Yeah, we got that

There’s a section of Bangkok’s Chinatown called Talat Noi that is filled with small industrial concerns. You go there for steel construction material, hardware and the like. It all seems pretty organized until you get to the streets where the used auto parts stores are. Then things get funky. I have been fascinated by Talat Noi since I first visited it in September. There are scores of stores, one after the other, all selling what look to be the same things. How do all these stores stay in business? How does anyone know what their inventory is? Who buys and…

The Sanctuary of Truth

Last stop of the day: the Sanctuary of Truth. The Sanctuary of Truth is a wooden temple that features carvings representative of ancient Hindu and Buddhist teachings. “The concept of truth and value of life has been crystallized and shown to the public through the works of arts and architectural sculpture that reflects the philosophy of living,” says the brochure. The temple contains an enormous number of figures including representations of the four elements; the Hindu godhead of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva; Bodhisattvas from Mahayana Buddhism, and various celestial beings. The project’s owners began working in 1981, and construction is scheduled…

Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden

The Thais certainly appear to be a people who like religious figures. After visiting the Buffalo Head Temple, we went to Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden. The path in is lined with scenes from Buddhist mythology. All very pleasant. Then you see this: Welcome to Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden, a park dedicated to showing people what will happen to them in Buddhist hell. The two towering figures above are the ghosts of Nai Ngean, a man who violated the Five Precepts of Buddhism during his life, and Nang Thong, a woman who engaged in immoral sexual conduct. They are…

Wat Hua Krabue

Welcome to Wat Hua Krabue, the Temple of the Water Buffalo Head! We visited Wat Hua Krabue recently, enticed by the public domain photos we saw on the internet, such as these: The story of Wat Hua Krabue is that the chief abbot decided to create a memorial to the Asian water buffalo, which has seen a rapid decline in population as farming has become more mechanized and people have increased their consumption of buffalo meat. The abbott began collecting skulls from nearby farms and slaughterhouses, and – according to one website – now has a collection of over 8,000…

Phraya Nakhon Cave

The Phraya Nakhon cave is situated in Khao Sam Soi Yot National Park, outside Hua Hin, a beach town about 2½ hours outside Bangkok. To get there, you take a 45 minute (more or less) hike over a hill and along a beach, and then another half hour up a hill to get to the cave. The cave consists of two limestone chambers, both of which are open to the sky. In the second one is the Kuha Karuhas pavilion, built by King Rama V some time at the end of the 19th century. Inside the first chamber, looking up….

The Bridge on the River Kwai

This is the bridge over the Kwai river. (It actually was the bridge over the Mae Klong river, but the river was renamed the Khwae Yai in the 1960s to “bring geographical fact more in line with the fictional association with the name River Kwai,” according to Wikipedia.) It was a link in the Burma-Siam railway, also known as the “Death Railway,” that the Japanese Army built using POWs and local pressgangs during the second World War: after the Japanese seized Burma, they realized they needed an over-land route to supply their forces. The British had considered building such a…