Muay Thai gym 1

On a recent photowalk, I came across a Muay Thai training gym tucked behind a small Chinese temple on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. Using my limited Thai, I was able to find out when they practiced, and I went back later that week to photograph the practice. The week after that, I returned with a translator so I could get a better idea of what I was seeing. The gym is called Sit Chaansing. It is named for the master, as coaches are referred to in Muay Thai, who trained the current Muay Thai master, Chanamet Tongsalay….

Let’s learn Thai! (part 2)

I had an eye-opening (or ear-opening) language lesson today with one of the teachers whom I normally don’t have. She explained that Thai has a spoken rhythm that is pretty much unvarying across speakers (as well as the rules about tones), unlike in English where rhythm and intonation are more idiosyncratic to the speaker. English speakers aren’t used to these rhythms, so it is hard for us to pick out the important words in a sentence. We also have difficulties understanding spoken Thai because we/learn/to/say/each/Thai/word/in·di·vid·u·al·ly/and/pre·cise·ly insteaddalearningthemthuhwaytheyrackshallypronounstinnasentence.


It is very difficult to escape video advertising in Bangkok, on the sides of buildings and especially on public transportation. I hear the warrior from Clash of Clans scream every morning and afternoon at least once, see the very pretty male model sniff the wonderful fragrance of his freshly-laundered shirt as four beautiful women surround him, and watch a bunch of attractive people buy up everything in sight using the “Shopee” app. I’d say everyone else on the train does, too, but half of them have their eyes glued to their own personal screens.

Tourism 101: Wat Pathum Wanaram

Central Bangkok is densely populated with shopping malls, hotels and office buildings, and during the day the sound of traffic is everywhere. Nevertheless, in the middle of the Siam Paragon, Siam Square and CentralWorld malls, you can find the relative quiet of the Wat Pathum Wanaram temple. Built in 1857 and shielded (somewhat) by high walls, the temple complex includes a main prayer hall; a stupa; an ordination hall, where the holiest of prayers ceremonies are conducted; a memorial hall; and a library and monks’ quarters. The main prayer hall, standing between the stupa and (across the street) CentralWorld mall;…

One more about massages

This is a thing, apparently. Draw your own conclusions. Despite all of the reflexology charts used to advertise foot massages, the massage places here don’t actually do reflexology; they just do foot massages. Having tried three different spas, I’ve learned that not all foot massages are created equal. Since there are seven different massage spas in the immediate neighborhood – at least six of which seem legit, I’m not so sure about the seventh – I have plenty of opportunities to find one that I like. Speaking of feet, today I wandered into the backstreets off Sukhumvit (one of the…


Thai has words that are similar to collective nouns in English, but they involve more precise rules of usage, they exist for more commonplace words, and they apply to singular as well as plural nouns. You might never need to refer to a pride of lions, but – depending on the context – you do have to refer to a lăŋ of bâan (one house or two-plus houses), and I couldn’t tell you what a “lăŋ” actually is, except in reference to “house,” just as I couldn’t define a pride without referring to “lions.” “Phaasăa Thai yâak kwàa (Thai language is…