Surat Thani. On our first evening in Surat Thani we took a boat ride along the canals to one of the monkey training schools. Believe it or not monkeys are trained how to pick coconuts!!!

monkey walking with a coconut
Charlie the monkey carrying a coconut

After the monkey training school we went to the Food Fair on the banks of the Tapee River. It was a good chance to see (and eat) some of the great variety of food available in Thailand.

thai desserts
These colorful dishes are Thai desserts

grilled fish
Fish galore!

The next day we travelled to Chaiya, a town near Surat Thani. The first stop was Wat Suan Mok, a famous Buddhist forest monastery. We also saw some temples in Chaiya and silk weaving at Phumriang (click here to see a video of the silk weaving). Finally we enjoyed a delicious seafood lunch at a seaside restaurant.

family at suan mok
At Wat Suan Mok

wat boromathat
Wat Phra Boromathat, Chaiya

silk weaving
Silk weaving at Phumriang village

The next destination after Surat Thani was Krabi. A day trip by boat took us to some of the beautiful islands near Krabi.

koh hong
Koh Hong, Krabi

We also visited my favourite place in Krabi, the Tiger Cave Temple. We didn't do the strenuous walk to the top of the hill, but enjoyed a very nice walk through the forest in the valley. We also had a chance to observe some of the life and activity in the grounds of the temple. The monkeys rule here!!!

eating sticky rice
Mum enjoying some sticky rice in a bamboo tube

ganesh and monkey
Monkey with Ganesh, Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi

With Mum and Dad's time in Thailand drawing to a close we flew back to Bangkok for the last couple of days. We visited the Vimanmek Palace and Khao San Road. On the last day we went to the Suan Pakkard Museum. It is a small museum with its collection displayed in traditional Thai houses set in beautiful gardens.

suan pakkard museum
Traditional Thai house at the Suan Pakkard Museum

at the airport
David and Na farewell Mum and Dad at the airport

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