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Old 21st July 2016, 19:41   #31
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Default Re: Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata

21 April 2016, 1:30 PM

We have already been running late. Our attempts to find the Black House aka Baan Dum have come to nought, as we were unable to locate the little lane that leads off the highway to this place. For all that our Sygic and Google Maps could do was to send us round and round in circles inside the campus of the Rajabhat University, a sprawling area where no one speaks English. After wasting a half hour, we decide to carry on to the White Temple aka Wat Rong Khun, before we continue on to Ayutthaya.

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The White Temple has been described as bizarre by Lonely Planet. We thought it was macabre. Brainchild of the Thai painter-architect Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple's construction began in 1997. Under the bright overhead sun, the temple sparkled and glinted like it was coated with a thousand diamonds - except there weren't any diamonds, but just whitewash and glass/ceramic mirror-like chips embedded into the whole surface. The extreme brightness was a photographer's disaster zone, and most photos I took were washed out. Here are some half-decent shots of the exteriors:

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Old 21st July 2016, 20:07   #32
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Why did we consider this to be a macabre temple? A closer look reveals stony human arms reaching out towards the visitor as he crosses a bridge to access the temple. The Thai explanation is that these arms symbolize desire, and that one must rise above these desires before attaining nirvana at the temple. For us, the arms, hands, skulls and lifeless eyes seemed to represent scenes from a Nazi concentration camp, the Black Hole of Calcutta, or worse.

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At another portion of the temple hang the decapitated heads of multiple heroes (and villains) of Hollywood movies, while at the entrance sits a colourful Thai version of Spiderman.

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To complete the very disturbing and gruesome appearance of the temple are these traffic cones outside!


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Some more quick photos from the surroundings of the temple, and we are ready to leave. Photography is not allowed inside the temple.

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Ayutthaya, here we come. The only worry is, would we reach in time to be able to check in?

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Old 22nd July 2016, 21:45   #33
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21 April 2016, almost midnight

We have been on the road for over 9 hours now, having left the White Temple a little after 2 pm. Given that I had promised the lady at the Old Palace Resort Klong Sa Bua that we would arrive by 9 pm, it is highly obvious that my promise has not only been broken, but shattered into a million pieces. The lady had requested us to arrive by 9 pm because she goes to sleep after that. I had no choice but to call her around 7 pm, and tell her that we would be arriving really late due to car trouble.

And car trouble we did have. As a matter of fact, I troubled the car a lot more than it ever had been . The puny engine revved all the way to the redline, with the rubber band transmission refusing to cooperate during overtaking manoeuvres, I managed to bump the FE down to less than 14 kmpl. Oh - the innumerable times I regretted choosing the lowest-priced rental during this section of the trip need to be mentioned too. The speed limit varied between 100 -120 kmph, but this car made that speed feel unattainable most of the times.

By the time we pulled into the hotel, it was nearly midnight, but the sweet old lady kindly opened the gate for us, showed us to our room, and retired. I hope she accepted our profuse apologies, but then we could not be too sure because of the language barrier.

The hotel is cosy, with individual cottages, and included a basic breakfast that we tore into the next morning, not having had the time to have a decent dinner the previous night.

Some pictures of the property:

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-old-palace-resort-ayutthaya-2.jpg

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Loved these breakfast tables!

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The friendly watchdog on an extra-long leash

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The only eyesore, and a big one at that!

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Old 2nd August 2016, 14:38   #34
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22 April 2016, 9:30 AM

- When will the tuk tuk arrive? I ask.

- By the time you finish your breakfast.
The lady at the hotel has already called the tuk tuk for us. I don't feel like driving around Ayutthaya on my own, trying to figure out which are th more interesting places, and then, later in the day, driving to Hua Hin, our next stop on this trip.

There is a predominance of wat (temples)in and around Ayutthaya, and I have not done my research about which are the important ones to cover - I am therefore depending on the tuk tuk driver to take us around to whichever touristy destinations there are. The hotel lady had kindly marked the important places to visit on a map similar to this one I got off the internet (credit to the owner of the map, as watermarked); I have unfortunately lost the original one.

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-ayutthayaayuthyamap.jpg

The tuk tuk is here, and I do a double take at the weird-looking contraption. This one looks more like the Hanseat Tempo than the traditional tuk tuk more common in the other cities of Thailand. It's uncomfortable, and one sits sideways on bench seats. We hate it, but it's a matter of short distances, and we climb in. This thing sounds like a race car but goes like a moped.

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Well, the roads are teeming with pagoda-like structures in various stats of disrepair, and we are told not to pay much attention to each and every one we pass by.

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The rearward view is one I don't get to see often while travelling, and the slits on the sides of the tuk tuk are good enough to poke a camera through; so here are some views of the streets of Ayutthaya.

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Smart traffic cops everywhere, even in a small town like this, with equally smart-looking bikes. When will Indian traffic cops learn to wear high-visibility jackets for their own safety, I wonder.
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Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-dsc00267k500.jpg

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Old 2nd August 2016, 15:56   #35
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Awesome thread- marked a deserved 5 stars

On another note- dada, now the appetite is insatiable - yeh dil maangey more !!
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Old 3rd August 2016, 19:28   #36
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Originally Posted by adg_andy View Post
Awesome thread- marked a deserved 5 stars

On another note- dada, now the appetite is insatiable - yeh dil maangey more !!
Thank you, Andy.

Unfortunately, after a decent start, I have been constantly getting bogged down with work and travel, and am not getting enough time to process the pics and write the travelogue the way I want to. Hope to complete this soon.
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Old 3rd August 2016, 19:56   #37
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Quote:
I have been constantly getting bogged down with work and travel
wonderful travelogue, as usual. I have a question in case you have information - do you see any possibility of travel to Thailand by Road in near future ?
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Old 4th August 2016, 09:54   #38
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Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
wonderful travelogue, as usual.
Thank you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbanator View Post
...do you see any possibility of travel to Thailand by Road in near future ?
In general - yes. There is no dearth of adventurous folks in India, who can and will drive to Thailand from India, and beyond, till Singapore. It's quite feasible, albeit expensive.

Personally - I cannot afford it out of my own pocket. Anyone sponsoring?
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Old 4th August 2016, 12:22   #39
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22 April 2016, 10:30 AM

It's already starting to get quite hot and humid as the day progresses, and our first destination is the Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon (or Mongkol).

Quote:
Historical Notes:
Wat Phra Chao Phya-thai. populary known as Wat Yai Chaimongkol, is situated to the southeast of the city. The large chedi there can be seen from a great distance.

It was built by King U-thong in 1357 A.D. for the use of the monks who had returned from Ceylon after studying under Phra Vanarat Maha Thera. This body of monks was known as the Pa Kaeo Sect. So this monasteny was originally known as Wat Pa Kaeo. The monks of this sect were engaged mainly in meditation.

Many people who respected the monks joined the order. The king conferred the title of Somdej Phra Vanarat on the head of the sect and appointed him to the position of Patriarch on the Right Hand Side.

Since it was the place where the patriarch stayed, the monastery was named Wat Chao Phya-thai which means The Temple of the Supreme Patriarch.

Various royals and princes sought advice here during the Ayutthaya period.
In 1592 A.D. during the reign of King Naresuan the Great, the Burmese led an army to try to subjugate Ayutthaya. King Naresuan resisted the invasion and fought on elephant back with the Burmese leader at the district of Nong Sarai in the province of Suphanburi, and was victorious.

On that occasion, King Naresuan's army was not able to inflict greater losses on the Burmese because many of his regiments did not come to reinforce him in time.

The King wished to execute the officers of those regiments at the conclusion of the war, but Patriarch Vanarat begged the King to pardon them and advised him to build chedis in memory of his great victory.

So King Naresuan built one on the scene of the singlehanded combat at Nong Sarai in Suphanburi, and a bigger one on the premises of Wat Chao Phyathai. This second chedi built by King Naresuan was named Phra Chedi Chai Mongkol, or Chedi of the Auspicious Victory, and it was popularly known as Phra Chedi Yai, or the Great Pagoda.

So. later on Chao Phya Thai came to be known also as Wat Yai Chai Mongkol. The top of this chedi is visible to visitors from Bangkok as soon as they enter the boundary of Ayutthaya.
The temple is impressive, and the photographs perhaps do less justice to the huge temple complex than it deserves.

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Old 4th August 2016, 18:07   #40
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22 April 2016, 11 AM

Our next stop is a place I had no idea existed - the Baan Hollanda, or House (Village) of Holland.
Quote:
Baan Hollanda was a Dutch village in Thailand built during the Ayutthaya era in 1634. Baan Hollanda was located on the Chao Phraya River close to the Tambon Suan Phlu shipyard in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, Thailand. Presently Baan Hollanda is being rebuilt on the original land with the intent of becoming an information centre and museum.

The term “Wilanda” was used by the Siamese in the past to mean those from the Netherlands, or the Dutch. It was derived from the Malay “Orang Belanda”, used to denote the Dutch in Java and elsewhere in the East Indies. “Belanda” itself was possibly derived from the Portuguese “Hollanda” (Holland).

The Dutch first established formal trade relations with Siam in 1604, towards the end of King Naresuan’s reign. In 1608, King Ekathotsarot granted permission to the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to open its trading post in Ayutthaya. The location was in the southern part of the walled island city and was a rather constricted space. Thus in 1634, during the reign of King Prasat Thong, a new VOC factory and trading office was built on land bestowed by the Siamese King as reward for Dutch naval aid in Ayutthaya’s war against Pattani. This new more commodious piece of land was situated next to the Chao Phraya River outside the walled city. Here goods could be loaded and unloaded much more conveniently than before.

In 2004, on the auspicious occasion of the 400th anniversary of relations between Thailand and the Netherlands, Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses Prince Willem-Alexander (The Prince of Orange) and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, visited the site of the Dutch settlement in Ayutthaya where the Fine Arts Department had been excavating the remains of the VOC lodge. Her Majesty graciously donated a sum of money towards the construction of an information centre, with a permanent exhibition, which may be considered a memorial of the long relations between the two countries.
It's a cosy little place with an astounding collection of memorabilia, and we spend a long time enjoying the air-conditioned interiors as well as a great cup of coffee, and browsing through the museum. Actually, we spent far longer here than we had planned to, remembering my friend Jeroen would also love to virtually see what's inside.

Here come the photographs:

A very welcoming & cool reception area as we enter. It's a steamy 40*C outside.
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So we start by putting the various write-ups about the history of the VOC and this place together in one place...
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...and then all the maps of those times together again.

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...continued...

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Old 4th August 2016, 18:38   #41
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...continued from previous post...

Here we are, inside the museum

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-43.jpg

The spices...

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-7.jpg

...and a model

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-10.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-15-.jpg

More memorabilia

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-17.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-21.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-22.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-27.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-28.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-30.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-31.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-32.jpg

An interesting way to display the excavated site

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-33.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-35.jpg

Mention of another Dutch settlement closer to home - Chinsurah!

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-36.jpg

The shipyard adjacent to the Baan Hollanda building
Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-41.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-44.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-45.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-46.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-48.jpg

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-50.jpg

Where the original settlement stood

Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-47.jpg

Rear view of the Baan Hollanda building
Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-49.jpg

Time for a coffee...
Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-40.jpg

...and a few souvenirs.
Wat Chao Doi-n'? AH1 Mae Swift-ly take us to Thailand (again) via Kolkata-baan-hollanda-39.jpg

Time to move on. There are many more places to look at, and it's already midday.
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