Thailand is most famous for its temples and their remarkable architecture, and it’s rare that you’ll hear of tourists visiting the country for framed arts. But if you’re an art connoisseur or a serious lover of art with a discriminating taste, you won’t leave the National Gallery of Thailand disappointed.
Southeast Asia Deserves a Second Look and More
What do Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Christmas Island and Singapore have in common? They all belong to the same corner of the world, Southeast Asia. Other countries in the neighborhood are Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Brunei, East Timor, Vietnam and East Timor. Together they form the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), through which they help each other out economically.
Meanwhile, not many people elsewhere in the world know about Laos or Myanmar, some don’t even know where Brunei or East Timor are, while a few more know about Vietnam, Cambodia and East Timor only for the wars.
The more popular countries here are Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, and their fame is enough for Southeast Asia to deserve a second look. Malaysia and Singapore have robust economies that can compete with the best of Europe and North America. In fact, according to Forbes, Singapore is the third wealthiest country in the world, next only to Qatar and Luxembourg.
Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are not far behind, economy-wise, but they too can compete with the rest of the world in the arena of natural sites and topnotch tourist attractions. Indonesia’s Bali, Thailand’s Phuket and the Philippines’ Boracay constantly rank as the world’s most beautiful island-beach resorts.
Three other top tourist sites in Southeast Asia are Cambodia’s Angkor Archeological Park where you can find massive and dumbfounding ancient temples that would make you look twice not sure whether what you’re looking at are real or not.
Not to be outdone, Myanmar presents to the world its own collection of ancient temples on the Bagan plains. The sight of thousands of majestic temples lined up and clustered together across the rustic plain will stay with you for a long time.
And third, the Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines. How to describe this spectacular dive site? Divers from all over the world are calling it the Garden of Eden underwater. That alone should tell you why Southeast Asia is in itself a kind of paradise.
The Jim Thompson’s House, home of James H.W. Thompson, is located in King Rama I Road. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Bangkok showcasing its owner’s art collection. It’s also a perfect example of a traditional Thai house.
About the Jim Thompson’s House.
The Jim Thompson’s house was the most celebrated social center in the early days and continues to be one of the best-preserved houses in the country today. It became the talk of the town in 1967, the year Jim Thompson died. [Read more…]
The Shwemawdaw Pagoda is best known in Myanmar as the country’s “Great Golden God Temple”. It is also called as Shwemawdaw Paya or spelled Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda. With a height that is more than 98 meters, Shwemawdaw is the tallest pagoda in Myanmar, a significant title since this Southeast Asian country has thousands and thousands of pagodas, temples, stupas and shrines. It is about 14 meters taller than the important Shwedagon Pagoda. It is so tall that it is visible from as far as 10 kilometers outside Bago city. Passengers traveling from Yangon to Bago can already get a glimpse of it before entering the city or when traveling from Yangon to Mandalay. Along the Kyaiktiyo and Shwedagon pagodas, Shwemawdaw is one of the three important pagodas built by the Mon people.
According to legends, the Lord Buddha personally gave two strands of his hair to two Mon merchants named Mahasala and Kullasala [Read more…]
Kaba Aye Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar is a leading attraction that is significant not only in religion and culture but also in politics. The name literally means “World Peace Pagoda”. It was constructed by U Nu, the Prime Minister of Burma in 1952 for the Sixth Buddhist Council that was to be held in 1954. The council lasted for two years, ending in 1956 which marks the 2,500th year Jayanti anniversary of the Buddha’s death, or more appropriately his Parinibbana or final nirvana, which takes place when the body dies and the spirit attains complete awakening.
The pagoda is 34 meters high and 34 meters around its base, located on the Kaba Aye Road about 11 kilometers to the north of the [Read more…]
Myanmar is home to thousands of stupas and pagodas around the major city of Yangon, but the Sule Pagoda is located right in the middle of downtown Yangon (formerly Rangoon, the capital city). Believed to be more than 2,000 years old, making it older than the famous Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda has become an important political hub in the country that served as a rallying point for the 1988 uprisings and the 2007 Saffron Revolution. It is a Burmese stupa that is now considered an important religious, political and ideological venue.
Bago in Myanmar is the home of ancient stupas, pagodas and temples. Located only a couple of hours away from the major city of Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the ancient city of Bago is an important tourist destination and pilgrimage site, primarily for its religious and archeological significance. Located on the west side of this ancient city is the Shwethalyaung Buddha, the most revered Reclining Buddha in Myanmar and second largest Reclining Buddha in the world, longer by 9 meters than the Reclining Buddha in Wat Po, Bangkok and smaller only than the Reclining Buddha in Dawei. It is also refutably one of the most lifelike of all the Reclining Buddha statues in Asia.
Shwethalyaung Buddha is 55 meters long and 16 meters tall. Local traditions set the construction of the Buddha in 994 during the reign [Read more…]