Truly a Thai experience
In the article last week, we discussed our visit to the Golden Buddha
Temple, the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the visit
to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
After enjoying the delicacies, we bid farewell to the Riverside
Restaurant and got into the beautifully decorated ferry to cross the
Chao Phraya which is the 'vein' of Bangkok. If it hadn't been for the
Chao Phraya here, the City of Bangkok would not have raised high like it
is today. For a city of the size of Bangkok, a river of the size of Chao
Phraya is essential.
When I saw Chao Phraya I thought she might have seen the fleeing Thai
people throwing invaluable solid gold treasures, solid gold Buddha
statues and many other masterpieces into her womb during the times of
the invaders and the rise of the Thailand again.
"Still people during the period of low tide, people find valuable
treasures from the river near the ruined city Ayuththaya," intimate
friend Tim raises her voice and tells.
City of Ayuththaya
Vimanmek Teak wood Mansion
Royal Barge at Arts of Kingdom
Well experienced guide Tim of the newly established Absolutely
Fantastic Holidays Co Ltd skimmed down the itinerary and directed the
driver towards the Vimanmek Palace or the Vimanmek Teakwood Mansion
which is a reflection of various aspects of Thai heritage and culture.
"Queen Sirikit in 1982 initiated the project of opening the Vimanmek
Palace to the public in the form of a museum with 31 display halls
dedicated to Rama V which was remained unused for many years after the
death of Rama VI," Tim explain while introducing the Palace. Fabricated
entirely of golden teak, the Vimanmek Palace on Ratchawithi Road is the
largest golden teakwood mansion in the world built by King Rama V in the
Ceramics, glassware, ivory items, antique furniture, old photographs
and royal memorabilia form a major part of the various exhibits. The
Abhisek Dusit Hall displays Queen Sirikit's private collection of
handicrafts made by rural people.
A large haul of rusted swords with broken handles remains as one of
the most fascinating item of all the exhibits in the museum. "Those
swords collection makes a part of the swords used by the Thai soldiers
against the enemies who came to invade the country," Tim adds. Those
handles were broken by the soldiers after the battles were over to
release the spirits of the enemies who were killed with those swords and
to proclaim that those swords are not used again for any other purpose
other than to protect the country.
We left the Vimanmek Mansion to visit the craftsmanship of the Thai
people. We entered the Arts of the Kingdom in Bangkok. Footprints of the
Lord Buddha in gold nielloware, the embroidered Sabokkoranee lotus pond
screen, the carved screen of Sabokkoranee Lotus Pond, Sivikakarn or
Covered Palanquin, a model of the Sri Suphannahongse Royal Barge, a
wood-carved screen with the legend of "Bejaratana", a carved wood
Half-Dragon Half-Horse Creature, an Octagonal - shaped room decorated
with beetle wings are just a few of the feast to the eye at Arts of the
I was lingering near many masterpieces thinking how long ago these
masterpieces were made in solid gold and genuine diamonds and rubies
with intricate designs. To quench your thirst one such masterpiece is
the golden "howdah", a seat kept on the Royal Elephant for the king when
he goes to the war. It seems about three feet long, two feet wide with a
height of two feet. "It was completed in August 12, 2004 by 76 artists,"
Tim told to our surprise "They took 18 months to make these intricate
The Queen would meet with villagers to informally chat and listen to
their opinions and problems, while inspecting their latest handiworks
and meet with new talents, who would later be sent to be trained to
cultivate higher skills in handling more intricate designs, from weaving
to complicated wooden carvings.
I was impressed to see a quarter page photograph of the Kelaniya
Dagoba in the the Bangkok Post Newspaper which was delivered to me in
the Rembrandt hotel room on March 29 morning. I skimmed the newspaper
and it was a pleasure to read a three page article about the cultural
sites in Sri Lanka written by Pichaya Svasti and decorated with
The very same day we attended the Official Inauguration of Miracle
Year of Amazing Thailand 2012 presided by the Prime Minister of Thailand
Later in the evening we departed for Ayutthaya just 80 kilometers
away in the North of Bangkok to visit tourist sites. It reminded me of
the ruins in the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. The
temples and palaces stood ruined but strong in the sun and the rain for
The city of Ayutthaya became Thailand's capitol in the mid-14th
Century and remained the capital until the late18th Century.
We had our dinner at Pae Kiung Kao Restaurant - a floating restaurant
where we were served with large number of Thai dishes which were
appealing to my Sri Lankan taste buds.
The morning after we visited Madame Tussaud Wax Museum where one can
meet a large number of leading figures in history including Mahathma
Ghandi, Albert Einstein, Barack Obama to Britney Spears. When we were
watching the life size images of these world famous figures Sugatha
Menon could not help posing for a photograph with her hands round Pablo
"She is really photogenic," it was the voice of Ivan Alwis, who was
with two other jounalists Executive Editor of Jade Sugatha Menon and
freelancer Kiran who came along ith us. If you love to see the beauty of
ocean beds and creatures across the regions, the Siam Ocean World one of
the largest in Southeast Asia is a place to see. The aquatic wonderland
underneath the Siam Paragon shopping mall, in the size of three Olympic
swimming pools will dazzle you with innovative world-class exhibits and
over 30,000 curious looking creatures from various depths and aquatic
regions across the globe.