For many visitors to Bangkok the city appears to be wild, chaotic and totally unplanned. Many might be surprised to learn that there even is a City Planning Department. In fact the latest plan to tackle the city's many issues was released in 2020. But the city's first urban plan dates back to the founding of Bangkok in 1782. The founders of Bangkok had a plan that they believed would bring order and harmony to the new capital. Unfortunately this plan was unable to cope with the pressures of the nineteenth century, let alone provide guidance in the twenty-first. This is the story of the Mandala of Bangkok.
Wat Phou, a small Angkorian era temple, is the chief tourist attraction of Southern Laos. Most visitors to Wat Phou consider it as a remote outpost of the great Khmer empire centred on Cambodia's Angkor Wat. But in fact this small mountain temple is the birth place of that once mighty empire. It's history is shrouded in much mystery so here we shall delve in to what is known about Wat Phou, ranging from serene Buddhist sanctuary to site of bloody human sacrifice.
Thailand owes many of its most famous monuments to an Italian who arrived in Siam in 1923. This man's name was Corrado Feroci and he would dedicate the rest of his life to the arts in Thailand, even adopting a Thai name Silpa Bhirasri. Today we will take a tour around Bangkok to learn about Corrado Feroci and his most famous works, a tour which will also take us through some of Thailand's most momentous history.
Located in Petchaburi province some 120km south of Bangkok, spread across three mountain peaks, is the southern palace retreat of King Mongkut (Rama IV). Officially called Phra Nakhorn Khiri, the "Celestial Mountain-top City" it is more commonly called Wang Khao or "Hill-top Palace".
Bangkok's Grand Palace is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions with millions of visitors each year. But just across the Chao Phraya River is an older palace which attracts very little attention. Wang Derm or The Original Palace was the palace built in 1767 by King Taksin when he decided to establish Thonburi as the new capital of Siam.
The iconic Art Deco style Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theatre in Bangkok, is a well known landmark built by King Prajadhipok (Rama VII). But the story of early cinema in Thailand and how it was that Thailand's king came to build a popular theatre is now largely forgotten.
Ubon Ratchathani located 600km from Bangkok historically marks the boundary between Bangkok's power and that of the ancient kingdoms of Laos. It is home to some beautiful temples of national significance which also hold some subtle messages relating to power struggles now long forgotten.
Opened with great pomp and ceremony in 1932 Memorial Bridge was the first road bridge built across the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok. Nearly ninety years later it is just one of many much larger bridges now crossing the river but no others have stood through the immense changes and historic events that Memorial Bridge has seen in those years.
Located just 15km from the northern city of Lampang is one of Thailand's oldest living temple complexes with some of the best preserved examples of early Lanna architecture in the country and many fascinating cultural artifacts.
Phra Pradaeng is a great place to escape from the city and for Siamrat one of the hidden treasures there is the pair of old temple buildings at Wat Bang Nam Phueng Nok.