Pattaya Live Cam

City on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast known for its beautiful beaches


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A Southeast Asian country

Wonderful though these are, few are more than 200 years old, Bangkok being founded as the Thai capital in only 1782. Further afield, however, it is possible to trace an intriguing history extending far back in time.

Prior to the Thai's rise to supremacy in the 13th century, much of the region was dominated by the Khmers, whose vast empire was centered on Ankor in present-day Cambodia. The legacy of this influence can be seen at a number of well-preserved Khmer monuments, such as the city of Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast.

Moving into the Thai period proper, dating from the 13th century, the historical development of our Kingdom can be glimpsed at several ancient sites, such as the first capital cities: Sukhothai, founded in c 1238, and the remarkable city of Ayutthaya, the capital for over 400 years until its destruction in 1767.

In more recent history, Kanchanaburi, in the Central region, is well-known among war historians and movie buffs as the site of the notorious Death Railway and the Bridge over the river Khwai. British, Dutch, Australian and American prisoners of war were brought by the Japanese to Thailand for construction of the infamous railroad. Over 61,700 POW's and 270,000 war laborers worked on the construction causing the death of some 50,000 to 90,000 workers. The JEATH War Museum (Japan, Eangland, American, Australian, Thailand and Holland) at Kanchanaburi commemorates the POW's.

Other interesting museums to visit include the Museum of Imaging Technology; which is the first camera and photograph museum to be established in Thailand and Asia; the National Arts Gallery, which exhibits traditional and contemporary works of art by Thai artists, the Royal Barge Museum, where several royal barges are displayed; and the Bangkok Planetarium & Scientific Museum, where daily performances on the solar system are presented.

The earliest water-sport centre, and still one of the most popular, is Pattaya on the Gulf of Thailand, just two hours' drive from Bangkok. The main beach is located on a scenic bay, but facilities are available along the coast for several miles. There are also more than 30 picturesque off-shore is lands with a wealth of coral and many types of tropical fish.

On the other sides of the peninsula in the Gulf of Thailand is the Ang Thong Islands National Marine Park, a group of more than 40 beautiful islands off the west of Surat Thani province and near Samui Island. In Pattaya scuba divers can organize daily trips from the resort to the offshore islands of Ko Lan, Ko Sak , and Ko Krok.

The variety of magnificent scenery, coupled with year round warm weather and abundance of gamefish make fishing in Thailand's seas a popular water sport.

In the Gulf itself, Pattaya and Bang Saray are the major centers for gamefishing, with plenty of charter boats available.

Increasingly popular among ecology-minded travelers is the sport of sea canoeing, which offers adventure while also conserving the environment. Sea Canoe Thailand in Phuket, and Sea Canoe Krabi, in Krabi both offer memorable trips in nearby bays, through spectacular scenery that includes huge caves only accessible by water.

The Sarika Canoe Club in Nakhon Nayok offers canoeing trips along the Nakhon Nayok River, for the beginner and the more advanced canoeist, with some exciting and dramatic white water attractions.

The most popular area for climbing is the southern province of Phang Nga, where towering limestone cliffs provide the perfect challenge.

The vast open spaces of northern Thailand make it an ideal area for hiking, particularly during the cooler months of the year (November-February). Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are the main trekking centers in the North, and a number of companies have been established to meet the growing demand for this kind of activity. Particularly popular are treks in the mountainous area near our borders with Myanmar and Laos. Most tours include overnight stays in simple forest lodges or in hilltribe villages.

Other popular areas for hiking are Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai province, which includes Thailand's highest mountain and extensive trails and Khao Yai National Park in central Thailand. Also Khao Sok National Park in Surat Thani province and the very scenic Khao Luang National Park in Nakhon Si Thammarat.

For those who prefer a more restful way of seeing the scenic wonders of Thailand's marine life, sea cruising is a good alternative. There is a choice of luxury passenger liners plying the waters along both coasts, while tour boats offer regular day trips from bases such as Phuket, Pattaya and Ko Samui. Local long-tailed boats can be hired for trips to nearby scenic islands for snorkeling.

Many traditional forms of entertainment, art and sports are still very much in evidence today. Undoubtedly a fascinating part of anybody's trip is the discovery of these more traditional aspects of our rich culture , whether stumbling across a shrine dance or joining the crowds at a "Muay Thai" match.

Khon stories are derived from the Ramakien. the Thai version of the Indian Ramayana, which tells the epic account of the abduction of Nang Sida, wife of the god-king Phra Ram by the wicked king Thotsakan, and results in the triumph of good over evil. All the characters wear ornate costumes and magnificent papier-mache masks and the story is told through stylized gestures and postures, once considered so strenuous that all the performers were men. Performances can be seen at the National Theater in Bangkok and at many restaurants offering cultural evenings.

Lakhon and Likay are popular derivations of khon, but without the masks. Lakhon can be seen regularly at popular shrines, such as the Erawan shrine in Bangkok, where performers are commissioned to dance by worshippers.

The main venues to watch Thai boxing in Bangkok are: Ratchadamnoen Stadium (on Ratchadomnoen Road) and Lumphini Stadium (on Rama IV Road).

Involving a ball made of woven rattan, takro can be observed throughout the kingdom wherever groups of men or boys gather after work. The feet, knees, elbows, shoulders and the head - but not the hands - are used to keep the ball in the air, often with displays of extraordinary grace. Competition usually takes place at Sanam Luang during the summer season.

Best observed at Sanum Luang in Bangkok (opposite the Grand Palace) during March and April, when there is a dependable breeze every afternoon.

Races can also be observed in many provinces - usually as part of festivals toward the end of the rainy season.

Traditional massage is a centuries-old health restoration for Thais. One of the most famous places to experience this is at Wat Pho, one of Bangkok's oldest and largest temples, located just south of the Grand Palace. Here massage is both practiced and taught. In the late afternoon visitors flock to the temple to experience the healing hands of the practiced masseurs.

In addition, traditional massage, locally known as "nuet phanburan," is available at a large variety of locations throughout the country.