SOUTH EAST ASIA
Visit to Bangkok

All photos © Ruud Leeuw

 

 

View from Bangkok hotel
A brief sojourn into South East Asia started for us in Bangkok.
We'd been booked in the Nouvo City Hotel which provided the view as seen on the photos above and below.
The hotel is centrally located in the well-known Banglamphu district (a.k.a. 'Old Bangkok City'), near the travelers scene of Khao San Road and Pier 13 on the Chao Phraya River. The hotel sits in a quiet side street (off Samsen Rd. a.k.a. Thanon Sam Sen) and thus has the best of both worlds: near tourist activity and also a tranquil homebase.

View from Bangkok hotel


 

 

Visit to Bangkok

Over fourteen million people live within the surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region and Bangkok's rapid growth, amidst little urban planning and regulation, has resulted in a haphazard cityscape and inadequate infrastructure systems.
Limited roads, despite an extensive expressway network, together with substantial private car usage, have resulted in chronic and crippling traffic congestion.
Roads are congested with cars, tuk-tuks (auto rickshaws, also known as a three-wheeler, Samosa, tempo, tuk-tuk, trishaw, auto, rickshaw, autorick, bajaj, rick, tricycle, mototaxi, baby taxi or lapa; usually 3-wheeled cabin cycle for private use and as a vehicle for hire), motorcycle taxis and pedestrian pushing carts with food or assorted products or cargo.
When things get busy, driving discipline seems to go out of the window, but in fairness: I haven't seen a single collision or even a situation coming close to that.

Visit to Bangkok


 

 

Visit to Bangkok
The best way to see a city is on foot, hoofing the streets. These foodstalls are a major attraction.

Visit to Bangkok

Visit to Bangkok
I noticed many women have their kids with them while on the job, being
in a shop, a foodstall, or stringing flowers whilst sitting on the back end of a police vehicle.

Visit to Bangkok
Pushing his heavy foodcart through the streets, for those who want a snack or their lunch on the run.

Visit to Bangkok
With temperature soaring over 30 degrees Celsius, I am sure he'll find customers for his ice cream.

Visit to Bangkok
The sign says 'Superman sleeps. The Super Police hasn't yet. Never did and never will.'
Hmm, funny?

Visit to Bangkok
Business in this town never sleeps; so mobile exchange units shouldn't come as a surprise probably.

 

Visit to Bangkok
WAT MAI AMATAROS-PHRASOMDET BANKHUNPROM

The temple, formally called Wat Taramataram, is located at 132 on Samsaen Road, Banpamtom Pranakom, but is locally known as Wat Bangkhunprom.
With the area of around 7 rais, it was considered an old temple built around the end of King Thonburi. There was no evidence indicating who was the founder.
According to the chronicle, the temple was later called Wat Amataros from the previous name 'Amataram'. It was later renovated and was called by that name in 2460 B.E.
It was first officially established under the royal patronage in 2321 B.E> and was reestablished during 04-10 January 2509 B.E. The abbots of the temple are 1. Abbot On 2. Abbot Yu 3. Abbot Tet 4. Abbot Taem 5. Abbot Amornkanajarn (2446 B.E. - 2512 B.E. ) 6. Abbot Boriharnkhunawat (2515 B.E. - present).The temple, formally called Wat Taramataram, is located at 132 on Samsaen Road, Banpamtom Pranakom, but is locally known as Wat Bangkhunprom.
With the area of around 7 rais, it was considered an old temple built around the end of King Thonburi. There was evidence indicating who was the founder.
According to the chronicle, the temple was later called Wat Amataros from the previous name 'Amataram'. It was later renovated and was called by that name in 2460 B.E. It was first officially established under the royal patronage in 2321 B.E> and was reestablished during 04-10 January 2509 B.E. The abbots of the temple are 1. Abbot On 2. Abbot Yu 3. Abbot Tet 4. Abbot Taem 5. Abbot Amornkanajarn (2446 B.E. - 2512 B.E. ) 6. Abbot Boriharnkhunawat (2515 B.E. - present).

Visit to Bangkok
Beautiful detail in the ornate decorations.

Phra Somdet Bangkhunprom who first used the family name 'Thanakoset' renovated the chedi around 2413-2415 B.E.
The base was 13 meters round and it was 16 meters high. Later, 84.000 Amulets votive tablets of Somdet Puttajarn (Arahant To Prommarangsri) were made with holy powdet [sic] and Maharat powder and were kept in the chedi in 2415 B.E.
At that time, Somdet lived in the pavilion (now the gas station).
In 2436 B.E. there was a territory dispute with France. The Gulf of Thailand was occuoied by French naval troops. The soldier [sic] and scared villagers knew that there were amulets hidden in the chedi, so they took them from the chedi. These amulets votive tablets were called 'Kru Wat Bangkhunprom'. It was believed that they brought to the owners good luck, prosperity, physical and spiritual well-being and supernatural power such as invulnarable [sic] to all weapons as well.
Later, some are of the compound was used as a fishing spot but it was closed by Phrakru Boriharnkhunawat in 2500 B.E. because locals stole the amulets and this might cause the chedi to collapse.
On November 24, 2500 B.E. Phrakru Boriharnkhunawat took all the amulets out of the chedi and found that 2950 amulets votive tablets were in fine condition. For the broken ones that could be fixed were sold to worshippers, but 30 boxes of irrepairable votive tablets were brought to be remoulded and kept in the chedi, which amounted to 84.000 in 2509 B.E.
The statue of Somdet and the amulets were all kept in the chedi. Some parts of broken amulets have been used as a major ingredient to make votive tablets until now.
(Copied from a plaque at the temple).

 

Temples of Bangkok
The next temple was less hidden from view, Wat Makutkasatayaram, along the large Khlong (canal)
Phadung Krungkasem and Krunglasem Rd.

Temples of Bangkok
We could not enter the temples upon our visit, as a sizable funeral ceremony was under way.

Temples of Bangkok
Beautiful detail in this temple door.

Temples of Bangkok

WAT MAKUT KASATTRIYARAM RATCHAWORAWIHAN
This is a second grade royal temple of Ratchaworawhihan. It was built at the order of King Rama IV.
After the Khlong (Canal) Phadung Krung Kasem had dug out as the outer moats of the city, and the construction of Wat Sommanat Wihan Ratchaworawihan had completed, the King wished to build his own personal temple next to Wat Sommanat Wihan.
Therefor he purchased the orchard-lands next to the temple from the owners to build Phrachao Borommawongthoe Krommakhun Ratchasiha Wikrom to be engineer [sic]. The construction was completed in 1868. It was officially named Wat Makut Kasattriyaram Ratchaworawihan by King Rama IV, but he wanted it to be temporarily Wat Nam Banyat, until the end of his reign, and afterwards it would be called by its official name.

Inside the ordination hall (Ubosot), there are many beautiful mural paintings depicting the lives of the eleven male-chief disciples and nine female-chief disciples of Lord Buddha. There are inscriptions on the marble plates under the paintings.
The principal Buddha image which was made of bronze with gold leaves application is enshrined in Butsabok (small image house), in small meditation pose, and the image does not have an official name.
This temple is famous for having two sections of Sima (Boundary of Temple) and only two temples in the region of Krung Rattanakosin have such structures, the two temples are Wat Makut Kassattriyaram Ratchaworawhihan and Wat Sommanat Wihan Ratchaworawihan.
The first section of Sima is called Maha Sima (Big Boundery) located at the corner of the wall surrounding the temple, while Sima around the Ordination Hall is called Khantha Sima (Portion Boundery).
[Copied from a plaque at the temple.]

Temples of Bangkok
I think this Wat is above referred to as 'Khantha Sima' ('Portion Boundery'); it seemed to have most of the housing facilities. It also had a fair number of dogs and they didn't seem too friendly (roaming dogs in foreign countries give me the creeps!

Temples of Bangkok
The back-door so to speak, but a very ornate one.

 

Visit to BangkokIt struck me that most if not all of the decorations honoring King Bhumibol (Rama IX) and/or Queen Sirikit of Thailand had such low quality portraits! All of the images seemed to have been made by an amateur bystander rather than a professional photographer. Very strange, considering the King is held in such high esteem, venerated by all.

Visit to Bangkok
This dilapidated Volvo may still hold value to someone.

Visit to Bangkok
On his way to find a strategic position for lunch sales.

 

Visit to Temples of Bangkok
WAT SOMANAS VIHARA (also spelled: Wat Somanasrajavaravihara)

Wat Somanas Vihara (a.k.a. Wat Somanasrajavaravihara and on my map indicated as Wat Sommanat Worawihan) is a second grade royal monastery. It was established by King Rama IV (who was a monk for 27 years before he ascended the Throne) in 1853 in memory of Her Royel Highness Princess Somanasvatanavadee, His first beloved Queen (Her Royal Highness Princess Somanasvatanavadee was born on Sunday, December 12, 1834, married in 1851 and passed away in 1852). This monastery was formally named Wat Somanas Rajavara Vihara in Her memory.
It is located on the Krungkasem Rd (or Thanon Krung Kasem), near the Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium.

 

Temples of Bangkok

 

Visit to Bangkok
If I wasn't going by my own stomach, I'd known lunchtime was fast approaching by seeing people with foodstands prepare their food.

Visit to Bangkok
A very local market, which I think must have been Mahanak Market (Damrongrak Rd, just off Krungkasem Rd a.k.a. Thanon Krung Kasem).
We hadn't really embraced streetfood yet or had braved the very local dishes, so here we stuck to Coca Cola and bananas for lunch. There were no western faces among the lunch crowd.

Visit to Bangkok
Serious faces at a game of chess.

Visit to Bangkok
Another foodstand on a streetcorner, near the Mahanak Market, showing the 'after lunch'-scene.

Visit to Bangkok
Every thing is for sale on the street. Imagine sitting yourself on a random corner of the street and selling eggs.

 

 

Temples of Bangkok
Marble Temple or Wat Benchamabophit

Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram is a Buddhist temple (wat) in the Dusit district of Bangkok. Also known as the Marble Temple, it is one of Bangkok's most beautiful temples and a major tourist attraction. No sign of crowds upon our visit though.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Benchamabophit

 

Temples of Bangkok
This temple typifies Bangkok's ornate style of high gables, stepped-out roofs and elaborate finials.

Temples of Bangkok
The difference with a palace is hard to find.

Temples of Bangkok
Place of worship.

Temples of Bangkok
Beautiful detail.

Temples of Bangkok
Living quarters for the monks, I suppose.


 

 

Visit to Bangkok
We'd covered quite a bit of ground, walking in the blazing heat. So we decided to find airconditioned surroundings to cool our heels and opted for a tuk-tuk ride to MBK shopping centre.
It was the first of many tuk-tuk rides here in Bangkok and later in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Luang Prabang.

 

 
 Visit to MBK Bangkok
Visit to MBK Bangkok 

Visit to Bangkok

The multi-storey MBK (Ma Boon Khrong) Mall is probably Bangkok's most legendary shopping mall, popular with both tourists and locals. Eight floors packed with 2,000 shops that sell everything from clothing, fashion accessories, handbags, leather products and luggage to furniture, mobile phones, electric appliances, cameras, stationery and DVDs.
MBK (launched in 1986) is a beehive of activity, especially on weekends, when half of Bangkok converges to shop for bargains.
We also went to a movie there; the top floor comprises of an entertainment complex boasting plush cinemas, modern karaoke facilities, a computer games arcade and plenty of other restaurants and fast food choices.
Nearby you will also find the even more glamorous (and probably a bit more expensive) malls Siam Discovery, Siam Centre and Siam Paragon.
 

 

Visit to Bangkok
Tuk-tuks and moto's buzz the street at all hours. If you like a more sedate style of driving, don't take a tuk-tuk, for they want to squeeze as many rides as possible in the evening and you'll be bumping along in the backseat of the speeding tuk-tuk.
A drive from MBK or Siam Paragon would cost us THB 200,- (5 euro, mostly a 30 minute drive) or if the crowd ran short of tuk-tuks: THB 300,-

 

Visit to Bangkok
One of the quiet streets in front of our hotel, a good place for a quiet, less crowded meal.

Visit to Bangkok
Restaurant directly opposite Nouvo City Hotel (Banglamphu).

Visit to Bangkok
On the left a slightly more decorative (no doubt more expensive, if expensive is the right word for it) restaurant than on the right; you can see what I prefer.

 

Visit to Bangkok
Business of selling food goes on well into the night and provides for some nice photography.

Visit to Bangkok

Visit to Bangkok

Visit to Bangkok

Visit to Bangkok
When you are out on the street you become a business target: people trying to sell you food or souvenirs, tuk-tuk drivers offering rides; a deal will require bargaining in an unfamiliar currency. The tuk-tuk driver may try to renegotiate the deal for a better price for him during the ride. All this, in a hot & sweaty climate, can get tiring at times.

 

 

Temples of Bangkok
A typical temple complex; they can be of a fair size.

Visit to Bangkok
Again, exquisite detail, and gold standard seems to be preferred.

Visit to Bangkok
The Great Cetiya of Wat Bowonniwet Vihara was built in the reign of King Rama III in 1831 (2374 B.E.).
The Bronze Chedi is the stupa established in the commemmoration of H.M. King Rama IX's 5th cycle or 60th birthday anniversary.

Visit to Bangkok

The temple is a center of the Thammayut Nikaya school of Thai Theravada Buddhism and has been a major temple of patronage for the Chakri dynasty.
It is the shrine-hall of Phra Phutthachinasi, which was moulded in about 1357. It is where many royal princes studied and served their monkhood, including King Bhumibol.
[Wikipedia]

 

 

Visit to Bangkok
On the morning before our flight to Phnom Penh we decided on a walk along the canal near our hotel, Khlong Bang Lamphu.

Visit to Bangkok

Visit to Bangkok

Visit to Bangkok
The 'footpath' went straight through some humble dwellings.


We concluded our walk along the Khlong, went back to our hotel to pack our bags for our flight to: Phnom Penh.

 

 

Helpful links:
www.Into-Asia.com
Bangkok on Wikipedia
www.thai-faq.com

 

PHNOM PENH, CAPITAL OF CAMBODIA
ROYAL PALACE & SILVER PAGODA
STREETS of PHNOM PENH
CAMBODIA'S KILLING FIELDS
PHNOM PENH TO SIEM REAP BY ROAD
DAY 1 AT THE ANGKOR TEMPLES
DAY 2 AT THE ANGKOR TEMPLES
DAY 3 AT THE ANGKOR TEMPLES
CHONG KHNEAS FLOATING VILLAGE (TONLÉ SAP LAKE)
KOMPONG PHLUK FLOATING VILLAGE (TONLÉ SAP LAKE)
LUANG PRABANG (LAOS) CITY
LUANG PRABANG EXCURSIONS
BANGKOK 3-2013, the end

 


 

 

 

Page compiled/updated: 06-Apr-2013 / 18-Jul-2013

Helpful links for lay-out of this page: www.9ori.com/store/images/5245.html (paper background)