Saturday, July 30, 2011

Grand Palace, BKK

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This entry is part of our last canal tour we did around 3 weeks ago.  As I told in the previous post, this tour took around 5 hours, we started at Phra Pin Klao Bridge where we took 'long tail speed boat' and traveled along some canals for around one hour. After finishing this trip we visited What Pho.  From here  we went to Grand Palace,(where is located the Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha) by Tuk-Tuk.  We spent around 2 hours visiting the Palace.
The Royal Thai Grand Palace is in Rattanakosin the old centre of Bangkok. It is magnificent. The King's Grand Palace was established in 1782.  It's the most attractive touristic place in Bangkok, thus it is always overcrowded by tourists coming from all around the world.
Entrance fee to the Grand Palace is  Baht 300 for foreigners only, Thai is free of charge.  Keep in mind, to visit this temple you must follow a dress code.   shorts, sandals, and top-tank are not allowed.

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Along The Wat Phra Kaew there are many Guardian Daemon (or Yak) protecting the temple.  Wat Phra Kaew is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in Thailand.
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Left, Phra Sri Rattana Chedi in Sri Lankan Stye. it anchors the west end of the upper terrace. It was built by Rama IV in the mid nineteenth century at the same time as the Royal Pantheon. The chedi essentially balances the structures on the upper terrace, but it also recalls the monumental chedi of the old capital in Ayutthaya. The chedi is faced with small gold mirrored tiles, making it a bit shinier than other chedis that are 'just' gilded. The chedi houses a piece of the Buddha's breastbone.

Right, The Phra Mondop was the first building built of the upper terrace. The Ho Phra Monthien Tham, a sort of library, originally stood on the site, but was burned down by fireworks soon after the temple was built. King Rama I decided to have the Mondop built in place of the Ho Phra Monthien Tham to house the revised edition of the Buddhist Canon.
The Phra Mondop is a copy of the mondop covering the Buddha's Footprint in Saraburi province. The walls of the Phra Mondop are covered in green mirrored tiles inlaid with gold medallions depicting Buddha. The base of the walls are lined with two rows of small gilded guardian angels, each one slightly different.
At the four corners of the Phra Mondop are stone Buddhas carved in the nineth century Javanese style. Sixteen twelve-cornered columns support the intricate multi-tier roof.
The Phra Mondop is never open to the public.

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This photo I took from Phra Sri Rattana Chedi terrace.

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A Wat Phra Kaew Inner Compound Structure
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Kinnon – mythological creature, half bird, half man.   The Kinnari, in Thai literature originates from India, but was modified to fit in with the Thai way of thinking. The Thai Kinnari is depicted as a young woman wearing an angel-like costume. The lower part of the body is similar to a bird, and should enable her to fly between the human and the mystical worlds.
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Kinna Ree, mythological creature, half bird, half woman.  Statue in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok
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She is doing a 'wai' to show her respect to the Buddha image before poring the 'holy water' on her head.  By the way, the day when we visited the Grand Palace was really hot and the sunlight was too strong to take photos because of 'reflection',  thus, I had applied 'polaroid filter'.
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External Decoration of the Ubosoth, the main building of Wat Phra Kaew
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The Thai Royal Guards were established by King Rama V in 1859, when he was still crown prince. In the early days, the Royal Guards were servants with duties such as scaring crows. This lead to them being given the nickname "Mahardlek Laikar," roughly translated as "Scarecrow Corps." When he succeeded his father in 1868 he formed this unit into a 24-strong Royal Bodyguard. In 1870, the Royal Guard regiment was given the name the "King's Guard" and their duties included escorting the king while he travelled around the country.
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The Chakri Mahaprasad Hall was built by British architects as a royal residence for King Rama IV to commemorate the centennial of the Chakri dynasty. The bottom part of the Chakri Mahaprasad Hall is heavily influenced by Italian renaissance architecture but the roof is firmly traditional Thai architecture. It is an interesting blend that works. The Thai temple-style roof rests physically and more importantly for the Thai’s, symbolically on top of an otherwise European building. The building is saying that in Thailand they are in charge not the European colonial powers. The Thai’s are very proud of the fact that they are the only Asian country to escape being occupied by a colonial power.
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Canal Tour on long tailed speedboat, BKK

Two weeks ago, my wife and I took a “Canal Tour” along Bangkok Yai canal, King River, in Bangkok, Thailand.  I should point out that all sites visited that day we had already did before and even most of them were posted in the different entries of this blog.  So, if you need more information about any sites where we visited on that day, please just click at the links I provided.
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The tour usually last 5 hours; It starts at Pinklao, Bridge, Ferry Pier, close to King Rama VIII Bridge (more info click here), and finishes at The Grand Palace.
However, the trip on long tailed speedboat  along the canal in Bangkok lasted an average of 1 hour only.  It was at the Pinklao Bridge where we boarded it and we disembarked at Tha Tian pier.  From here, we  walked to Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha temple).  After finishing the tour at this temple, we took a Tuk-Tuk to the Grand Palace.  I will post later -on another entry- the picture of Grand Palace  due to firstly, it is a special place, consequently I have a lot of picture of it, and secondly, I want to avoid a very long entry.
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Although Bangkok is one the noisiest city -newspapers reported that the number of cars on Bangkok's overburdened roads was growing by nearly 500 a day- the trip on long tailed speedboat along some canals give the tourists an opposite impression of the city; a very peacefully and quiet city!!!
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According to the history, in the early Rattanakosin period (1782-1851), Bangkok remained a quiet place. It was covered with lush vegetation and had waterways as its chief routes of transportation. The capital underwent some development based on Western models in the reign of King Rama IV who ordered road building, canal digging, ship building. Thus, those canals were not naturally formed. How important the Thai King's vision was... Canals provide many occupation and currently many people can live and support their families by working there. There are many options to roam over the city, on the picture for example, some travel agencies also promote recreational cycling in the city.
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Thai Traditional Puppet, The House of Artists, more info click here
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Along the trip on ferry we saw more than 12 Buddhist temples. We make a short stop at one of them to feed fish. Both Canals and the King River are plenty of fish!!!
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Panoramic view of Temple of Dawn.  More info click here
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What Pho, More info click here
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These two ladies are college students... Here in Thailand all undergraduate students have to wear uniform.  White T-shirt and black skirt  for ladies and white T-shirt and black pants for guys. the same uniform color is for all Thai universities.
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School inside the Temple, where students learn Buddha's philosophy.
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Reclining Buddha at What Pho, The size this Buddha is 46 meters long and 15 meters high!!!

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Tourists and local people throwing coins into the vessel : 15 coins, 15 wishes
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Those pagodas were built in different styles which means they were built in different reigns.
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Many chinese sculpture decorate the Temples...
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Typical roof of  Thai Buddhist temples
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There are also many sculpture in yoga position,
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I like this shot!!!
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Chinese pagodas inside Thai Buddhist temple
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This day was also interesting because we shortly attended a Buddhist ceremony where 2 young monks became officially monks. At their Monks' sides their parents are sat.
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Many of their guests praying too
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