Northern Exposure: Chiang Rai – Wat Phra Kaew

entrance

Despite a general lack of any useful knowledge of or insights about Buddhism, visiting a temple is for me a great opportunity for some photography, a bit of peace and quiet and an experience of something extremely different from the normal day-to-day life in Belfast.

Wat Phra Kaew in Chiang Rai is a great example of a temple complex that is extremely welcoming to tourists yet doesn’t seem to get many tourists.  Chiang Rai’s Blue Temple and the White Temple in particular are tourist hotspots but Wat Phra Kaew has lots to walk around, places to sit, have bit of meditation if that’s your thing and great to spend a few hours with the camera and not be rushed.

 

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Monk

 

 

 

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Pagoda

Those who were there for devotional reasons were ok with photos being taken – but it’s best to be discrete about it

 

prayer

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The original Green Buddah is now in the Grand Palace, Bangkok but originated here.  It has a replacement now.

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Temple interior

In the temple grounds there are a variety of drums and bells.  Some you can’t play, others you can have a go.

 

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non-beating drum
bells
Bells and Shadows
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Big Bell

 

 

And there is the usual, delighful literal translation to English.  I did.

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Wat Phra Kaew is about a 7 minute songthaew ride from the centre of you can walk in about 25 minutes.

Pictures taken on the Canon 6D and 28-90 lens

Northern Exposure: Chiang Rai – The Blue Temple

I generally prefer black and white – it removes a feeling of clutter, great for showing contrast in a scene and it has that delightful separation from reality.  Occasionally, though, you encounter a scene that demands to be shot in colour.  In Chiang Rai there is Wat Rong Suea Ten – or The Blue Temple.  On a sunny day, there is nothing quite so blue as The Blue Temple.

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It is blue

As you can see, its predominant characteristic is its undoubted blueness.

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Maximum blueness

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Detail
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White outdoor Buddah

And once you get inside, there’s still blue. And some white. And people to add a bit of colour enhancement.

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Posing for Buddah – 1
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Posing for Buddah 2

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As with all religious sites, donations welcome

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As always when visiting temples, not all of us are Irish tourists runing around with cameras. Some are there for more spiritual reasons.

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Wat Rong Suea Ten is about 3.5km from the centre of Chiang Rai (the Bus station) and there are a variety of busses, taxis and songthaews.  We walked in the heat.  A lot of surrounding cafes were closed late afternoon and early evening (it closed at 6pm) but the light is so much better.

All shot on the Canon 6D and an old film era EOS lens 28-90 kit zoom.