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Buddha

Buddha

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

This was the first Buddha we visited during our trip. It is one of the temple buildings at Wat Pho and, as is the custom, we had to remove our shoes to enter this sacred space. It was far from the last Buddha we saw.


Wise Statue

Wise Statue

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

This statue was in the courtyard of Wat Pho. Maybe it's just me, but I thought this guy looked an awful lot like Confusius.


Wat Pho Chedis

Wat Pho Chedis

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

Thai temples are full of buildings, decorations, sculptures, and statues. This gives you an idea of how busy the setting can get. It is an odd mix, since somewhere in here is the peaceful zen of striving for enlightenment.


Wat Pho Roof

Wat Pho Roof

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

The rooftops of the temples are all ornate and sparkling. It must be a bit like what the Roman and Greek temples looked like back when they were all vibrantly painted instead of the stark white marble of today.


Giant Chedi

Giant Chedi

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

This is one of the chedis outside the home of the reclining Buddha. Just to get an idea of the perspective, if you look closely you can see me posing at the bottom.


Wat Pho Guard

Wat Pho Guard

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

We never saw anyone actually wearing hats like this, however quite a few statues guarding Wat Pho were so perhaps they used to.


Reclining Buddha Head

Reclining Buddha Head

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

As far as I can tell, the bigger the Buddha, the better. I'm not sure why this is. This guy is certainly one of the larger ones.


Reclining Buddha

Reclining Buddha

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

This is the only way to capture the entire reclining Buddha of Wat Pho in one shot. This Buddha is in one of the 5 traditional poses. This particular pose is Buddha right before his death, as he reaches enlightenment.


Wat Pho Mural

Wat Pho Mural

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

Most temples also have murals on the walls depicting scenes from Buddha's life or any number of Thai events. This was one of the scenes on the wall at Wat Pho


Inlaid Mother of Pearl Scene

Inlaid Mother of Pearl Scene

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

This is one of the pictures on the sole of the reclining Buddha's, feet. They were covered in mother of pearl with intricate pictures.


Lucky Begging Bowls

Lucky Begging Bowls

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

Along the edge of Wat Pho are many begging bowls. Begging bowls are traditionally used by the monks to collect food, as they are expected to live solely off of the charity of the community. We saw them actually carrying out this tradition at Ayutthaya, although most of the other monks we saw were normal people, stopping at the 7-11 and such. It is said that if you put a coin in each of these particular bowls, it brings good luck. So naturally, we tried it out.


Palace Wat Roof

Palace Wat Roof

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

The next stop was the temple at the royal palace. This is one of the three main attractions in Bangkok, which can all be seen in an afternoon. And judging by the smog, an afternoon may be all you need before heading out to other areas of the country.


Palace Guardian

Palace Guardian

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

Surrounding one of the chedis at the palace temple were these creatures. This blue one was of particular interest due to his open mouth.


Chicken Woman Guard

Chicken Woman Guard

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

Around the palace were a number of half chicken half woman statues. We were entertained and had to capture it on film.


Gold Leaf Mural

Gold Leaf Mural

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

The murals on the palace temple walls were spectacular. The gold leaf on many of the images caught the sunlight and glittered.


Thai Monkey Mural

Thai Monkey Mural

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

This is Hanuman, a monkey god that is the reincarnation of the Hindu god Siva. This picture is one of the scenes from the Thai version of the Indian Epic, Ramayana.


Buddha Peristyle

Buddha Peristyle

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

Many Thai temples had these Buddha images surrounding a central courtyard. These are from Wat Mahathat in Bangkok, a center of Buddhist learning


Wat Creature

Wat Creature

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

This is just one of the many statues found inside the palace temple. If you go to Thailand, be sure to visit this temple. Even if all the people outside tell you it's closed, try to go in anyway. As obvious tourists, we have targets on our backs and they'll tell you what you want to see doesn't open for hours so instead they will take you to a great gem shop. It's awful to say, but I learned quickly not to trust anyone.


Palace Statue

Palace Statue

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

There are suprisingly few images of women at Thai temples and there are even parts of some of the temples that women are not allowed to enter. There are, however, female monks, or nuns, who also shave their heads and wear robes. However, their robes are lavender, not the traditional orange. I found it a little annoying that they were the ones that did the vacuuming and other housekeeping tasks in the temples.


Bangkok Statue

Bangkok Statue

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

Yet another interesting statue at a temple. It's unclear who this is supposed to be. I wish I had more information for some of these images, yet I only really had access to the information that was translated into English. I did learn some Thai, but not nearly enough and I never quite deciphered the alphabet.


Soldier

Soldier

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

This is a soldier statue in Dusit Park that Chris and I found entertaining, so we had to take a picture. I'm not sure if he is supposed to be to scale or not, but he's a strange looking statue.


View from Wat Arun

View from Wat Arun

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 06, 2007

The temple of the dawn is across the river from Wat Pho. It is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok and it looks a little like the same temple style as Angkor Wat. Chris climbed up the main prang and took this picture of the river.


Museum Guards

Museum Guards

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 07, 2007

Unfortunately we could not take pictures inside the National Museum, but this is a picture of some of the statues outside. This is a very spread out museum with many treasures but little air conditioning. We spent the afternoon admiring funeral chariots and viewing models of elephant dueling.


Wedding Couple

Wedding Couple

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 07, 2007

As in the US, 7/7/07 was a popular day for weddings. Our hotel was no exception, hosting a wedding celebration for the hotel owner's son. The preparations were massive and the end result was, well, a bit over the top. Besides the giant flower arrangements complete with bird cages and fake doves, there was a life sized painting of the couple on the beach, which Chris kindly agreed to pose in front of the afternoon before the wedding.


Vinmanek Palace

Vinmanek Palace

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 08, 2007

This is the guest house for the Vinmanek Palace. The palace is the largest teak mansion in the world, built by the brother of King Rama IV.


Kings Throne Hall

Kings Throne Hall

Bangkok, Thailand  يوليو 08, 2007

We didn't go into the throne hall, but this is the building it is in. Some Thai buildings look surprisingly, and probably intentionally, European.


Karen Woman

Karen Woman

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

This was taken from the truck on our way up to our jungle trek. Please excuse the fact that it is blurry. While we met many hill tribe villagers along the trek, we have few pictures. We tried to be as unobtrusive as possible while visiting. Also, many villagers believe that photos steal the soul, so the camera was not always welcome.


Satellite TV

Satellite TV

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

This is the first Karen village we stopped at. While they still live in thatched rooved houses, they sometimes had surprising conveniences, such as this large satellite dish. It probably had this because it was close to the road. As we got further into the jungle, this was not common.


Trek Lunch

Trek Lunch

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

This was our first stop along our hike and it couldn't have come soon enough. The heat and humidity of Thailand make hiking very difficult. Plus, the terrain in this area was very very steep and hilly. On the left are our guides.


Leaf Hats

Leaf Hats

Doi Ithanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

We stopped for lunch and shortly after it began to rain. Our guide made us leaf hats to keep us a little drier. Then came the deluge. It was the first monsoon we were caught in and even with these hats, nothing could have kept us dry.


Ducking Out of Rain

Ducking Out of Rain

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

These farmer huts were scattered across the landscape. This one was in the middle of a field of jungle rice. Jungle rice is different from regular rice, as it does not need to be in standing water to grow.


Mountain View

Mountain View

Don Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

One of the benefits of hiking up a steep incline is getting to the top. Here is a peak at the view as well as a picture of us, very tired but happy to finally be at the top of at least this hill.


Chris in Waterfall

Chris in Waterfall

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

Chris wanted to get his head wet and ended up in the waterfall. I was amused.


Traversing Rice Fields

Traversing Rice Fields

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

As we traveled, we had to cross along many rice fields. This is a picture Chris took of the guides and me walking between the paddies.


Rice Field

Rice Field

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

I really like this shot Chris got of the rice field. We had never seen rice paddies close up before this trip. We've now seen a whole lot of them.


Into the Jungle

Into the Jungle

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

This is an obligatory picture of us starting our trip into the jungle. 2 days and about 25 miles later, we would emerge victorious, if exhausted, from the jungle.


Karen Village

Karen Village

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

This is the village where we stayed for the night. It had about 50 people and 30 buildings. Most of the houses had tin or thatched rooves, were up on stilts, and had the family's livestock living underneath.


Dinner

Dinner

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

Again, this is a blurry image but well worth posting anyway. This is dinner with the villagers. The food was amazing and the company was interesting. Our guide was able to act as interpreter, as the villagers only spoke Karen, their native tongue. While these people live in Thailand, they have their own distinct culture. There are only a few thousand Karen people in the world.


Wild Orchid

Wild Orchid

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

The region we hiked through, Doi Inthanon National Park, is one of the most diverse in terms of bird species and orchid variety in the world due to its climate and changes in elevation. This is one of the many orchid plants we saw along our way. Unfortunately, they were not currently in bloom, but I imagine it's gorgeous when they are.


Water Buffalo

Water Buffalo

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

Many of the domestic farm animals we saw along our way were similar to anywhere else. The only difference was that animals were normal sized. Chickens were tiny and you could see the rib cage of the cows. However, water buffalos were typical farm animals for them and a bit out of the ordinary for us.


Rice Paddies

Rice Paddies

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

The planning and engineering that went into these rice paddies is staggering. Each one is just low enough that enough water flows in and fills the paddy and allows water to flow into the paddy below.


Banana Trees

Banana Trees

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

Banana trees are common in this area. We went out to that hut and dug in the garden to find many other roots and edible plants that we didn't recognize. In fact, throughout our stay in Thailand we tried many fruits and vegetables that we never even knew existed.


Orchid Covered Tree

Orchid Covered Tree

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 09, 2007

This tree had been completely taken over by orchids. When they bloom it must be quite a sight.


Working in Fields

Working in Fields

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 10, 2007

Not only do the villagers tend to their own farms, but they walk 2 hours each way every day to go work on other farms. This is a Karen woman in traditional dress, working in the rice fields.


Papaya

Papaya

Doi Inthanon, Thailand  يوليو 10, 2007

We found a papaya tree. Okay, maybe the guide found it and pointed it out to us.


Irrawaddy Dolphin

Irrawaddy Dolphin

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 10, 2007

This is a statue at the base of Wat Chedi Luang. It is one of the many dolphin images in Thailand that made us think that they must have had fresh water dolphins at some point. And then we found out that Laos still has very rare irrawaddy dolphins, so it looks like we may be right.


Dragon

Dragon

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 10, 2007

Another guardian to the Wat Chedi Luang, named after the crumbling brick chedi at the center of the temple. We think this is a dragon, but it is so stylized that this is only a guess.


Luang Mosaic

Luang Mosaic

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 10, 2007

Many of the temples had mirrors to reflect the light and this was one such building. Bright bits of colored glass also decorate the wall.


Wat Chedi Luang

Wat Chedi Luang

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 10, 2007

While the chedi dates back to the 14th century and was later damaged by earthquake, these elephants on the side were recently repaired.


Novice Monks

Novice Monks

Chaing Mai, Thailand  يوليو 10, 2007

The entire trip, I wanted to get pictures of monks. These are young monks in training. Many Thai men go into the monestary at some point in their lives as part of the path to enlightenment and for important further education, such as learning English.


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