Tag - worship

An Introduction to Cambodia

Introduction to Cambodia
Introduction to Cambodia
Introduction to Cambodia

In spite of decades of suffering, persecution and poverty, the people of Cambodia love to laugh and you are sure to receive a warm welcome wherever you wander through this charming country. The Kingdom of Cambodia covers 181,035 square kilometres and bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos in the north, Vietnam in the east and the Gulf of Thailand in the south.

Most people travel to Cambodia to visit the magnificent Angkor Wat, located near the bustling town of Siem Reap. One of the seven wonders of the world, Angkor Wat is just one in a number of enchanting ancient temples in this area, while the capital city of Phnom Penh also has plenty to offer visitors.

Although this richly diverse nation is bordered on virtually all sides, there are still some pretty islands and beaches to explore in Cambodia, such as the beach resort of Sihanoukville and the nearby islands in Ream National Park. The mighty Mekong River flows through Cambodia from Laos to Vietnam and is a great way to travel through the country.

Cambodia’s natural beauty makes it a great place for trekking and there are plenty of dense jungles, unspoilt forests and paddy fields to explore, while the Cardamom and Elephant Mountain Ranges provide a spectacular backdrop.

Subsistence farming is the main occupation of this impoverished nation, and most people live in stilted huts in small village communities. Although the majority of people (about 95%) are Khmer, there are also about twenty different hill tribes, each with their own unique culture, believes and style of dress.

The official language of Cambodia is Khmer and it is spoken by most people, while some people also speak French, Laos and Vietnamese, especially near the country borders. Although many people speak English in tourist areas and you will often be approached by people who want to practice their English, it is a good idea to learn a few basic phrases in Khmer.

Buddhism is the main religion in Cambodia, with about 90% of the population following either Therevada or Hinayana Buddhism. Worship is an important part of Khmer life and you will find a large number of temples scattered around Cambodia, although a large percentage were destroyed during the tyranny of the Khmer Rouge.

Cambodia really comes alive during the numerous festivals and public holidays, and it is idea to time your trip to coincide with one of these festivals as the streets are filled with singing and dancing and people put on their best clothes and biggest smiles.

Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos
Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang was formerly the capital of Laos and is situated at the meeting point of the Mekong and Mae Kok rivers in northern Laos. Most travellers in Laos make it to this large and inviting city at some point during their journey and this is a great place to spend a few days.

Luang Prabang Province is considered by many to be Laos’ cultural and heritage centre and here you will find a large collection of Buddhist monasteries, temples and monuments. The town itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers some stunning examples of French architecture and traditional temple art.

Surrounded by dense jungle and sparkling rivers, Luang Prabang Province is extremely beautiful. The earth is a rich brown colour and to the north rocky mountains make an impressive backdrop. Trekking is popular here and there are a good range of activities available such as rock climbing and boat trips.

Among the largest and most impressive of Luang Prabang’s temples are Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Visoun and Wat Ou Tay, while the 24-metre high stupa of That Chomsi is an impressive sight. For spectacular views over the city climb to the top of Phu Si, which is also one of the best places to watch the sun set over the city.

There are plenty to see and do around the province. 30 miles north of Luang Prabang city is the cave of Tham Ting, which is filled with large Buddha images and is a prominent place of worship for the local people. The cave is situated right on the river and combined with the two hour boat trip to get there this is a great way to spend a day.

Another good day trip destination pretty the Tad Sae waterfall and Kuang Si waterfall, while the National Museum is a good place to learn more about the local culture and history. Topped by an impressive golden-spired stupa, Luang Prabang’s former royal palace has been transformed into the Palace Museum, and here you will find an impressive collection of regal artefacts and royal portraits

There are a large number of cheap guesthouses available in Luang Prabang and plenty of restaurants serving international food. A great time to visit is during one of the country’s festivals, when the streets are filled with colourful and noisy processions.   

Getting around Luang Prabang is easy and this is a great place to take it easy before venturing into the more remote areas of Laos.

Ream National Park, Cambodia

Ream National Park, Cambodia
Ream National Park, Cambodia
Ream National Park, Cambodia
ream_national_park_4

Ream National Park is Cambodia’s most diverse national park. Located about 12 miles from Sihanoukville, the park has been open since 1993. Ream covers 21,000 hectares; 15,000 hectares of land and 6,000 hectares of river and sea. Here you will find secluded beaches, tropical jungles and wide rivers. Over 155 species of bird call Ream home, as well as Sun Bears, the endangered elongated tortoise, eagles and even dolphins.
A boat trip through the national park is the perfect way to see the natural beauty of this charming area. Sail away down the Prek Tuk Sap River in a small motorboat, sheltered from the hot sun by a canvass roof. The scenery is spectacular and the banks of the river are lined with mangrove forests. There is plenty of wildlife to see such as beautiful green kingfishers, monkeys hooting in the trees and purple jellyfish.

As you glide slowly along the river, you will pass people digging in the river bed for shellfish and fishing from small boats. After a couple of hours, you will arrive at Koh Som Poch Beach, where you can swim or sunbathe while lunch is prepared.

Walk for about an hour through tropical jungle rich with plant life and you will come to the Thmor Thom fishing village. The buzz of cicada beetles is loud and exoticly beautiful butterflies flutter through the forest.

Ream’s intense natural beauty leads many people to set up home here and the population has doubled in the last eight years. This means that resources such as wood, herbs, fish and fruit are seriously over-used. There is also the problem of illegal logging and poaching to deal with. Luckily, this situation is slowly but steadily changing thanks to the injection of cash that the tourism industry is providing. Illegal fishing and logging are being stamped out, and the forests of the area are gradually regenerating.

It is possible to book a tour of Ream National Park at a number of places in Sihanoukville. The prices of tours vary according to the company you opt for, but all tours include meals as well as transportation and entrance into the park.

Places of Worship in Thailand

where_do_you_worship_1Places of Worship in Bangkok and Thailand

Maribel Escarpe writes: “You are all invited to our Sunday worship Service! NAME OF CHURCH: JESUS IS LORD CHURCH THAILAND CHAPTER Address: Sunshine Mansion Soi 18/2 Chatuchak District, bangkok, Thailand Every Sunday @ 10:12:00 Noon CONTACT # : 085-911-5705 WEBSITE: COME & EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE OF GOD!” 

Every Nation Church Bangkok
Every Nation Church Bangkok – we worship at Every Nation Church Bangkok, 15/F Jitt Utthai Bldg., Ramkhamhaeng Road 73 in Bangkok between 1600 – 1730 every Sunday. Bilingual services. Click here for more details. 
 
The International Church of Bangkok
Stewart writes: “The International Church of Bangkok is a multi-denominational English language church. We meet Sundays at 10am near Surasak BTS and at 6:30pm near Sala Daeng BTS. See our website for details, directions and maps. (www.icbangkok.org) We are a church that welcomes all people regardless of where you are in your spiritual journey. We focus on loving God and loving others.” 
 
Holy Redeemer Church
Meg writes: Holy Redeemer Church is unique in its architecture and the faithful are invited to an active parish life. Weekday Masses are at 630 AM (Thai), 7 and 8 AM (English) and 530 PM (English). 
 
Bangkok International Church of Seventh-Day Adventists
Dr. Brian Lee writes: “Bangkok International Church of Seventh-Day Adventists www.bicsda.org Tel.02 713 2232 Please join us to worship and praise God each Saturday at 09.00. You\’re sure to experience warm fellowship with our members from more than 10 countries, meaningful sermons in English, and beautiful, uplifting music by our talented choirs. We have lunch prepared for you after the service.” 
 
Hope of Bangkok, International Fellowship
Hope of Bangkok, International Fellowship (www.hobif.org) is a non dominational church located at the 3rd floor of The Royal Benja Hotel in Sukhumvit soi 5. Service starts at 10:00 am. 
 
Bethany International Church Bangkok
Hi all, I recommend to attend the Sunday service at: Bethany International Church Bangkok at 10.00-12.00 a.m. at PATHUMWAN PRINCESS HOTEL (MBK Shopping Center) M Floor. More information at www.bethanybangkok.com or send email. The service in Indonesian with Thai, Japanese and English translation. We welcome all of you to experience God’s blessings, anointing and love. 
 
Italian Speaking Catholic Community Holy Mass
Frederico de Souza Arauo writes: “About the “Italian Speaking Catholic Community Holy Mass” we also have mass in Spanish on Saturdays at 18:00. The website is: http://www.comunidad-catolica.com/ we have a map there and other information.” 
 
Siam Bangkok Church
“Welcome all of you to www.siambangkokchurch.org. Every Sunday we have two services the first one in ther morning at 10.30 AM – 12.30 PM (Thai) and International service at 7.30 PM – 9.30 PM (English).” 
 
International Christian Assembly
Wanna writes: “The International Christian Assembly is an international church based in Bangkok. Its website is www.ica-bangkok.org.”
 
Protestant Gospel Church
Ally writes: “There is a Protestant Gospel Church on Sukhumvit Soi 6. Just a little walk from the Nana BTS station for those who are interested.” 
 
Assumption Cathedral, Bangkok
John Nobelius writes: “For Catholics try the Assumption Cathedral for lovely Mass on sundays, beautiful new building and they have a great choir, easy to find in Oriental Lane opposite the Oriental Hotel 10 and 11am masses in English.” 
 
Christ Church Bangkok
We received this email from Mr Mithunayon: ‘Christ Church Bangkok Corner Sathorn and Convent Roads. (10 min walk Saladaeng SkyTrain, next to BNH Hospital) see their website tel. 0 2234 3634 A friendly English-speaking church, meets at 7.30am, 10am and 5pm each Sunday. Children’s programme at 10am. (Also has a Thai congregation.) Easy to find, very pleasant grounds and a beautiful and historic “Colonial Gothic” church building. Informal Anglican / Protestant services, very comfortable chairs!’ Thanks for that… 
 
Italian Speaking Catholic Community Holy Mass
Italian Speaking Catholic Community Holy Mass at 10:30 on Sundays and Feast Days. Venue Salesian Sisters Foundation, 124 Saladaeng Road (the road connecting Silom Road,at the back of the Dusit Thani Hotel) and Sathorn Road (Tisco Bldg.side). There is also a service in Spanish at the same chapel on Saurdays at 18:00 hrs.” 
 
Holy Redeemer Church
Esther (esther@thailand.com) writes:
“I can recommend the Holy Redeemer Church in Soi Ruam Rudee for those who feel like attending a Sunday Mass. Espescially the one at 11 a.m. is worth being part of: celebrated in English with a very nicely mixed attendance and heavenly music.” Thanks for that Esther! 
 
Greater Grace Church (Thailand)
Athima (erng@yahoo.com) writes: “Greater Grace Church (Thailand) http://www.greatergracethailand.org Address: 1/2-3 Soi 4, Seri 2 (It’s 150 meters from the entrance to the stadium on Ramkhamhaeng Soi 24) Church services are held with simultaneous translation from English to Thai on Wednesdays 7:30 p.m. and Sundays 10:30 am” 
 
Evangelical Church of Bangkok
Evangelical Church of Bangkok is an international and interdenominational church sponsored by the Christian and Missionary Alliance. We are a mosaic of the peoples of the world, joyfully committed to glorifying God and developing people for His kingdom through worship, discipleship, compassion and witness. Service times (in English) are 8, 9, and 11am on Sundays. Email: office@ecbbangkok.org Web: http://www.ecbbangkok.org
 
Calvary Baptist Church
88 Sukhumvit Soi 2
Bangkok
10110
Tel: 251-0809, 251-8278
Email: calvarybangkok@hotmail.com
Website: www.thai-info.net/churches/calvary/ 
 
Chabad House – Synagogue
Nechamya Wilhelm
Rabbi 96
Ram Buttri Rd.
Khao San Road,
Banglampoo
Bangkok
Tel: 282 6388
Fax: 629 1153
Email: chabadbangkok@yahoo.com
Website: Information on synagogues in Thailand can be seen at the following website:
www.jewishthailand.com/syna.html

The River of Kings

Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, ThailandAt one time the very life blood of Bangkok, the majestic Chao Phraya River and all the various canals and waterways gave rise to the city’s former worldwide reputation as being “The Venice of the East”. Since the founding of Siam’s new capital in 1782 by King Rama I, to the people of Bangkok the Chao Phraya River has been a source of protection, trade, food, fun and worship. Although many of the riverside’s traditional Thai wooden houses have been replaced by modern skyscrapers and hotels, to all Thai people the Chao Phraya River will forever be the river of life.

Either on it or by it, a little of the city’s very own CPR will breathe fresh life into party weary limbs and provide a chilled out journey into history, so for those of you whom are up for a day of messing about on the water, here are a few highlights of river life to check out while cruising down the heart of Bangkok.

Zone A

Located in the north, the tiny island of Koh Kret is where Bangkok’s Mon community settled during the reign of King Tak-Sin. Sights to see are Wat Paramaiyikawas (Temple), Wat Chimplee (Temple), Wat Klong Kret (Temple), The Ceramics Centre, and Khanom Wan Canal (Dessert Canal).

Zone B

Beginning at the Wat Chalemphrakiat Worawihan, heading south along the river other sights to see are Nonthaburi Provincial Government House, Wat Khemapirataram (Temple), The Rama VI Bridge, Wat Rachathiwas Worawihan (Temple), Bang Khunphrom Palace, and the Phra Sumen Fortress. 

Zone C

A short journey west along Bangkok Noi Canal sights to see are the Royal Barge Museum, Wat Suwannaram Ratchaworawihan (Temple), Baan-bu Village, Thonburi Railway Station, and Wat Srisudaram Worawihan (Temple).

Zone D

Continuing south along the main river visitors will see Ratcha Woradit Pier and Rachakij Winijchai Throne, Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Kallayanamitr Woramahawihan (Temple), Santa Cruz Church (Catholic), Phra Buddhayodfah Bridge, and Sullaka Sathon (Former Taxation House).

Zone E

Located south west of the main river along Sanam Chai Canal you can see Wat Nang-Nong Worawihan (Temple), Wat Raja Orasaram Ratchaworawihan (Temple), Wat Sai, (Temple), Wat Nang Shee Shotikoram (Temple of Nuns), and Wat Nang Ratchaworawihan (Nang Temple).

Zone F

A short journey south west of the main river along Bangkok Yai Canal visitors will see Wat Hong Rattanaram Ratchaworawihan (Temple), Wat Moliokkayaram Ratchaworawihan (Temple), Wat Intaram Worawihan, Charoen Mosque, and The Old Palace. 

So, whether you decide on one of the leisurely evening dinner cruises, or purchase a day river pass entitling you to unlimited travel between Nonthaburi in the north (Zone A) to Thonburi in the south (Zone F), or even would simply like to travel to one of Thailand’s former capitals, Ayutthaya, by boat, a visitor’s trip to the Kingdom would not be complete without a journey along “The River of Kings”. Enjoy.

And remember…

Keepitreal