Thailand

1. Khon Dance Mask

Bhutesavara 3Khom is a dance drama genre from Thailand. It is traditionally performed solely in the royal court by men in masks accompanied by narrators, singers along with traditional orchestra. The orchestra mainly consists of xylophone type instrument, gongs and drums. Mask forms the integral part of the Khom dance drama and they pay a leading role in identifying the characters in the traditional Thai dance drama. The Khom mask making continues today in the same process as it was done centuries ago. The mask are made out of a special paper known as koi. Read more…

2. Pig Memorial, Pi Kun Bridge and Old City Moat, Bangkok:

Pig Memorial 1Bangkok’s most unusual memorial is the Pig Memorial. The memorial consists of an oversized metal cast pig was built in 1913 to commemorate the 50th birthday of Queen Phatcharinthra, wife of King Rama V. It may seem a strange idea but the Queen, along with the three sponsors of the memorial were born on the Year of Pig. The three sponsors were Prince Narissara Nuwattiwong, Phraya Phipat Kosa (Celestino Xavier) and Phraya Ratcha Songkhram (Kon Hongsakun). Prince Narissara Nuwattiwong, who was known for his artistic talent, was also the designer of the memorial. The main pig statue is protected by a canopy and sits high up on a stone plinth at the base of which there are also some smaller pig statues. Read more…

3. Khlong Saen Saep Express Boat, Bangkok:

Saen Saep Express Boat 1Just watch your step when boarding and disembarking as they don’t stop at the pier for long. Pay the fare to the fearless helmet-wearing ticket collectors who clamber around on the outside of the boat, ducking at bridges, as it barrels down the canal. This is Khalong Saen Saep Express Boat service. Mostly used by locals to commute to work, the service is cheap and you get to see the “backside” of the neighbourhoods, so to speak. Also, It is immune to Bangkok’s notorious traffic jams. Only 18 km of the 72 km long Khlong Saen Saep (Khlong means canal in Thai) has a public ferry service. Read more…

4. Amphawa Floating Market, Samut Songkhram:

Amphawa Floating Market 10No visit to Thailand is complete without a visit to the floating markets. Thailand is literally dotted with floating markets. 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. The market only operates on weekends (Friday – Sunday). It starts at about 12 noon and goes on till 8 pm, but the actual activities start only after 3 pm. Read more…

5. Wat Saket and Golden Mount, Rattanakosin, Bangkok:

Golden Mount 2The glittering golden chedi (stupa) of the Golden Mount towers above the sky scrapper infested skyline of Bangkok a sight never to be missed for tourist visiting the Thailand capital. The temple of Wat Saket is located on a 80 meter high artificial mound and is crowned with 5.8 meter tall golden chedi. The temple dates back to the period of Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351 – 1767) Wat Sakae. Ever since the temple has been modified several times and presently visited by hundreds of Buddhist devotees and tourists. Read more…

6. Monks of Amphawa Canal, alms collection on boat:

Kanokart Resort 3In the olden days, before the introduction of roads and cars, the canals were the lifeline for rural Thailand. 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. The monks leave their temples before dawn. 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. Read more…

7. Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, Thonburi, Bangkok:

Wat Arun 1Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan or simply Wat Arun is one of Bangkok’smost prominent landmark. It is located in the Thonburi region of Bangkok, which lies on the west bank of Chao Pharya River. Today the Buddhist Temple dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Aruna, with its distinctive prang (spire), dominates the Bangkok sky line. The temple dates back to the Ayuthaya Kingdom(1351 to 1767) but the prang (spire) was added during the reign of Rama II (reign 1809 – 24). Apart from the prang (spire), built in Khmer style, the Wat Arun complex contains several other shrines complete with pavilions and gateways but the 70 m (aprox) spire remains the centre of attraction. Read more…

8. Maeklong Railway Market, Samut Songkhram:

Maeklong Rail Market

We heard the whistle blow, but it was not hundred miles away, in fact it was less than hundred yards away. Vendors and sellers slowly but methodically starts moving their belongings and umbrellas from the railway track, which passes straight through the centre of the market. A charming little warning bell goes off over the speaker system just a few minutes before the train comes. Within a few minutes of receiving the warning, vendors pull back their specially designed awnings before the train comes, sometimes only moments before. Everything happens so calmly and with such clockwork precision that it’s difficult to fathom it could be a matter of life and death. Read more…

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