Bangkok is one of Asia’s most cosmopolitan cities and has attractions to stimulate the tastes of even the most sophisticated travelers. Created as the Thai capital in 1782 by the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty, Bangkok is a national treasure and is Thailand’s spiritual, cultural, political, commercial, educational and diplomatic center. To the Thais, Bangkok is known as Krung Thep, “City of Angels,” a magical place that captivates the imagination. Joyfully exuberant, Bangkok embraces modern development and presents an initial picture of imposing office towers, world-class hotels, and glittering shopping plazas packed with treasures of the East such as silks and gemstones. Thailand’s restaurants are acclaimed for their succulent spicy recipes; however, other national cuisines are readily available.
Amidst today’s hectic world Bangkok manages to preserve its cultural heritage to an amazing degree. In the rich splendor of the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Temple of the Dawn and other historic shrines, one sees images of medieval Oriental wonder, the very essence of Eastern fairytales. The influence of the past, not limited to major monuments, continues to color daily life. Files of monks in saffron-colored robes making their early morning alms round present a scene essentially unaltered by the passing of time. Today’s backdrop of high-rise buildings only adds wonder to this and other enduring sights from which the city continues to draw definition.
Thai people are fun-loving and easy-going, and it is from them that the country of Thailand derives its unique identity. They possess a rare tolerance, which imbues the country with a sense of freedom and security. The essential feeling one derives in Thailand is a good-natured acceptance of life. Thailand’s City of Angels is a magical place where possibilities are limited only by one’s imagination.
The Asian Double Reed Association Conference will be held just outside of Bangkok, in the bustling college town of Salaya. Conference participants may wish to stay in salaya, or closer to the activities which make Bangkok famous. Travel from Bangkok to Salaya is inexpensive and will take about 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
Tourism is a major part of the Thai economy and the sightseeing opportunities are endless. In Bangkok alone, one could spend weeks exploring its many attractions. If time allows before or after the conference, there are many short trips that are highly recommended.
Chang Mai in the North of Thailand, one hour by airplane, is a large city with a different flavor from Bangkok. It is also near Chang Rai, the home of the Thailand Hill Tribes. Phuket in the south (one hour by airplane) is one of the world’s most beautiful island resorts. One can also see one of the world’s greatest sights, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, a short 45 minute flight. Conference attendees are highly encouraged to extend their stay to include some of these wonderful opportunities.