Most tourists who visit Phuket spend most of their time on the beach. In doing so, they are missing out on the beautiful Sino-Portuguese buildings in Phuket Town. These colourful buildings date back to the start of the 20th Century. In 1994, Phuket Municipality designated the old section of Phuket Town on Rassada, Phang Nga, Yaowarat, Krabi, Deebuk, Thalang and Thepkasattri roads as a conservation area and prohibited buildings of more than 12 metres high. In addition, many roads in this area have had their power and telephone wires buried underground.
One of the most amazing temples in Suphanburi is Wat Phai Rong Wua. Around the grounds there are reproductions of buildings marking the locations of important places in the Buddha’s life. There is also the largest concrete Buddha and this Standing Buddha, which is said to be the largest Bronze Buddha images at 26 meters high. As well as many Buddha images of all shapes and sizes, there is a Buddhist Hell where you can see what will happen to you if you sin in this life.
It is traditional for Thai men to ordain as Buddhist monks at least once in their life. Some consider they are not real men until they have done this. In the past, men would ordain for three months when they have reached the age of twenty. However, with a modern lifestyle, it is not always easy or convenient to ordain for a long period of time. So, some do a token ordination into the monkhood for less than a week. Nevertheless, the ordination ceremony, which lasts for two days, can be very elaborate. Here a young man is being escorted to the local temple by family and friends on the back of a horse.
The start of the three month long Buddhist Lent was celebrated in Suphanburi with an elaborate parade with traditional cultural performances. The highlights were beautifully carved candles on floats that took part in the parade. All ten districts in Suphanburi submitted their own float with wax carvings that must have taken months to create. The parade was so long that it took more than two hours to pass the starting point in the city.
A popular destination for Bangkok people at the weekend is Cha-am Beach, which is about 200 kilometers to the south. It can get very crowded with thousands of people in the sea and no deckchairs available. However, as this is mainly a Thai resort, you will find you will have the place to yourself if you visit during the week. The seaside resort is popular with Scandinavians who have settled here in large numbers.