A lady selling fruit by boat at the Damnoen Saduak floating market
"Golden Buddha Temple"
This temple has the largest solid gold object in the world at 5.5 tons! It's 18k gold, about 10-15 feet tall and worth about $14 million US dollars. It was originally created in the 1200s, but eventually covered in plaster presumably to hide the gold from the invading Burmese. The disguise worked so well it was eventually forgotten that there was solid gold underneath -- and moved from temple to temple -- until some of the plaster chipped off during transport in the 1950s and the gold was revealed again.
The men in orange robes common throughout Thailand are Buddhist monks. Over 95% of the Thai population is Buddhist, and nearly every Buddhist man over the age of 20 takes a turn at being a monk for a varying length of time. One person told me the shortest turn as a monk is 11 days, while others may take longer turns. One of my tour guides had a 4 month span as a monk. The King of Thailand took 1 month for his monk-hood, and during that time his wife ruled as Queen in his stead.
The people statues are covered with little gold pieces of paper. In this temple the people are statues, but I've read that at other temples there are actual monks who sit as still as they can while people attach the gold papers.
Notice the smoke from the incense "joss sticks"
The temple was built by King Rama V (the son of the "King and I" king) in 1901 and is famous for its white Italian Carrana marble in the construction. It has a European design, lovely stained glass windows and a cloister area with 50+ Buddha statues in different poses.
Absolutely beautiful exterior
I'm not sure who is in the photograph / portrait on the right side -- I'm guessing it's of the King while he was a monk.
The marble can be seen on the walls from the floor partway up. The rest that looks like wallpaper was actually painted on by hand.
Guarding the temple doors. The column on the left is made of gold plating, and colored blue glass. If I understood the tour director correctly, it was originally lined with precious stones, but reportedly after it was sacked the rebuild was done with colored glass instead.
"Reclining Buddha Temple"
This is both the largest and the oldest temple in Bangkok, built in the 1600s. The reclining Buddha figure was built in the 1800s and is about 150 feet long and 72 feet high!
The Reclining Buddha is enormous! It is gold-plated with mother-of-pearl feet.
Reclining Buddha's head. Supposedly this reclining position is the position Buddha was in when he died.
This is just some of the mother-of-pearl on the reclining Buddha's feet. Wow.
There was a long row of bowls like this. People walked along dropping coins into each bowl.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets
The floating markets are a canal-like area where merchants and buyers alike are transported in small boats. Along each side of the canal are homes, shrines and the ubiquitous shopping stalls.
The area alternated between quiet, peaceful and serene ... then crowded, chaotic and noisy.
One of the market stalls. The merchants sitting in the stall would generally call out to the small boats of buyers enticing them to come closer. Some of the merchants would use long poles with hooks to grab the boats and pull them closer.
Classical Thai dance (Or possibly just "Dance Made Up For Tourists")
A group of school-children with their hands being inspected (by the man in the yellow shirt with the long stick). As he went along the row, the children would put out their hands and turn them over, and the occasional child would get smacked on the hand with by the
Photos of the King & Queen are posted everywhere, with many shrines devoted to them. The King recently celebrated his 80th birthday, and 60th year of reign in Thailand.
Guy riding a bicycle, randomly laden with tropical birds
Baby elephant, awwww!
Parade of elephants
Koi Pond -- For 10 baht you could buy food to feed them. They voraciously gulped it down. As a local nearby said, in broken English, "You could feed them 1,000 baht and they'd still eat more".
A black cat crossing my path
Me riding an elephant!
Me with a pretty snake
Coconut Sugar Plantation
This was a really interesting plantation/farm that harvested coconuts (above), and made a sugar product from the sap of the flowers (below). The milky concoction is boiled down until it makes a hard, rock-sugar of small chunks that are sold in baggies. It has a light, smoky-caramel taste and was excellent. I'm going to miss it in the US!
Very pretty Rose Cultural Garden
An interesting building -- possibly government-related
A sign advertising bird's nest soup and shark fin soup
A tuk-tuk whizzing by -- notice the metal cage-like back for passengers.
Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and beyond! By Molly Kalafut