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ราชอาณาจักรไทย (Thailand) - Magnificent Buddhist Temples
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by Dr. Günther Eichhorn


In October/November 2012 I visited Nepal and Bhutan. On the way to Nepal I stopped in Bangkok for a couple of nights.

I arrived in the evening and stayed in Sukhumvit. That evening I just relaxed in a street restaurant near the hotel. There were a lot of night workers on the streets in that area.

In the morning I took the Sky Train to the river to go on a river cruise. This worked out very well, I had a very enjoyable trip up and down the river. You can get a day pass for the boat that allows you to get on and off as often as you like. This was the best way to see a lot of the city.

The first stop on the cruise was at Wat Arun. This is a spectacular temple complex, a must-see. I then stayed on the boat all the way to Nonthaburi. I walked around Nonthaburi for a while, looking at the local market.

On the way back I stopped at the Grand Palace. I did not go into the palace, it was expensive and very crowded. Instead I took a tuktuk to Wat Suthat, a small but nice temple. Taking a tuktuk is inexpensive, but you have to be aware that they work for the various stores. So any trip in a tuktuk involves visits to three stores. Some of the jewelry that I saw in one of the stores actually looked nice, but was too expensive. I am sure you can find better prices if you know your way around.

From there I walked to Wat Pho. This is the most impressive complex that I saw in Bangkok. It is definitely worth a long visit. The roof decorations are mirrored glass pieces. It was fairly overcast, so it was not very bright. But the sun was shining through holes in the clouds and reflecting off the glass pieces. This made for eye-catching light flashes from different parts of the temple roofs when I moved around.

One of the main attraction in Wat Pho is the statue of the Reclining Buddha. It is 15 m (49 ft) high and 43 m (141 ft) long. The 3 m (10 ft) high and 4.5 m (14.8 ft) long foot of Buddha displays are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. They are divided into 108 arranged panels, displaying the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified, like flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories. 108 is an auspicious number in Buddhism. I came across this number also in Bhutan on this trip.

From Wat Pho I returned to the river and took the boat back to my starting point. It was a great way to see quite a bit of the city.

Food in the hotel was quite expensive, so I ate at one of the street-side food vendors. They have good food that is very inexpensive. It is the best way to get original Thai food.

After the second night I continued on to Kathmandu in Nepal. One disappointment in the hotel was the drinking water. The bell boy that brought me to my room said that the water was free. But when I checked out, they charged me for all but one of the bottles of water, each bottle cost $4.00!

On the return I spent one night in Bangkok, but didn't get to see anything. I arrived late afternoon and left VERY early in the morning.

All pictures are © Dr. Günther Eichhorn, unless otherwise noted.

In the city

View Central Bangkok
View of central Bangkok. (631k)
Tuktuks
One of the Tuktuks. (853k)
Street Scene Lots
Street scene. There are lots of motor scooters in Bangkok. (796k)
Big Canons Front
Big canons in front of a government building. (996k)
City Pillar Shrine
The City Pillar Shrine. (664k)
Monument Street Intersection
Monument on a street intersection next to the Grand Palace. (673k)
Nice Buddhist Shrine
Nice Buddhist shrine in a regular neighborhood. (678k)
Flower Market
Flower market. (786k)
Flower Market
Flower market. (988k)
Flower Market
Flower market. (999k)
Produce Market
Produce market. (1142k)
Fish Market
Fish market. (888k)
Seafood Crabs Alive
Seafood. The crabs were alive and squirming around, trying to get out of the bucket. (1172k)
Spices
Spices. (1203k)
Eggs Sale
Eggs for sale. (979k)
Had Decorated Eggs
She had decorated one of the eggs with a smiley face. (751k)
Flattening Bottle Caps
He was flattening bottle caps, to use for making something. (961k)
Taking Nap Market
Taking a nap in the market. (674k)
Street Scene Night
Street scene at night. (758k)
Night Worker Lots
Night worker. There were lots of them in Sukhumvit where I stayed overnight. (566k)

On the river

Speedboats River Pretty
One of the speedboats on the river. They go pretty fast. (653k)
Type Excursion Boat
Another type of excursion boat. (749k)
Close-up Speed Boats
Close-up of one of the speed boats carrying tourists. (633k)
Motor Speed Boat
The motor of a speed boat. It drives the propeller on a long shaft (2 m (7 ft) long). (644k)
People Live Ships
People live on these ships. (728k)
People Feed Fish
People feed the fish in the river in many places. There is quite a commotion in the water. (933k)
Path Dock Ferry
Path to the dock of the ferry boats. They hung empty bottles from the beam to prevent people from knocking their heads off (it is only about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) high. It works! (793k)
Pagoda River Bank
Pagoda on the river bank. (634k)
Temple River Bank
Temple on the river bank. This one really stood out with the bright orange roof. (657k)
Temple Complex River
Temple complex on the river bank. (637k)
Lavishly Decorated Building
Lavishly decorated building on the river bank. (829k)
Simple Stupa River
Simple stupa on the river bank. (783k)
All Buildings Good
Not all buildings were in good shape. This was more like a slum area. (872k)
View King Rama
View of the King Rama VIII bridge. It is a pretty impressive looking bridge. (561k)
Closer View King
Closer view of the King Rama VIII bridge. (637k)
Closer View King
Closer view of the King Rama VIII bridge. (618k)
Royal Convoy Queen
Royal convoy with the queen going somewhere by boat. (579k)

Wat Arun

From the Wikipedia entry for Wat Arun.

Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan, "Temple of Dawn", is a Buddhist temple (wat) in Bangkok Yai district, on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun. Wat Arun is among the best known of Thailand's landmarks. The first light of the morning reflects off the surface of the temple with pearly iridescence. Although the temple had existed since at least the seventeenth century, its distinctive prang (spires) were built in the early nineteenth century during the reign of King Rama II.

Wat Arun Impressive
Wat Arun. This is an impressive temple complex on the west bank of the river. (662k)
View Wat Arun
View of Wat Arun from the main tower. (765k)
Towers Wat Arun
One of the towers of Wat Arun. (670k)
Closer View Towers
Closer view of one of the towers of Wat Arun. (833k)
Detail Towers Wat
Detail of one of the towers of Wat Arun. (769k)
Detail Towers Wat
Detail of one of the towers of Wat Arun. (1117k)
Stairs Going Main
The stairs going up to the main tower are incredibly steep. This was very similar to the temples in Angkor Wat. (880k)
Looking Steep Stairs
Looking down the steep stairs in Wat Arun. (1122k)
Temple Buildings Wat
One of the temple buildings in the Wat Arun complex. (796k)
Guardian Front Building
Guardian in front of the building in the Wat Arun complex. (898k)
Guardian Front Building
Guardian in front of the building in the Wat Arun complex. (860k)
Stone Carved Statue
Stone carved statue in the Wat Arun complex. (894k)
Painting Wat Arun
Painting in a Wat Arun temple. (696k)
Roof Wat Arun
Roof of a Wat Arun temple. (780k)
Interior Wat Arun
Interior of a Wat Arun temple. There were long rows of stone statues in this temple. (628k)
Stone Statue
Stone statue. (695k)
Stone Statue
Stone statue. (684k)
Stone Statue
Stone statue. (746k)
Bronze Elephant Statues
Bronze elephant statues. (724k)
Bronze Elephant Statue
Bronze elephant statue. (702k)
Stone Carved Dancer
Stone carved dancer. (821k)
Guardian Statue
Guardian statue. (873k)
Gilded Buddha Statue
Gilded Buddha statue. (975k)
Gilded Sitting Buddha
Gilded sitting Buddha. (893k)
Row Buddha Statues
Row of Buddha statues in Wat Arun. (775k)
Buddha Statues Wat
Buddha statues in Wat Arun. (825k)
Worshiper Wat Arun
Worshiper in Wat Arun. (708k)

Wat Pho

From the Wikipedia entry for Wat Pho.

Wat Pho is a Buddhist temple complex in the Phra Nakhon District in Bangkok. It is on Rattanakosin Island, directly south of the Grand Palace. Known also as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, its official name is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn. The more commonly known name, Wat Pho, is a contraction of its older name Wat Photaram.

The temple is first on the list of six temples in Thailand classed as the highest grade of the first-class royal temples. It is associated with King Rama I who rebuilt the temple complex on an earlier temple site, and became his main temple where some of his ashes are enshrined. The temple was later expanded and extensively renovated by Rama III. The temple complex houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, including a 46 m (151 ft) long reclining Buddha.

Temples Wat Pho
Temples in Wat Pho. (796k)
Temples Stupas Wat
Temples and Stupas in Wat Pho. The gilded decorations are mosaic stones that are highly reflective. There were always some that reflected directly back to me, which created strong flashes. I think this was especially noticeable, because it was mainly overcast, with the sun shining through holes in the cloud cover. (723k)
Temples Roofs Wat
Temples roofs in Wat Pho, with several light effects. (782k)
Temple Roof Decoration
Temple roof decoration in Wat Pho with light effects. (714k)
Close-up Temple Roof
Close-up of temple roof decoration in Wat Pho. (693k)
Light Flashes Temple
One of the light flashes from a temple roof in Wat Pho. (715k)
Close-up Temple Roof
Close-up of temple roof decoration in Wat Pho. You can see the many mirrors that create the light effects when reflecting the sun. (880k)
Temples Stupas Wat
Temples and Stupas in Wat Pho. (732k)
Stupas Wat Pho
Stupas in Wat Pho with Bonsai tree. (916k)
Close-up Stupas Wat
Close-up of stupas in Wat Pho with Bonsai tree. (1223k)
Detail Decorations Stupas
Detail of the decorations on one of the stupas. (824k)
Row Buddha Statues
Row of Buddha statues in Wat Pho. Some of them were apparently quite old. (700k)
Buddha Statue Wat
Buddha statue in Wat Pho. (756k)
Temple Wat Pho
Temple in Wat Pho. (735k)
Buddha Statues Temple
Buddha statues in this temple. (861k)
Small Shrine Wat
Small shrine in Wat Pho. (881k)
Different Variety Stupa
Different variety of a stupa. (590k)
Different Variety Stupa
Different variety of a stupa. (619k)
Close-up Gilded Decorations
Close-up of the gilded decorations on a stupa in Wat Pho. (727k)
Lavishly Decorated Door
Lavishly decorated door in Wat Pho. (858k)
Gate Guardians Wat
Gate with guardians in Wat Pho. (716k)
Close-up Guardians Gate
Close-up of one of the guardians at a gate in Wat Pho. (829k)
Stone Statue Wat
Stone statue in Wat Pho. (748k)
Stone Statue Wat
Stone statue in Wat Pho. (879k)
Stone Statue Bonsai
Stone statue and bonsai tree in Wat Pho. (738k)
Stone Garden Wat
Stone garden in Wat Pho. (877k)
Stone Garden Fountain
Stone garden and fountain in Wat Pho. (909k)
Reclining Buddha Wat
Reclining Buddha in Wat Pho. It is 46 m (151 ft) long. (600k)
Painting Around Reclining
Painting around the reclining Buddha in Wat Pho. (847k)
Head Reclining Buddha
Head of the reclining Buddha in Wat Pho. (668k)
Feet Reclining Buddha
Feet of the reclining Buddha in Wat Pho. They are intricately inlaid with mother-of-pearl. (834k)
Toes Mother-of-pearl Inlays
Toes with mother-of-pearl inlays. (904k)
Sole Foot Mother-of-pearl
The sole of the foot with mother-of-pearl inlays. (1083k)
Detail Mother-of-pearl Inlays
Detail of mother-of-pearl inlays. (936k)
Detail Mother-of-pearl Inlays
Detail of mother-of-pearl inlays. (934k)
Buddhist Monks Also
Buddhist monks also do the tourist thing in Wat Pho. (853k)

Wat Suthat

From the Wikipedia entry for Wat Suthat.

Wat Suthat Thepphawararam is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It is a royal temple of the first grade, one of ten such temples in Bangkok (23 in Thailand). Construction was begun by King Rama I in 1807. Further construction and decorations were carried out by King Rama II who helped carve the wooden doors, but the temple was not completed until the reign of King Rama III in 1847–1848. This temple contains the Buddha image Phra Sri Sakyamuni which has been moved from Sukhothai Province. At the lower terrace of the base, there are 28 Chinese pagodas which symbolize the 28 Buddhas born on this earth. Wat Suthat also contains Phra Buddha Trilokachet in the ubosot (ordination hall) and Phra Buddha Setthamuni in the Sala Kan Parian (meeting hall).

View Temple Wat
View of the temple Wat Suthat. (601k)
Inside Temple Wat
Inside the temple Wat Suthat. (703k)
Inside Temple Wat
Inside the temple Wat Suthat. (618k)
Large Buddha Statue
Large Buddha statue in the temple Wat Suthat. (775k)
Gilded Buddha Statue
Gilded Buddha statue in the temple Wat Suthat. (790k)

Grand Palace

From the Wikipedia entry for the Grand Palace.

The Grand Palace is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok. The palace has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The king, his court, and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), resided at the Chitralada Royal Villa and his successor King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) at the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall, both in the Dusit Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year. The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand.

Outside Grand Palace
Outside the Grand Palace. (783k)
View Wat Phra
View of Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple in the Grand Palace. (707k)
View Wat Phra
View of Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple in the Grand Palace. (637k)

This page contains 108 pictures

Page last updated on Tue Jul 2 16:18:16 2019 (Mountain Standard Time)


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© Dr. Günther Eichhorn
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