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Bangkok Attractions

 

:: Wat Ratchaburana

This temple is located at the foot of the Rama I Memorial Bridge on the Bangkok side. Built in the late Ayutthaya period by a Chinese merchant, it is otherwise known as Wat Liap and is one of the 3 principal temples of the capital which include Wat Ratchaburana, Wat Ratchapradit and Wat Mahathat. It had been regularly restored since the reign of King Rama I through to the reign of King Rama VII, except in the sixth reign. Some of the temples principal buildings, especially Phra Ubosot the ordination hall which houses mural paintings by Khrua In Khong, were badly damaged by bombing during World War II. The buildings were later restored to their good condition as they appear today.

Open : Daily from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Admission : Free

Tel : 0 2225 1595

 

:: Canal Tours

A voyage through time
Bangkoks history is so closely connected to the waterways. It used to have so many canals that it was often called The Venice of The East. Rattanakosin Island came into existence when King Rama I had the Bang Lamphu Klong constructed to fortify Bangkok.

Cruising along the klongs as the canals are called in Thai, takes you on a journey of contrast back to earlier eras and up to modern Bangkok.

The most popular klong trips start on the Bangkok side of the Chao Phraya River and cross over to the Thonburi side to venture up Bangkok Noi and Bangkok Yai canals. These journeys take you to fascinating places such as The Royal Barge Museum and the colonial-style Thonburi Railway Station.

On the way you will see a different side of life as you pass the homes of the klong-dwellers. Each home seems to have its own boat, be it a small canoe or a hang yao the long-tailed boats powered by car or truck engines and a propeller on a long shaft that acts as both propulsion and steerage.

The contrast continues as you pass into idyllic rural pockets where villagers grow fruit, vegetables and orchids which are sent to markets on the long-tailed boats. Youll see children on there way to or from school and saffron robed monks travelling to their klong-side temples. You may even come across Thai women in boats selling boat noodles, drinks, snacks and fruit.

Most organized canal tours take you to a floating market at Taling Chan in Thonburi that operates from 8.30 a.m. until noon. It is usually crowded with other tourists.

How to get there: Tour boats depart from the pier beside the Oriental Hotel, at River City and Tha Chang Wang Luang Pier.

 

:: Royal Barge National Museum

The Royal Barge Procession is one of the most spectacular events in the world. It is performed occasionally during the Tod Kathin Buddhist Festival when H.M. The King delivers new robes to the monks at Wat Arun. It was also seen by millions of viewers around the world when it was specially staged for the 2003 APEC Conference in Bangkok and broadcast live to the participating countries.

These ornately decorated boats are maintained by the Royal Thai Navy and docked at The Royal Barge National Museum on Bangkok Noi canal on the Thonburi side.

The most impressive and important boat is the Kings personal barge, Suphanahong which was built in 1911. It is 46 metres in length hewn from a single tree and covered with intricate gilt carvings and colourful pieces of glass. The design is representative of a mythical swan. The crew consists of 54 oarsmen who paddle in time to the rhythmic beat of a drummer.

The Royal Barge fleet consists of 52 vessels. Each is a masterpiece of marine and traditional craftsmanship. They feature a variety of figureheads on their bows, including a sacred Garuda, Hanuman and the seven heads of Naga.

In formation the fleet travels in rows five abreast and more than one kilometer from the leading barge to those at the rear. These are propelled by 2,082 specially trained naval personnel

A visit to The Royal Barge National Museum will give you an insight into the colourful culture of Thailand.

How to get there: by Chao Phraya Ferry cross the river at Tha Pra Chan Pier near Thammasat University to Bangkok Noi (Thonburi) Train Station Pier or by chartered boat from Tha Chang Pier.

Open daily : 9 am. - 5 pm.

Admission : 30 baht

Tel : 0 2424 0004 www.thailandmuseum.com

:: Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)

This famous Chao Phraya riverbank landmark diagonally opposite the Grand Palace, is best known for a porcelain encrusted 79 metre central pagoda which sparkles in the sun. The temple can be reached either by Arun Amarin Road or by boat from Tha Tian Pier near Wat Pho.

Open : Daily from 7.30 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.

Admission : 20 baht

Tel : 0 2465 5640

:: Wat Arun

Make sure you set aside one late afternoon to see and photograph this imposing sight at sunset with the Chao Phraya River in the foreground. These photographs will bring back beautiful memories of Bangkok.

The temple was built during the Ayutthaya period and was originally called Wat Makok after the name of the local village Tambol Bangmakok. It means "Village of Olives".

Wat Arun gets its name from Aruna, the Indian god of the dawn, hence its common name The Temple of Dawn.

The location of the temple is in the area that used to be occupied by the palace of King Taksin who re-established the Siamese Kingdom after the fall of Ayuttaya more than two hundred years ago. The main Buddha image is believed to have been designed by King Rama II.

Wat Arun, often called The Temple of Dawn, is one of the most remarkable visual identities of Bangkok. The imposing Khmer-style prang or tower is 104 metres tall and decorated with bits of porcelain that was used as ballast by boats coming from China. It is surrounded by four smaller prangs. Construction of the prangs were started by King Rama II and completed by King Rama II.

The central balcony is an ideal spot for looking across the river to The Grand Palace and The Temple of The Emerald Buddha.

Each year at the end of the three-month lent period for Buddhist monks, H. M. The King or his appointed representative travels down river in a Royal Barge Procession to present new robes to the monks. This ceremony is called Royal Tod Kathin.

How to get there: Bus routes 19, 57, 83

Open daily: 7.30 am. to 5.30 pm.

Admission fee: Baht 20

Contact: Tel: 0 2465 5640

Website: www.wararun.org

:: Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

Situated in the southeastern area of Vachirabenjatas Park (Railway Park), the garden covers an area of approximately 6 rai. It comprises an activity ground, exhibition area, feed breeding room, embryo breeding room, scenic area, insectariums, butterfly garden and Lamphu tree ground. There is a cage covering an area of 1,100 square metres with a large dome of 15 metres high, built from an open framework for good ventilation. The garden area connects to Chatuchak Park and Queen Sirikit Park. It is a natural study room ideal for learning and being a source of information as well as exchange of knowledge about butterflies and insects, their life cycles and being. The garden is open daily except for Monday during 8.30 a.m.-4.30 p.m.

Open : Tue - Sun and public holidays

Admission : Free

Tel : 0 2272 4359-60, 0 2272 4680

:: Chatuchak Park

This is located at the junction of Phahonyothin and Vibhavadi Rungsit roads. There are nine pieces of ASEAN sculptures that enhance the character of the park.

Open : Daily from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Admission : Free

:: Chatuchak Weekend Market

This is paradise for bargain hunters. Every Saturday and Sunday, 9,000 individual booths are open selling an infinite variety of goods.

It is just about impossible to go to Chatuchak Weekend Market and not buy anything. There is just about everything that bargain hunters, home makers, pet lovers or just browsers can imagine.

Handicrafts are every where including pottery, hand-made glass models of the Royal Barges, fluffy toys, colourful tropical fish, singing birds puppies of many breeds, furniture and lots of new and second hand clothing, shoes, handbags, belts. There is so much on offer that even international home decor wholesales come here to shop.

Music lovers can find unique traditional Thai musical instruments being sold direct by the artisans who have crafted them to make the pleasing sounds.

One rule for all shoppers to observe is bargain, bargain, bargain. This is part of the fun and also gets you the best prices.

Chatuchak Weekend Market has interesting products from all over Thailand as well as things from far off lands.

You should allow the best part of a whole day to explore the many stalls. You never know what you will find. But this is work that will make you thirsty and puckish, so take a break here and there to cool off with a fresh fruit juice or feast on delicious Thai dishes such as Pad Thai, barbecue chicken, noodles and sweets.

How to get there: BTS Skytrain to Mochit Station or Metro to Kamphaeng Phet Station
Bus Routes 3, 26, 27, 29, 34, 59, 77, 96, 112, 134, 136, 138, 145, 502, 503, 510, 512, 513

Open : Saturday and Sunday

Admission: Free

:: Childrens Discovery Museum

The museum is located inside Queen Sirikit Park and was established under the royal initiative of Her Majesty the Queen, in her realizing the significance of creating a pleasurable learning process for Thai children. Based on the Bangkok Metropolitan Administrations children and family activities, the Childrens Discovery Museum took shape in the form of 3 exhibition buildings and an open-air activity ground covering a total area of 5 rai. The construction was completed in 2001 and undertaken under the project to celebrate the 60th birthday anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen.

The museum offers exhibitions as well as funny activities for children to enjoy and learn about human life, sciences, culture and society, nature and the environment, including an exhibition in honour of Her Majesty the Queen. It is open during 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. on weekends.

Open : Daily (Mon-Fri from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sat-Sun from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

Admission : Adult 70 baht, Child 50 baht

Tel : 0 2615 7333 ext. 102, 134, 148 www.bkkchildrenmuseum.com

:: Santi Chai Prakan Pavilion and Public Park

The Park is on Phra Athit Road on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. It was constructed near Phra Sumen Fort under the cooperation between the Royal Thai Government and the general public to mark the auspicious occasion of the sixth cycle birthday anniversary of His Majesty the King on 5 December, 1999. The spacious area provides a pleasant atmosphere as well as a scenic view of the Chao Phraya River and the Rama VIII Bridge. It is popular among both Thais and foreigners, especially from the nearby Bang Lamphu community.

Open : Daily

Admission : Free

:: National Memorial

It is located on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road slightly beyond Bangkok International Airport. Covering an area of 38 rai, the National Memorial is under the responsibility of the Armed Force Education Department, Supreme Command Headquarters. There are wall paintings depicting historic events in Thai history from the Sukhothai period to Rattanakosin period, replicas of royal decorations, bas-reliefs of the establishment of the city and models recounting historic battles in Thai history.

Open : Mon. - Fri. from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Admission : Free

Tel : 0 2532 1021

A speaker is available for a group visit but advance contact in writing is required.

:: Dusit Zoo

Dusit Zoo has a very good collection of animals from around the world. It is ideal for a family outing or just for those who would like to know more about animal behavior.

The Dusit Zoo was established in 1938 and covers an area of 118 rai in the Dusit District of Bangkok. Under the administration of The Zoological Organization under the Royal Patronage of H.M. The King, it welcomes more than 2,500,000 visitors a year. It takes care of over 1,000 birds and nearly 2,000 animals.

Major sections include a Nocturnal Animals Exhibit where you can see how they live in the night- time environment. The Reptiles and Amphibians Center has more than 70 species.

There is a special Childrens Zoo where youngsters can have contact with small animals that are of interest to children.

You can learn about animal behavior at the Animal Presentation area including how they live in their respective environments. Visitors can witness and experience the animals in person.

For more fun, there is Playland where children can really enjoy themselves on amusement rides. There are other more sedate rides available on the lake.

How to get there : Bus routes 18, 28, 70, 108, 510, 515, 539, 542

Open : Daily from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Admission : Adult 30 baht, Child 5 baht

Tel : 0 2281 2000, 0 2282 7111-3 www.zoothailand.org

:: The Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall

The Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall is the beautiful white building facing the Royal Plaza where the statue of H.M. King Chulalongkorn ( Rama V )stands.

In 1906, His Majesty commissioned the construction of a new Throne Hall within the grounds of the Dusit Palace. The name Ananda Samakhom was taken from a previous building that had deteriorated and was no longer usable. The foundation stone was placed by His Majesty King Chulalongkorn on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of his ascension to the throne.

The design and construction was supervised by Chao Phraya Yommaraj, with a team of Italian architects, engineers and painters. It took nine years to complete the building, which is designed in Italian Renaissance style. The exterior is decorated with marble imported from Carrara in Italy.

As beautiful as the exterior is, it is the exquisite paintings inside that really take your breath away. These paintings, by Mr. C. Riguli and Prof. G. Chini, trace the history of the Chakri Dynasty from Kings Rama I to Rama VI.

The north side dome is painted to depict King Rama I on his return from a battle in a neighbouring country, while the eastern dome has paintings of Kings Rama II and Rama III and their support for the arts.

How to get there: Bus routes 70, 72, 503

Open : Daily from 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (except public holidays)

Admission : 50 baht (proper attire is essential)

Tel : 0 2628 6300 ext. 5119 - 5121 www.palaces.thai.net

:: Vimanmek Palace

Vimanmek Mansion, the principal building in the palace compound, was built for King Rama V on land he named The Dusit Garden located between Padung Krungkasem and Samsen canals. The completion was celebrated on March 27, 1901 and King RamaV took up residence until 1906. The mansion was originally his Summer Palace, the Munthaturaltanaroj Residence, on Sri Chang Island. It was dismantled and re-built at the present location under the supervision of HRH Prince Narissaranuwaddhiwongse.

The three-storey Vimanmek Mansion is the largest golden teak building in the world, built in an architectural style that reflects European influences. There are two right-angled wings, each 60 metres long and 20 metres high. The section where The King resided is octagonal and has four storeys. The mansion has 81 rooms, halls and ante-chambers.

How to get there: Bus Routes 18, 28, 108, 510, 515

Opening Hours: Open to the public everyday from 9.30 am. to 3.15 pm.

Admission Fee: Baht 100. If you have visited The Grand Palace on the same day you will have also received an entrance ticket to Vimanmek Palace which is valid.

Contact: Telephone: 0 2628 6300-9 Website: www.palaces.thai.net

:: Wat Benchamabophit

To stand at the main gateway and look upon the Monastery of Five Kings is a sight to behold. The perfect symmetry and proportions must inspire admiration of this architectural masterpiece.

Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram is known to foreigners as The Marble Temple as its exterior is clad in Carrara marble. Very talented The Prince Naris, a son of King Rama IV , designed the main building which was completed during the reign of King Rama V.

The interior crossbeams are decorated with lacquer and gold. The walls of the spacious inner courtyard are lined with a large collection of bronze Buddha images. The canal in front and to the left hand side has ornate bridges.

It is advisable to come in the early morning to see local people offering alms to the monks as they do not go outside as monks at other temple do. Stand at the main entrance to the compound and watch the pigeons take flight. If you cant be there at this time, go at sunset when the main doors are illuminated. This is another sight well worth witnessing.

How to get there: Bus routes 72, 503

Open : Daily from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Admission : 20 Baht

Tel : 0 2281 2501, 0 2628 7947

:: Safari World

The main attraction is as the name says traveling through the open spaces where wild animals can be seen in their natural habitat from the windows of a tour coach or your own car. The journey is 8 kilometres and takes about 45 minutes. On the way you will have close encounters with rare and endangered species. One highlight you should not miss is feeding time for the lions and tigers. It will send a chill down your spine.

There are many animals in the underwater world too. Some are very playful and mischievous. They will split your sides with laughter as the sea lions and their friends perform in the Sea Lion Show at Lighthouse Cove.

Add more excitement to your visit on a boat ride through the tropical jungle where hungry crocodiles await and head-hunters have their eyes on you. Beware of the gorillas lurking in the forest. You had better hold on to your seat as the boat moves through the mangroves and thick reeds and shoots down a heart-stopping flume.

All this adventure will probably build up an appetite so you head to the restaurants and kiosks spread throughout the park.

How to get there: Bus routes 26, 60, 71, 96, 501 and go to Safari World by "Song Theaw" mini bus.

Open : Daily from 8 a.m. - 5.30 p.m.

Admission : Adult 700 baht, Child 450 baht

Tel : 0 2518 1000-19, 0 2914 4100-19 www.safariworld.com

:: Siam Park City

Located in suburban Min Buri on Sukhaphiban 2 Road, this water amusement park contains a man-made sea with towering slides. Satellite attractions include childrens playgrounds, aviaries, an open zoo and a botanical garden.

Open : Mon. - Fri. from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sat. - Sun. and Public Holidays from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Admission : Adult 200 baht; Child 100 baht

Tel : 0 2919 7200-19 www.siamparkcity.com

:: Jim Thompson's Museum

This exquisite collection of traditional Thai house stands as a museum to the man who revived the Thai silk industry after the Second World War.

The story of James H.W. Thompson is one upon legends are made. After serving in the U.S.A. armed forces, Jim Thompson settled in Thailand and found the tremendous opportunity to re-establish the Thai silk industry. In recognition of his services to the country, he was bestowed the royal award of The Order of the White Elephant.

The company he founded, Jim Thompson Thai Silk, is recognized worldwide for its brilliant creations.

He was an avid collector of Asian artifacts and antiques and The Jim Thompson's House is possibly the epitome of his collection.

Before his mysterious disappearance in the Cameron Highland in Malaysia in 1967, his house was the talk of the town where he entertained his friends and visitors including the like of Somerset Maugham.

The house sits on approximately a half acre of land on Mahanak Canal. Ban Khrua village where his silk weavers lived and worked. Is just on the other side of the canal. To build the house he gathered 6 original traditional teak structure from different parts of the country and brought carpenter from Ayutthaya who completed the house in 1959.

The gardens are equally impressive with a lush tropical jungle imitating nature's haphazard beauty right in the center of the city.

Jim Thompsons connoisseur collection of antiques and artifacts is on permanent exhibition, making this a magnificent museum of the lifestyle of the legend.

How to get there: BTS Skytrain to National Stadium Station Bus routes 15, 32, 39, 53, 59, 70, 80, 82

Open daily: 9.00 am. to 5.00 pm.

Admission fee: Adult 100 baht, Child 50 baht.

Contact: Tel: 0 2216 7368 www.jimthompson.com

:: China Town

The largest outside of China
Chinatown is a bustling, crowded area where you can buy just about anything day or night.

The main thoroughfare through Chinatown is Yaowarat Road, which is approximately 1.5 kilometres in length. It was built during the reign of King Rama V. On each side of the road, there is a network of streets and alleys lined with shops selling all sorts of things. In many of these streets, you'll find shops side by side selling the same items.

There is an old fresh food market called Trok Isarnuphap where leading chefs from all over Bangkok shop for the finest and freshest ingredients for their restaurant menus.

A visit at night will take you to a food street where you sit on stools watching your meal being prepared, then enjoying the delicious cuisine washed down by tea or a cold beer.

How to get there: Subway to Hua Lamphong station Bus routes 1, 4, 7, 25, 53, 501

:: Khao San Road

Where the worlds young travellers meet.

Khao San Road is a favourite crossroads for the young travellers on a budget. It has evolved over the last two decades from just one small hostel providing low-budget accommodation become one of the worlds most well-known destinations. It has been featured in many movies and television documentaries.

During the day, Khao San Road is the scene for back-packers looking for a cheap room while others are arranging transport to their next destination in Thailand or overseas. Some will be just chatting with friends over a cup of coffee or a bowl of noodles.

At night, it turns into a lively thoroughfare lined with street stalls selling cheap clothes, handicrafts, souvenirs and thousands of other items. The lights are on at the many bars where the travellers tell tales of the days adventures and discoveries and the plans for tomorrow. Khao San Road is not just for foreign travellers, many young Thai people like to hang out there, including members of the TV and film production industries.

The location is very convenient for visiting the many tourist attractions on Rattanakosin Island. It is just a 10-minute walk to Sanam Luang and The Grand Palace.

How to get there: Bus routes 3, 9, 32, 64, 39, 44, 53, 59, 503, 509, 511

:: Vimanmek Mansion Museum

This is the world's largest golden teak building located in the compound of the Dusit Palace on Ratchawithi Road. The three-storey royal mansion has 81 rooms, halls and ante-chambers containing fin de siecle royal memorabilia. A guided tour in English is provided to visitors.

Other beautiful buildings in the same compound display various items and art objects; for example, H.M. King Bhumibols photography, H.M. Queen Sirikits collection of handicraft masterpieces created by rural people, paraphernalia of rank and portraits, old clocks, ancient cloth, and royal carriages.

Open : Daily from 9.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. Tickets are sold till 3.15 p.m.

Thai dancing shows : Daily at 10.30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Admission : 100 baht

Proper attire is required

Tel : 0 2628 6300-9 ext. 5119 - 5121, 0 2281 5455, 0 2281 6880 www.palaces.thai.net

:: Wat Pho

This is possibly the most interesting temple in Thailand as it combines history, medical science and is a center for meditaion and traditional massage training. Its official name is Wat Phrachetuphon Vimon Mangkararam Ratchaworamahawihan, although it is commonly called Wat Po.

Founded during the 16th century, Wat Pho is most famous for the golden reclining Buddha that measues 46 metres and has feet inlaid with mother-of pearl. This is the main attraction that draws visitors to the temple. In more modern times, Wat Pho has gained international recognition as a meditation centre and for the traditional Thai massage that is both practiced and taught here.

Traditionally, temples were the schools as there was no formal education system, with monks providing basic lesson in both spiritual and secular subjects. King Rama III turned Wat Po into a major centre for learning in botany, geography and history.

Bas reliefs around one of the main buildings depict the story of the Ramakian which is the Thai adaption of the Indian Ramayana.

For those interested in traditional Thai medicine, there is a pavilion that serves to both impart knowledge and provide treatment. The walls have marble tablets describing basic anatomy and treatments. In the late afternoon, traditional medicine practitioners are there to dispense herbal mixtures. Nearby, there is a cloister where you can have a traditional Thai massage for a very small payment.

How to get there: Bus routes 1, 3, 12, 25, 47, 53, 60, 82, 91, 501, 508

Open daily : 8.30 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.

Admission : 20 baht

Tel : 0 2222 1969 ; Thai Massage School : 0 2221 3686 www.watpho.com

:: Wat Phra Kaeo

situated in the same compound of the Grand Palace, is a treasure house of Thai arts, and houses the Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand. Three main buildings inside the temple which form up a glittering scene are the Golden Stupa, enshrining the relics of the Buddha, the Phra Mondop or the Library, housing the Tripitaka or a Buddhist scripture, the Royal Pantheon which is a pavilion used for keeping statues of deceased kings of Chakri dynasty. Besides, the 178 section mural paintings which depict the story of the Ramayana are the superb masterpiece of Rattanakosin artisans.

The compound of Wat Phra Kaeo and the Grand Palace is open daily from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.. The admission fee is 200 baht , including the entry to the Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion in the same compound and to Vimanmek Mansion Museum on Ratchawithi Road.

:: Wat Suthat and the Giant Swing

A visit to Wat Suthat Thep Wararam, situated almost in the center of old Bangkok, gives you an opportunity to see both the Giant Swing and one of the first-class Royal temples. The surrounding area is also worth exploring as there are many shops selling religious items.

The building of the temple was commissioned by King Rama I, the founder of Bangkok, in 1807. Its location in the center of Rattanakosin Island. This was in keeping with the Buddhist belief that it is like Mount Phra Sumeru being the center of the universe. Phra Sri Sakayamunee, the principal Buddha image, was moved from Wat Mahathat in Sukhothai to be placed in Phra Wihan Luang in Wat Suthat in 1808.

Wat Suthat is surrounded by an impressive wall 1.94 metres high and 0.85 metres thick. There are a total of 15 doorways leading into the temple compound. Within the temple grounds the most important building is the Phra Wihan Luang which is the Royal Temple. The mural paintings, covering all the interior walls are some of the finest to be seen anywhere. Each has stone inscriptions describing the pictures.

Surrounding the Royal Temple is Phra Wihan Khot terrace which is really impressive with 156 Buddha statues, mostly in the seated meditative attitude called Smathi.

The chapel, Phra Ubosot at Wat Suthat is possibly the most beautiful in Thailand and is also the largest measuring 72.25 metres in length and 22.60 metres in width.

There are four pavilions (sala) within the compound that are elevated to the height of the temples walls. These are used for various royal functions and for viewing the previous functions at the Giant Swing in front of the temple.

The annual ceremony was held up until the 1930s but was discontinued to the high fatality rate as young men tried to swing high enough to grab a sack of gold on a pole about 25 metres in the air.

How to get there: Bus routes 12, 15, 42, 73, 96, 508

Open daily: 8.30 am. to 9.00 pm

Admission fee: Baht 20

Contact: Tel: 02 224 9845 Website: www.watsuthat.org

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