Saturday, May 27, 2006

Lamphun, Thailand - Wat Phra That Hariphunchai

Lamphun, Thailand is 38km Southeast of Chaing Mai. Wat Phra That Hariphunchai is one of the eight holiest stupa in Thailand. The wat was built on the site of Queen Chama Thewi's palace in 1044. There are also other datings saying that the wat was built in 1108 or 1157.

These photos were taken during Songkran, the Thai new year when the Buddha images have water poured on them and Buddhists make merit at the temples.

The yellow fabrics indicates that the stupa represents Buddha and is a sacred monument.

This chedi, Chedi Suwan is 138 feet tall and is said to date from 1418.

The next stop on the trip to Chaing Mai was to an Asian elephant sanctuary. I'm not a huge fan of elephants only because there is always a newspaper story about some Western tourist being at one of these elehant shows and being trampled by a pissed off miss treated animal. Anyway, enjoy Memorial Day weekend for those of you in the states. I'll have these up as soon as possible.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mae Sot, Thailand and the Moei River

I've been meaning to get a post up here for a while, but have been busy with other projects. These are a few photos from around Mae Sot. The town is in the mountains very, very close to the Myanmar (Burma) border.

These photos were taken on the way to the mae nam Moei (mae nam is Thai for river). The weather in April can only be described best as f*%$ it's hot. The best time to do anything was late in the day or if you were going to be near or in water.

Some of the mountains in the background.

and a few more as we approached the river. This was taken from the back of a speeding pick up truck, so I'm pretty impressed that it came out so well.

Mae nam Moei. The far bank is Myanmar. Now at this spot the river is for me at about lower calf height or about a foot deep. Due to the hot ass sun, the water temperature was about 75 degrees. Real pleasant and nice to walk around as the river had a sand and small rock bottom. Actually, as I walked, I would get these little rocks lodged in my flip flops. I'd take it off, shake out the rocks and let the flip flop float a bit on the lazy current before grabbing it back.

It may not be possible to see if you even open up the photo, but on the far bank (upper right of the photo) there were people out washing their clothes beating them on the rocks to get them clean. First time I've ever seen this and eyeopening to how people can live without all the crap we take for granted.

This is the Moei river looking north.

This is the view from my hotel balcony the following day April 15th in the afternoon. I was just hanging out around the room reading when I heard the familiar rumble of thunder. I snapped this about an hour before the cloud burst finally hit.

The neat thing about this is past these homes is a Buddhist temple so you could hear the chanting of the monks at the temple interspersed with the occasional and them frequent rumbling of thunder.

Sunday April 16th early morning. I couldn't sleep any more and decided to see if I could get a good photo of the sun coming up. I was leaving for Chaing Mai late morning and leaving Mae Sot, but I knew that I would be back here in the near future.

This weekend, I'll get the photos from my trip to Chaing Mai. We hired a driver for 1,500 bht / day who would take us to Chaing Mai and anywhere around that we decided to go. It actually was a good deal becuase trying to get from rural Thailand to anywhere else is a bit of a struggle as Mae Sot is on a bus line, but not the train line. It became a lot easier to pay a little bit to be able to go where you wanted and to do so on your schedule and not someone else's. The next set of photos I'll have are from a temple in Lamphun.