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Visakha Bucha

Visakha Bucha Day in 2017

Wednesday the 10th is Visakha Bucha Day. This day is the most important Buddhist holiday and celebrated by Buddhists all over the world. Visakha Bucha is also publicly recognized as a national holiday in countries with a large number of Buddhist inhabitants.

The day commemorates the widely considered three biggest events in the life of Buddha: his birth, his enlightenment, and his death. These events are believed to have occurred on the day of the full moon in the sixth month of the lunar-based Thai calendar. While this generally puts the holiday in May on the Gregorian (western) calendar, it has been celebrated in June at times as well.

buddha birth enlightment death

Birth of Buddha

The first event of the life of Buddha was his birth, which was approximately 2500 years ago in Lumbini, Nepal. Lumbini is now seen as a Buddhist pilgrimage site, housing a number of temples such as the Mayadevi temple. The place is now considered an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Buddha, was born as a rich prince but chose to leave the life of luxury in a search of wisdom. He went to the wise hermits that were living in the woodlands spread out through the region at the time. However, he felt disappointed and instead chose to meditate under a Bodhi tree. There he attained enlightenment, 35 years of age and formulated the basic tenets of Buddhism. At the same date but approximately 45 years later at an age of 80 Buddha died. According to Buddhist religion he then entered a state of ‘nirvana’ and thus escaping all suffering.

In Thailand, the day is a time for devout Buddhists to go to local temples and to “make merit”. While Visakha Bucha Day is definitely a time to make merit, it does not limit itself to that. There are many sermons on Buddha’s teachings and the devout will go to and meditate as well as recommit themselves to follow the five, or possibly the ten precepts of Buddhism as well as offering food to the temple workers. Some also set birds or fish free as a means of eliminating “negative karma”

The five biggest and widely known & followed precepts which to refrain from are

  • Harming living things
  • Taking what is not given
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Lying or gossiping
  • Taking intoxicating substances e.g. drugs or drinks

Buddhist monks have ten precepts to live by, which are the 5 mentioned above and the following ones.

  • Taking substantial food after midday (from noon to dawn)
  • Dancing, singing, and music
  • Use of garlands, perfumes and personal adornment like jewellery
  • Use of luxurious beds and seats
  • Accepting and holding money, gold or silver.

Experiencing Visakha Bucha Day as a tourist

The sale of alcohol becomes prohibited during the Visakha Bucha Day and thus many bars close temporarily. The most celebrations are private and of a religious background, but tourists can visit few of the many temples that become even more alive than normally during Visakha Bucha Day.

Reclining Buddha

Wat Pho is the oldest Buddhist temple in Bangkok and dates from the 7th century. The ashes of King Rama 1 are enshrined inside the temple and the famed Reclining Buddha is also located in this temple. The reclining Buddha symbolizes Buddha’s entrance into nirvana at his death. Besides that, the temples architecture is extremely ornate, colourful, and complex.

Another great temple to visit is the Wat Phrathart Doi Suthep. At this temple a large pilgrimage takes place every year during Visakha Bucha Day. Led by candlelight, many devotees circle the chapel of the temple. They move in a clockwise direction while carrying incense sticks and lotus buds. The temple has a stunning view over the city with a panoramic view.

The tourists visiting Thailand during Visakha Bucha Day will see the country cheer up during the holiday with the temples being crowded with worshippers and tourists alike. Whether you join in on the festivities or just admire the architecture, history, and activities Visakha Bucha Day is enjoyable and memorable for everyone involved.

Songkran

Celebrate Songkran in Bangkok

The Songkran Festival has been a longstanding tradition of merit-making, respecting your elders and cleaning your house, oh and the enormous water fights that change the whole country in a light hearted field of war in which everyone joins for the festivities. Whether you are a little kid, an older tourist or anything in-between, you will not be able to avoid the buckets of water flying around.  Enjoy Songkran in Bangkok! Continue reading

white-chiangrai

Northern Thailand Holidays in Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai, the little brother in the north

Everyone that has been to Thailand know Chiang Mai, the big northern city which is adored by tourists, expats and backpackers alike. However, there is a smaller city up north which is called Chiang Rai. Albeit similar in name, it does have some distinct differences compared to Chiang Mai, the city is quite a bit smaller and has more of a Thai authenticity.
First things first, how do you actually get to Chiang Rai. Well that part is actually quite simple, you can go by plane from Bangkok, or if you already happen to be in Chiang Mai, then you can just take a bus or a guided tour. There are many tour organizations that organize a guided day trip to the city and its surrounding, but if you really want to enjoy the beauty of the north the best way is to stay there for a few days. There are many accommodations ranging from simple hostels to luxurious resorts so there will be something to everyone’s liking.

So we now know Chiang Rai is north of Chiang Mai, how we can reach it and where to stay, which is all useful information. But the main questions which begs to be answered is why should you go there. What makes the area worth the exhausting 3-4 hour bus ride you might spend when travelling. Chiang Rai has a rich culture and history, with the city originally being the capital of the Lanna kingdom. Thus having many different kind of temples around offering something unique to the place. The mountains are some of the prettiest in Thailand, showing a beautiful view which will take your breath away. So Chiang Rai might not be a party centre such as Bangkok, but it does give a beautiful peaceful contrast with an almost hippie-like ambiance.

The Contrast between Black and White

white-chiangraiBefore leaving Chiang Rai, there are some must-see attractions in and around the city. The first and most famous attraction is the Wat Rong Khun, or the White Temple as commonly called by foreigners. Wat Rong Khun is different from the conventional temples as it is a contemporary, privately owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple. This temple is truly one of a kind and is definitely worth the visit when you are in Chiang Rai.

black-chiangraiA contrast to the contemporary White Temple, is The Black House. These two buildings can be seen as complete opposite with the White Temple giving you a peaceful experience with beautiful koi carp swimming around the temple. While the black house is filled with an extensive collection of taxidermy and bones which will definitely make sure that the faint-hearted ones don’t feel at ease. One little funny fact however, the architect of The Black House is the former teacher of the architect of The White Temple.

Chiang Rai, the city itself

Besides the White Temple, there are a few more temples around Chiang Rai, as it is Thailand after all of course. Which means there is never a shortage on them, wherever you are. It is also worth a visit to go into the city itself and get a drink at one of the local bars. As Chiang Rai is not yet filled with backpackers, the bars really have an identical feeling to it. One you can try is Croissant, which fills the air with classic 90s songs. Another one is Peace House, which is more laidback with a great garden to relax.

Last but not least is the Saturday market which is definitely worth a visit. It is relatively similar to other markets around Thailand. Although it is little bit less touristic and you will not be drowning in the shops selling tank tops with the Chang logo on it. Thai music is being played in the background while you walk around, get the possibility to buy some amazing crafts and try some Thai delicacy.

One great place to stay is The Legend Chiang Rai, which offers a great home base in Chiang Rai to explore the city as well as relax at the beautiful resort which offers all the amenities needed when in the quiet and peaceful north.
Visit: https://www.thelegend-chiangrai.com/

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new year 2017

A Warm Welcome to New Year 2017

In the few days the joy to the world is going to sing by all. 2016 could have been up’s and down for many of us. But these seasons let Christmas bring new smiles on your face. In Western, Christmas night bring everybody together and have a dinner with family.  Kids will have a present from Santa. But in Thailand isn’t like the western but we feel it is a happiness seasons too. And if you don’t have Ideas for activity we may suggest you what should you do on this Christmas Continue reading