The Free Thai / Seri Thai Museum & Phrae.

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    From Wikepedia:
    The HQs of the Free Thai movement in Phrae has a museum to honour the resistance & record their history.

    Opened a few years ago, the Seri Thai Museum is not well known, but is well worth a visit. Stop in here en route to / from Nan & learn some very interesting history.

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    The US under cover agents worked hard, but were officially looked after.....

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    Sgt Steve Sysko was the lucky / hard working operative

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    The museum is full of interesting history & little stories

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    Unaware of all this history, I found the place very informative & well worth a visit.
    Sadly not all the info is in English.

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    Last but not least, as I was leaving the contractor came to check up on his workers & the progress in improving the museum to honour the anti-Japanese resistance.

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    what can you say?

    I love Thailand.
     
    bigal likes this.
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

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    From the above book at the Museum
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  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    4th March 2012.

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    A tamboon ceremony was held to inaugurate a statue to Thong Kanthatham, the leader of the Free Thai movement in Phrae.

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    The gent on the right with the sunglasses is Khun Puchong Kanthatham, owner of the Paradorn Hotel & son of K Thong Kanthatham. K Puchong has been educated in the states & speak fluent English. So dont be shy, drop by the Museum / Paradorn Hotel in Phrae & you can get all the right info.

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    Info to be gleaned from the museum

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  5. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    hi David, I really fancy seeing this, is it on the 101 and is it open to visitors every day?
     
  6. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Al it is open everyday & is in the car park of the Paradorn Hotel.
    Stay at the Paradorn & it's all there.
    Pls say hello to K Puchong, the owner of the Paradorn from me.
     
  7. ianyonok

    ianyonok Ol'Timer

    Very interesting. Thanks David, I'll have to head there sometime.
     
  8. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Anyone fancy a run down to Phrae to over night & check this place out?
    It could be an up-country dinner?

    Proposed date: Saturday 26th August 2012..
     
  9. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    That would be Saturday 25th and Back Sunday 26th? What is the Nightlife/Accommodation like there?
     
  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Oops, yes that would be Saturday 25th & back on the 26th.
    Accommodation & entertainment (beer venues) is not a problem. Phrae is a provincial capital.
    But for me the plan would be to stay at the Paradorn hotel, where the museum is.
    http://www.gt-rider.com/thailand-motorcycle-forum/showthread.php/36143-Phrae-Accommodation
     
  11. bigal

    bigal Ol'Timer

    Hi Ian

    I liked the museum but it is small and does not take a long time to get around, I found my lack of literacy in Thai meant I didn't understand quite a bit of the exhibits but I did enjoy it nevertheless.
    Not sure that I know of much nightlife at all in Phrae but I am not exactly your top expert. My recommended place to stay the Phoom Thai Garden Hotel. I understand the Nakorn Phrae Tower may be a little more lively (booking possible via the bigal website!).
    hope this helps.
     
  12. chiangmairich

    chiangmairich Ol'Timer

    I'm sure we can ferret out where the nightlife is Ian, anyway count me in as long long as its not raining cats and dogs on that weekend.
     
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Ferreting out the night life is not a problem. 200 metres from the hotel is a night life - bar / karaoke / disco strip.
    Out on the new super by-pass road there are several huge pub & restaurants.
     
  14. ronwebb

    ronwebb Ol'Timer

    I just saw this thread. I am up for this little outing if its on.
     
  15. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I'd propose leaving around 12.30Pm for the 180 kms ride to Phrae.

    Arrive mid-late afternoon.
    Check into the Paradorn Hotel.
    Take a look at the museum & learn a bit of history.
    Then kick back & have a few beverages.

    Sunday morning take in some of the sights of Phrae & mid-arvo head back to Chiang Mai.

    For those not so interested in sight seeing, & looking for a longer faster ride, consider returning via Phayao....
    The route
    Phrae - 101 to Pak Thang.
    Turn left onto R103.
    Stay on R103 until R1154, turn right & take R1154 for a fantastic ride through the Mae Yom national park to come out in Ngao on R1.
    Turn right & take R1 north to R120 south of Phayao.
    Turn left onto R120 for a fast blast over the mountains to Wang Nua & Mae Kachan & R118.
    Turn left & head home to Chiang Mai via Doi Saket.

    Either way, it sounds like a good weekend ride to me.
     
  16. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Any more takers?
    Meet at 12.30PM at the PTT on R118 8 kms south of R121 the outer ring road.
    The PTT station is on the left hand side heading south & 2 kms past the highway police box. It has a 7-11 & a Amazon Coffee at the petrol station.
     
  17. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Catching up....better put something on here...

    3 of us - Ron Webb, Chiangmairich & I - met at the PTT as planned, but at 1PM - I was the late one.
    After coffee smokeos & tyre checks we got on the road close to 2PM I think it was.
    It was a dry run down, "most of the way."
    First & only stop was the Shell gas station on R11 south of Lampang where the bypass road joins up.
    There was some light rain between Den Chai & Phrae going through the hills.
    Phrae arrival time was around 4.15? PM from memory.
    Time for happy hour somewhere. We imbibed a few ice coldies in the Paradorn Coffee shop, the moved on to chug around town & check out the attractions for late on that night.

    As luck would have it we spotted a few bikes parked outside little bars.
    The Bike Base turned out the place to hang out at

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    the guys here are really cool & welcome all bikers to Phrae.
    At the end of a not inconsiderable happy hour with numerous beers consumed, they refused to accept any payment because it was their "welcome to Phrae city."
    Then in response to our enquiry for good food / music / drinks in Phrae they offered to show us where.
    Down the main road & side roads later we arrived at a delightful little cafe - pub. The Boran Baan Terng.

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    the ambiance was very mellow & inviting

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    the food was excellent, cheap & with huge servings.

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    There was a mix-up with the order & one dish never came, but we were pleased that it did not, because we could not eat anymore.
    The music was friendly & western orientated (although no Hotel California).

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    Time to pay the bill & we thought there was a mistake - it was far too cheap!
    We double checked & everything was on the bill - unbelievable value for money.
    Then there was another debate about who was paying - us or them. Our new found Phrae hosts wanted to pay yet again - it was their establishment too. But this time round we stuck to our guns & forced some money on the waitress & told her to keep the change.
    Yep the Bike Base guys in Phrae certainly know how to look after you. Their generosity was overwhelming.

    More to come...
     
  18. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    We sauntered off from the Bike Base guys cafe & managed to locate the Tawandang of Phrae: Inca.
    We only found the place after getting lost once & then asking an inebriated guy coming out of another pub & restaurant on the highway. He said follow me & off he roared, doing a quick U-turn* racing off down a couple of side roads. Once there he yelled out Inca, Sawade Krap & off he went.

    The Inca

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    we arrived late at the Inca & the place was packed & rocking.
    Service was considerably slow, but we did not care, there was so much going on & to observe.
    We arrived late & left late, but the Inca was still ticking over when we left.
     
  19. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The next morning was damp & wet - it was drizzling with rain.
    We hit the Seri Thai Museum for a quick look around & some Thai political history.
    Whilst the museum itself may not be that great, the history of the characters involved in the museum intrigues me & I find it very interesting to note that some of the players who formed the Seri Thai movement, were regarded as nationalists, were involved in the "coup" changing Thailand from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy, then left for their own safety, but many many years later returned when the coast was clear & again became involved in Thai politics & for some even served in the government for years. All except Pridi himself who stayed & died in exile.

    Siddhi Savetsila, is a retired Thai military officer and a member of the Privy Council of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
    He served as an OSS-trained Seri Thai officer during the Second World War and was foreign minister under the governments of Prem Tinsulanonda and Chatichai Choonhavan.
    He also became an Air Chief Marshal.
    In 1985 Siddhi took over leadership of the Social Action Party following the retirement of Kukrit Pramoj.
    On May 8, 2000, he was among the five Free Thai veterans who were awarded the Agency Seal Medallion from CIA Director George Tenet. Savetsila is of mixed Thai and English parentage.

    Seni Pramoj became Prime Minister of Thailand 1945-46, 1975, 1976

    Dr. Puey Ungpakorn, London-educated economist who headed the Bank of Thailand and later served as rector of Thammasat University

    Thong Thanthakham, the leader of the Phrae Seri Thai group, (& father of the Paradorn Hotel owner) fled to Myanmar, later returned became a senator for many years, before quitting politics & starting a tobacco business in Phrae.

    Fired up searching for history the next stop was another Phrae museum: Khum Chao Luang Muang Phrae, the ex residence of the Phrae governor.

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    and was built in 1893 by Chao Luang Piriyathepawong. The building is a mixture of Thai and European architecture, that was popular in the reign of King Chulalongkorn.

    Phrae has a very strong conservation movement & has 20 odd museums, but sadly for which more than half have no English info.
    The governor's residence records some of Phrae's history & local culture. It is worth a look if you are at all interested in local culture, history & traditions.

    Info on the local temples.

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    Local items for everyday use

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    Local textiles

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    evidence of the pride in the local architecture is a magnifcent book Houses That Speak To US, on 11 houses in Phrae

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    the book has wonderful photos, plans of the houses; plus histories of the families still living in them.
    If you're at all interested classic old Thai buildings & houses, don't miss Phrae & the governor's museum. You could easily spend 3 days in Phrae looking at this history alone.

    Phrae also has a history of teak logging

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    AND
    the basement prison has some fascinating pics of why it would have been better not to mis-behave in those days gone by

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    the gallows

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    decapitation??

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    an old meaning to playing ball

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    The execution "chamber"

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    you all behave now..

    Nicely sobered then up the return route was the short backway via R1023
    The one tourist stop was the picturesque Maharat Stone Garden

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    but it was a might soggy & damp from earlier rainfall.

    Last but not least there was a torrential downpour at the PTT at Hang Chat, just north of Lampang & it both looked like & felt like riding into a wall of water, just 1.5 kms short of the PTT.

    Thanks to Ron & Chiangmairich for the ride, company & putting up with me taking so many photos.
    Phrae has a lot more to offer & I've got a new hit list of places to see in town.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2016
  20. guichard

    guichard Ol'Timer

    Hi David,
    You can't imagine how much I was interested in your post.I have met Pridi on few occasions in his little suburb house south of Paris from 75 because his daughter Khun Sudha,now retired in BKK was my Thai language teacher at Paris University!
    His wife who lived in a lovely mansion in Thonburi,BKK right bank, was free to fly between BKK and Paris.
    Pridi's brother has been the first Thai ambassador to Moscow after the War. And his two nephews,speaking fluent French worked for Air France at Don Muang as deputy station managers.
    Surely next Nov i'll visit the museum and have a drink with your biker friendsand insist on paying the bill!
    Cheers, Lung.
     
  21. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Lung
    I'm glad some one has appreciated the political history.
    Amazing indeed that a GT Rider should have known Pridi!
    Now if you do stop at the Paradorn hotel & introduce yourself to the owner Khun Puchong Kanthatham, I'm sure he will be extremely happy to meet & talk to you. He might even call over some more elderly mates to meet you!
    Good luck & enjoy.
     
  22. guichard

    guichard Ol'Timer

    Hello David,
    I take good note of the gentleman's name.
    And I will surely meet him this fall as I am in relation with a French guy
    living in Phrae who will show me the small trails linking Phrae to Namuen permitting a day loop:Nan,Nanoi, Khun Satan National park,Phrae,Namuen ,Nanoi,back to Nan.
    I'll let you know when I have all the clues.
    Cheers, Lung.
     
  23. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    A return to Phrae in seek of some more culture & local attractions.

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    Phae Muang (Meuang) Phi forest park is sometimes referred to as Thailand's Grand Canyon.
    Located 8 kms East-South-east of town, Muang Phi - "the City of Ghosts" is noted for its chimney or mushroom rock formations, caused by erosion.

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  24. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Phrae Attractions continued.

    Wat Phra That Cho Hae

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    Is one of Thailand's most important temples & is considered a 'must visit' for Buddhists who go to Phrae.
    Thai Buddhists traditionally walk around the Cho Hae chedi three times in order to pay homage; believing that it will bring good luck, especially for those born in the Thai year of tiger.

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    Built in 1879 - 1881, the 33 metre high Chiang Saen style chedi was made of bricks and covered with bright brass sheets.
    The chedi supposedly contains some of Buddha's hair "relics."

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    The name Cho Hae comes from fine silk woven in Sip Song Panna first used to wrap around the Chedi when it was constructed.

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    A revered Buddha image in the temple viharn is said to increase a woman's fertility.

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  25. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Phrae Attractions continued..

    The Chao Nhan Chaiwong House

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    what a classic beauty.
     
  26. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Wat Pong Sanun

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