I Love Thailand Slide Show, complete
Thailand Slide Show Thailand Map (complete)

©1997-2001 Martin Kraemer
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Bangkok (/grung-theep''/)

A small boy, sitting in the empty rain water tank in front of his house in Thonburi, watching the traffic on the khlong pass by.
Famous /wat^phra^gAAo''/ --the Temple of the Emerald Buddha-- in /grung-theep''/=Bangkok, in the sunlight.
Inside /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) it's always busy; tourists as well as praying buddhists come here often.
Look at the decorations of the different temples inside /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha)! These /grud'/ (Garuda) figures surround the whole temple.
A /yak^/ (giant) from the Ramakien story welcomes the visitors, towering 5 meters high at the entrance door.
All the decorations of /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) are glistening in the sunlight.
A beautiful /gin-na^rii-/ figure, half bird, half man, inside /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
Inside /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), a small boy is delighted about the lotus flowers blooming in a small pond beside the temple.
The five-headed naga inside /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) serves as a railing for the stairs leading to the temple.
A daemon "holding" part of a golden stupa inside /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
"Still life" inside /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
Some of the wall paintings decorating the walls in /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
Isn't Rama's Beloved Sita beautiful? Wall paintings decorating the walls in /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
On the /sa'naam+luang+/ (great lawn) in front of /wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), all children like to have their kites fly on a sunny weekend with their families.
Do you like Thai Curries as much as I do? Everywhere in Thailand, you can enjoy them (spicy hot, of course) right on the side of the street, prepared freshly every day.
Sugar cane juice, made freshly on the market (here on /ja'tu'jak'/ weekend market in the northern part of /grung-theep''/=Bangkok), is a sweet and delicious refreshment.
On the streets of every town in Thailand, tasty and spicy food is prepared freshly for you (this guy is frying mussles), and you just can't eat as much as you'd like to.
A ride with the /tuk'tuk'/(Tuktuk, the name imitating its sound) in /grung-theep''/=Bangkok (the "Taxi" for the poorer people), is certainly a must for the tourist (at least once...). But don't let them lure you to a "cheap cheap cheap!" gem store.....
The Reclining Buddha in /wat^jetuphon-/ (Wat Phoo, Bangkok) is about 60 meters long. Don't miss the chance to throw a couple of Satangs into the Monk's Bowls on the back of the Buddha! Clink-Clonk-Clunk...!
The feet are the human's "lowest" part, in thai perspective. Look at the beautifully decorated mother-of-pearl inlay of the Reclining Buddha's feet! So if the feet are incomparably beautiful already, how beautiful must the rest of Buddha be then!
A couple praying in /wat^jetuphon-/ (Wat Phoo, Bangkok) in front of the Reclining Buddha (in the background)
Wat Traimit in Bangkok houses the massive golden Buddha figure which was discovered by accident under a simple-looking plaster covering when the figure was about to be moved for restoration purposes.
The Buddha statue in front is about as big as a man. Now you can guess how big the huge statue in the background must be, which can be found in northern /bang-lam-phuu-/ in /grung-theep''/=Bangkok.
On the different Buddha Statue markets in Bangkok, you'll find Buddha Statues in all styles and shapes.
/wat^ben-ja'ma^bOO-phit^/, The Marble Temple, is decorated with Carrara Marble which was imported in the last century all the way from Italy.
The Monks at /wat^ben-ja'ma^bOO-phit^/ (The Marble Temple) are preparing the evening prayer ceremony.
The Golden Mountain /wat^sa'get'/ in the evening sun.
A young couple praying in the temple on the top of the Golden Mountain /wat^sa'get'/
Sunset over Bangkok as seen from the Golden Mountain /wat^sa'get'/
/wat^phra^gAAo''/ (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok, seen at night from the /sa'naam+luang+/
Famous /wat^phra^gAAo''/ -- the Temple of the Emerald Buddha --, brightly illuminated during the night of the King's birthday (Dec 5th)
Friendly people selling "Suki & DtomYam" at night in chinatown.
This is a commercial thai dance, of course. But it's so beautiful, isn't it?
The Erawan Shrine (on the corner where there used to be a famous hotel called Erawan. It was torn down in 1989 and a gigantic SOKO department store was built in its place). But still people come to worship here, day and night there are people and dancers and gamelan music and incense.
This is The Heart of Chinatown. Here you'll find traffic jams all day long, and lots of interesting shops at each side of the road.
Close to /wat^phoo-/ (the temple of the Reclining Buddha), there's a small old market. This is the place to look for dried shrimps if you like them.
Especially in the hot season, you'll prefer to be close to the river. Using the river taxi is in most cases much faster than being stuck in one of the traffic jams. And you'll also see an old chinese style Sampao once in a while. No, this is just a ferry boat from one of the hotels along the river.
In northern Bangkok, you'll find a green market in /thee-weet"/ (Theves). Go there by river taxi and enjoy the flowers and the colors of the groceries. (I made this very picture TWICE, about three years apart, and every detail of the arrangement looked the SAME!).
This type of Bangkok, with small houses and little streets, is now vanishing more and more, making place for huge skyscapers. Interestingly, this is a recent photograph taken just around the corner of one of the most-frequented tourist areas, the Khao Saan Road in /bang-lam-phuu-/ Banglampoo.

Travelling around

On every larger bus stop, people selling drinks, newspapers or chewing gum enter the bus, offer their things and leave again on the other end of the bus.
When you travel by train, you should not miss the chance to make a ride in the third class with one of the diesel trains. It's impressing: on the train you have the choice to try many thai dishes, all neatly prepared and wrapped in natural (``biodegradable'') banana leaves with simple throwaway bamboo chopsticks. And it's ever so tasty!
Waiting for the midday heat to pass... (in Hua Hin)
The "real" Floating Market in /dam-nEEn-sa'duag'/, three hours from Bangkok.
The peak time at the Floating Market in /dam-nEEn-sa'duag'/ is early, long before the busses loaded with tourists from Bangkok arrive.
One of my favorites... At /dam-nEEn-sa'duag'/
When you head north on the train to visit the old capitals, you have plenty of time to enjoy the incredibly green rice fields in the plains of central Thailand.
Usenet reader McCherv@aol.com wrote me about this picture:

I particularly like image #0083. The woman in the market. The sign says Mangda- 4 baht each. I remember catching them in Nakhon Phanom Province in 1969 and giving them to villagers. I always thought they were a meal of last resort. But now I see they are 4 baht each. I never would have thought of them as being so expensive.

Let's visit a Temple Fair: you'll find everything like on a normal fair, but then they also sell traditional medicine to cure all kinds of diseases.
And of course, at the temple fairs you'll find Buddha amulets in all sizes and shapes. These amulets are known to help against accidents, even against being shot at(!).

Thailand's ancient capitals

/lop^bu'rii-/ (Lopburi): a small old town, once a capital of Thailand. The central three-Prang temple ruins (in the background; their picture is on the 500 Baht notes, btw) are today inhabited by monkeys. Cross the rails and walk over to the monkey temple (next image).
On the eastern side of the railroad tracks in /lop^bu'rii-/ (Lopburi) lies the monkey temple. A wellknown ghost lives here who, when bribed with temple dances and a pig, fulfills your wishes.

/su'kho+thai-/ (Sukhothai), one of the most famous old capitals beside /lop^bu'rii-/ (Lopburi), /a'yut^tha^yaa-/ (Ayutthaya), Thonburi and /grung-theep''/ (Bangkok), has many old Buddha Statues and temple ruins. Still today do worshippers decorate the old stone figures with gold leaves.

One of my favorite shots: a boy covering the Buddha's finger with a gold leaf. This is a huge Buddha Statue sitting inside a stone tower just outside of /su'kho+thai-/ (Sukhothai).
Monks worshipping at the huge Buddha Statue inside the stone tower just outside of /su'kho+thai-/ (Sukhothai). A couple of years ago it was still possible to climb though a tiny passage inside the tower walls to the top and look down onto the Buddha.


When you leave old /su'kho+thai-/ (Sukhothai) to the west, you feel like entering the country side. For miles you'll see just nature, a few broken ruins and a dusty pathway.


This famous Buddha Head can be found in /a'yut^tha^yaa-/ (Ayutthaya). Many years ago, the Buddha Statue was destroyed (by the Burmese?) and the head fell to the ground. But the trees' roots erected it again: a sign that Buddhism will always survive.


One of the reclining Buddha statues found in /a'yut^tha^yaa-/ (Ayutthaya). In old times, the was a roof above and a temple around Him. The temple burned down, but the Buddha remained. Today, roses (very precious flowers in Thailand) are blooming outside of the temple.


Another reclining Buddha statue found in /a'yut^tha^yaa-/ (Ayutthaya). In the old times, this Buddha was inside a temple as well. Enjoy the calm atmosphere here.

A very old Buddha statue, brought to Thailand from Sri Lanka during the first centuries of our epoch, can be found in this temple in /a'yut^tha^yaa-/ (Ayutthaya).

The North

A man washing his clothes in the river in /lam-paang-/ (Lampang).
A fairly recently built temple in /chiang-mai'/ (Chiang Mai), in northern Thailand. Look at the Nagas at the stairs!
A young monk, studying Pali, sitting in the window frame of his temple.
This small Maeo boy is begging for money, though apparently not feeling very comfortable about it.
Doi Suthep is a temple in the hills looking down over /chiang-mai'/ (Chiang Mai). You can rent an elevator/lift, but it's much nicer to climb the great stairs with giant Nagas on each side. Here you meet many hill tribe people in their colorful costumes. Don't forget to buy incense and lotus flowers for the temple before you climb!
To see Doi Suthep, climb the great stairs with giant Nagas on each side. Meet many hill tribe people in their colorful costumes.
Doi Suthep in the hills over /chiang-mai'/ (Chiang Mai).
This Buddha figure was taken at Doi Suthep. The decorations on the wall are hand-painted, of course! HE's sitting in the half-shadow, half-lit by the sunlight reflecting on the marble floor.
Around /chiang-mai'/ (Chiang Mai), there are many villages making handicrafts and other "northern style" folklore stuff: painted umbrellas, woven goods in the hill tribe style, laquerware etc. Rent a pickup, the driver will gladly bring you everywhere for (almost) no cost. Don't go there in a large tourist bus -- you won't see scenes like this.
THIS is the golden triangle. In the background, you see Burma, the right bank of the river (not in the picture) is Laos, and in the front and on the left side is Thailand.
The "village gang" on the evening "main street" in a small hill tribe village. No, you can't get here by bus or by car. You'll have to walk half a day through the jungle, in the summer heat with your back pack.
Hill tribe grandma, still a very respected leader.


A "hill tribe village" in the hills around /chiang-mai'/ (Chiang Mai).
The boy and the water buffalo (Kwaai), a typical sight in the countryside (the Thai say "upcountry"). This picture was taken somewhere around Chiang Raai.

River Kwai and Death Railway

Actually, it's not pronouned Kwai at all. This river is the /kwAA-/ river (pronounced somewhat like square without the leading 's' and the trailing 'r'...). It it a peaceful calm surrounding with some small hills and green rice fields around. Unfortunately it got a very sad fame after the Japanese erected a POW (prisoner of war) camp here in the '40s where captured soldiers had to build a railway through the jungle all the way to burma. Thousands of soldiers died from tropical diseases. Those who survived told terrible stories about the camps. They called it the Death Railway. The famous River Kwai Bridge was part of this railway track from Thailand to Burma, and because it was so important for providing the japanese invadors with supplies, the Allies bombarded it to cut off the supply line.

Today, in Kanjanaburi, you can still visit the "Jeath Museum" and learn about the facts. Or take a ride on the first kilometers of the old track and have a breathtaking experience when the train passes the old wooden plank construction, seemingly ready to fall down into the river any instant.

On the station, one stop before the wooden "death railway", time passes slowly as the conductor has a little chat before the train continues.

Here we are: The famous Death Railway -- doesn't it look dangerous? It is, as there is almost no steel involved in this "railway bridge".

Take a day off and make a trip down the river with one of the rafts. A great dinner is included, with freshly prepared thai food and fruit. Enjoy watching the cook prepare the dinner: You'll get hungry just from watching (Fingerlickin' Good)!

When you make the raft trip down the river you'll probably stop and watch this beautiful chinese/thai temple complex. A gigantic Buddha statue can be seen from miles away. Watch the incredibly green rice fields (background) from the chinese tower.

At "Loi Krathong", a popular thai holiday celebrated each year in november, it is an old thai custom to put small "banana boats" with incense, a candle and some money on the surface of Mother Water to thank her for providing us with food and plants. These school kids are carefully floating their Krathongs, making a secret wish as they do so. Will Mother Water accept their plea?

In the evening of "Loi Krathong", all the people everywhere in Thailand are out in the streets, celebrating the event and electing "Miss Nopamas" (maybe next year's "Miss Thailand"?).
(Thanks to Puifai for explaining: By the way, River Kwai and Death Railway page, about "Loy Kratong" festival, we (Thais) don't call "Miss Loy Kratong". We call her "Miss Nopamas" (), named after a woman who began "Loy Kratong" tradition in Sukhotai Era.

If you follow the small road east from River Kwai, you'll finally reach Sankhlaburii, a small town close to the burmese border. The clocks seem to run slower here, and in the peaceful countryside you sometimes still see carts like this one, pulled by a buffalo or two.

A monk travels along a dusty country road, close to the Three Pagoda Pass, the border checkpoint between Kanjanaburi and Burma. Buddhist Monks cannot have personal property, except for their clothing, the alm bowl for collecting food in the morning, an umbrella (against sun, not rain, of course), and few other things.

Close to the Burmese border, there is a Mon camp (the Mon are the original population of the area that is today Burma. They were declared "political enemies" by the Burmese military government and had to flee to Thailand in order to survive). This little Mon girl has just fetched water. See how she flies!

The Islands

Just before sunset, we arrive on this island; we watch the ferry man as the sun begins to set in beautiful red.
No filters, no color tricks. This is the original slide. Another beautiful sunset on this dream island.
/kO'pii-pii-/ (Koh Phiphi, pronounced: gaw pee pee), a small island in the andaman sea. You can get here from Phuket or from Krabi. No, it's not me on this picture.
Climb the hill of /kO'pii-pii-/ (Koh Phiphi) and have a look at the sandy beachy village. Yes, it is a very small island.
/kO'sa'mui+/ (Koh Samui), one of Thailand's largest islands, houses the famous "Buddha Beach" with a gigantic Buddha statue overlooking the bay. This is also (beside Phuket) the most touristy island of Thailand.
I'm not going to tell you where this picture was taken, but you'll find out anyway sooner or later. According to the people living there, it's the only island with three adjoining sandy beaches.
And another sunset, this time on /kO'sa'med''/ (Koh Samed), a small island about 3 hours from Bangkok. Some years ago, it used to be almost unknown as a recreation spot except to a few students from Bangkok who hiked there for the weekend, equipped only with a few Baht, a guitar and a sleeping bag. Today, mass tourism has just begun to destroy this beautiful place.

The Northeast /ii-saan+/(Esarn)

Phi Mai, a small village close to Korat, is famous for a very well reconstructed Khmer temple site. Originally it was built between 1100 AD and 1300 AD, and is part of a "Khmer Temple Line" that covers many Khmer temples from Phi Mai to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Another very impressive temple on this straight line to Angkor is Phanom Rung, also found in the Northeast.
This photo was taken inside the temple complex: a painter catches the atmosphere of the afternoon still life inside the Phi Mai temple.
The whole village of Phi Mai was constructed by the Khmer in a strictly rectangular street layout, the temple being at the intersection of the two main streets. This photograph was taken from outside the city gate, looking through the gate and along the main street right into (and even through) the very center of the temple. In the 50's, the temple was reconstructed after lying in ruins for many centuries.
The Phi Mai temple impresses with its finely decorated hand-carved sand-stone lintels which still show the beauty of the original (mainly hinduistic) religious scenes. Often you'll see monks visiting the old temple sites.

If you happen to have questions, comments or suggestions regarding these pages, don't hesitate to send me mail:

EMail:Martin Kraemer

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