Thursday, 30 January 2014

Wat Phra Thammakaya (Pathum Thani) วัดพระธรรมกาย (ปทุมธานี)

Wat Phra Thammakaya (Pathum Thani) วัดพระธรรมกาย (ปทุมธานี)

Timely for my dear readers to include this place into their Makha Bucha / Valentine’s day (falls on the same day this year, 14.02.2014) plans. My recommended schedule for visit would be 6-8 pm for the procession, if you want to walk around in daylight come earlier.

Wat Phra Thammakaya = Wat Phra Dhammakaya = วัดพระธรรมกาย (the last “a” in the Romanization is absent in Thai, and in Thai pronunciation there is no “a” at the end)

It is such a vast compound that even I (as an avid walker) have not been able to go everywhere in two visits. I have not been to the third dome (furthest away from the main entrance).

All dimensions are gigantic: the hall could serve to store airplanes and the cloister is a square with about 1000m side length (measured on googlemaps) On a weekday (my first visit on a Friday), not much activity, but the dimensions alone are spectacular. On special events (my second visit on Makha Bucha Day) it’s a spectacle like I have never seen one before. The dome is illuminated and after sunset, candles are lit and carried around (“elevenfold counterclockwise circumambulation” if I remember correctly what I read on a sign there), then the fire is passed on to the worshippers whereupon the whole ground slowly lits with flames, followed by firework and accompanied by singing/prayers. A spectacle that could be part of James Bond or Indiana Jones movie or a Reichsparteitag (Nuremberg Rally, National Socialist German Workers' Party Convention).

I didn’t make it into any of the domes (opening times, visitors are required to dress in white).

All Thai people I have asked about it knew it, but it seems to be little known to foreigners.

On one visit to Thailand, I could clearly see it out of the airplane when flying to Suvarnabhumi, but when I had my camera out and working it was partially covered by clouds.

The fastest way to get there from central Bangkok is by taxi (50 km, 350 Baht), if you want to save money you can go by public transport to Future Rangsit and take taxi from there, doing all the trip by public transport is possible, but takes a bit longer (and return by public transport is unfeasible, I returned by taxi)

I have been there twice:

25.11.2011 (Friday, no special activties)
taxi from Silom to Victory Monument (30 min, 5 km, 100 Baht),
at Victory Monument we couldn’t find the free van (my Thai friend asked),
so we took van to Future Rangsit (13:31 – 14:03, 30 Baht per person),
from Future Rangsit bus 1008 (14:17 -15:12, 10 Baht per person),
back to Sathorn by taxi (17:25 – 18:27, 52 km and 7 minutes standing, 350 Baht + 45 + 55 toll)

25.02.2012 (Monday, Makha Bucha Day with impressive procession)
from Lak Si bus 554 aircon to Future Rangsit (16:06 – 16:31, 19 Baht per person),
bus 1008 (16:54 – 17:40, of which 17:15 – 17:28 detour for Thammasat University, 10 Baht per person),
taxi back to Lak Si (20:08 – 20:46, 33 km and 5 minutes standing, 220 Baht + 45 toll)

How did I know about this place? From the internet and from the book “Bangkok off the grid” (same author as the website).

Others have written about this place, check it out for additional information so I don’t have to copy paste:

(I will stop here, I have this compulsion to make lists.)

Wat Phra Dhammakaya
23/2 Mu 7, Khlong Sam, Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani 12120, Thailand Tel: +(66)-2831-1000
23/2 หมู่ 7, คลองสาม, อำเภอคลองหลวง, ปทุมธานี 12120, ประเทศไทย โทร: +(66)-2831-1000

Location on googlemaps:

After passing the assembly hall, before entering the cloister:

Inside the cloister:

another dome:

 inside the dome:


second visit, dome in pool and assembly hall in background:

in the cloister:

lighting the candles starts at the dome:


(end of post)

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Bangkok Bus Guide

Bangkok Bus Guide

Bangkok Bus Guide (thinknet 2010 and 2013, 99 Baht) 

I bought this map in 2011 and it has served me very well over the years. I carry it with me most of the time when I am in Thailand, it has accompanied and served me well for about 500 days now. Despite daily use still in good condition. I use it extensively for general navigation as well.

There are two other bus maps for Bangkok I know of (and have one at home), and there is one free map I know of that has bus lines but this one is clearly my favorite. It starts with the size: about postcard size, fits easily into my pocket. Good material, tear and water proof. Useful scale, central Bangkok 1:18,000 and greater Bangkok 1:80,000. Bilingual English Thai.

Changes between the 2010 and 2013 edition:
Mega Bangna has been added, BTS extension was dotted “under construction” in 2010 edition

Things I would change: scale 1:20,000 instead of 1:18,000, “Embassy of Chaina”, "Mejor Cineplex" (Phetkasem near Soi 69), "Peolo Memorial Hospital" -> Paolo (Samut Prakan, Srinakrin Road), do line 2 and 60 really run along Atsadaeng?, add Sukhumvit Soi 4-12 on the map (there is enough space), add bus terminal at Government Center Chaengwattana (line 66, 166, 505 and others), add pier numbers for Chayo Phraya and Saen Sap boats.

Lak Si train station is in wrong location, Soi Ladprao 71 is labelled as 71 and as 101 (101 is elsewhere).

update 28may2017:
Chao Phraya boat line ends at S3 pier in the map. While S4 pier is off the 1:18,000 map, there should be an indication that the line continues. "The Mall" should have the full name where there is space on the map, e.g. The Mall Tha Phra. 

update 5jul2017: Robinson Samut Prakarn is not in map 

Available in most bookstores and many 7/11. It has saved me ten thousands of Baht by taking bus instead of taxi.

Picture of current edition (2nd) from their website:

(first edition looks the same, but in red) 

update 23sep2017: bus 556 Victory Monument - Democracy Monument - Wat Rai Khing is missing, 
Asiatique is missing (opened in 2012 so cannot be in 2010 edition, but check if it's in post-2012 editions)

Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC

Dating Thai boys (9): The mob thwarts my plans

Dating Thai boys (9): The mob thwarts my plans

It looks good, a boy I haven’t met for a while and whom I would like to meet again is back in Bangkok and he needs money for school. But with Victory Monument being blocked, he cannot take bus 29 (no change of transport necessary) and does only have 20 Baht left, not enough for BTS and bus. And he is too lazy to walk 3 km to Sam Sen railway station (or he doesn’t need the money that urgent that he would walk 3 km). In this case, I have to wait until mob is over or kind of pick him up at Victory Monument when I am on the way back home.

[LINE] Chat with Victory Monument boy
Saved time2014/01/23 11:06

20:30     christianpfc         Nice picture. Where is this? (New picture in his profile, looks like locker room of a sauna.)
20:59     VM boy                 Ari
20:59     VM boy                Sorry
20:59     VM boy                Can you help me please
21:06     christianpfc         In sauna?
21:06     christianpfc         How can I help you?
21:07     VM boy                Can you transfer money for i go school please
21:07     VM boy                I don't have money
21:09     christianpfc         Sorry, no money transfer, but if we meet I can give you money (A principle: no online money transfer, only directly from my hands in to his hands.)
21:09     christianpfc         Where are you now?
21:09     VM boy                In room friend
21:09     VM boy                Silom
21:10     VM boy                You can come?
21:10     VM boy                [Sticker]
21:10     VM boy                Or tomorrow in Victory monument
21:10     christianpfc         I am in my room, in laksi, do you remember?
21:10     VM boy                Now i have big problem
21:11     christianpfc         How much money do you need for school?
21:11     VM boy                1000 per week
21:12     christianpfc         I work tomorrow, I don't know when I have time to meet you.
21:12     VM boy                Please
21:12     VM boy                How can i do
21:13     VM boy                [Sticker]
21:14     christianpfc         I don't know.
21:14     VM boy                Please help me i don't have way for do
21:15     christianpfc         But I can't meet now, too far away
21:15     christianpfc         Friend or boyfriend in silom?
21:15     VM boy                And when you can
21:15     VM boy                Tomorrow?
21:15     VM boy                Only friend
21:15     VM boy                She its lady boy
21:16     christianpfc         Next week I am busy.
21:17     VM boy                Oh
21:17     VM boy                [Sticker]
21:18     christianpfc         But I want to see you again. I like you. I call when I'm free. Now you stay in Bangkok for how long?
21:19     VM boy                Forever
21:19     VM boy                For study
21:19     VM boy                No work

13:03     christianpfc         Hello, how are you?
13:04     christianpfc         Can we meet tonight?
13:32     VM boy                Not ok
13:32     VM boy                No have money to go school
13:39     christianpfc         I can help you
13:40     christianpfc         Can you come to my room tonight?
13:40     VM boy                I don't have money for go
13:41     christianpfc         You can take bus 29
13:43     VM boy                But you know no have bus
13:43     VM boy                This areas
13:43     VM boy                Cause have boom
13:43     VM boy                At Victory monument
13:43     christianpfc         Bts to mor chit, then bus 29
13:44     VM boy                Then no have car pass this areas
13:44     VM boy                I tell you i don't have money i have only 20 bath
13:45     christianpfc         I think can, I took bus 29 on Friday
13:47     VM boy                But have boom yesterday
13:47     VM boy                Now no have car
13:47     christianpfc         OK, I understand
13:48     christianpfc         Do you remember where I live?
13:49     VM boy                I think yes
13:53     christianpfc         I am free tonight. Is bts running?
13:53     VM boy                Yes run
13:53     VM boy                Can you come to Victory monument (In theory yes, but we would need a room. Out of principle no, it’s the same trip from my room to VM and back as from VM to my room and back, and if I pay I don’t want to travel. I am not a walking ATM!)
13:55     christianpfc         I have free room. Is your room free?
13:59     VM boy                No have
14:00     christianpfc         So we have to meet in my room.
14:03     christianpfc         Can you go to สามเสน.railway station and take train to หลักสี่ (Sam Sen, Lak Si)
14:05     VM boy                I tell you
14:05     VM boy                I have only 20 bath
14:09     christianpfc         I know, but train is cheap
14:09     christianpfc         You can walk to sam sen
14:17     VM boy                Oh so far r
14:18     christianpfc         2.8 km, can walk
14:23     christianpfc         Can you come for 1 hour massage for 1000 baht tonight?
14:23     VM boy                Ih
14:23     VM boy                Oh i can not
14:23     VM boy                [Sticker]
14:26     christianpfc         OK. But I hope we can meet again when the mob is over.
14:28     VM boy                I think long timr
14:31     christianpfc         Is วิภาวดีรังสิต free for traffic? (Vipavadi Rangsit)
14:32     VM boy                I don't know
14:33     christianpfc         If you find a way to come to my place, we can meet tonight.
14:35     VM boy                Oh can not
16:56     christianpfc         Hello, where are you now?
17:00     VM boy                Victory monument
17:08     christianpfc         I am at work, go home soon.
17:09     christianpfc         Can you come by taxi? I pay taxi for you.
(Message not read, another boy calls me, he can come from Ladprao to meet me tonight, so I will take VM boy another time.)
17:32     christianpfc         Or better we meet when mob is over.

23:30     VM boy                I think its long time

Copyright 2014 ChristianPFC