Friday, December 28, 2012

Mekong River's ecology and its influence on livelihoods

Most small riverside communities along the Mekong River rely on mixed economy of agricultur and fisheries. These two subsistence activities dominate the  live along the river; and are directly linked to the Mekong's ecology.

Families and livelihoods along the river depend on the river and its resources. Families need the income and food generated through activities such as fisheries and gardening. For most people in the Mekong basin, livelihoods are complex, and often include a mixture of employment income, as well as subsistence farming or fishing activities such as growing food or fishing.

The activities undertaken by households vary seasonally. The Mekong River ecology, and in particular the seasonal flood-pulse and the dry season, determines how these activities vary throughout the year. At times rice-farming dominates the activities, while at other times, fishing is more important.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nong Khai's Naga - a strong symbol and deity of the Mekong River

Guardian deity of the Mekong River and its people. Rooted in many legends and stories from the past, the Naga is still one of the most important symbols of the Lao and Isaan culture.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Lam Thakong Dam

Lam Takhong Dam was constructed in 1974 and is an embankment dam on the Lam Takhong River. 

The dam is situated between Pak Chona and Sikhiu districts in Nakhon Ratchasima province, Isaan.

The dam's purpose was to retain water for irrigation and water supply. After 2002 the stored water also serves as the reservoir for the Lam Takhong Pumped Storage Power Plant, the first plant one of this kind in Thailand.

Along the highway number 2 there are a few restaurants overlooking the dam. They offer typical Isaan food such as gai yang (BBQ chicken), somtam (papaya salad) and all sorts of fish.... of course served with khao nio (sticky rice).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Revered Buddha Phra Serm at Wat Pathumwanaram Rajaworavihara

Wat Pathumwanaram Rajaworavihara (Wat Srapathum ) is situated on Rama I Road in Bangkok, between the Central World Shopping Mall and the Siam Paragon Shopping Center. The Wat was build during the same time as the Srapathum Palace. King Rama IV ordered the construction of the temple as a gift for Queen Thepsirin.

Wat Pathumwanaram houses important Buddha images - the revered Phra Serm and Phra Saen.

Legends say that the three daughters of Setthathirath (*), the King of Lane Xang, commissioned three personal Buddha images. Theses images were believed to reflect the faces of the three daughters of the king. All of them were given names relating to the names of the three princesses, Phra Serm, Phra Souk and Phra Sai.

The three revered Buddha images were originally housed in Vientiane, Laos sleepy capital on the opposite Mekong Riverside, around 20 km of Nong Khai. However, around 200 years ago, the images were brought to Thailand during the invasion of Laos through the troupes of Rama III, King of Siam.

In a stormy night, Phra Souk fell in to the Mekong River while in transit to Nong Khai. The two surviving and remaining Buddha images were placed in Nong Khai's Wat Pho Chai and Wat Ho Klong. King Rama IV ordered, that the image of Phra Serm should be taken to Bangkok.

While Phra Sai was left at Wat Pho Chai in Nong Khai, Phra Serm was placed at Wat Pathumwanaram Rajaworavihara in  Bangkok. A visit to this most revered Buddha is rewarding and interesting alike. Wat Pathumwanaram Rajaworavihara is on the Rama I Road, near Siam Square...

More info: The story of Phra Sai, a much revered Buddha image in Nong Khai

* Setthathirath (Lao: ເສດຖາທິຣາດ; 1534–1572) is one of the greatest leaders and kings in Lao history. He successfully defended the kingdom of Lan Xang against the Burmese conquerors.

Setthathirath erected many Buddhist monuments in Laos and Isaan, including the famous Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang and the Phra That Luang stupa in Vientiane.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Four airlines serve the city-pairs: Thai Airways, Lao Airlines, Lao Central Airline and Bangkok Airways

Bangkok Airways intensifies race on Vientiane route -

Normal round trip fares between Bangkok and Vientiane cost around 12'000 Baht, or if one wants to fly cheaper and doesn't mind to do some parts of the trip on the road, Thai Air Asia offers several daily flights to Udon Thani. Thai Air Asia offers round trips around 3'500 Baht.

A bus to the border at Nong Khai or even Vientiane is between 200 and 300 Baht... A good, reliable and low cost option...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Ceremony to mark progress on 4th Thai-Lao Friendship bridge

4th Mekong River bridge between Laos and Thailand - Ceremony marks bridge progress :

Friday, December 7, 2012

Northeastern Thai Buddhist Art

The Pullman Hotel G at the Silom Road in Bangkok presents Northeastern Thai Buddhist Art from Songrit Muaiprom. This is the artists first exhibition.

Songrit Muaiprom grew up in Thailand's Northeast also known as Isaan, an arid area with great historical value. This area of Thailand is well known for its welcoming and friendly people.

About the Artist
Songrit Muaiprom as many Thai males was an ordained and practicing Buddhist monk for more than 8 years. When he discovered his talent for arts he decided to choose a path where he could express the cultural heritage of Buddhism. Songrit graduated with a Master’s Degree in Thai Art from Silpakorn University.

You can visit the exhibition, without charge. Located at Gallery 36 on the 36th floor of Pullman Bangkok Hotel G, Silom Road. Open daily from 10:00 – 19:00 hrs.