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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 🙂
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.
If anybody is interested I have a video on Youtube of the 2016 event, which can be found here : my youtube channel.
While most visitors to Bangkok have at least heard of Chatuchak market (or Jatujak, or J.J. market ) and perhaps ventured out to brave the hordes of around 200,000 people that go there on the weekend, did you know that there are two other markets held there ?
Allegedly the biggest weekend market on the planet, with between 8,000 and 15,000 stalls (depending on who you believe) you can buy just about anything there, although thankfully the animal market is reduced to mainly puppies, kittens and fish nowadays. Chatuchak market is not really that cheap, you can buy identical items at the same price or less at many of Bangkok’s markets but it does have the advantage of having a huge variety of goods in the one place.
But if you want cheaper prices, and want to buy several of the same item the wholesale market on Fridays can get you discounts of around 50% depending on the item and how many you want to buy. Not all the stores are open of course, some are strictly for the weekend shoppers.
Of more interest to me was the plant market held there on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We are still months away from moving upcountry, even more months till we build our house but I am already thinking about the garden ! With 1600sq.m. of blank canvas to start with, and no council or Homeowners Association rules to worry about, I don’t think I’m going to be bored.
So, while my girlfriend was away recently I went out to the plant market to get some ideas …..and came back with a handful of orchids.
The girl at the stall said these were oncidiums, but they certainly are not. They look more like the Brassia orchids I used to grow in Australia but with smaller flowers so I suspect they are Brassidiums ( Brassia x oncidium). Two other plants which are just starting to bloom now have bigger flowers and more of them, and look like normal Brassia blooms.
Back in Australia I had nearly 100 orchids so one thing that is definitely going into the garden is a shadehouse, a nice large one. Why not when you can buy orchids at ridiculously cheap prices …. 3 for 100 baht (approx $3US or just over $4AU)
The (relatively) uncommon and unusual orchids that I bought cost me an “exorbitant” 100-150 baht each, but still ridiculously cheap compared to what I paid for similar plants back home.
You cannot have a tropical garden without Hibiscus, can you ?
Or a pond full of water lilies or lotus ….
I think I’ll give the bonsai a miss…..they are in the too hard basket.
They also sell full size trees next to the bonsai, just in case you want to buy an instant 5 metre tall tree ?
From memory, I paid about 5 times that price for a smaller Nepenthes pitcher plant back home.
Also in the plan are lots of exotic gingers like these Beehive gingers, Heliconias, plenty of Bromeliads for the shadier spots, Bouganvillia along the back fence, and of course some bamboo ….”Buddha Belly” (Bambusa Vulgaris) for a feature and something like B.Multiplex Alphonse Karr for an endless supply of stakes to use in the vegie garden…..have to remember to leave somewhere for the GF to grow her chilli, lemongrass, etc !
If you are a resident looking for a houseplant or two, or a tourist looking to spend an hour or two somewhere different, the plant market is open Wednesday and Thursdays. The opening hours are flexible but for the best choice go fairly early on wed. morning. I arrived at around 9.00am and nearly every stall was open. Some of the info on the internet says that the market is also open tuesday night as people set up their stalls but the stall-owner I spoke to said that is only a few people nowadays.
Apart from the plant sellers there are a few homeware stalls open, and plenty of food is available of course.
The Mor Chit BTS Skytrain station is approx 200m from the market entrance (the closer, weekend entrance is closed) or if using the MRT subway get off at the Kamphang Phet station, it is closer than the Chatuchak station.
PS. the nearby JJ Green Night Market is due to close at the end of this month (August 2018) so don’t go out there !
I’ve been very lazy with this blog, and life in general, lately but a few days ago I went downtown to watch the Muay Thai at the MBK shopping centre. Held on the last Wednesday of each month, the fights may not be the same quality as at Lumphini or Ratchadamnoen stadiums but they are serious contests, unlike some of the Thai boxing “shows” you might see in tourist areas. I certainly would not pick an argument with any of the female fighters :
Many of the fighters are foreigners studying Muay Thai, so they are serious enough about it to spend plenty of time and money to travel to thailand and fight, and none of the Thai fighters want to lose to a foreigner !
(as usual, click to see the full sized image)
The honours were split pretty evenly between the Thais and foreigners this month.
The fights are held every last Wednesday of the month, starting at 6pm, on the undercover forecourt of MBK shopping centre, close to the National Stadium BTS station.
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