Saturday, August 30, 2014

Wat Pho Bang Khla - Temple of the Bat

Wat Pho Bang Khla - Temple of the Bat
Wat Pho Bang Khla - Temple of the Bat
Wat Pho Bang Khla (Wat Pho) can be found about 23km from the town of Chachoengsao approximately 100km from Bangkok). Believed to have been built during the reign of King Taksin the Great (1767 - 1782), using decorative styles from both the Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin eras, the hall enshrines a statue of a reclining Buddha. Throughout the temple compound there is an array of extremely beautiful Buddha images.

What makes Wat Pho extra special is something that you will probably hear before you see. Within the grounds that surround the temple compound, hundreds of fruit bats (flying foxes) roost in the trees and their high pitched squawking is sure to be the first thing to grab your attention.  Fruit bats are the world's largest species of bats. They have fox-like features with large eyes, reddish brown fur and black wings. They have a wingspan of about 3ft and can fly as far and as fast as a bird.

Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Wat Pho Bang Khla - Temple of the Bat' set on Flickriver 

During the day, the bats hang upside down roosting in the trees. They clean and jostle each other and sometimes reposition themselves, which will involve swooping over your head. But at dusk things really start to happen, as the bats fly off to feed. The bats favorite food are the fruits and leaves from mango, tamarind and even the temple's sacred Bodhi trees.

Getting there - From Bangkok take highway 304 (Chachoengsao - Kabin Buri) for around 17km and then take a left on to highway 3121. Drive through the town of Bang Khla for around 6km, past the shrine and the monument of King Taksin the Great, the temple is about 500m on the left. Alternatively, you can take a cruise along the Bang Pakong River, disembarking at the temple's pier.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bang Pu Education Center

Bang Pu Education Center is one of many coastal nature reserves in the Thai Gulf and is located just south of Bangkok in Samut Prakan Province.  The center is most well known for a season flock of seagulls that use this area as their migratory route, which cycles around between January and April.  The reserve is chock full of coastal wildlife, including many varieties of waterfowl and mudflat creatures.  A lot of which I am showing in my photos and videos in this post.

The center is managed by the Thai Army, and the Army maintains a restaurant at the end of the main pier in the reserve area.  The restaurant is open to the public and offers a menu of mainly Thai seafood dishes.  The restaurant and reserve together make a great stop for locals and tourists alike and I highly recommend a visit if you are a nature lover like myself.  

Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Bangpu Nature Education Center' set on Flickriver

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Buying Durian on the Streets of Bangkok

The taste for durian is acquired, meaning that it does not come naturally.  The large spinney fruit has a pungent order that is hard to get past your nose.  But after living 8 years in Bangkok I have only recently acquired the taste for the odd looking and smelling fruit.  Durian takes a bit of work to get to the tasty part, having a hard spinney shell that required cutting off.  Under the shell is another uneatable layer that surrounds the tasty portions, which also surrounds the large rounded seeds.  My video below shows a vendor preparing the fruit he is selling.

Durian requires a special touch to discern if it is properly ripened.  The very best vendors have a weighted stick that they use to test each fruit by lightly hitting the fruit and listening closely to the sound it makes.

Thailand Web Spinning Spider

Thailand Spider
Thailand Spider
I was trapped at the Klong Toey Market last evening in a rain storm.  While waiting for the rain to stop I found myself watching this spider spin its web to get ready for the evening meal.  I waited for the spider to be almost complete to video his intricate construction.  He seemed quite satisfied when he finished, planting himself in the center and awaiting his meal to stumble along…

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thailand Bird

Thailand Bird
Thailand Bird
My blog is all about sharing my photos and now my videos of Thailand. As such, I like to post my "personal bests" here to share outside my regular posts. 

This photo and video is of what I think is a "green-tailed sunbird" drinking nectar from flowers at a lotus pool at Rama IX Park in Bangkok. If I am wrong about the identification please let me know.

I hope you like it as much as me.

Nang Yai - Thai Traditional Shadow Puppet at Wat Khanon

Nang Yai Puppet
Nang Yai Puppet
Wat Khanon, in Ratchaburi, Thailand, is likely not the birth place of Thai Traditional Shadow Puppet Shows but it is where the traditional entertainment of Nang Yai is kept alive.  The temple of Wat Khanon houses a Nang Yai Museum where visitors can view a whole aray of antique shadow puppets, along with learning about the Nang Yai history in Thailand.  Wat Khanon also houses a Nang Yai theatre where there are daily shows.  The Nang Yai Show features episodes from the Ramakian epic story of good and evil and this story is deeply seated in Thailand Culture.  The temple itself is an interesting visit, containing many ancient temple structures and the grounds interesting gardens and even monkeys.  I have pasted together a brief video of the Nang Yai show below from my YouTube Channel:

The link below will lead you to my photos of Wat Khanon on Flickr:

Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Kanchanaburi - Wat Khanon Nang Yai' set on Flickriver

If you get a chance to visit Wat Khanon, please let me know how you enjoyed the trip... 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bangkok's Great Chao Phraya River

Bangkok's Chao Phraya River Views A trip down the Chao Phraya River is a great way to get to know Bangkok. Getting there is easy, starting at the Taskin Bridge and the Sathorn Road Pier. Take the BTS (sky train) to the Safon Taskin Station, which is located just before the pier. Boats for tourists that have guides explaining the sites along the river. If you are the adventurous type, there are many commuter boats that are very affordable. Here is a great website for information on the boats available:

Getting on and off the boats takes only a little bit of nerve, the boats come in and leave the pier quickly. Once on the boat try to find a seat, which may be difficult. You can stand in the back area of the boat, just keep in mind that if you are one the opposite side of the boat from the sun you will get better pictures because you will have the sun behind you.


On both sides of the Chao Phraya River, there are many temples and interesting buildings including the First Presbyterian Church, the Royal Thai Navy Dockyard, the Thai Maritime Navigation Company, the Old Customs House, Wat Prayunwong, Wat Arun, the Grand Palace, Wat Rakhang Kositaram, and the Royal Boat House, some are shown below:

  Thailand Photo Blog - View my 'Bangkok's Chao Phraya River' set on Flickriver 

 The sun setting on the river is an awesome site. There are often many beautiful sun sets in Bangkok but the buildings obscure there view. There are also many great restaurants along the river's edge. I stopped at the Grand Temple pier and ate a great dinner at the Royal Thai Navy Yard located adjacent to the Grand Temple. I had a great view of the Wat Arun (Dawn Temple), which is lit up after dark (see the picture below).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Grilling Tasty River Prawn

Grilled Tasty River Prawn
Grilled Tasty River Prawn
I learned the secret of grilling river prawn... Yes, but i am not sure i should share it.  First of all i need to explain a few things about river prawn.  The yellow gooey stuff that makes river prawn even more tasty is the freshwater crustacean's liver (I am told).  The best way to ensure the liver is cooked just right is to first freeze the prawn.  Once frozen the prawn is cut in half and placed on the grill with the shell.  The prawn should be covered so the prawn sort of grills and steams at the same time. The result is tender tasty meat and gooey liver just waiting for spicy Thai seafood sauce (which is a must!).

Well there it is - the secrete of grilling river prawn from Thailand. If you can get your hands of some - give it a try.

Ton Nam Restaurant in Bang Pa In near Ayutthaya is my favorite.  They grill their prawn perfectly and the atmosphere is perfect.  Take a look at the video below:


YouTube Channel: Thailand Travel Explorer

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