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A family weekend
Schools are still on term break so maybe you are ready for a weekend out of Bangkok. You’ll be looking for place that has something for every member of the family to enjoy. That’s what you’ll find in this week’s story from the Discover Thailand series.
Articles like this one are designed to give local people and visitors alike some fresh ideas about places to go and things to see around the Kingdom. You’ll notice in today’s story, that the writer tells about the Suphan Buri from his perspective – places he went, how he got there, what he enjoyed about the sites and the people he met.
If, like the writer, you don’t know much about the province of Suphan Buri, this is a good chance to plan a family trip or one with a group of friends.
Before you read the story and plan your visit, look at the pictures here and with the story below. Notice what tourist attraction is shown in each picture. Some are modern, some historic, some show arts, others are about places of nature. What kind of places do you like best? What are the favourites of the others in your family or group of friends? As you plan your trip, keep everyone’s interests in mind.
Reading to learn more
As you work together to plan your weekend, you will have to give reasons for going to the places you want to see. Read today’s story and make special note of the attractions of the place you like best. Then, as you talk with others, you can convince them of the value of going there.
Once you’ve decided together what to see, you’ll have to work out a plan including what is the best order to see places in. Think about how long you’ll stay there and how you will get to the next place. Will it be important to think about variety – an adult place followed by a kids’ place, an historic place followed by a place to eat – for example.
Will you see things in the same order that the writer did? To help you, there is a pictorial map and more pictures in the Instant Lesson on page 4 here in Learning Post. Plan the most efficient and pleasant way to see everything you want.
OUR STORY FROM THE BANGKOK POST
When the Indian laburnam (Cassia fistula) bursts into vibrant yellow I know summer has arrived and it will last several months. I was looking for a place close to Bangkok to spend the weekend, A beach resort would have just been fine, but I decided to go for Suphan Buri, a province of which I knew very little.
I decided to begin my tour of this temple-laden province in Thailand's central plains by arriving at an area where most of the local government offices are located, and most importantly the Suphan Buri National Museum which will officially open later this year. Built at a cost of more than 50 million baht and showcasing rare art and artefacts, the museum is equipped with latest multimedia technology to give visitors a thorough run down of the province's history and its evolution into a modern society.
Next to the museum is a theatre which holds a show every Saturday from 2pm.
One of the more frequently visited provincial landmarks is the 123-metre-high Banharn-Jamsai Tower. Four-storeys tall, the top floor is an observatory tower, while other floors house souvenir shops, restaurants, restrooms and toilets.
It's surrounded by a compact garden that will invite you to take a walk. At a corner is a small landscaped garden of palm trees. In an arch around the tower are colourful fountains that open up every Friday from 5-7pm and on weekends from noon to 2pm and 5pm-7pm. There is also a kids' corner equipped with a water park.
The City Pillar Shrine is Buddhist influenced; there is a statue of Lord Shiva made from rock. The head is decorated with a head-dress influenced by Khmer art. In addition, there are dragons and swans.
Suphan Buri is dotted with temples. During the Ayutthaya period, Suphan Buri formed the buffer between the ancient capital and the invading forces. One of the most attractive roads is Somphan Khong that snakes off Highway 321(Malaiman Road) through various temples including Wat Phra Si Rattana Maha That, Wat Naw Buddhangkul. Another interesting temple is Wat Phra Non or Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
Wat Naw Buddhangkul, located at tambon Phihandaeng, two kilometres from Wat Khae on the western bank of Suphan Buri River, was built during the reign of King Rama III. Originally, Phihandaeng was inhabited by Lao prisoners of war captured during the reign of King Anuwong of Vientiane. The murals were painted in 1848 by Kam, an artisan in the court of Vientiane who was in Suphan Buri to see his brother, a prisoner of war. Murals in the hall of Wat Naw Buddhangkul have worn out with age but continue to fascinate visitors.
The next day I left town and headed for Doembang Nangbuat to visit the Bueng Chawak Wildlife Extension Centre. Bueng Chawak is a natural marshland that has been declared a non-hunting area. It consists of a centre for tourists and an exhibition area.
There is a huge bird sanctuary, demonstration of breeding endangered species of animals and birds such as waterfowl and pheasant and much more..
At the Chicken Centre you can watch a demonstration of breeding techniques used for different kinds of fowl. There is an ostrich cage, too.
The Local Vegetable Park features over 500 indigenous medicinal herbs. After wandering around the park, I walked further to the Siamese Crocodile Pond and spotted a few crocs basking in the sun. The park also has an aquarium for freshwater animals.
If you wish to taste edible herbs, go to a restaurant outside the gate where herbs grown there are served in a variety of dishes.
Since the demonstrations and the garden are spread over a wide area, the centre provides a shuttle service every hour. Otherwise, travellers should have their own car.
The following day I headed west to U Thong district where the Farming Promotion and Development Centre is working on breeding and growing economic plants and trees through the application of tissue culture technology.
The centre features seven greenhouses set up with Israeli expertise. A staffer walked me from one greenhouse to another where humidity, light intensity and temperature are computer-controlled. It has an impressive cooling system in which a row of huge ventilating fans is installed on one wall while the opposite is studded with pockmarked sheets of water-soaked hard paper. It's much cooler inside the greenhouses.
Farmers in 12 neighbouring provinces have already been introduced to tissue culture technology which is being applied to asparagus, pineapple, herbal plants, bananas and a few temperate flowers like chrysanthemum and other daisy-like flowers.
Travellers can take a side trip to Wat Khao Dee Saluk temple. Perched on top of a mountain, the temple houses a replica of Lord Buddha's footprint. It provides a good platform for viewing and admiring Suphan Buri and its surroundings.
A few days there woke me up to the charms of Suphan Buri. This "City of Gold", as the name translates in Thai, is a good destination for the weekend if you are looking for something different.
sojourn sprawling vibrant artefacts run down (n) evolution observatory compact buffer invade marshland indigenous edible humidity studded pockmarked tissue culture replica
run down (n)