jessicaek.typepad.com > Thailand

Temple Roof

Temple Roof

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 10, 2007

If you notice, the buildings have multiple tiers. This is the Burmese influence that can be found in northern Thailand.


Monks in Training

Monks in Training

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 10, 2007

We were very hesitant of taking pictures of monks, as they are strangers and not tourist attractions. However, this enthusiastic group of school kids passing by didn't seem to mind at all.


Chiang Mai Emerald Buddha

Chiang Mai Emerald Buddha

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

This is an oversized copy of the Emerald Buddha that is the most famous and powerful Buddha in Thailand. The current Emerald Buddha, carved from jade, is housed in the temple at the royal palace. Before that it was housed in Wat Arun across the river in Bangkok and in Ayutthaya before that. It also was housed briefly at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai which is why there is still a replica here.


Chiang Mai Temple Statue

Chiang Mai Temple Statue

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

This is taken at Wat Phrya Singh in Chiang Mai. Singh is also the name of a Thai beer, but I don't think there's a connection. This Wat is one of the oldest in the city and has a wood temple with original 14th century murals. This is one of the decorations on the outside.


Chiang Mai Overlook

Chiang Mai Overlook

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

Although I'm a little dark in this picture, I still like it. This is taken from on top of Doi Suthep, looking over Chiang Mai.


Wat Doi Suthep

Wat Doi Suthep

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

Up on the hill, Wat Doi Suthep is a picturesque temple. A songthaeuw ride leaves you at the base of the temple with 306 stairs up to the top.


Temple before Storm

Temple before Storm

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

Chris took this really nice shot of the wat as the storm rolled in. I'm not sure what those flowers are, but it was part of a large bush/tree in full bloom.


Lucky Bells

Lucky Bells

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

Wat Doi Suthep is surrounded by bells and ringing them is supposed to be very lucky. It makes visiting this temple a little noisy at times.


Chris Ringing Bell

Chris Ringing Bell

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

Chris and I wanted some of the luck too. Here Chris is ringing the lucky temple bell.


Doi Suthep Buddha

Doi Suthep Buddha

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

At Doi Suthep, there was an outdoor area that was the inner chamber. This made it a little odd, since we all had to take off our shoes to go into a courtyard...and it was raining. It was worth seeing though. There were Buddhas for every day of the week. Chris took this picture and I believe this one represents Saturday night. They are all from points in time during the life of Buddha.


Doi Suthep Chedi

Doi Suthep Chedi

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

You can see the rain clouds as they gather behind this gilded chedi. I copied pages from our guidebook to take with us and unfortunately, I didn't copy all the pages and an explanation of this temple got cut off. The guidebook said,"This is well worth a look because the chedi is graced with unusual..." When I bemoaned the missing half of the sentence, Chris helpfully completed it with, "gilded chipmunks done in a style reminiscent of fat French babies." I didn't see any chipmunks, but I still like the chedi.


Thai Iced Tea

Thai Iced Tea

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

There were three Thai things I already knew I wanted before I visited. One was Pad Thai, which was surprisingly difficult to locate away from tourist destinations. One was khao soi, which was pretty easy to find up in Chiang Mai. The last was Thai Iced Tea. They just called it iced tea with milk, which I guess makes sense.


Thai Chilies

Thai Chilies

Chiang Mai, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

This is what kept me diving for the steamed rice at nearly every meal. Chilies are used generously and at the markets they have giant baskets full of them. The markets are a lot of fun and Thailand has many good day markets as well as night markets. You just need to be prepared to aggressively bargain for everything in order to get non-tourist prices. Goods in Thailand are very cheap as long as you're careful.


Ayutthaya River

Ayutthaya River

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

The waterways in Thailand were often not useful for much more than boat transportation, as the pollution was noticeable. However, we did take a couple ferries and boat was a cheap way to get around.


Tuk Tuks by the Water

Tuk Tuks by the Water

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

There were a number of modes of transportation around the cities of Thailand. One was on the back of a motorcycle taxi, which we decided not to attempt. One was in a metered taxi, which was good except that they would drive in circles to run up the meter. One was a truck with benches, which was especially prevalent in Chiang Mai for trekkers. Finally, the tuk tuk was a popular choice. If you know where you're going and negotiate a reasonable price, is was often the best option. I quickly learned that Bangkok is not a walking city after my first day of exploration.


Wat Mahatat Buddha Head

Wat Mahatat Buddha Head

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

This temple at Ayutthaya was destroyed in the Burmese invasion and many of the statues were split in pieces. One of the Buddha heads ended up in this tree, that just continued growing around the bit of statue.


Mahathat Buddha

Mahathat Buddha

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

Even the ruins of Buddha statues are dressed and revered. This is one of the more complete statues in the temple remains.


Ruined Temple

Ruined Temple

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

It is hard to imagine these crumbling buildings in their former glory, but the ruins have a majesty all their own.


Balanced Buddha

Balanced Buddha

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

There are bits of Buddha statue everywhere and the monks have dutifully picked up the pieces and put them together the best they could. This makes for some interesting statue arrangements.


Ayutthaya Prang

Ayutthaya Prang

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

This is the main prang of the temple, overgrown and slightly tilted. It still is an imposing building.


Buddha Remains

Buddha Remains

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

Some of the statue remains have been put together in such a way that it looks like modern art. I especially liked this grouping.


Temple Decoration

Temple Decoration

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

This is part of a statue at the base of the ruined chedi. It's amazing how much detail is still in tact after so many years out in the elements.


Jess with Elephant

Jess with Elephant

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

We couldn't leave Thailand without seeing elephants, of course.


Chris and Elephant

Chris and Elephant

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 11, 2007

We named him Cucumber because of the way he sifted through his breakfast and picked out all the cucumbers. The elephant that is, not Chris.


Elephant Riding

Elephant Riding

Ayutthaya, Thailand  يوليو 12, 2007

And we rode the elephant. Riding elephants is not all that comfortable nor does the elephant seem to be particular happy to carry you. I don't see it as a viable means of transportation. Chris pointed out that during the Civil War, Thailand offered the Union a herd of war elephants. Lincoln tactfully declined.


Plane Ride Home

Plane Ride Home

Pacific Ocean  يوليو 13, 2007

Strangely enough, the plane ride home was sunset nearly the entire time. Tokyo to Dulles is a really long flight. I mean, it's a really, really long flight. On the trip there Chris left early for the meeting and I left on the fourth of July, so we both missed the DC fireworks. At least we had this beautiful view on the ride home.


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