Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Do and Don't at Thai Temples

Thailand’s national religion is Buddhism (although there are significant numbers of Catholics, Muslims and a minority group of Christians) and it is very important to be respectful as far as the religion is concerned.
Always dress ‘politely’ when entering a temple or religious shrine. As you are on holiday in a tropical country, your perspective of polite dress might be coloured by the situation you are in. However, shorts, bikinis, tops that show your bare arms, very short skirts that show your legs, open-toed sandals and generally dirty or unkempt attire is considered inappropriate.
In some of the larger temples like Wat Prakeaw (The Grand Palace) guards will actually forbid you from entering if you are dressed inappropriately, and you may have to hire sarongs and strips of material to cover yourself up before being permitted to enter. However, at the smaller temples you are own your own.

It is VERY easy to do the right thing but if you think it’s hard….Just DON’T visit Thai Temples!

Buddha Images

Buddha images are sacred, whatever size or condition. Never climb on a Buddha image, and be very careful about taking photos – some images are so sacred photographs are forbidden. Abide by this rule or you may even be asked to leave. If you can’t cross your legs, don’t sit on the floor in front of temple’s Buddha image – in doing so you will point your feet at the Buddha which is an act of sacrilege.


Buddhist monks are not allowed to touch or be touched by a woman or accept anything a woman might offer. If a woman wants to give something to a monk it must first be given to a man, or put on a piece of cloth. The monk will then drag the cloth to him before picking the item up. Likewise a monk will not shake a man’s hand – that type of contact is forbidden. Monks travel on public transport and require the same respect there as they would receive at the temple. If a bus or train, etc. is crowded and a monk is likely to come into contact with people, do not hesitate to give the monk your seat. Often special seats are allocated for monks only – don’t sit in them!
And, if you visit a temple and would love to take picture of monks, especiall while they are prayers or on the ceremony... Better not use flashight!


Do not wear shoes inside a temple where Buddha images are kept.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

The River Of King

Rivers and canals referred to "แม่น้ำ Mae-nam" and " คลอง Khlong" in Thai have always been vital forms of communication. When the capital of Thailand was moved to Bangkok or "กรุงเทพ Krung-thep" (it means the City Of Angel) in 1782 (the beginning of the Rattanakosin period), the capital was laced with canals, so Bangkok was sometimes called the "VENICE OF THE EAST" by European visitors. In the past, Bangkokians usually settled by the Chao Phraya River and gradually spread into the core of the country. As you will see traces of the Early Rattanakosin period such as architecture and traditional ways of life have been left by the river more than in the inland areas. Besides, waterways at that time were the most important means of transportation and trading as well. Nowadays, even though Bangkok has become a modern city, the Chao Phraya River as well as the canals is still charming for whoever wishes to seek the peaceful atmosphere amidst bustling Bangkok.

The Chao Phraya River or the River Of King is called in Thai as "แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา Mae-nam Chao-Phraya" is 375 km long, and flows from Nakonsawan Province to the Gulf of Thailand in Samut Prakarn Province. It has been the life-blood of Thailand centuries ago. The river basin is about 19,390 km2. The population living in the basin is approximately 8 million. The depth of the river ranges from 5 to 20 m and the width ranges from 200 to 1,200 m. The water temperature is a constant 32°C throughout the year. The river traverses several large cities and the major agricultural region of the country.

More than 500 years ago the Chao Phraya River was traveled by European, Japanese and Chinese traders plying the route to the glorious city of Ayuthaya, the ancient capital of Siam. This historically rich waterway has always been considered the lifeblood of Thailand’s central plain provinces; providing food, water, a source of power and an important transportation channel. Today, the river snakes through the modern city of Bangkok with her luxury river front hotels and futuristic suspended bridges inter-mixed with ancient temples, churches and palaces in classical Thai, Chinese and European architectural styles. North-bound from Bangkok to Ayuthaya and beyond, the scenery have changed very little to what the ancient mariners saw as they sailed up this great river in this exotic land.

The Chao Phraya River

The Chao Phraya River

the Chao Phraya River, Nonthaburi province