Photo Of The Day: Spot Of White

photo of the day

This interesting Photo of the Day, titled “Spot of White,” comes from Gadling Flickr pool member Mark Fischer and was captured in Bangkok’s Siam Square using a Nikon D90.

Mark captions the image:

“On Sunday, May 8th, 2011, an estimated 100,000 people attended a ceremony to give alms to 12,600 monks in front of CentralWorld in downtown Bangkok. Almsgiving is a daily event in Thailand and is a way for lay people to support the monks and to gain merit. This ceremony was organized as a symnbolic and practical gesture of support for 286 temples in Southern Thailand. Monks at those temples are unable to collect alms due to the risk of being shot and killed. The food and other items collected here will be sent to support the temples in the South.”

Want to be featured? Upload your best shots to the Gadling Group Pool on Flickr. Several times a week we choose our favorite images from the pool as a Photo of the Day.

Tips for being featured: add a caption describing the image and (better yet) your personal experience when capturing it, details of the photography gear used and any tips you might have for others wanting to emulate your work.

Now, you can also submit photos through Instagram; just mention @GadlingTravel and use the hashtag #gadling when posting your images.

[Photo Credit Gadling Flickr pool member Mark Fischer]

Thailand Wants To Be The World’s Most Popular Golf Destination

ThailandThoughts of Thailand may bring images of red shirts and yellow shirts, the temples of Bangkok or swimming with elephants. But what about golf? Thailand has hundreds of golf courses and wants the world to know about them.

Starting May 1, 2013, Golf In A Kingdom kicks off, showcasing 12 of Thailand’s 260+ courses and resorts to promote the land of smiles as a major force in golf tourism.

“Golf In A Kingdom has played a major role in Thailand becoming one of the world’s top three golf tourism destinations, so we have decided to showcase it to golf tour operators and media from around the globe,” founder Mark Siegel said this week.

In its fifth year, Golf In A Kingdom aims to capitalize on their unique formula of golf, entertainment, value, golf infrastructure, safety, climate and friendly Thai people.The May 1 international launch will be held at Siam Country Club’s Plantation Course and attended by tourism executives from Asia, Europe, North America and Australia.
As 60 percent of travelers coming to Asia for golf already choose Thailand, Golf In A Kingdom hopes to compete with Spain and the United States as the world’s most popular golf destination.

Think golf is not a big deal in Thailand? At OneAsia’s $1 million Thailand Open at Thana City Golf & Sports Club in Bangkok earlier this month, it was big news when Prayad Marksaeng became the third Thai to win their national championship with a two-stroke victory as we see in this video:




[Photo credit – Flickr user Shane D2]

Photo Of The Day: A Golden Thai Temple

Buddhist temples in Thailand are unlike any other in the world. They are intricate, colorful and laden with gold. Mark Fischer took this amazing shot of Wat Pho in Bangkok, putting the golden chedi spires in stark contrast with the night sky. There are dozens of major temples throughout Bangkok, not to mention the spectacular temples throughout the rest of Thailand, such as the amazingly pure white Wat Rong Khun.

If you have taken a great travel photo, submit it to us and it could be featured as our Photo of the Day. There are two ways to do so, either by submitting it to our Gadling Flickr Pool, like Mark did; or via Instagram, by mentioning @GadlingTravel and tagging your photo with #Gadling.

[Photo Credit: Flickr User Mark Fischer]

Better Know A Holiday: Songkran

AKA: Thai New Year, Water Festival, Pi Mai (Laos), Chaul Chnam Thmey (Cambodia), Thingyan (Myanmar), Water-Splashing Festival (Chinese Dai minority)

When? April 13 to 15 officially, though celebrations may last longer

Public holiday in: Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar

Who died? Nobody.

Reason for celebration, then? The sun has begun its northward journey into the constellation of Aries. Otherwise known as the solar new year.

Origins: Songkran was originally a pious event. Thai Buddhists would go to temple early in the morning and offer alms to the monks. Then they would sprinkle lustral water on Buddha statues. Young people would collect that water, which was now blessed, and symbolically wash the hands of their elders. The water was intended to wash away bad omens. This still happens today, but the spiritual aspect has largely given way to a party atmosphere, much to the chagrin of certain Thais (see below).

How is it celebrated now? A massive, nation-wide water fight that lasts several days, generally with lots of drinking involved. Everyone in the street is fair game for a soaking.

Other ways to celebrate: Releasing fish back into streams, freeing caged birds, bringing sand to temples to symbolically replace dirt that has been removed throughout the year.

Craziest venue: The northern city of Chiang Mai, where the celebration continues long after the holiday is officially over, is considered to be the best place to carouse.

Watch out for: Elephants and pick-up trucks. Both have a very large carrying capacity and high-pressure discharge.Associated commercialism: Songkran today means big bucks for the tourism industry. The government actively promotes the festival on its party merits, much to the consternation of traditional Thais who think the celebrations have gotten out of hand. What was originally a respectful celebration of family and elders has turned into an excuse to get drunk with friends rather than spend time with family. The hand-wringers will have a difficult time convincing the tourist board to change its tune, though: tourists will spend over $1 billion this year during the Songkran festivities.

Associated food: Khanon tom – sticky rice and mung bean balls; khanon krok – miniature coconut rice pancakes; and of course, the ubiquitous pad thai

Best side effect of the holiday: With the mercury bumping up against 100 degrees in much of Thailand at this time of year, a dousing can be a welcome relief.

New rules this year: During Songkran festivities last year, over 300 people died, and there were over 3,000 road accidents. Drunk driving is a major problem. Police have stepped in to curb the chaos this year. Traditionally, pick-ups roamed the streets with massive barrels of water and a team of bucketeers and gunmen in the back, dousing anyone they came across. No longer. They have been banned, along with overloading vehicles, drinking in certain areas and putting ice in the throwing water. The Bangkok Post has published a helpful “10 Commandments of Songkran” for those who need a media edict from within Songkran jurisdiction.

Likelihood of these rules being followed: Slim.

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Check out more holidays around the world here

[Photo Credit: Flick user Wyndham]

Travel Tool: Interactive World Heritage Site Map

When it comes to planning my next trip, a pretty photo only inspires me half as much as a good map. I’m particularly partial to UNESCO‘s interactive World Heritage List map, which I spend more time clicking on than I’d care to admit. The map identifies the List’s 962 properties across the globe and provides information about each, including an array of photos for those who need the photographic impetus.

More than anything else, it’s a useful tool to find astonishing places beyond the Angkor Wats, Serengetis and Venices of the world. Did I know there were 100-meter-tall stone towers in northwestern Russia. Or that there’s a place called the Inaccessible Islands in the South Atlantic? I do now, and I want to go.

The map is also a great way to find less touristed sights in popular countries. The Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex in Thailand gets short shrift from most visitors, for instance, but is a completely unique environment in Southeast Asia.

Don’t know where to start? The red points are World Heritage Sites in danger of being destroyed or permanently altered by man or nature, so they may not be around forever.

[Photo Credit: UNESCO/Google]