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Archive for thailand

Rose of the North

By Linda Tancs

Affectionately known as the “Rose of the North” for its pristine natural resources, Chiang Mai was built in the 1200s as a walled city surrounded by a moat. Established as a center of Buddhism in northern Thailand, its centuries-old pagodas and temples belie the city’s ethnic diversity as the home of several hill tribes. Each hill tribe has its own customs, language, dress and spiritual beliefs, drawing the interest of tourists from around the world. In fact, the hill tribe trekking industry is booming, a welcome development for tribes interested in promoting native arts and handicrafts.

Upside Down in Thailand

By Linda Tancs

At the Upside Down House in Phuket, Thailand, you really can dance on the ceiling, Lionel Richie style. The directionally challenged home is a popular attraction that, it’s fair to say, will challenge your perspective. If your senses aren’t altered enough by the experience, then be sure to proceed to the garden maze behind the home.

The Paper Island

By Linda Tancs

Thailand’s southernmost island is Koh Lipe, a quiet paradise in the Andaman Sea near Malaysia.  Its name has been roughly translated from the local language to mean “paper island.” From the looks of it, that’s an apt description.  The island is flat, and its pure white beaches (three main ones) resemble a sheet of white paper. Now in low season, the good weather is coupled with low tourism (although the island in no way approaches the hustle and bustle of Phuket even in high season). Accessible only by boat, in low season the main transport hub is the pier at Pak Bara in Satun.  Don’t go there via Phuket, though; the ride to Pak Bara is about seven hours’ long. From Hat Yai it’s only two hours by taxi to the pier.

Two Heroines

By Linda Tancs

Phuket, Thailand’s largest island, is no stranger to adverse forces.  Although most might best remember the damage wrought by the 2004 tsunami, this southern province has battled against adverse influences for centuries.  For instance, during the Battle of Thalang in 1785 the Burmese sought control of this island paradise and might have won it were it not for the marshaling of troops led by two sisters.  Driving the Burmese to retreat, the two women became local heroines and were bestowed honorary titles by a grateful King Rama I.  The Two Heroines Monument is located on Krasattri Road.

The Heart of Buddhism

By Linda Tancs

Tomorrow marks the full moon day of the third lunar month.  That means that in Buddhist-majority countries like Thailand they’ll be celebrating Makha Bucha Day.  Held in honor of Buddha, the event commemorates Buddha’s sharing of his enlightenment with a congregation of disciples.  The day ends with a closing ceremony where thousands of monks light candles, chant scripts in temple grounds and perform the ritual of wien thien (circling the temple three times) in major shrines.

Bright Lights, Big City

By Linda Tancs

In Chiang Mai, a mountain-ringed metropolis north of Bangkok, they’ll be lighting up the night sky with thousands of floating lanterns this weekend in the annual Loy Krathong festival.  At ground level, you can set more lights afloat on banana leaves across the Ping River, a symbolic gesture celebrating the resources of the waterway and casting off misfortune.  No doubt a sight to behold, you can capture the essence of it here.

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Happy Earth Day

By Linda Tancs

Today marks a worldwide celebration of our natural resources.  What better way to commemorate the day than to see what’s on in some of Mother Nature’s most glorious natural environments.  How about Hawaii?  Many Earth Day-related festivities have already started–and ended.  However, the Kona Earth Festival is still kickin’ until 21 June.  In Thailand, morning chants at Dhammakaya Assembly Hall started off the annual salute to our environment, ending tonight with fireworks at the Grand Meditation Square.  Calgary is celebrating with a call to action to Ward 9 to pick up litter for 22 minutes!  And the U.K.’s North Norfolk coast, an eco-friendly paradise for backpackers, is hosting an exhibition on environmental technology and initiatives at Deepdale Farm.  What’s on in your neighborhood?

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