Shattered smiles: the Thai kingdom called happiness

Discover the ruined Thai kingdom anchored in happiness called Sukhothai.

NICKNAMED the Land of Smiles, Thailand grew from a kingdom called Sukhothai, which means Dawn of Happiness. Today, the kingdom consists of a sleepy town called New Sukhothai and some sprawling ruins.

Unlike other history-soaked haunts, Sukhothai has a light touch, a rosy glow and some magic reflected by the exquisitely carved Buddha smiles on the faces of statues gracing its ruins. Read more at the Malaysia Star…


Princess Di’s Britain

Rumour has it that Prince William chose to wed Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey instead of St Paul’s Cathedral for an eerie reason. He did not want to be reminded of the doomed 1981 marriage between his father, Prince Charles, and Lady Diana. But Princess Di’s memory lives on. Come on a tour of some places hauntingly linked with the “people’s princess” once the world’s most photographed woman.  See the ninemsn slideshow…

Aussie convict hotspots

Australia’s glitzy Pacific paradise image belies its low-rent past. Amid the Australia Day sizzling of fireworks and barbies remember that the nation began as a dumping ground for British eurotrash.

The shipped-in bogans — various thugs, thieves and scumbags — convicted of everything from stealing snuff to murder, were forced into labour. They slaved away in the heat until their sentences — typically seven years each — ended, or they dropped in the dust.

Either way, they left some solid, imposing traces destined to win recognition. On 31 July 2010, 11 convict landmarks were added to the World Heritage List. Read more at ninemsn…