Say Wat?

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Bangkok has an amazing number of wat (temples, or more generally places of worship) scattered across the city. For Westerners, they are fascinating for their bright colors, traditional architecture, the smell of incense burning and the constant flow of worshippers. Wat Pho, birthplace of traditional Thai massage and home to the imposing Reclining Buddha, Wat Traimit and its five-tons solid gold Buddha image, or Erawan Shrine, nested among Bangkok’s skyscrapers, were all busy with tourists and locals alike.

Wat can seem quite informal at first because unlike Christians or Jewish, Buddhists don’t have a specific day for worship. People come as they please and merit-makers try to get the best karma possible to have a good rebirth in the next life. Monks, dressed in saffron dresses, collect alms and it’s common to offer incense, fruits, flower garlands or even birds (to be release after praying).

Most wat welcome visitors, as long as you respect worshippers and a few simple rules. For instance, dress conservatively and cover your shoulders (a simple shawl will do), and never ever point your feet to an image of Buddha when sitting down.

You can see the complete set of pictures taken in Thailand on Flickr.

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit

Erawan Shrine

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit

Wat Traimit

Erawan Shrine

Erawan Shrine

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

Wat Pho

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

3 Comments

  1. Very interesting and educating… Great pics as usual. I’ve got a question for ya – did you bring your laptop along or do you just find a place to blog all of the time? Major props on that!

  2. Oh, that reclining Buddha is a must-see! You made me remember an interesting scene I always saw in Japan: since Buddhists don’t have days of prayer, they can pray whenever they want. So there are convenient small temples on roads near train stations, when they’re heading out or coming back from the station, they just stop by, clap their hands, and continue on. Very interesting religious notion!

  3. @expatraveler – We brought a small laptop, one of these $200 Acer One. It’s mostly for backing up the pictures. It turned out that a lot of places have free wi-fi so it was great to connect as well. I usually prepare a few posts when I get the chance (for instance in the bus/train) and schedule them. It takes some efforts but I love blogging on the road!

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – Interesting anecdote! Somehow, it fits with my idea of Japan… a very efficient place, even when it comes to religion!

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