A photowalk to Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen.

mapEarlier this month I went on a photowalk with the “Bangkok Photographers” Facebook group heading from Talat Phlu BTS station in the (very general and roundabout) direction of Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen via the back streets of Bangkok Yai, on the “other” side of the river, where white faces are generally rather rare until around 60 mainly farang photographers showed up early on a Sunday morning !

This temple is one of the biggest in Bangkok, sprawling over a large area and visible from some distance because of it’s tall white chedi.

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Panorama from the chedi of the wat, looking out over the khlong to Wat Khun Chan.

 

Getting there was half the fun, as the saying goes, along narrow back alleys and railway tracks following the chalk marks of our leaders.

Some photos from along the way :

(As usual, click for a larger version of any photo)

 

© 2018 Michael Nottingham

Wat Khun Chan …..I was glad that I had taken my fisheye lens !

 

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After Wat Khun Chan it was over the canal and into the sprawling grounds of Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen. This is one of the country’s richest wats, with many wealthy benefactors and links to the notorious “flying saucer temple’ of Wat Phra Dhammakaya which has been implicated in cases of embezzlement, fraud and illegal encroachment into national parks.

The chedi contains a museum with many valuable artifacts, but the highlight is the magnificent “Green Pagoda” on the upper floor :

© 2018 Michael Nottingham

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For more photos from the walk, the group published an online magazine here !

How to get there ?

Closest BTS Skytrain station is Wuttakat, you cannot miss the temple from the platform ! But just in case, the GPS co-ordinates are 13.7215, 100.4703.

 

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A million flowers for their King

floral_display-22Yesterday I went over to the “Talat Pak Khlong” flower market, where a large stretch of road has been turned into a floral display of remembrance in honour of His Late Majesty King Bhumibol, Rama 9, who will be cremated with traditional pomp and ceremony on October 26, although the ceremonies are over several days.

(as usual, click for a larger version of the photos)

Apparently over a million blooms were used to create this, with many of them being replaced as they wilt after a few days in the Thai heat so I guess it will be close to 2 million by the time it is taken down after the funeral ceremonies finish.

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Heaven’s Gate, with Montharop flowers and white elephants which traditionally belong to the King.

Nearby on the entrance to Memorial Bridge was another remembrance display :


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How time flies ….

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Four years ago yesterday I was just about to step onto this plane at Sydney Airport to make the big move here to Bangkok, with my worldly possessions reduced to the contents of 1 backpack and 2 suitcases. And I’m still here …… although there will probably be another “Change in Latitude” late next year, but only a few hundred  kilometres this time when my girlfriend and I are likely to move upcountry to her home in Ubon Ratchathani.

While I’m still happy to live here in the “Big Mango” she would prefer the slower Issaan lifestyle with her family nearby.

So it will be goodbye to Skytrain and aircon malls, hello to the scooter and the daily village market ….and early morning roosters 😦

On a more sombre note, today is the anniversary of the late King Rama 9’s death last year so it is a rather sad day for most Thais, and probably more so in a couple of weeks when their beloved King is cremated. So if anybody is coming here for a holiday soon expect a very quiet couple of days, although there has apparently been no official decree about bar closures etc.

 

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A Bangkok Photowalk -Klong Bang Luang Market.

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As I mentioned in my last post, I recently went on a photowalk with the “Bangkok Photographers” Facebook group, starting from the Bang Wa BTS station in the bottom left of the Google earth pic above, and finishing at the Klong Bang Luang riverside market in the top right, more or less following the route in red.

(see here for Google Maps)

Although there are a lot of condos and modern infrastructure going up now, it is one of the older parts of town, peppered with wats  and criss-crossed by canals that have not been filled to make way for roads, unlike much of the city on the other side of the river.

It’s not an area that would see a lot of white faces, so I guess the locals would have been a bit surprised to see around 90 photographers, mainly foreigners, strolling around the neighbourhood early on a Sunday morning !

Here’s some of the photos I took that morning …I seem to have concentrated on flowers 🙂 (click to see a larger version)


But it was not all flowers :

For more photos from the morning check out the online magazine here

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Lotus Flower.

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Lotus Flower, Wat Khampang Bang Chak, Bangkok

 

As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world.”  Gautama Buddha

This weekend just past I went on another photowalk with the ” Bangkok Photographers” Facebook group, along with 94 other people ! Apparently that was a record number of people to turn up, early on a Sunday morning too ….
As I’ve mentioned earlier we are asked to submit our best photos from the walk for an online magazine, but to not publish those elsewhere for a few days. I had more than enough to give you a teaser, 🙂

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Fight night, Rajadamnern Stadium

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My brother and sister, with their respective spouses, were in town recently en-route to Laos, stopping over in the Big Mango for a few days. While here, the guys had a boys night out at Rajadamnern Stadium, watching the Muay Thai fights. While I am not a die hard fan of the sport I often went along to the fights at MBK on Wednesday nights, but they have been discontinued.

muaythai-1It’s a long time since I have been to Rajadamnern Stadium, as it is not the easiest place to get to (unless you are staying near KSR).

From their hotel near Asoke we had to get a long slow taxi ride through peak hour traffic. Our taxi driver turned out to be an ex-boxer himself, and after the usual “where you come from” questions I found out that he happened to come from a village just down the road from my girlfriend’s home. He originally wanted an exorbitant off-the-meter price which I negotiated down to something reasonable, only for the brother in law to later pay and tip him more than he originally asked for  ….. **** tourists !

The guys wanted to sit ringside, so I booked our seats online and got seats right alongside the red corner, at 2000฿ each . The cheapest seats, way back in the third tier, are listed as 1000baht online, somehow I think that is a “special” price for people with white faces ….I’m sure the locals don’t pay anywhere near that. I don’t think that management would want you to stand up there with all the illegal gambling happening around you 🙂

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2000 baht ringside, much cheaper behind the wire mesh on the upper levels.

I don’t think the fights on that Monday night were of the best quality but it was entertaining enough for my brother and brother-in-law. The crowd and the boxers’ supporters do get involved, and make for a good crowd atmosphere.

Although the ringside seats are good for atmosphere they are not the best for photography as the ropes get in the way. At MBK I used to be able to stand right next to the ring and shoot through the ropes, at Rajadamnern you might be better off getting into the second class area so that you could shoot down onto the action.

I only took my little compact camera so I had to stick down close to the ring.

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Rajadamnern (or Ratchadamnoen) Stadium is the oldest muay thai stadium in Bangkok, opened way back in 1945, so not surprisingly it is in the old part of town. Rather than the long taxi ride we had, probably the best way for most tourists to get there would be either MRT subway to Hualamphong or BTS skytrain to National stadium or Phayathai stations and then a relatively short and quick taxi ride. If you are staying in the Khao Sarn Road area it is just about walkable.

Fights are on at 6.30pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sundays. Other nights they are at the new Lumphini stadium, way out in the north of the city.

Tickets can be booked online at http://rajadamnern.com/ but unless you want to get absolutely ringside it’s usually not really necessary to book ahead for most nights. Even if you are not a fan of the martial arts the whole experience of a fight night at Rajadamnern might make it worth the trip ?

 

 

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