Home > FAM (Familiarization) Tour, FAM Trip, General, Thailand, Thailand FAM > Monks of Amphawa Canal, Alms collection on boat

Monks of Amphawa Canal, Alms collection on boat

Monks of Amphawa Canal

Alms collection on boat

Also see: FAM tour of Thailand

No visit to Thailand is complete without a visit to the floating markets. Thailand is literally dotted with floating markets. Bangkok alone host at least 5 floating markets in its vicinity and definitely Damnoen Saduak heads the list.

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The Buddhist Monk arrives at the Kanokart Resort, Amphawa Canal, Thailand

Sadly many of the floating markets around Bangkok have been commercialized badly. They have  become too touristic and have lost most of their local flavour. For those wanting a real deal and experience lesser touristic places Amphawa Floating Market is the great option.

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Items for monk’s offering are up for sale

But in recent times the Amphawa Floating Market is becoming too crowded and touristy. The market operates only on weekend evenings.

Since the market is located just 2 hours drive from Bangkok it is generally visited on a day trip.

An over night trip will definitely add a leisurely approach to the exploration of the Amphawa Floating Market.

A over night tour can also provide the opportunity of experiencing the Khon Mask making at Bhutesavara and the community based tourism at Ban Bang Phalp. The tour can also be clubbed with visit to another unique Thai market the Maeklong Railway Market.

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Offering to the Buddfist Monk, Kanokart Resort, Amphawa Canal, Thailand

The overnight stay will also allow the visitors to meet the monk on his alms collection boat ride. In the olden days, before the introduction of roads and cars, the canals were the lifeline for rural Thailand.

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Devotees wait for their turn

Monks would also leave their temples by boat and row along the canals on their early morning alms round.

The custom is no longer in regular practice but the age old custom is very much alive in the Amphawa Canal, which branches in and out of the Mae Klong river.

The monks leave their temples before dawn and normally they row themselves, but sometimes for older monks are assisted by a rower.

They visit shops, households, resorts and home stays along the Amphawa Canal chanting prayers and giving blessing, in return the devotees give alms consisting mainly of food items.

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Offering to the Buddfist Monk, Kanokart Resort

We stayed at the Kanokart Resort on the Amphawa Canal and after a grand tour Amphawa Floating Market, we were informed that a Buddhist monk will be arriving, in the morning, for his alms collection drive.

I was up in the morning to witness the grand spectacle. The monk was yet to arrive but group of students group have already assembled to welcome the monk. A small kiosk was set up for the devotees to buy their offering.

Soon the monk arrived assisted by a rower. The boat docked at the resorts private pier. The pier was surrounded by mangrove trees, with their breathing roots. The session started with a prayer from the monk and since the group was big the resort had arranged for a sound system with cordless microphone.

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A devotee bows before the Buddfist Monk, Kanokart Resort, Amphawa Canal, Thailand

After the prayer the devotees stared giving the alms one by one. The Buddhist monk started collecting the offering in a wooden bowl, which was later transferred into a bigger metal bowl. Each donation ended with the devotee bowing before the monk.

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Alms collection session over, Kanokart Resort, Amphawa Canal, Thailand

After the devotees finished with the offering it was time for another brief prayer session and it was finally time for the monk to bid farewell. For people like me, who were not offering alms, it was a peaceful and serene experience of just watching the event.

Note: I visited Thailand as part of a FAM trip organized by Tourism authority of Thailand (TAT) and Thai Airways.

Special Thanks:

  • Aso Lori (TAT, New Delhi) and Sajid Khan (Thai Airways, Kolkata)
  • My fellow FAM participants Amit Sachdev (Unique Air Travels), Sanjay Kr Kothari (Just Holidays), Vandana Arya (Gainwell Leisure Holidays), Piyush Banerjee (Discovery Holidays), Asif Alim (Neptune Holidays) and Nandini Gangully (T2, The Telegraph)

 

  1. Jheelam
    October 24, 2018 at 9:43 PM

    Never heard about this custom. It sounded something straight out of the pages of antiquity. Informative post, indeed.

    • October 25, 2018 at 12:09 PM

      Pretty much true, it is straight out of the pages of antiquity. Hope the custom continues.

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