Happy (Chinese) New Year

Here in Thailand there are 3 New Years to celebrate …the western one on January 1, the traditional Thai one at Songkran, and because of the large number of Thais with an ethnic Chinese background, the recent Chinese New Year. Although the latter is not an official public holiday that does not stop many shops and businesses pulling down the shutters and celebrating !

CNY2019-13

What was a surprise to me when I visited Chinatown here in Bangkok for my first New Year was that despite the large Chinese descent population, there is not much in the way of organised parades. Some of the other cities in Thailand with smaller Chinese communities have bigger and better entertainment. Here they close off the main road and some side streets, but that is mainly for the benefit of HRH Princess Sirindhorn as she makes her way from one official venue to another during the day, and then after she has left the barricades are removed and the road becomes a big flea market.

There are some lion dances going on during the day but thats about it unless you are lucky enough to get within viewing distance of the 2 official stages which do have entertainment (and lots of speeches 😦 ) . In contrast, back home in Australia, Sydney used to have a big street parade even though it’s Chinatown and chinese community is smaller.

But never the less, as this is going to be my last Chinese New Year in Bangkok I went over to Chinatown to make the most of it.

Walking from the MRT at Hualamphong station, the first stop was Wat Traimit, home of the Golden Buddha. HRH Princess Sirindhorn always visits here in the early afternoon as part of her official CNY duties so the temple grounds are all decorated and spotless.

TIP for the Cheap Charlies …..the actual temple and the Golden Buddha itself are closed until after HRH has paid her respects, but then it is free admission for a change.

CNY2019-16CNY2019-15CNY2019-14CNY2019-9

Chinatown is full of temples, my favourite is Wat Mongkorn on Charoen Krung road but just wander off the main road and you will find one, that will probably be full of worshippers making merit over New Year.

(Click to see a bigger version of any pic)

 

CNY2019-12

Welcome to the Year of the Pig

 

Advertisements
Posted in Events, Photography, Thailand, Travel | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Thailand Tourism Festival 2019@Lumphini Park

Tourismfestival2019-3

Each year in late January a “Thailand Tourism Festival” is held in Lumphini park to highlight the different arts, crafts, foods and culture of the various regions of Thailand.

Although it is mainly aimed at potential domestic Thai tourists it is a chance for foreign tourists to get a glimpse and taste of the country……just don’t expect to see much signage or commentary in English πŸ™‚

Tourismfestival2019-2

Traditional “khaen” from Northeast Thailand/Laos.

I love the sound of this bamboo instrument, along with the phin. I’ve got absolutely no musical talent though 😦

If I remember right, this ladyboy show was in the Eastern Thailand section so they probably come from Pattaya.

Tourismfestival2019-8

Well, one of them is a real girl, although not 100% natural

Tourismfestival2019-9

Tourismfestival2019-6

Posted in Events, Photography, Thailand, Travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cosplay @ JapanFesta 2019

Yes, I know that I have been lazy with regards to this blog for a couple of months. After living here for 5 years I am a bit blase about life in the Big Mango, it was a struggle to find something new to photograph and write about. So it’s probably a good thing that I will be moving on in a few months, when my girlfriend andΒ  I will be moving to rural Thailand, to her hometown in Ubon Ratchathani province to be exact.

But for now I made the resolve to brave this year’s worse than usual seasonal smog and get out and about more. Luckily on this past weekend there were two events on and the air quality improved somewhat, at least where I was headed. One of the events was the annual JapanFesta at CentralWorld shopping centre. Apart from lots of travel agents selling tours to Japan, lots of Japanese food and culture, it also attracts lots of cosplayers, and just as many photographers ……..

cosplayer-12

I guess pretty girls in short skirts will usually do that πŸ˜‰

cosplayer-2

Of course, this being Thailand not all the “girls” are girls ….

cosplayer-30

Most of them are 100% genuine females though, and quite happy to pose for the photographers. I guess you have to be a bit extroverted to wear some of their costumes !

(click to enlarge the photos)

cosplayer-10cosplayer-6cosplayer-11


cosplayer-3

The other event on over the weekend was the Thailand Tourism Festival at Lumphini Park, something completely different ! Photos from that coming soon, I promise πŸ™‚

Posted in Events, Photography, Portrait, Thailand | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Red v Blue, in Black and White

MuayThai_Nov2018-4

The champion kept his belt, with some help from his sak yant tattoos.

MuayThai_Nov2018-5

Posted in Photography, Thailand | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hit and miss

Muay Thai from MBK ….again.
I got there a bit late this time so I missed out on the best position for taking photos and had to squat down all night, and my knees are getting a bit old for that ! Oh well, you get what you pay for, and the MBK action is free so I cannot complain πŸ™‚
MuayThai_Nov2018-1MuayThai_Nov2018-2MuayThai_Nov2018-3

Posted in Photography, Thailand | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Navaratri Festival 2018

navararti_2018-5

navararti_2018-13

Don’t pick a fight with a woman with 4 arms and an axe !

navararti_2018-11navararti_2018-7

The other night the girlfriend and I wandered over to Silom road, on the other side of Bangkok, to have a look at the Navaratri Festival (also transliterated as Navarti/Navararti, so take your pick of spellings….) Although Thailand is something like 95% Buddhist and most of the rest Muslim, there is a substantial Indian population in Bangkok and this is one of the major Hindu festivals of the year. You did not need to be Hindu to enjoy the festival atmosphere though, as the huge crowd showed !

As soon as we stepped out of the Skytrain onto the platform we could smell the incense drifting up from the street below before venturing into the crowd down on the street.

We went a couple of years ago, but that time we arrived later after the parade had been through and there was room to walk. This year we got there too early and only made it a few hundred meters before coming to a halt ..moral of the story is either come later or if you come early walk clockwise and stay in front of the parade !

There are a multitude of gods and goddesses in Hinduism, each with many forms, so I have no idea which each of the many shrines was worshipping, the only one that I recognised was Ganesh ….he is easy to pick out and often features at shrines here in Thailand, even if they are Buddhist many Thais will have a backup bet on Ganesh !

Indeed, around the Ratchaprasong shopping district (CentralWorld, Amarin, Gaysorn,etc) there are many shrines to Hindu deities such as the the one at the Erawan shrine where the Thai version of Brahma is worshipped night and day.

navararti_2018-3navararti_2018-14

If anybody is interested I have a video on Youtube of the 2016 event, which can be found here :Β  my youtube channel.

navararti_2018-16

Posted in Events, Photography, Thailand, Travel | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment