Thailand Tourist Time

21 Jan

Winter break was extra entertaining this year because we had two lovely visitors: my sister, Corinne, and her fiancé, David. 🙂 I was ridiculously excited to have them come visit, especially after they got engaged before coming, and we were able to help them celebrate! We spent a few days around Christmas playing tourist in Bangkok, and seeing things both old and new, then had a little Vietnam adventure, and rounded out the trip with some quality Thailand beach time in Koh Chang.

Fun Thailand tourist things we did, in no particular order, include:

Seeing a Muay Thai fight! David’s one request when it came to Thailand activities was to see a Muay Thai fight, and since Orestes and I hadn’t been to one either, it seemed like the perfect adventure. We got tickets to the Lumpini Boxing Stadium, which is one of the major stadiums in Thailand, and has been around since 1956 (or so their website tells me). Having never been to any type of boxing match, I had no idea what to expect, but it was quite enjoyable. The atmosphere was lively, with horn music playing, a large, mixed crowd of Thai and farang, and lots of beer being served. The fighters themselves wear crazy colored red, blue, pink, and gold  Muay Thai shorts, and weigh 110 pounds soaking wet. The “heavyweights” of the night came in at 123 pounds. The matches are quick, 5 rounds each, and we saw several knockouts. All in all, good fun!

Exploring Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn. Wat Arun is one of Bangkok’s three major temples, and I had been meaning to go there for over a year. Corinne and David were up for seeing some sights, so we hit up the Grand Palace and then took a boat across the Chao Praya to see Wat Arun. Wat Arun looks much different than other Thai temples for two reasons; first, it’s built in the Khmer style with one tall prang as its central tower. Second, the entire decor is mosaic made of discarded ceramic. Back in the day, Chinese ships visiting Bangkok for trade purposes would use broken pottery as ballast to weigh down their ships, then jettison all of it when they picked up cargo in Bangkok. The Thais put this pottery to use and created these amazing mosaics. You are allowed to climb the sides of Wat Arun, and it is very steep. It was sheer stubbornness on my part that made me climb to the top, but the view of the river and downtown Bangkok made it worthwhile. After climbing Wat Arun, we came back across the river and found a rooftop bar with a fabulous view. Watching the sun set behind Wat Arun wasn’t too shabby.

The Giant Swing aka Sao Ching Cha. I had never heard of this structure before, but David found it online. The Giant Swing is just that; two teak poles, 30m high, from which a wooden platform was suspended. As part of a spring-related religious ceremony, Brahmin monks would swing back and forth on the platform and attempt to snatch a bag of gold suspended from one of the poles, using their teeth (no, I am not making this up). The ceremony was discontinued in 1935 after one too many monks fell to their deaths. Nowadays, the swing is just the frame, and a small temple nearby. So random!

Aside from New Year’s Eve, I did not take a single photo while in Koh Chang ~ been there, already taken too many photos 🙂 If you’re interested, click here. I did borrow a few from the lovely photography of Corinne and David. Here are some random photos of New Year’s Eve and such:

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One Response to “Thailand Tourist Time”

  1. Corky January 22, 2014 at 2:32 am #

    Darcey – Thank you so much for sharing your visit with Corinne and David. Such incredible times you’re having, along with your guests!! Hope to see your mom soon and will let her know I saw this. Love it!

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