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.

Discover more in Bangkok:
Your Guide to Bangkok

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