Travel news - Thai history, culture and art

Reviving a legacy

Ratchaburi-born Udom Somporn set up Chipatha Museum as a tribute to his Tai Yuan ancestry five years ago. The gallery commemorates the history of Tai Yuan people who for centuries have lived in Khu Bua, Don Tako, Huai Phai and several other areas in the province.
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Maritime museum

For history buffs, the National Maritime Museum in Chanthaburi, a province on the Gulf of Thailand coast and once a busy port of call for foreign vessels, showcases an array of artifacts befitting its strategic location on the ancient trade route.
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Royal heritage

There is more to the sleepy town of Cha-am than meets the eye. International golf courses and beaches aside - the elegant Mrigadayavan Palace and its surrounding mangrove nature trail has become increasingly popular among visitors.
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Park with history

Rai Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park in Chiang Rai is a beautiful place where tourists can learn about Lanna art and enjoy the peace far from glare and scrutiny of busy tourist destinations. Sitting in the embrace of a huge garden and not encumbered by the presence of luxurious facilities and state-of-the-art buildings in the vicinity, Rai Mae Fah Luang fascinates visitors with its elegant wooden pavilions built in northern Lanna style and flanked by towering trees.
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MOULDING THE PAST

Maenam Noi or Noi River in Sing Buri has a long history dating to the Ayutthaya period. By its banks then, it is believed, sat some of the largest earthen kilns in the entire upper-central region that turned out pottery made only from clay sourced next to the river. Ban Khok Mor, a village community in Bang Rachan district is now trying to revive those traditional skills and offering interested parties lessons in pottery-making and designs that are native to Sing Buri.
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Trail blazers

Bangkok boasts of some of the world's best hotels today. But not very long ago there was a dearth of proper accommodation in the capital. Apart from a few that catered to foreign tourists, finding a proper place to stay was a major headache. If you look further back, say 50 years ago, you could literally count them on your finger tips, when air-conditioning was a luxury and hotel employment regarded a prestige job.
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The light of Chiang Mai

The rooms in Darapirom Palace speak volumes about its former owner _ Chiang Mai's beloved Jao Dararasamee whose birthday anniversary to this day is celebrated with pomp and fanfare.
The princess's dedication in restoring and preserving Lanna art and culture has won her many admirers. A devout Buddhist, she did lots for the poor and actively participated in public activities.
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Rites of passage

With the rice growing well and a promising harvest ahead, the Akha tribes in Chiang Rai put on their colourful finery and prepare to make merry in an annual ritual that celebrates life and fertility.
The vanishing yet thrilling Swing Ceremony is where visitors can break bread, and enjoy music dance and a go on the giant swing at several of the Akha villages in this northern province.
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Ayutthaya's other side

Many of us visiting Ayutthaya mostly go there for its temple, art and its place in our history because it used to be the capital of ancient Siam. However, there is another side of this province that has gone relatively unnoticed by visitors, and that is its delicate handicrafts that reflect the life and mood of rural people and find an audience to this day.
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Golden land

At first glance, it's like a long abandoned place lost to weeds that grow freely around the sandstone ruins. The only sign hinting visitors otherwise is a small board that tells them what they used to be some 2,000 years ago. We are speaking of U Thong in the central Thai province of Suphan Buri.
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Keeping the faith

The reign of King Nang Klao (Rama III) from 1787 to 1851 is regarded as the golden age of Thailand when the Kingdom was at peace, art and culture flourished and the masses happy and content. And thanks largely to his acumen, commerce and trade also prospered, especially with China.
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Stories of Siam

Dutchman's diaries give a fascinating glimpse into Ayutthaya's golden age. On December 10, 1636, a party of about 12 Dutchmen went for a boat ride on the Chao Phya River. They became intoxicated and made a nuisance of themselves in one of Ayutthaya's holiest Buddhist temples.
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Puppets rule the roots

The Thailand Cultural Centre came alive as puppeteers from 10 countries joined together to show off their unique crafts and abilities.
"The Art of Puppetry: The Common Heritage", which is part of The 2nd Asean Festival of Arts, kicked-off last weekend.
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Those magnificent MASKS

Traditional mask-making is a life-long passion of Phra Khru Sangharak Siripong, deputy abbot of Wat Sutharam temple. His main interest is Phra Pirap, a deity worshipped by Thai classical musicians and dancers, and other masks of music teachers, which are known as srisa khru or teachers' heads, including the Rishi Bharotmuni, a prime teacher of dramatic arts.
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Recital by Trisdee Na Patalung

The Bangkok Opera's Salon de l'Opera series of Monday night events returns this evening at 8pm with a programme featuring 19-year-old Trisdee na Patalung, one of Thailand's most visible classical musicians, who will play the complete `Inventions' and `Sinfonias' by J.S. Bach in recital.
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Opening doors

La Fete 2005 is upon us, and a vibrant part of this Franco-Thai cultural festival is Art Connection, a project that aims to promote and celebrate modern art in Bangkok.
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Summer court by the sea

It had long been the tradition for Thai monarchs to build palaces in seaside towns for their summer retreats by the sea. The hill-top Nakhon Khiri Palace of King Mongkut, Rama IV, in Phetchaburi province, was where he stayed before travelling on to Tambon Wa Kor in Prachuab Khiri Khan province by boat to observe the total solar eclipse which he himself calculated.
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Mrigadayavan Palace: A place of love and hope

April 2005 marks the centenary of the birth of Phra Nang Chao Suvadhana Phra Vora Raja Devi, royal consort of King Vajiravudh, Rama VI.
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To be or not...?

Unlike Singapore and Hong Kong, which invariably offer local theatrical productions in greater numbers all year round, Thailand has only three major annual events for performing arts.
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History dispensable

The building's neo-classical architecture signifies an important period in Thai history, a time when the kingdom was opening up to Western influence.
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New art and culture centre

A fair next month will mark the start of construction of the long-heralded city art and culture centre.
Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin said the fair would feature art works and art-related activities organised by members of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre Network such as the National Gallery on Chao Fa road, the Bangkok National Museum Foundation, the Goethe Institute and Patravadi Theatre.
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