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Posts Tagged ‘things to see’

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Wat Suthat is said to be one of the most important Buddhism centres in Thailand and is located amongst the highest concentration of Buddhist shops and suppliers in Bangkok. Wat Suthat was begun under the reign of Rama I in the early nineteenth century and completed over a period of thirty years. It contains some excellent examples of bronze sculptures and Thai/Chinese art and one of the largest surviving bronze statues from the Sukhothai period. It is also home to the ashes of King Anand Mahidol, deceased brother of the current king of Thailand.

With Brahmanism predating Buddhism in Thailand many old Brahmin traditions and customs were integrated into Thai Buddhism and the local culture. One of these is the Ploughing Ceremony which kicks off in May from Wat Suthat, headquarters of Thailand’s Brahmin priests.

Outside the temple is the Giant Swing or Sao Ching-Cha. This relic of Brahminism was the site of a ceremony of respect for Shiva which involved brave men swinging higher and higher on the swing and trying to snatch a bag of gold in their teeth from a 15m pole. The practice was banned in the early twentieth century as too dangerous; many participants died trying to reach the bag of gold.

The swing is located at point F on the map.
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Floating Market

The most famous flosting market is the one that appears on tourist brochures and postcards around the world, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market about a 100km out of Bangkok. With all the attention this has gained over the last twenty years this market is now little more than a floating souvenir market aimed at the many package tours that stream into it’s vicinity everyday.

However, for a more authentic sample of floating Thai commerce give the floating market in Talin Chan a try. It’s smaller, still used by the locals as a serious place to pick up fruit, veggies and various other goods, and it’s closer to Bangkok.

Talin Chan Floating Market is on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River in front of the Talin Chan District Office, and whilst it does attract a certain number of sightseers and tourists it maintains its authenticity and is a still a serious local market.

Do a bit of shopping and have a bite to eat; where better to try a bowl of the famous boat noodles than floating on water? Talin Chan isn’t a major tourist location but there are things to do and see in the area. When you’ve finished at the market take a leisurely boat tour by long tail boat and absorb the scenic view of canal side Thailand.

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Wat Arun

Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn

Wat Arun

Address: Bangkok Yai, Thonburi side of Chao Phraya River
Opening: 0900-1700

Wat Arun, or by its full name of Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahavihara, is a Buddhist temple on the west bank of the Chao Phraya that has become one of the most visited temples in this part of Bangkok.

Wat Arun dates back to Thailand’s Ayutthya period and came to prominence when King Taksin moved the capital to Thonburi and changed the name of the existing temple from Wat Makok to Wat Cheang. Between the reigns of King Rama II to IV the temple underwent another two more name changes and a restoration.

The most striking feature of Wat Arun is the central prang, or tower, which rises approximately 80m above the surrounding area and a further four smaller prangs. The prangs are decorated with a mix of seashell and broken porcelain taken from Chinese trading ships that used them as ballast, as was common for the time. This type of temple decoration was commonplace for the Ratanakosin period.

The Ordination Hall next to the prangs contains the Niramitr Buddha image which is said to have been designed by King Rama II, whose ashes are interned beneath it, and various impressive murals dating back to King Rama V.

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