Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Floating Market Dumnoen Saduak

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After visiting the Phra Pathom Chedi in Nakorn Pathom -according to some one of the largest pagoda in the world (click here to see some pictures), we headed to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi, Thailand.  This floating market is one of the most famous floating markets here in Thailand.  Actually there are many floating markets in Thailand, click here to see a video of Ampawha floating market in Samut Songkran province that I visited early this year.
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First of all, According to history around 1866 King Rama IV of the Chakri Dynasty ordered that a 32 kms long canal be dug at Damnoen Saduak to facilitate waterborne travels between Ratchaburi and Samutsakhon Provinces. It was finished and opened to the public in 1868.  That King was really a visionary: these smalls canals now provide thousands of job to local people.  
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Local and foreign tourist boarding a canoe.  From about 8 a.m. to about 11 a.m. the Floating Market is  crowded with hundrreds of vendors and purchasers floating in their small rowing boats selling and buying or exchanging their goods.
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In the picture, can you distinguish the Thai hat from the Vietnamese hat?
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Ratchaburi means, "The land of the king." The province is full of cultural heritage, beautiful landscapes and historical sites.  And as I told before it is located around 100 kilometres west of Bangkok.

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A Thai women wearing Thai bamboo hats  paddle her small boats 
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The Floating Market is routinely crowded with hundreds of vendors and purchasers floating in their small rowing boats selling and buying agricultural products and local food, which are mostly brought from their own nearby orchards. Therefore, it is a very attractive place for tourists to see this old style and traditional way of selling and buying goods.
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Tourist looking at houses located at the bank of the canal.  Most people live densely along both sides of the canal from one end of the canal to another.The majority of this people are agriculturists. They grow several different kinds of fruit and vegetable for examples oranges, grapes, papayas, cabbages, bean, onion and etc. The land in this area is naturally fertile. 
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Thai style canoes laden with colourful, succulent fruits, vegetables, sweets and meats, gently ply their way through the canal.
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Floating market at Damnoen Saduak is the old traditional way of selling vegetables, fruits,etc. from a small boat.
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Ratchaburi province contains the flat river plains of the Mae Klong river,   risscrossed by many khlongs.  The Mae Klong River flows through the centre of Ratchaburi town. 
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Apart from providing transportation, Damnoensaduak Canal also provides farmers with adequate water for agricultural purposes for the whole year around. More than 200 small canals were dug by local peasants to connect with it to get water to splatter their land. Moreover; these small canals also become propitious ways of taking their agricultural products to the markets in neighbouring provinces and Bangkok.
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Local people usually travel on their small rowing boats. however; today the long-tailed boats pushing by engine become very popular.
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The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a very attractive place for tourists to see the old style and traditional way of selling and buying local products.
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The colorfully clad merchants at these lively markets paddle along congested canals in sturdy canoes laden with fresh fruit and vegetables to sell to shoppers on the banks. 
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Well, it seems that not everybody find this trip interesting ; )
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Thailand is often called the "land of smiles," not only because visitors love its natural beauty and historical riches, but also because of the country's friendly people and fascinating culture.  Here some examples of it!!!
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Dark clouds looming Bangkok

Cloudy
Througouth this last month (August) many typhoons such as Kai-tak (Helen), Tembi (Igme), and Bolaven (Julian) have loomed South East Asia.  This last week CNN, BBC  are reporting the wild activity of Typhon Bolaven (Julian) in the Philippines and Taiwan.  Happily, according to the forecast reports,  Thailand is  away from the Bolaven path.  However, we can see dark clouds looming above Thailand.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Phra Pathom Chedi, Nakornpathom

The Phra Pathom Chedi, located just 56 km west of Bangkok in Nakhon Pathom, houses the oldest Buddhist structure in Thailand, dating a little more than 2000 years ago, and it is said it is the tallest Buddhist monument in the world.
There is a legend of this Chedi I found on internet according to it "Long ago, The queen of Nakhon Chaisri (Nakhon Pathom) gave birth to a son. A prediction warned Phya Kong, the king of Nakhon Chaisri, that he would be killed by his son so he ordered the baby to be floated down a river on a raft to a forest where he was found and raised by an old woman called Yai Hom. The youth, Phya Pan was adopted by the king of Ratchaburi, a vassal of Phya Kong. Wanting to free Ratchaburi from the control of Phya Kong, Phya Pan waged war against his feudal lord and killed Phya Kong. When he learnt that he had killed his father, he was so angry at Yai Hom for not telling him the truth of his birth, that he killed Yai Hom with one stroke of his sword. Now, he had committed two great sins by killing his own father and killing the poor old woman who had raised him. He was so sad that he wanted to commit suicide but, by committing suicide, he would have commited another great sin. The monks told him to build a stupa that reaches the height where the doves fly and dedicate it to the Buddha, to atone for his sins. So, Phya Pan built a immense stupa called the Phra Pathom Chedi to enshrine relics of the Buddha. He also built another stupa called the Phra Phratone Chedi, to the east of the Phra Pathom Chedi, and dedicated it to Yai Hom".

Chedi panoramic
I took 7 vertical shots (vertical images can capture more of the sky and ground) and then using photoshop I aligned and stitched those images together to form this single panoramic image.

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"During the early 1800s, Buddhist monks came to reside in the ruined Phra Pathom Chedi. The present chedi owes its existence to King Mongkut (Rama 4), who then a monk visited the ruined chedi several times and was deeply saddened to see it in ruins. He understood the significance of the site as the oldest Buddhist monument in Thailand and the spot where Buddhism first arrived in Thailand. Thus he was determined to restore it. On his accession to the throne, King Mongkut began a restoration process by building an enormous chedi over the ruined prang. The first attempt collapsed in bad weather. King Mongkut did not live to see the completion of the chedi.  The work was carried on by King Chulalongkorn (Rama 5).  In 1870, the spire was raised during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama 5)."

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This Buddha image is found at Wat Pra Meru a temple now-defunct in Dvaravati period. According to a friend of us a kilometer southward from this temple, the Buddha image is approximately 1,200 years old. There are other three Buddha images like this. One is in Pra Ubosoth of this temple; one in the National Museum Bangkok; and, the other in Chao Sampraya Museum, Ayuthaya

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The completed Chedi is a circular one that features an upside down bell shape Chedi (Lankan style). The height from ground to a top crown is some 120.45 metres, and a total diameter at the base is 233.50 meters.

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The golden brown tiles that cover the entire chedi are highly glazed and are brought from China. Its base is made up of a series of concentric rings stacked on top of one another, dinimishing in size as they go higher. The rings are topped by a huge bell-shaped dome. 

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Phra Pathom Chedi contains relics of the Buddha and is one of the holiest pilgrimage spots in Thailand today.
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People praying in front of the The Phra Ruang Rojanarit  standing Buddha image in the north chapel.
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The food we tried at this market located at the main gate of the Chedi was really delicious!!!
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Sticky rice wrapped in banana leaves is kept in bamboo to keep it warm! 

How to get this place: 
Bus and train services run between the Nakhon Pathom Chedi and Thonburi.  This means you can  either  go by bus from the Southern bus terminal in Bangkok (Thonburi) or by train from Bangkok Noi train station (Thonburi)