A visit to museums, ruins, temples, and other sites of interest in the historic entrepots of Southern Peninsula, Thailand
The south of Thailand consists of fourteen provinces and is a richly beautiful area of wild jungle, rocky mountains and broad beaches of powdery sand. It offers the visitors excellent recreational facilities, seafood, and spectacular scenery. In many ways the south is a different in climate from the rest of the country. For most of the year, there are clear skies, a fresh atmosphere and intensely lush vegetation which is characteristic of the south. Shady plantations of rubber trees are more common than rice paddies. Six provinces are on the Indian Ocean coast, looking west, facing the big waves of the open seas, and the other provinces face the Gulf of Thailand. The two sides are separated by a chain of mountains going all the way down and into Malaysia. North-west of Nakhon Si Thammarat they rise to more than 1,800 metres. The mountains, with their rugged limestone outcrops, determine the geography of the region.
For over 2,000 years the peninsula that is now divided between Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar has been a major cultural crossroads, especially in the area of Chaiya, Surat Thani, Krabi, Sathing Phra, Takua Pa, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Songkhla. It testifies to strong links with China, India, Sri Lanka and the Middle East, possibly as early as the time of the Roman Empire. In the 7th – 13th centuries the Hindu-Buddhist Srivijaya Empire held power over much of the region. After Srivijaya’s decline, Islam, brough by Arab traders, made a lasting impact in the southern-most part of the peninsula.
Chaiya and neighboring areas of the Bay of Bandon in Surat Thani province are renowned for monuments, relics and inscriptions. Archaeological evidence suggests that from at least the Gupta period in India, from 4th – 6th , Chaiya was an important port frequented by traders from the Bay of Bengal and that it became one of the principal commercial cities of the Sri Vijaya maritime empire. Earlier Chinese coins and ceramics of Tang and Southern Soong dynasties discovered in Chaiya area are on displayed in Chaiya National Museum. Little is known of the history of Chaiya after the fall of Srivijaya. Many of the important religious objects found in Chaiya exhibit its former grandeur and now remain in the museum and in Wat Phra Boromthat, Chaiya. Many Srivijaya artefacts in National Museum in Bangkok were found in Chaiya, including a famous Avalokitesavara Bodhisattva bronze that’s considered to be one of a masterpieces of Buddhist arts found in Thailand.
Surat Thani is situated on the estuary of the Ta Pi River. This area has been continuously inhabited since Neolithic time, and in the early centuries AD Surat Thani was an eastern terminus of the overland trade route across the Kra Isthmus from Takua Pa to the Gulf of Thailand. It is now an important centre of shipbuilding, fishing and tourism. One example of the Dvaravati art which spread from the central part of Thailand to the south of Thailand that is still in rather good condition is in the cave at Wat Tham Kuha in Surat Thani, and most Hindu statues are found in southern and eastern parts of Thailand. Ancient ruins of a Hindu temple founded at Khao Srivijaya in Surat Thani are very interesting to study.
Nakhon Si Thammarat is the second largest province in the south. The city centre is located about 780 kilometers from Bangkok and occupies an area of about 9,950 square kilometers, made up of high plateaus with mountains and jungles in the west, sloping down towards the east and becoming a basin along the coastline of the Gulf of Thailand. Four important rivers flow through the province – Tapi, Pak Phanang, Pak Phun and Nakhon Si Thammarat. The city, formerly known as “Ligor”, is one of the most ancient cities in Thailand and a major religious centre, with the most important Buddhist Temple in southern Thailand, having been a capital of Tambralinga, one of the Indianised states in the peninsula over which Sri Vijaya gained a measure of control. It became at least nominally subjects to Sukhothai in the 1290s and to become part of the Ayutthaya Kingdom by the early 16th century. The most important and must-see sites are Nakhon Si Thammarat National Museum, Wat Phra Mahathat Wora Maha Wihan and the Museum, old temples, old ruins and Hindu shrines. All are within the City Walls, and there are some ruins outside the city on the west of the town.
Under the leadership of Khun Euayporn Kerdchouay, The Siam Society is arranging an expedition for members to visit museums, ruins, temples and other sites of interest in Chaiya, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat from Friday, 18 to Sunday, 20 February 2022.
The tentative programme will be as follows:
|Day 1: Friday, 18 February (Bangkok – Chaiya – Khanom)|
|–||Check in individually at Thai Air Asia counter, Don Mueang Airport.|
|07:15||Depart Bangkok Don Mueang Airport for Surat Thani Airport, by Thai Air Asia flight FD3235|
|08:30||Arrive at Surat Thani Airport and proceed to Chaiya district|
|–||Visit Chaiya National Museum, Wat Phra Boramathat Chaiya and visit many historical sites in Chaiya.|
|Noon:||Lunch at a local restaurant.
|Afternoon:||Proceed to Khanom district, Nakhon Si Thammarat province.|
|Enroute:||Visit Dvaravati style Buddha Image in Kanchanadit district.|
|–||Arrive at Khanom district and check in at Rachakiri Resort and Spa.|
|Evening:||Dinner and overnight at the resort.|
|Day 2: Saturday, 19 February (Khanom – Nakhon Si Thammarat)|
|–||Breakfast at the resort.|
|Morning:||At leisure at the resort|
|Noon:||Check out and proceed to a local restaurant for lunch in Khanom district.|
|–||Proceed to Nakhon Si Thammarat.|
|Enroute:||Visit the ancient Hindu ruins at Khaoka in Sichon district.|
|–||Arrive at Nakhon Si Thammarat and check in at Grand Fortune Hotel|
|Evening:||Dinner at local restaurant and overnight at the hotel.|
|Day 3: Sunday, 20 February (Nakhon Si Thammarat – Bangkok)|
|–||Breakfast at the hotel.|
|Morning:||Visit Nakhon Si Thammarat National Museum and many historical sites in the city and outside the city walls|
|Afternoon:||Lunch at a local restaurant|
|Late -afternoon:||Proceed to Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport|
|17:00||Check in at Thai Air Asia couter at the airport|
|18:10||Depart Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport for Don Mueang Airport by Thai Air Asia, Flight FD3187|
|19:30||Arrive at Bangkok Don Mueang Airport|
|The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary.|
– The Society requires all study trip participants to be fully vaccinated. We kindly ask that you attach appropriate proof(s) of vaccination indicating 2 (TWO) doses of Sinovac, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, Sputnik V, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine along with your registration.
– To comply with the measures set forth by the government in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic and in order to protect yourself and others around you, the Society kindly asks our participants to follow the appropriate safety and precautionary measures as stipulated by the government and health organisations.
The contribution of THB 22,000 (THB 23,000 for non-members), single room surcharge THB 1,800 will cover airfares, transportation, accommodation for 2 nights (two persons per room), meals as mentioned in the programme, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. In addition, basic travel insurance is included. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Please pay by cash or cheque payable to “The Siam Society”. Alternatively, you can transfer the money to The Siam Society travel account at TMB Bank, Asoke Branch, saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us.
For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert at Tel. 02-661-6470-3 ext. 504 or Khun Supanut Tel. 02-661-6470-3 ext. 506, Fax 02-258-3491 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Society office is open from 09:00 to 17:00, Tuesday to Saturday.