Saturday, 11 April 2015

Sawadika - 2

Hi, here's the second episode of the Sawadika series. This week was very hectic at work and I could not take time out to update my blog. But today I am going to share some of the main attractions of Bangkok.

After 3 days of intense business meetings I finally got some time for myself to explore the city. I booked a day tour from my hotel lobby. I was lucky to have company of some friends from my team. Our team has a very rich participation from Middle East, East Asia, China and Australia. So, after the meeting most of them took a personal time off to relax in beach resorts. Since my flight was in the evening of next day, I really couldn't take a longer time off to explore more exotic offerings of Thailiand, maybe next time.

The day tour we selected would take us to :

- The Wat Pho Complex
- The Grand Palace
- Boat Ride
- City Tour covering major attractions.

Our tour began by meeting with Michael - our tour guide. His English was really good and that helped in understanding the rich historical perspective of Thai culture, Buddhism and about the Thai King.

Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan - That's the official name of Wat Pho. (try pronouncing it!)

Wat Pho has a significant importance because it's the largest and oldest wats in Bangkok. Wat Pho is home to more than one thousand Buddha images. Outside the temple, the grounds contain 91 chedis (stupas or mounds), four viharas (halls) and a bot (central shrine). 71 chedis of smaller size contains the ashes of the royal family, and 21 large ones contain the ashes of Buddha. The four chedis are dedicated to the four Chakri kings. The temple has sixteen gates around the complex guarded by Chinese giants carved out of rocks. These statues were originally imported as ballast on ship trading with China.
The outer cloister has images of 400 Buddhas out of the 1200 originally bought by king Rama V. In terms of architecture, these are varied in different styles and postures. The main temple is raised in marble platform punctuated by mythological lions in the gateways. The exterior balustrade has around 150 depictions of the epic, Ramakien, the ultimate message of which is transedence from secular to spiritual dimensions.

Wat Pho Complex also contains the Reclining Buddha. 

The temple is considered the first public university of Thailand, teaching students in the fields of religion, science and literature through murals and sculptures In 1962 a school for traditional medicine and massage was established. The temple is home to one of the earliest Thai massage schools. Traditional Thai massage and medicine is taught at the Traditional Medical Practitioners Association Center, an open air hall outside the temple. For Thai massage therapists, the medical inscription inside the temple acts as a base for treatment. There are 60 plaques inscribed, 30 each for the front and back of human body. Therapeutic points and energy pathways known as sen were engraved and the explanations were carved on the walls next to the plaques. Full research on the diagrams is still not completed - the derivation so far is that the figures represent relationships between anatomical locations and effects produced by treatment at those locations.

I'll stop here for today but I'll be back with the rest of the tour details shortly. 

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Sawadika - 1

Hi, I am back with another one of my short trips to one of the most famous locations for holidays in the East - Thailand.

Late last month, I travelled to Bangkok for a business meeting. It was a week long trip. Most part of this trip was covered by long meetings and travel time. But, I did take some time out to explore the city of Bangkok.

I travelled via Thai Air from Karachi to Suvarnabhumi Airport - Bangkok. It was 5 hours long flight. I arrived in Bangkok early morning and my room was reserved at Dusit Thani Hotel located at the cross section of Silom Road and Rama IV Road. It is a decent hotel surrounded by business district, park and a overhead motorway.

Thanks to my Thai counterpart who got us an upgrade in regular rooms. 

Bangkok is a very vibrant city, full of energy and lot's of fun. It's hot and humid too. Famous for it's Temples, Thai food, massage and attractive night life. There is so much to do and so many places where you can be. Pristine beaches and islands are to die for.

Bangkok has a unique feature, it's night markets - that are a very important part of night life. Everyday right after sunset, the walkways of all major streets convert to an attractive market that goes on till early hours of the morning. These markets have a lot to offer to all. Electronics, shoes, clothing, toys and you name it - you'll find it there. And then there are weekend markets too. 

Like most East Asian countries, you'll find a China Town here as well. 

Let's take a quick tour of the lively Bangkok......

Did I forgot the famous Tuk Tuk......

Swarmed by tourists from all over the world, young and old alike...... enjoy what Bangkok and Thailand has to offer. If you are planning a trip to Thailand then take  note of some of the following tips:

- Pack comfortable clothes and shoes that gives you comfort in a hot and humid weather.
- Plan your trips with traffic jams in mind.
- Night markets and most shopping malls offer room for negotiation on price.
- Be careful when you make reference to the Thai King and the lord Buddha.
- Be careful of pick pockets in crowded markets.
- Markets are flooded with cheap Chinese products and copies of branded items, so, while making a purchase satisfy yourself on value against quality.
- Bangkok has a thriving night life.... bars, discos and sex..... so make your choices wisely.
- Under ground trains, Sky Train (MRT) is cheap. Tuk Tuk is semi-cheap. Buses are ok, don't expect much. Taxis are expensive but ask for a receipt and keep an eye on the meter.

Well, look out for my next episode of Sawadika in coming days where I take you along on an  interesting tour around Bangkok.