A Travellerspoint blog

10 March Wat Pho

Reclining Buddha


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large_Reclining_Buddha2.jpgFinally got around to doing something touristy today, went to Wat Pho to see the Reclining Buddha. I was pretty impressed, I had no idea it was THAT big! Afterwards, I headed over to the Grand Palace, but didn’t go in, because there was only 2 hours before they closed and I didn’t think that was enough time; the place is huge! Reclining_Buddha.jpgWat_Pho.jpg

Posted by culturfile 02:35 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

30 April Inked in Kanchana Buri

Tattoos, sak yant, Nagas, inked, Tats, Kanchana Buri, Bangkok

sunny
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The other day I was searching and searching for wifi, but no place was open or the guesthouses were charging too much. As a last ditch effort, I walked into “X” guesthouse and asked the receptionist if they had WIFI. She replied, “yes, what is your room number?”. I just mumbled something and played dumb . . . it worked, she scribbled down the code and held it up to me, so I grabbed it and bolted before she changed her mind. I found a table, and before my butt hit the seat my laptop was open and I was inputting the code. I didn’t know how long I had before someone would bust me. A waitress came over and asked me if I was going to eat, so just to make things look normal I said, “Sure, I’ll take a fruit salad and a papaya lassi.” She then asked, “What’s your room number?”. That dreaded question again! This time I said, “Checked – out, I’ll pay after.” Once again my strategy worked, but for how long?

While I was checking all my emails at the speed of lightening, this guy walked by my table and took a double - take. He the said, “Ahhh . . . you gotta lotta tattoos”. We started talking about tats and the sacred Tattoos called Sak Yant that the monks give in Wat Bang Phra. It turned out that he was a tattoo artist and had a shop on the same street. He told me to stop by and check out his work when I was done surfing.

A day later . . . I went and check out his work and saw him in action giving a girl a tat, and was really impressed. He had a pretty interesting story: His parents both were in tattoo business, so he’s been around tats his whole life._0010050.jpgHe’s worked all over the world including the states (Florida and Texas), in such countries as: France, Italy, Korea, and Japan. Just last year when he had a shop on Khao San Road Bangkok, he won the MBK international tattoo contest. Now, he has his shop in Kanchana Buri, which is his hometown.Thong_s_shop.jpgJob.jpg

After much thought, I decided to get another tat. So we set up a time and I went in for a long 8 hours, the last two of which were the most excruciatingly painful. I had many ideas for tats and was having a hard time choosing one, although it became a little easier after my ideas were shot down due to my extreme budget. I told him I needed some more time to decide, I needed to go back to my room and meditate on it. I said I’de be back a few hours later with a design. Long story short, while meditating I saw a bunch nagas around me, so that was what I went with for my design. I used a picture I took of the doors of the Wat Phra Khaew temple in the palace in BKK. Here are some pics of the final product. _0010031.jpg large_Me___Thong.jpgI know some people might be weary about getting tats in other countries, but trust me, I'm a very picky person and most family and friends consider me a neat freak. Job's shop was immaculate and dust free, and all needles were brand new out of the package - I made especially sure of this. Shop.jpg If anyone's interested in a good, professional tat, I would recommend this guy (Thong, AKA Job, Khlun). Contact: 14 soi china
River Kwai Rd.
Thamakham, Mueng,
Kanchan Buri, Thailand

Cell: +66854298055 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +66854298055      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +66854298055      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Email: job_tattoo@hotmail.com
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Posted by culturfile 10:14 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

14 March Unsuccessful Siege

UDD, Red Shirts


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I just got back to my hotel from a curiosity trip to the area surrounding the Democracy Monument and Sanam Luang (The Royal Field). It is there, where history is being made ignored. If you haven’t been paying attention to the international news lately, the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorships (UDD), or A.K.A. “The Red Shirts”, have been converging on Bangkok over the weekend. The UDD are supporters of ousted President Thaksin who was removed by a non – violent coup in 2006. They have gathered here in Bangkok to deliver the current Thai government a 24 hour ultimatum to vacate, and to re-instate free elections.

According to Red shirt leaders, at the culmination of this event there were supposed to be one million protesters listening and participating in what they believe will be a historical event. Well, between 11:30 and 13:30 today, I took a boat to the old city with hopes of recording a bit of this history. When I got there I was very disappointed in what I saw, which was . . . nothing. The Royal field was pretty much empty, except for one side where there was a small gathering of about 700 people listening to a speaker under a large tent. Empty_Sanam_Luang.jpgAround the field you had the usual food vendors and some red shirts walking around, and a small group of riot patrol policemen. I was expecting much, much more given all the hype from the media, and the raised red alert by the government.

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Closer to the Democracy monument and surrounding area there were nothing more than small groups gathered here and there, but no one area was flooded with masses. If I were to give an estimate, the total number of people at that time was probably closer to between 10,000 – 12,000 people in the vicinity. We’ll have to stay tuned for the next couple of days and see what, if anything, manifests from this now seemingly failed attempt to persuade the current Thai government to resign.

Posted by culturfile 21:56 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

03 March First Day in BKK - Hualamphong Station

The Train Inn

-36 °C
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It took forever for the train to get into the city, we must have sat for an hour somewhere in the suburbs before inching our way in to Hualampang Railway Station. My friend Jay had made a reservation for me at The Train Inn just around the corner from the station, so I didn’t have very far to go. Like any train station in the world, well . . . almost any train station, as soon as I walked out the door I was barraged with the usual annoyances, “ ’Tuk –tuk?’, ‘Taxi, taxi-meter?’, ‘Where you go?’, ‘Information!’ ”, and some other phrases I just blocked out. Astonishingly, as soon as I rounded the corner, and weaved my way across the traffic to the other side, I saw the sign for the hotel. I wasn’t even 10 meters into my walk when a young man approached me and asked where I was going. I told him, “I’m going right there and I don’t need anything, thanks”! Not good enough, he persisted that that place was no good, and they charge 1400 baht a night, and I should come in and his agency will find me a good place for less, blah – blah – blah . . . bullshit! Unfortunately, he didn’t have a clue, that I had a reservation and knew how much the place cost, and that my friend had stayed there before. So I gave him the you should lie and deceive people if you’re a Buddhist because your creating negative karma and you’re going to be reborn as an animal or a preta (neither is good), speech. Again, because I have used this speech many times over the past month, I get a dirty look and called something in Thai.
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As I approached the entrance to the hotel, I was a bit stand – offish and started to wonder about the recommendation, because the front window was tinted very dark, and had this look of, “happy – ending massage”. Although, it did have all kinds of words printed on the window, the kind you would expect from a hotel like, “internet”, “laundry service”, cable tv”, etc., etc. Then the door swung open, and a couple of guys were entering into the mystery box. I got a little peek, there was a very odd décor and this wafting smell of way too many flowers in one spot; it about knocked me over. It was if the place had been doused with air-freshener.

As I approached the enclosed office window, my curiosity peaked again, “What kind of place is this”? As bent over to look into this glass cage through a little sliding square piece of glass, there stood this very young and skinny short girl (maybe 15?), in these daisy dukes with an even shorter frilly white skirt and polo shirt. Well, to make a long story short, the hotel turned out to be ok, a bit above my budget though, a single A/C cost 450 baht. There were no massages, regular or with a “happy – ending”; and the only negatives I have are the cost, it reeked of toxic air-freshener, and they charged me 50 baht for a towel.

Posted by culturfile 02:36 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

12 Feb Motorbiken the Superhighway

Bo Sang and Lamphun

35 °C
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Up early for an exciting day! A bunk mate from China and I rented a couple of motorbikes today to go check the scene in a couple of outer cities. The traffic here in the city is really crazy, especially going around the mote and going to the outside of the mote; it's like a race track mainly for tuk tuks and motorbikes. The race course was a challenge in itself, but for me the real challenge was driving on the wrong side of the road (British style). I don't know how it came to this here in Thailand, but man is it hard to stop from turning right into a car. Left turns were ok, but right turns were really stressful.

We managed to get out of the city in one piece, then another kind of lunacy began - driving a motorbike on a superhighway! There are these little motorbike lanes, kind of like what we have in Chicago for bicyclists. So your cruisin down the highway with cars, trucks and other motorbikes whizzing by you crazy fast.

Bo Sang has a "main street" that runs directly through town, and on each side of the road are nothing but handicraft/souvenir shops; so if you want to spend money and consume, this is the place for you. Bo Sang is especially known for it's umbrella making and hand made paper. At the other side of town there was a wat, can't remember the name, but they had a pagoda next to it which was a gift from the Japanese; it was called the Chiang Mai World Peace Pagoda.

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We found a really nice little cafe where I tried this green tea latte concoction, which was pretty good.

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After a short break, we started walking back to the motorbikes, and on the way we passed a little shop where they were pressing paper. _SXJ0123.jpg

We hit the highway again and journeyed off to Lamphun. By the time we got there, it was pretty late. We stopped and had some noodle soup, and was over charged with a smile. We then were able to find a temple that I wanted to see before heading back to CM. It's called Wat Ku kut and also has a chedi called Ratana Ghedi.

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When we left Lamphun, we unintentionally took a different route, which must have been an older one. It went through a lot of little towns, and then as we came around a curve this incredible scene arose in front of us, transforming into this beautiful tree lined highway. The trees were old and the tops were so high it made you dizzy just looking up. The whole drive back was like this. It must have been an old logging route or something?

Posted by culturfile 00:02 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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