Posted in Travel

Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar (Bataan,Philippines)

It was a beautiful Friday morning, March 23, 2018 at exactly 7:00 am we started our journey. It was a two days tour going to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar, a Heritage and Convention Center located at Ibaba Bagac, Bataan. Estimated travel time was 3 to 4 hrs depending on the route or traffic encounter coming from Manila. Unfortunately this timeline was not followed due to some situational delayed along the way. We almost arrived past 2:00 pm on the place.

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ENTRANCE TO LAS CASAS FILIPINAS DE ACUZAR

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Our check-in time was 2:00 pm so its okey. When we arrived we went first on the reception area of the hotel to check-in and get our hotel keys.

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Upon arriving, this was the first view that caught our eyes. An eight tower structure with unique architectural design. The place was surrounded with replication of old historical buildings and architectures showing the Philippines heritage. Even their reception area was adorned and designed with old photos and frames.

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There was a transport jeep that tour around the area to transfer people from going to and from their hotel, tourist spot (vice versa).

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After getting our hotel keys and room number we unpacked our belongings and started to tour the place. Room image below:

Below was the map going to the place and hotel policies:

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Website of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar: https://www.lascasasfilipinas.com/

The place has a total area of approximately 400 hectares but the total developed area is around 26 hectares as of date and still continue to developed as time goes by. Special tours for the heritage site includes Hotel de Oriente tour, Workshop Tour (9:00 am, 11:00 am until 3:00pm) and Balsa River Tour.

We started by taking the Heritage Tour. This tour is from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm so we still manage to take this one since we already arrived late at the place. Its an hour tour of historical experience. Visiting different Casas along Parque de Manila including as follows:

  1. Casa Lubao
  2. Plaza de Castro
  3. Casa Binan
  4. Casa Baliuag I
  5. Casa Binondo II
  6. Casa Quiapo
  7. Casa Tondo
  8. Casa Binondo I
  9. Casa Candaba (Exhibit 9:00am-5:00 pm)
  10. Casa Unisan
  11. Casa Meycauayan
  12. Plaza Mayor de Tobias

Along Paseo De Escolta:

  1. Casa Jaen I
  2. Casa Luna
  3. Casa Baliuag II
  4. Plaza Belmonte
  5. Casa Mexico
  6. Casa Jaen II
  7. Plaza Atienza
  8. Casa Byzantina
  9. Casa San Miguel

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Our first start was Casa Lubao:

It was an ancestral home owned by Valentin Arrastia and Francisca Salgado built in Lubao, Pampanga in early 1900’s. During the World War II  the Japanese took possession of the house and used it as a garrison. After the war the grandchildren Juanita Arrastia and husband Wenceslao Vitug acquired the Lubao house. It bacame known as Arrastia-Vitug home and remained at Vitug’s family for three generations.

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Casa Luna

This was owned by Primitivo Novicio uncle of Gen. Antonio Luna (a great General in time of Phil.American war) and Juan Luna (an artist who draw “Spolarium”). This house was originally built in 1850 in Namacpacan, La Union and later renamed “Luna” La Union.

This was a witness to historical events including as headquarters of USAFIL-NL during WW II when the capture of Gen. Yamashita (Japan) was being planned and a venue for Nationalista party convention in 70’s in time of Pres. Ferdinand Marcos.

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Casa Majayjay (Laguna)

Built in 1744, this was the oldest  home to at least four gobernadorcillos of Majayjay in Laguna. The house belong to Ordoveza family known to be town elite at that time with money lending business.

Casa Maranao

Built in 1873, this pre-colonial house is an example of indigenous architecture known to be a house of a datu or a sultan (Torogan). It was name after its owner Togoran I Sabino Lakowa.

Casa Mexico

A found photo became a guide for the construction of this house. It was replicated when discovered and parts of this house was purchased from a junk shop.

Casa Meycauayan

It was originally built in San Fernando Pampanga in 1913 and owned by Teodoro Escotto and later was purchased by Rogelio Urrutia in 1950 then was transferred to Meycauayan, Bulacan. The original house was transferred to Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in 2005.

Casa New Manila

Built in 1926 and considered as an American architecture situated in balete Drive for almost 90 years. Was constructed by Italian-American, Joseph Francisco and later was bought by Manuel Alcuas y Tuazon and Rosario Araneta y Zaragoza known as two prominent family in Manila. At that time this house was often used for many local television shows and movies.

Casa Quiapo

Built in 1867 and known to be design by the first Filipino to practice architecture in the Philippines during Spanish Era namely Felix Roxas y Arroyo. This house was originally situated at R Hidalgo St. (Calle San Sebastian) and Callejon de Carcer in Quiapo, Manila. This mansion architecture was considered the most elegant in the entire country during the Spanish Era as explained by the American historian A.M. Norton. This was also the first school of Architecture in the Philippines that created great artist like Fernando Amorsolo, Carlos Franscisco, Guillermo Tolentino and Tomas Mapua to name a few.

Casa San Juan (Batangas)

It was first built in San Juan, Batangas by Don Eulogio and Dona Rufina then passed it to their daughter Soledad (pianist) married to a politician named Atty. Lorenzo Hernandez. This ancestral house was considered as one of the most beautiful house in Las Casas.

This was only a few of the Casas we visited on the Tour that day. It was a tiring but historical and educational day for our group. We continue our self tour on the place and we also tried to ride this one.

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Some photos during the Tour:

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As the day passed by and night time comes we continue to explore the place and it was a great experience strolling the place more during the night because of  the serene but quite breezy ambiance.

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After having dinner we head back to our hotel room to rest because the next day was our last day and we need to make the best out of it.

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To be continued….

Excerpt: I need to post it today coz I’ve been motivated after seeing the G.C.F in USA posted recently by Bts member J.K.

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Thailand, Bangkok Day 8- Chatuchak Weekend Market

This is the last day of our Thailand exploration and we need to buy goods and souvenirs since we’re leaving the country the next day. As early as 7:00 am we’re ready and prepared to go to Chatuchak market known as the largest market place of Bangkok. The Market sells a wide variety of products/goods that are affordable. It is located near some popular place like Chatuchak Park, JJ Green Market and mall. Also its very accessible to people since its near BTS and MRT station.

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The group commuted riding BTS train since it’s the most convenient and fastest way to reach Chatuchak market. The market is open during the day and situated at Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Khwaeng, Khet Chatuchak, Thailand.

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We came across the Chatuchak public Park and take a stroll around it.
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MAP OF CHATUCHAK MARKET

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Wide variety of products and services available on this market

MARKET SECTION: (cr.Wikipedia)

  • Clothing and accessories (sections 2–6, 10–26)
  • Handicrafts (sections 8–11)
  • Ceramics (sections 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 25)
  • Furniture and home decor (sections 1,3,4,7,8)
  • Food and beverage (sections 2, 3, 4, 23, 24, 26, 27)
  • Plants and gardening (sections 3, 4)
  • Art and galleries (section 7)
  • Pets and accessories (sections 8, 9, 11, 13)
  • Books (sections 1, 27)
  • Antiques and collectibles (sections 1, 26)
  • Miscellaneous and used clothing (sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 22, 25, 26)

Drinking cold coffee since its hot and tiring walking around Chatuchak market.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take much photo inside the market since I’m holding goods we bought. It’s almost noontime when we finished buying all the products and things we needed. So we just take our lunch at JJ Mall and went back to our hotel after shopping.

October 1, 2017, our last day on Bangkok, Thailand and date of return. A week of unforgettable experience to remember. Visiting a foreign country and knowing their culture/tradition was more fun especially when you’re doing it with your family and loved ones. Hoping to return and visit this country again in the near future.

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Thailand,Bangkok Day 7- Wat Arun and Asiatique

It’s almost midday and we already finished strolling the Grand Palace. Thou, we can’t fully explore the palace because there’s so many people inside due to ongoing preparation for their late King burial. My group decided to visit Wat Arun after taking our lunch break.hdr

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Wat Arun
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Wat Arun

We arrived at Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) known as one of the most magnificent temple of Thailand. This Buddhist temple was situated at the west (Thonburi) part of the Chao Phraya River. Also known to exist since seventeenth century but the tall tower spire was constructed during the reign of King Rama II.

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Almost all places we visited at that time have this message commemorating their beloved King who passed away. Black ribbons were tied and can be seen everywhere as a sign of respect and mourning. As we continue to explore the place we have seen these temples, statues and unique architectures.

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BELL

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Inside the Temple of Dawn there’s a boat that will take you to Asiatique, an expansive open-air mall with estimated 1,500 shops and 40 restaurant. We planned to visit the place and wanted to try a river tour so its a great experience to ride the Chao Phraya River Tourist Boat.

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As you can see there were other tourist destination that you can visit riding this boat. For example: Wat Arun was near Wat Pho so if you decided to visit Wat Pho you may take a quick tour to Wat Arun. If I remember correctly its 10 Bhat per station. The boat cost us 50 Bhat each going to Asiatique from Wat Arun and the said transportation depart every 30 minutes.

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Chao Phraya Tourist Boat

There were other transportation going to Asiatique Riverfront as follows:

***Bts Skytrain: Saphan Taksin Station, Exit 2 then take Asiatique the Riverfront’s shuttle boat.

***Bus NO. 1,15,17,75,504,547

*** Dock facilities for riverside hotel boats and some travelling boat.

It’s almost night-time when we arrived on Asiatique Riverfront so we decided to take our dinner here. This mall opens from 5:00 pm til midnight so you can enjoy night shopping and tour.

In history, Thailand pier signaled the beginning of International trade between the European nation and the Kingdom of Siam. The same area which is the East Asiatic pier was being restored as the first and largest night shopping venue known to be Asiatique.

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It’s almost 8:15 pm, again an enjoyable experience to remember. We just ride an “Uber” for transportation to get back in our hotel. Since the next day is our last day to Bangkok we need to get prepared and make the best out of it.

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Thailand, Bangkok Day 7- Grand Palace

A day left for us before leaving Bangkok, so we’re making the best out of it. A visit to Thailand will be not be complete without going to this must-see tourist spot, Grand Palace. We thought at that time it’s not open for public viewing due to Thai people ongoing mourning for their late King. They’re preparing for its ceremonial cremation but we still manage to visit the palace morning of Sept 29, when we learn that it’s opened. Many streets at that time surrounding the palace was occupied with people wearing black outfits.

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Entrance to Grand Palace

There was a long que of people lining at the entrance of the Grand Palace and the security was very strict. People visiting the place should wear appropriate outfits, non sleeveless, see thru, above the knee dress for women to avoid being prevented from entering the palace. Apparently, I’m one of the few people who was rejected to enter the palace because I’m wearing sleeveless shirt with cloak. The guard did not approve it even if I have the cloak. Luckily my sister did bring her jacket so I’ve worn it and was allowed to enter the place.

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Map of Grand Palace

The Palace was built-in the year 1782 when King Rama I ascended to the throne. It consists of the Royal residences, government offices and the Temple of Emerald Buddha.

TEMPLES AND STRUCTURE SURROUNDING THE GRAND PALACE

The Temple of The Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Sri RattanaSatsadaram)

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Phra Ubosoth or The Chapel of the Emerald Buddha

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The Chapel of the Emerald Buddha

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The Demon Guardians

Built in the reign of King Rama III there were six pairs of structure/character facing and believe to be guardians of the chapel of the Emerald Buddha from evil spirits.

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Demon Guardian

The Statue of Cheewok Komaraphat

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A patron of Thai Medicine was built-in the reign of King Rama III.

On the Elevated Platform

Phra Siratana Chedi

Phra Siratana Chedi
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This was built-in the reign of King Rama IV in 1855

Phra Mondop

Also called as the Buddhist library and was built-in the monarch of King Rama I in 1789.

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Phra Mondop

Phra Bussabok

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Phra Bussabok

Model of Angkor Wat

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Model of Angkor Wat

Phra Asadha Maha Chedi

Constructed during the reign of King Rama I this eight towers are placed at the East of the Temple representing Buddhist concept.

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Phra Asadha Maha Chedi

Prasat Phra Dhepbidorn or The Royal Pantheon

This temple was constructed in 1856 by King Rama IV but due to fire that broke out in 1903 it was destroyed and restored back by King Rama VI.

Hor Phra Naga

This temple was built by King Rama I to enshrine Phra Naga Buddha image made by copper alloy.

Phra Wiharn Yod

Constructed in the reign of King Rama III and was used as the chapel of different Buddha images. This is where Phra Naga image from Hor Phra Naga was transferred.

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Phra Wiharn Yod
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Phra Wiharn Yod- the structure of this temple was decorated with porcelain mosaic coming from China.

Hor Phra Monthian Dharma

It was built by the younger brother of King Rama I as an auxiliary library.

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Hor Phra Gandhararat

This chapel of Phra Gandhararat (buddha image) was built on King Rama IV reign.

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Hor Phra Gandhararat

Belfry

Constructed in the year of King Rama I made from colorful porcelain mosaics.

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Belfry

Borom Phiman Mansion

Built by King Rama V for his son year 1903 with a European type of  architecture. This became a royal residence by King Rama VII and VIII.

Phra Maha Montian Group

Consist of 7 connecting buildings and served as a grand residence.

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Phra Maha Montian Group

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Hor Phra Suralai Phiman

Also known as Chapel of Buddha and was constructed in the reign of King Rama I.

Rajruedi Hall

An open pavilion built in the reign of King Rama VI.

Hor Sastrakom

This was a replacement for the temple demolished by King Rama I and reconstructed by King Rama IV.

Dusita Phirom Hall

Used as changing room for the King to change his regalia (clothing worn and ornaments carried on formal occasions like King crown and scepter).

Dusit Maha Prasat Hall

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Other Temples/Pavillion and Halls

Snamchand Pavilion, Hor Phra Dhart Monthian, Sihabanchon, Phra Thinang Phudtan Thom,  Phra Thaen Ratcha Banlang Pradap Muk, Phra Thaen Ratcha Banchathon Pradap Muk, Rajkaranyasapha Hall and Aphorn Phimok Prasat Pavilion.

The Chinese Statues

Chakri Maha Prasat Hall

 

 

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Chakri Maha Prasat Hall

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After scrolling around Grand Palace we decided continue our tour and go to our next destination which is Wat Arun and Asiatique.

TO BE CONTINUE….

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Thailand, Bangkok Day 6 (DreamWorld) Amusement Park

As the saying goes never fail the thrill and fun going to an amusement park whatever your age group might be capture every joyous moments. Perhaps a reason why Dreamworld was part of our Thailand itinerary. Again ,we booked our tour on airport tourism since we already have their contact details and since our next destination was far from our hotel.  The tour includes: entrance fee, lunch, two-way transport and a tour guide. The place was located at 62, Moo 1, Rungsit-Ongkarak Road Bang Yitho, Thanyaburi, Thailand and open from 10:00 AM– 5:00PM.

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Entrance to DreamWorld
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DREAMWORLD
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MAP GOING TO DREAMWORLD
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MAP OF DREAMWORLD

Perhaps many will say that this amusement park was a bit old and not to their liking but the good thing about this place was the feeling of being euphoric and the ambiance was great with a fairy tale vibe. Most kids and young at heart will surely enjoy this place. Once you enter the vicinity you will see this beautiful landscape.

  1. DREAMWORLD PLAZA

 

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2. LOVE GARDEN

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LOVE GARDEN

As you walk more you’ll see this more photographic area where you may take pictures.

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Dreamworld Plaza

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Highlights of Dreamworld:

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37 WONDERS OF THE WORLD– where you can see mini structure of world famous landscape and tourist spot.

4. WATER FUN

5. CABLE CAR- riding this was an awesome experience because from aerial view you will see the whole look of the place . But if you are afraid of the heights you may not wish to ride this one since its too high and also shaky once it moves.

At that time, we saw kids lining on the cable car perhaps having their school field trip.

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6. SIGHTSEEING TRAIN- riding this train was quite a good choice because its roving around the area so you may see all the highlights of the amusement park.

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7. BICYCLE BOAT, 8. SPEEDY BOAT, 9. CRAZY ZONE, 10. DREAMY GARDEN

11. THE COLORS OF WORLD PARADE (Beside the Lake)

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12. PHOTOPIA- This one do have a fairy tale vibe and its landscape was based on stories which was commonly read on a fairy tale book.

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13. GIANT HOUSE- Based also on a fairy tale you can see inside this Giant House, a sleeping Giant and his huge furniture and fixtures that a person may look like a dwarf. An interesting view and sight.

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GIANT HOUSE

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14. 4D ADVENTURE

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4D ADVENTURE

OTHER SIGHT INSIDE DREAMWORLD- unfortunately I did not took some pictures of this highlight.

15. ALIEN,16. FANTASY HALL,17. HURRICANE, 18. ANIMAL FARM, 19. ANIMAL SHOW, 20.FOOD PAVILION, 22. FOOD STATION,ANTIQUE CAR, 25. PLAY PORT, 27. VIKING, 29. BLACK HOLE COASTER, 31. SUPER SPLASH, 34. MONORAIL, 35. MONZA, 36. INDIAN BOAT, 37. FLYING FISH, 38. CRAZY BUS, 40. FOOD TIME, 42. TORNADO, 43. GO KART

21. HUNTED MANSION

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24. SKY COASTER

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26. BUMP BOAT

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28. BUMP CAR

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30. THUNDER BIRD

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32. SNOW TOWN

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33. RAPTOR

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39 HOLLYWOOD ACTION

41.GRAND CANYON

 

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MORE PICTURES:

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Thailand, Bangkok Day 5- Wat Suthat (Bangkok Giant Swing), Exhibition Hall and more

As plan, we wanted to take a short tour to Cambodia on our fifth day and get back to Thailand on our last day for our flight but unfortunately we have a senior citizen in the group so we cannot risk his health going back and forth the place. So we decided to just extend our stay to Bangkok and look for more sight-seeing we miss to visit.

As usual, travelling to a foreign country you will encounter a slight problem especially if your plans have changed. We need to look for a different accommodation and transfer  since we only booked until the fifth day. Unfortunately our current hotel was fully booked at that time.  Thank goodness  we have our plan b… booking accommodation using Airbnb.

That situation cause us a lot of hassle & inconvenience but the good thing was the place we booked was indeed a good choice since it gives us a homely vibe at the same time its super spacious. A quick view below:

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September 27, 2017 we start our next tour going to Wat Suthat also known for the towering Giant Swing which stand at its entrance. We just ride an “uber” while locating the place since we find it much affordable and easy than riding our commonly use transportation, Bts train. We did not booked any tour package since we wanted to try/enjoy strolling around Bangkok and experience travelling without a guide.

They said that this temple was the oldest and most impressive temple of Thailand. It was constructed at the reign of King Rama I but was completed during the reign of  King Rama III. Located at 146 Bamrung Muang Rd, Khwaeng Wat Ratchabophit, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon, Bangkok. Some travelers with limited tour time combine a visit to Wat Suthat with Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Grand Palace and Wat Pho.

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Wat Suthat Entrace

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Admission fee for those who wanted to visit the temple was 20 Baht (foreigner) and its open from 8:30 am- 9:00 pm.

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Giant Swing

Highlights of Wat Suthat:

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156 Buddha images

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Impressive exterior and interior Architecture of temples.

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Inside the temple (Buddha) with detailed hand paintings at the wall

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After visiting Wat Suthat we came across the Democracy Monument of Thailand. It occupies a traffic circle along the east-west Ratchadamnoen Ave., intersection of Dinso Road.

While walking around the vicinity we found an Exhibition Hall Rattanakosin Museum. Located at 100 Ratchdamneon Klang Rd., Bowonniwet, Phra NakhonBangkok which is open from Tuesday-Friday 11:00 am – 8:00pm and Saturday-Sunday 10:00am – 8:00pm.

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If you are really interested to know Thai culture and history it is one of the best Museum to visit. They give two types of tour with two hours duration. The tour consist of history of Thailand and the other one about Thai culture. If you have 4 hours free time, you can enjoy both tour. The entrance ticket only cost 100 Baht. Majority of the tour will be explain in Thai, however if you bring your passport you can rent the audio speaker that will help you explain in English together with their tour guide.

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The tour ended at the last floor where one can enjoy panoramic views of Loha Prasart Temple and the Golden Mount Temple. We stayed at the area till night and went back to our hotel to eat dinner.

 

Loha Prasart Temple and the Golden Mount Temple at night:

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Thailand, Bangkok Day 4 (Jim Thompson House), Shrine and Mall hopping

This was the fourth day of our group tour to Bangkok, Thailand dated September 26, 2017. Since our group decided to visit and were interested on historical places, we look for a museum just near our hotel. The place was located near Siam so we just ride an “uber” for our transportation. The exact location was 6, Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road | Wang Mai, Pathum WanBangkok opposite of National Stadium which opens from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. It was also easy and convenient to reach the location using Bts train,taxi or tuk tuk. Admission or entrance fee range from 150 baht for adult and 100 baht for student under 22 years old, including a guided tour that will explain and carry your group around the place.

The Jim Thompson House is the home of James H.W. Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world-renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. He was known as the “Legendary American of Thailand” and stayed at this country for almost 25 years.

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Jim Thompson House
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Buildings inside Jim Thompson House
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Front view of the House (Museum)

While waiting for the guided tour our group decided to take pictures around the place.  The tour duration estimates around 1-2 hours. Whenever, I go to other places especially abroad I always admire spectacular landscape, nature, flowers and other interesting photographic things. That’s why seeing a pot of lotus flowers picked my interest and never miss to capture its beauty.

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Lotus flowers
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Shaded area for tourist

As you stroll around the place you may also see these people weaving and making silk fiber.

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weaving silk fabric

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As our tour start the tour guide explain the history of the owner Jim Thompson and his life while staying at Thailand. It includes the relics and other historical/antics he collected.

It is said that in 1967, Jim Thompson went on holiday with his friends on Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. There he went for a walk in the surrounding jungle but never have returned, thus began his legend.

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 You will also be amazed with the structure of the house.  The walls of the house lean slightly inward which is a characteristic of a traditional Thai house.
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Since our tour ended early we just went to Terminal 21 mall and take our late lunch. Its far from Jim Thompson house by the way but we wanted to see that mall since we heard many good things about it. It is known for its unique world famous city concept in one roof with variety of food stalls for a person’s choice. The mall is open from 10:00 am up to 10:00 pm and located along Sukhumvit Road in between Soi 19 and 21.

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Inside Terminal 21

Again, we ride a Bts train since it’s the most convenient and fastest way to go to our next destination. We drop-off on ASOK Station, Sukhumvit. After that we went back to  Ratchadamri to explore the place using the map below and visit some shrine.

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Map

We saw different shrine like Erawan and Umathevi shrine while exploring the place. There, you will see people praying and offering flowers as part of Thai culture.

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For our dinner we went back to Siam Center by walking and stayed there for the whole night until we decided to go back to our hotel.

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