The streets of Bangkok are very congested with traffic which probably explains why there are no police car chases in the city. At the same time, there are also some very narrow lanes that are not suitable for cars or even motorcycles. This is where the Police Bike Patrol become useful. These guys are from Chana Police Station near Khao San Road. There are about twenty of them and they are made up of volunteers and fulltime policemen. They patrol the tourist areas on their bicycles.
The photograph shows a group of novice monks eating their last meal of the day. Many children become novices for a few weeks during the summer holidays. It’s not easy for them as they can only eat twice a day. Breakfast and lunch. They cannot eat again after noon. However, they can have drinks like soy milk. For forest monks, they only eat once a day.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Loei Province in the winter months is the Poinsettia Garden. This can be found at the entrance to the Phu Rua National Park. The leaves of the poinsettia plant turn from green to red under special circumstances and are often used for Christmas displays. This flower garden is very popular with Thai tourists during the cooler weather in Northern Thailand from the end of November until the end of January. People travel far to take pictures here.
There has been a regular Children’s Day in Thailand since 1955. It is held on the second Saturday of January every year. On this day, many places open their doors to children for free or at a reduced rate. For example, zoos, theme parks and museums. Other places that don’t normally open to the public will open on this day. Such as Parliament, Government House and military bases. It is the latter which seems to be very popular with many kids and their parents. The children get to handle guns and climb up and over tanks and helicopters.
Most tourists who visit Phuket spend most of their time on the beach. In doing so, they are missing out on the beautiful Sino-Portuguese buildings in Phuket Town. These colourful buildings date back to the start of the 20th Century. In 1994, Phuket Municipality designated the old section of Phuket Town on Rassada, Phang Nga, Yaowarat, Krabi, Deebuk, Thalang and Thepkasattri roads as a conservation area and prohibited buildings of more than 12 metres high. In addition, many roads in this area have had their power and telephone wires buried underground.
One of the most amazing temples in Suphanburi is Wat Phai Rong Wua. Around the grounds there are reproductions of buildings marking the locations of important places in the Buddha’s life. There is also the largest concrete Buddha and this Standing Buddha, which is said to be the largest Bronze Buddha images at 26 meters high. As well as many Buddha images of all shapes and sizes, there is a Buddhist Hell where you can see what will happen to you if you sin in this life.
It is traditional for Thai men to ordain as Buddhist monks at least once in their life. Some consider they are not real men until they have done this. In the past, men would ordain for three months when they have reached the age of twenty. However, with a modern lifestyle, it is not always easy or convenient to ordain for a long period of time. So, some do a token ordination into the monkhood for less than a week. Nevertheless, the ordination ceremony, which lasts for two days, can be very elaborate. Here a young man is being escorted to the local temple by family and friends on the back of a horse.
The start of the three month long Buddhist Lent was celebrated in Suphanburi with an elaborate parade with traditional cultural performances. The highlights were beautifully carved candles on floats that took part in the parade. All ten districts in Suphanburi submitted their own float with wax carvings that must have taken months to create. The parade was so long that it took more than two hours to pass the starting point in the city.
A popular destination for Bangkok people at the weekend is Cha-am Beach, which is about 200 kilometers to the south. It can get very crowded with thousands of people in the sea and no deckchairs available. However, as this is mainly a Thai resort, you will find you will have the place to yourself if you visit during the week. The seaside resort is popular with Scandinavians who have settled here in large numbers.
It’s becoming the trend in Thailand these days to build themed restaurants and malls. Santorini Park in Cha-am is a cross between a themed mall and an amusement park. Though there aren’t really that many shops of interest. Entrance is only 50 Baht and then you pay extra for each of the rides. The place is popular with Thais at the weekend who go to take selfies and upload to social media.
On the surface, it may seem like a cute idea to have monkeys roaming wild around a tourist attraction. But don’t be fooled. These animals can be quite vicious. They are also very sneaky. If you are not careful they will snatch plastic bags from your hand or even sunglasses off your head. They will steal anything in the search for food. It is not advisable to feed these monkeys and do try your best to keep your distance.
Every now and then I come across an unexpected scene while driving around Thailand which makes me want to stop and take pictures. This is such a place that I found while driving in Phetchaburi. I have seen spirit houses alongside a road before, sometimes to mark an accident blackspot or sometimes just abandoned. They usually start with one or two and then soon there are a dozen or so. But this long stretch of road had regularly spaced spirit houses that were obviously put there with a purpose. Maybe someone rich and famous died on this curve?
One of the best things about going to a beach in Thailand is that you don’t need to worry about getting hungry if you are lounging on a deck chair. This is because beach vendors go up and down selling wares. This guy came to sell us some deep fried shrimp. Local restaurants will also bring you menus and then deliver you the food freshly cooked.
I met this Bangkok taxi driver in Cha-am, which is a seaside resort about 200 kilometers south of Bangkok. Taxis don’t usually go this far, certainly not on a meter. But people can rent them out for the day from as little as 1,000 Baht depending on the destination. This driver caught my eye as he had quite a few amulets around his neck. But, on closer inspection, I noticed his taxi dashboard was also filled with amulets and Buddha images.
This is a replica of Dusit Maha Prasat Palace at Ancient Siam outdoor museum in Samut Prakan. It is based on an early 19th Century building found in the Grand Palace. What is interesting about this building for history buffs is that this replica is based upon the original design. The building that we see today in Bangkok was renovated during the reign of King Rama III and no longer looks exactly the same.