Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kamphaeng Phet

Here is our bus. The print on the side names both places Phitsanulok to Kamphaeng Phet.

It was only a 2.5 hour drive through countryside lined with sugar cane fields and rice fields. 

When we arrived we called the guest house we had reserved and a young man came to pick us up. We are here especially to see the ruins of the wars built in the 12th century which are in two sections. We set off to see the closer section this afternoon which was quite a challenge since we managed to get lost. After a hot and frustrating search we finally found the place where we had been let offnd since we had yet to eat we stopped for the usual bowl of soup - a cole of bits of pork, a leaf of lettuce, some fried shallots, and noodles first cooked in the broth which was then ladled atop.

The main reason for stopping here is to see the very old ruins, which were built around the year 1347. There are two areas to tour but we started today with those within the city, just a short walk from the soup kitchen. 

These chedis would have been covered in plaster and perhaps with gold. 

The locals still leave offerings. 

The weather has removed a lot of the original work and some of the remaining Buddha figures are now more "modern" than "ancient" looking. 

These figures have survived somewhat better - it's a beautiful arrangement. 

Note the small patches of gold leaf that have been applied. 

I found a meditative pose. 

Geordie found  one more restful.

These elephants would have ringed the entire structure of this platform. Only a few remain. 

As in todays temples, Buddha figures line the interior walls of temples. Of course the walls are gone, but the figures remain. 

These more recent small offerings were left by some devout pilgrims to the site. They are not much more than 8 inches tall. 

We left the site and found a welcome respite at a lovely air con coffee shop where we had iced coffees. Then we took a tuk tuk back to the guesthouse. Our legs needed the rest. Note Geordie in the mirror on the left. There actually wasn't room for both of us on the seat.  We are a little larger than the average Thai.

I'll leave you with a picture of our New Years Eve meal  

I'll leave you with a picture of our New Years Eve meal . We had chicken with cashews(again), pork with garlic and pepper and of course - rice.

Happy New Year.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Our Last Night in Bangkok

During our last day in Bangkok the street where our hotel was set itself up as a large night market. We had already reserved a restaurant for dinner but we did have a look at what was on offer. There was also entertainment which we saw before and after dinner. Herewith a few pictures. 

These two musicians were playing together facing each other. 


Sushi. You can't escape it. 

When was the last time you had quail eggs?

We ate at the same restaurant that we had on Christmas Day. Our first course was an appetizer of shrimp toasts. 

Our main course dishes were delicious too. 
This is beef 

Stir-fried vegetables with shrimp. 

Chicken with cashews - always a favourite. It's our fall back if nothing else appeals. 

The shrimp dish had butterfly shaped carrots.

We didn't have fish, but walked by a small pool with these koi.

And then we found more entertainment at the fort near our hotel - a demonstration of martial arts. These were incredibly well choreographed which was a good thing. Otherwise I'm sure there would have been blood. These fights were fast and furious. Everyone survived. 

These young women were fighting with sickles. 

And of course there was Muay Thai - Thai style kick-boxing. 

We were exhausted after watching such energetic fighting. Time to go back to our hotel


We arrived in Ph... yesterday after 6 hours on the road with only one night booked at our chosen hotel. We had expected we could book another night so skipped any touring for the day. This morning we discovered the hotel was fully booked so we trudged off with our packs and found another hotel for this evening. That meant we could go see the wats (temple complexes) along the banks of the Nan River 

These little buildings were on the far side of the river. No idea if they were of significance. 

This Buddha (considered to be the second most revered Buddha image in Thailand) is the reason people come to Phitsanulok.  It is housed in Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat. It was forged here in 1357 during the reign of King Li Thai. (Our hotel tonight is the Li Thai but I doubt the King would have chosen it.)

The temple complex is far from quiet.  There are loud, blaring, competing loudspeakers shouting exhortations and the temple is deluged with visitors, many of them bringing flowers or other objects that allow them to "make merit".

There are many other Buddha images in the temple and in other buildings in the complex. 

The walls of the main temple are decorated with very beautiful detailed paintings. 

Outside are areas where you can also make merit by bringing offerings or lighting incense. The first image here is somewhat macabre and there were many of them on display.  The second image may help erase the first from your mind if you meditate on it. 

There were peaceful areas in the temple complex though. 

He's green because he was under a sheltering canopy. 

These are chedis - towers which often house relics. 

These round balls are only two of a long line to which people were affixing thin gold leaf sheets.

We went to a second Wat next door to the large one. These people were sitting in meditation while several monks chanted. Each had a string tied to his/her head.

These decorations were purchased by rhe devout and then money was slotted into the stem attached and left for merit making. 

And more merit. These banners were purchased empty then filled with money. Sticks were provided to help hang them from the strings strung across the temple. The red bills are 100's, about $3.00. The green are 20's about 65 cents. The ceiling was festooned with them and there were lots of people adding more. 

This Buddha image is probably 700 years old and is housed in the second Wat we visited. 

This is one of the old wooden buildings in the second temple complex. 

And here's a fine specimen that Geordie had a chat with. 

And a final shot from our walk home.