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Experiences in Asia

Monks & Muay Thai

THAILAND | Monday, 7 November 2005 | Views [849] | Comments [2]

Here we are on day three.......

Bangkok is a steamy South Asian capital which never seems to stop. The monsoon weather has got hotter since we have been here, and that, along with the traffic, noise and pollution problems make it a little overwhelming. Having said that though, Kari and I have managed to see the majority of the cultural sites and sorted out the next stage of our trip.

Yesterday morning / afternoon was spent in Tuk Tuks, which are little cars which whisk you around all corners of the city to see whatever you like. There is a sort of scam going on where shops will pay drivers if they drop their passengers at their shop to look around. Our driver stayed with us all afternoon. We had our ferrying for free, and all we had to do was go into a few shops and look around. Tuk Tuks are a bit nerve racking, but a cheap option and usually get you there quickly. The major cultural sites like Wat Phra Kaew are really impressive, and also very holy. In order to enter, I (who was wearing shorts and a t-shirt) had to rent (they have facilities for this before you go in) trousers and a shirt to get in, because the monks want all people to show a degree of respect. We were allowed to take photos, and I got some great shots, which I will post soon. The highlight of the cultural stuff though for me was today, and Wat Pho, or the Reclining Buddha. It is huge! 46 metres long and 15 high.


Last night we took ourselves to the Bangkok Muay Thai stadium to see some real fighting, Thai style. It was a litle expensive at 20 pounds a ticket, but was well worth it. The fighters enter the ring and first do a sort of shadow dance to a kind of blaring horn music, entertaining the crowd. Then they get on with it, fighting to the music. The faster the music gets, the nearer to the end of the round it gets. Knee and elbow strikes are where the most points are gained, and whenever a fighter landed one, there would be a tremendous shout of "knee" from the crowd. The crowd was almost as entertaining as the fighting, with frenzied betting carrying on right until the fight was over.

We also had the honour (!) of seeing the Prince of Thailand, albeit from about 30 metres away and behind a road block. He was visiting a re-opened Temple, and the roads had been blocked off in order to accomodate his visit. As soon as he came out however, he was ushered into a black SUV and off he went.

There are so many other nationalities here, and so far I have had the chance to practise my Japanese with a native, which I have really wanted to do since starting to learn Japanese 7 months ago. Standing in line next to a Japanese group, I asked them whether they were Japanese, and if they liked Thailand. They understood me, but I was so dissapointed when they started speaking English, asking me lots of questions! There was no mention of why I was speaking Japanese........

We will leave Bangkok tomorrow and take the 8 hour bus ride to Chaing Mai, which is north. Cost of ride? - 1.70 pounds, thus keeping me on budget.........!

See you in Chaing.....

Tags: Adventures

Comments

1

Good luck with your Japanese Dan, I've been struggling with this for over 10 years with little success! Every time I make some progress, life gets busy and its back to square one.

  simon_monk Nov 8, 2005 12:57 PM

2

Thanks for the words of encouragement! Any words of advice for effective studying gratefully received.........!

  dan_in_japan Nov 8, 2005 3:59 PM

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