During all the major Buddhist holidays inThailand, Thais go to their local temple in the evening to take part in candlelight processions around the main chapel or chedi. I took this picture during Asanha Bucha Day at Wat Yai Chaimongkhol in Ayutthaya. The exposure was for 30 seconds so you cannot see any of the people walking around the temple, but you can see the light trails left by their candles.
One of the iconic images of Ayutthaya are the three main chedis at Wat Phra Si Sanphet. This used to be in the compound of the Grand Palace before it was burned to the ground by the Burmese in 1767. The three chedis were later rebuilt. The old temples around Ayutthaya are normally only open to the public during the day. However, if you are lucky you may be able to go into the grounds of one at sunset to take pictures during the twilight hours. Five of the temples are lit up at night for a few hours.
Towards the end of the rainy season, when the canals and rivers are at their highest levels, it is traditional in Thailand to have boat races. This afternoon I was in Phra Pradaeng in Samut Prakan for their long boat races. This takes place every year on the 4th day of the waning moon of the 11th lunar month. Other districts have it on different days. Boat races on canals are easier to photograph. This one was on the Chao Phraya River but I was lucky to get on a police dinghy. I took this shot as they were approaching the finishing line.
One of the most beautiful Thai festivals that I attend every year is “Rub Bua” which is sometimes called “Yon Bua”. This is a better name as it more precisely describes what happens. In English I have translated this as the “Lotus Throwing Festival”. A replica of the revered Luang Pho Toh Buddha image is put on a boat on the Samrong Canal in Bang Phli. It then goes along this canal while literally thousands of people, who have been lining the banks since sunrise, throw lotus flowers onto the boat as it passes. As you can see by this picture, many of the flowers found its target.
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A good thing about the Chinese is that they know how to put on a colourful festival that excites all the senses. Any parade that involves the Chinese Dragons are a delight to watch. Just take a look at the amount of energy that these guys have in carrying the dragon. They even went straight up a pole at one stage. I always love photographing these events. If you go, don’t forget the earplugs as the firecrackers can be very loud!
A mother cries for her son during his ordination ceremony. Quite a few young boys ordain as novice monks during the summer holidays for about two weeks. For many of them it is the first time that they have been away from home. Life in the temple is not that easy. They have to get up before dawn and go out on the alms round. Their last meal of the day has to be taken before noon.
During October 2012, navy personnel will be taking part in weekly rehearsals for the Royal Barge Procession along the Chao Phraya River to Wat Arun. The final event will take place on Friday 9th November. Anyone can go along and watch any of the rehearsals You don’t need to buy a ticket. Just find a park along the river. The procession starts at 3 p.m. from Rama VIII Bridge. They close the river four hours beforehand. Public piers are also closed. But, it is worth the effort if you can find somewhere to watch.
You are probably familiar with the melodeon. However, have you ever seen a melodica? This is like a normal keyboard instrument but instead of using batteries, the sound is powered by the musician blowing through a mouthpiece. The instrument is cheap to buy and maintain and so is very popular in schools in Asia. The students can learn how to play it very quickly. The melodica is known by various names, often at the whim of the manufacturer. Melodion (Suzuki), Melodika (Apollo), Melodia (Diana), Pianica (Yamaha), Melodihorn (Samick) and Clavietta are just some of the variants.
One of my favourite floating markets in Bangkok is Kwan Riam Floating Market in Minburi. This is only open at the weekend and during public holidays. If you go early at about 7:30 a.m. you will be able to see monks come out from the local temple by boat and collect alms from local people. This is a charming practice that is not seen very often these days. Certainly it isn’t something that regular tourists would see. Another place that does this is Amphawa Floating Market.
Thai schools have strict rules about hair length. The students have to cut their hair at the end of each month. If it is too long, then a teacher will cut it for them. In this picture, you can see how long his hair was to start with by looking at the top of his head. That was too long. By the time the teacher had finished, he only had a few centimetres of hair at the top. He didn’t seem to mind. In fact, his friend, whose hair was already short, wanted his done too.