Monday, March 30, 2009

Treasures along the Khlong: Bangkok Noi

See Khlong Bangkok Noi and it's treasures on Google Map

Wat Sri Sudaram:

Khlong Bangkok Noi near the wat, look to west, picture by Hdamm.

Khlong Bangkok Noi near the wat, look to west, picture by Hdamm. Tweet This

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Treasures along the khlong: Bang Khun Thian คลอง บางขุนเทียน

Also called Khlong Sanam Chai (คลอง สนามชัย)

See Khlong Bangkok Noi and it's treasures on a Google Map

If you would like to see an old Thai-style wooden library, if you would like to take part in the unique Chak Phra Festival or if you like to move in the foodsteps of James Bond, you are in the right place along this khlong. Let's start at Wat Paknam, where Khlong Bang Khun Thian leaves Khlong Bangkok Yai. Soon you arrive at Wat Khun Chan (วัดขุนจันทร์)

Pictures by Kitwora

Picture by Dragowen

Wat Absornsawan (วัดอัปสรสวรรค). It is unique for its 28 Buddha statues (Prathans) in the Mara Wichai posture presiding over a Chinese-influenced ubosot (main chapel). Unique is also its Thai-style wooden library, built during the reign of King Rama IV. The doors and windows are decorated with gold lacquer paintings of apsaras and flowers, exterior walls laced with gold and silver mirrors. The library is packed with 13 gilded book cabinets.

Picture by BeBe

Picture by BeBe

Picture by BeBe

Wat Nang Chi (วัดนางชี). There is no record, when exactly this temple has been founded. Burt it wasre-established in the period of King Rama III, he named it Wat Nangchee Shotikaram. At the Ubosot you find the statue of a deity standing on a lion. Then you find Phra Boromasaririkathat (a relic of Buddha) and relics of his disciples. Annually these relics are celebrated in the Chak Phra (ประเพณีชักพระ, pulling of Buddha images) festival, that is held on the second day of the waning moon in the 12th lunar month. This is the only Chak Phra event held in Bangkok. The Buddha images are put on boats and paddled from Wat Nang Chi via Khlong Bangkok Yai and Khlong Bangkok Noi to Wat Kai Tia (วัดไก่เตี้ย). Then the procession returns along Khlong Bangkok Noi to Chao Phraya River, afterwards it turns into Khlong Bangkok Yai, goes down Khlong Bang Khun Tian and ends at Wat Nang Chi. Boat racing, flower parades on boats and pleng rue, traditional singers leading the boat containing the Buddha's relics, are also part of the festival. Read a blog in Thai about the procession here and see a picture of the procession:

Picture by Webboard, where you can see more of this day.

Wat Nang Chi was also a location in the James-Bond-Film "The man with the golden gun", as well as Wat Nang Nong (see the locations).

See also pictures by Udo Radlhammer

Wat Nak Prok (วัดนาคปรก) is a Theravada temple and was built in 1748. A hundred years later the temple was restored by Phra Boriboonthanakorn (Pook Tan), a wealthy Chinese merchant, who married a Thai women. In the Ubosot was a Chinese style mural. Later he built a repository of Buddha images, the Vihara. Inside there was a beautiful Thai style mural telling the story of the Buddha ("Return from Tavatimsa heaven" and "Victory over Mara or demon"). He also invited a Buddha statue from Sukhothai province to be enshrined here. It was cast from bronze in Mara Vichai style (Victory over demon style). Over the head of the Buddha there is a great serpent with seven heads. It gave the temple the name: In Thai "nak" means the great serpent and "Prok" means to cover.

Wat Mai Yai Nui

Both pictures by

Wat Nang Ratcha Worawiharn (วัดหนังราชวรวิหาร) is an ancient monastery built during the Ayutthaya period. It was later abandoned. Somdet Phrasrisulalai, mother of King Rama III (1824-1851), renovated the temple with the exception of a few objects such as the principal Buddha image in the Ubosot (Ordination Hall), the Buddha image in the Wiharn and the bell. The Ubosot, constructed with bricks and lime cement, has a three-tiered roof. Inside the building there are paintings on the upper wall of Falling Flowers. The principal Buddha image was made in the style of Sukhothai art in the Subduing Mara (Satan) Mudra or pose. In addition, the image of the revered monk Luang Pu Thao is kept here.

The Chedi

All three pictures by Botuno8. See more

Wat Nangnong Worawiharn (วัดนางนองวรวิหาร). This temple is said to have been built in the Ayutthaya period during the reign of King Srisanpetch VIII. The Ubosot and the Chedi date from the reign of King Rama III. The exterior door panels are inlaid with mother-of-pearl, the interiors painted with gilded lacquer. Murals depict stories and characters from Chinese literature and pictures of the Chinese holy men Hok, Lok and Siew. In the Wihan the pediments are decorated with stucco dragons.

Picture by Mattana

Picture by Mattana

Picture by jazzsk117
See more pictures by kai1981

Wat Ratcha Orosaram (วัดราชโอรสาราม ราชวรวิหาร ). Built in the Ayutthaya-period (with the name Wat Chom Thong), later King Rama II gave the temple the name Wat Ratcha Orot (temple of the son of the King). The temple has been renovated in the style of Silpa Phra Ratcha Niyom (ศิลปะพระราชนิยม), a mix of Chinese and Thai elements. The roof ot the Ubosot is covered in green and orange, the place below the gable is decorated with Chinese stucco. The Phra Rabieng, the gallery around the Viharn, has round doors (Chinese moon) to the court and theare are 32 Chedis around the Viharn. The doors of the Viharn are decorated in gilden laquer. Inside is a big Reclining Buddha. This temple is unique, because it was the first temple, that had been built without Chofa (hornlike final on the roof ridge), Bai Raka (toothlike ridge on the sloping edges of a gable) and Hang Hong (small finials jutting out from the two corners of the gable). Read more here and also there.

From the Khlong, picture by Hdamm

Look through the gate, picture by Mattana

Under the gable of the Ubosot. Picture by Hdamm

The court with the 32 Chedis in front of the Viharn, picture by Hdamm

Picture by Mattana

The gate, picture by Mattana.

The Reclining Buddha, picture by Hdamm

Picture by Taiger808

See more pictures of the Ubosot.

Wat Bang Phratoon Nok (วัดบางประทุนนอก):

Wat Sai (วัดไทร): This Mahanikai temple was built in the Ayutthaya period. Crafted red sandstone Buddha images in Meditation and Lord Buddha postures, a decorated Buddha image in the Buddha image hall and one crafted red sandstone block located at the east of the temple as a boundary marker documentate it. and restored during the reigns of King Rama IV and King Rama V.
The wooden house stands on pillars. In one of the rooms you discover a Chinese-style`wooden bed with carved flower motifs patterned with glass, and a painting of a Chinese lady. On the door panels are pictures of the guardian deity, and on the outside wall is a gilded lacquer painting of the traditional kanok or flame-like motif.
A tower stands on a lotus-shaped base, and the finial of the bell is in the form of a lotus bud. At the edge of the Khlong you find a wooden pavilion, covered by gold leaf. It was believed to be a resting place for the Tiger King (Sanphet VIII) during his boat trips. Each window frame of the palace is built with traditional Thai architecture called Taan Sigha. The elevated window frames give an illusion that they are floating on the wall. The pavilion’s staircase is made of bricks. Each corner of its Thai-style roof is decorated with a fresco of a lion. The temple was restored during the reign of Rama IV, and again during the reign of Rama V by Chinese artisans.
Read more about the wooden treasures in Bangkok. Not longer a reason to came here is the Wat Sai Floating Market, it has delevopped into some boats selling souvenirs to tourists.

Picture by

Picture by Kimsagus

Picture by Kimsagus

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Treasures along the khlong: Bangkok Yai

Also: Khlong Chak Phra คลองชักพระ

See Khlong Bangkok Yai and it's treasures on a Google Map.

Picture by Hdamm

Today we start an individual tour to the Venice of the East, as Bangkok has been called. We go to discover the waterways, called Khlongs. Here we start on Chao Phraya River. We see the entrance of Khlong Bangkok Yai (คลองบางกอกใหญ่), between Wat Kanlayanamit (left) and Fort Wichaiprasit. Wat Kanlayanamit dates from 1825.

Picture by Anthony Hartman

In the Wiharn of Kalayanamit (วัดกัลยาณมิตร) you find a big sitting Buddha, called Luang Phor Thor by Thais and Sam Po by Chinese.

Picture by

An interesting background about a conflict between the abbot of the temple and the residents living on grounds of the Wat has been published by the Bangkok Post. You arrive here by taking a ferry from Raijinee Pier.

After passing the entrance to Khlong Bangkok Yai you pass Wat Molilokkayaram on your right. It was built in the palace ground during the reign of King Rama I. The Ubosot (main chapel) has a wooden door, finely carved with tree and flower patterns. Read the history and see Faeys pictures.

From the bridge crossing the Khlong we look back at Wat Molilokkayaram. Turning around 180 degrees we look at Wat Hong Rattanaram. Built in the Ayutthaya period by a Chinese named Hong, the temple was called Wat Jaosua or Jeasua Hong. King Taksin made it to a centre of education. In the Ubosot you will find stucco reliefs with a combination of Chinese and European style. The golden Buddha Image has been made in
Sukhothai style. Have a look at the temple from outside and inside.

All four pictures by Insignia_Museum, where you can see more.

On the other side of the Khlong, but hidden behind houses of the community, you find Bang Luang Mosque, also Masjid Bang Luang. Built by a Muslim merchant called To Yi, it is the only mosque from brick and concrete in traditional Thai style in Thailand. The gables are decked with plaster stucco of tri-ethnic artworks: the traditional motif lining the gable frame, the Westerm foliage motif on the gable panel and the flowers in Chinese floral patterns.

Both pictures by mistertt, who has some more.

Across the Khlong you can see Ton Son Mosque. Estimated to be constructed before the reign of King Song Tham (1610-1628), it is considered the oldest Islamic mosque in Bangkok.

Both pictures by keju tikus

A bit more south you see a bell tower on your right: you are at Wat Sangkrajai (วัดสังข์กระจาย).

See also the pictures by Udo Radlhammer

Nearby, in Soi Phet Kasem 2, you find the Bangkok Yai District Museum.

Then you pass Chao Mae Kuan Im shrine on your right. Kuan Yin is the goddess of mercy, in Thai known as Jao Mae Kuan Im.

The next stop after a bridge at your left is Wat Welurachin with this statue of King Thaksin.

Picture by Ahoerstemeier. See more Pictures by hdamm

Next at your left: Wat Intharam. See how it looks from the khlong. This is the place, where King Taksin (1768 - 1782) came for meditation. And after his dead his ashes were burned here and put into two white Chedis. Because Taksins father was Chinese, many Chinese see him as sign for their part in Thailands history. So they come to the wat for example on Chinese New Year.

Pictures by yaikungz

See also pictures by Jörg Overbeck.

A little bit further, again on your left, you discover Wat Rajkrueh (วัดราชคฤห์). Look the pictures on their homepage.

You drive further along the klong and finally arrive at Wat Paknam Phasicharoen (วัดปากน้ำ ภาษีเจริญ). Pak Nam in Thai means water entrance, the gate to a Khlong. This temple from the Ayutthaya period, restorated by King Rama III, is known for lessons at the Thai Dhammakaya meditation school (read here). Read the biography of the former abbot Chao Khun Mongkol Thepmuni, also known as Luang Phor Sodh or Luang Paw Sawd and see some film clips about him. See a video from inside the wat. Read more background and see more pictures here. Inside attractions are the Haw Trai, a library of Buddhist scriptures, built in the period of King Narai. The Ubosot has front arches decorated with sculptures in glass.

Picture by Duesentrieb

A statue of Luang Phor in the main hall, laminated with gold by devotees. Picture by Leoloo.

The Chedi, seen from Khlong Bang Khun Tien. Picture by PhilippeB

More pictures:
The Wat seen from Khlong Bangkok Yai 1 and 2
The Wat from inside
A view from the air

Wat Pradoo Chimplee (วัดประดู่ ฉิมพลี):
The famous Luang Phu Too (also: Luang Poo Toh) was the abbot of this wat. He lived at the same time as King Rama IV. His amulets are said to protect people from accidents and hardship.

Picture by นัทธ์

Picture by นัทธ์. See also a video by kunzangnamdjial

Wat Noradit (วัดนวลนรดิศ). See pictures by Moselbert. Built in Ayuthaya period, this ancient wat was originally called Wat Makok Noi. King Rama IV gave it the name Wat Nuan Noradit. Inside you find Buddha images in the Ayuthaya style, made of red sandstone.

Next we arrive to Wat Thong Sala Ngam (วัดทองศาลางาม). Built in the late Ayutthaya period, in approximately 1757, this wat was first called Wat Thong Luang. The roofline corner of the Sala Thanaam shows a wooden Phaya Naka sculpture, that reminds an ancient legend.

Our next stop is Baan Silapin - the artist's house in Khlong Bang Luang คลองบางหลวง. This house and its neighborhood (wooden shophouses and Ayutthaya-era temples) give you a feeling of how Thonburi looked in the 17th century, when it was Siam's capital. The outstanding wooden house has been restored and turned into an Art Gallery (read more about Baan Silapin).

Picture Muk-apa
Baan Silapin

Wat Kuhasawan (วัดคูหาสวรรค), originally called Wat Sala Si Na, dates from the Ayutthaya period. In the Ubosot the windows and doors of are decorated with gold in the Chinese style. The bell tower has a drum, that is beaten by a monk. See pictures by Udo Radlhammer.

Wat Bang Waek (วัดบางแวก): You will find a monk here, who is able to make Hoon-Payon-amulets, that are said to be very strong.

Pictures by ack01

Both pictures by เด็กวัดใน. See also the pictures by Magie du Bouddha

Wat Wijitkarnnimit (วัดวิจิตรการนิมิตร):

Wat Karnchana Singhat (วัดกาญจนสิงหาสน์วรวิหาร):

Wat Changlek (วัดช่างเหล็ก):

And then we arrive at Taling Chan Floating Market (ตลาดน้ำตลิ่งชัน): Open all day on Weekends with floating restaurants along the Khlong. You can come here by Bus number 79 an start a Khlong tour from here, as Richard Barrows writes in his blog.

Picture by shutterman โหวตให้หน่อย

Hawker preparing pork noodles, picture by avlxyz

See also pictures by St.Exsodus and Thin. And look at the market from the railway bridge.

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Your Guide to Bangkok

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