Exploring, the way we do, the various locales we have visited during this adventure has provided us a cultural perspective that we probably would not have gained doing just the "touristy" route. The following pictures of street life in parts of Bangkok is a testament to that perspective.
We finally arrived at our destination for the day (approximately 3 miles from the pier through winding streets). This Giant Swing, built in 1784, is a religious structure formerly used in an old Brahmin ceremony, one of 12 royal ceremonies held each month of the Thai lunar calander. This ceremony, lasting ten days, celebrates the Brahmin new year. The two side pillars, representing mountains, are 30 meters high and the circular bases represent the earth and seas. Tradition held that Brahmins would swing up to the 82 foot level to catch (in their teeth)a bag of silver coins suspended at the top. That part of the ceremony was discontinued in 1935 following several fatal accidents.
Wat Suthat is a Royal Temple of the First Grade, one of ten such temples in Bangkok. Construction of this temple began in 1807 under the reign of King Rama I and was completed in 1847. This complex covers ten acres of land surrounded by an outer wall and four main gates. The lower terrace of the temple contains 28 Chinese pagodas representing the 28 Buddhas born on earth. There are 156 Buddha images along the outer wall. The grounds also contain monastic living quarters for the monks studying here. There is a 25 foot tall Buddha in the main hall, the base of which contains the ashes of Rama VIII, brother of the current King. The exquisite wall paintings in the main hall depict the 24 previous lives of Buddha, as well as the early history of Bangkok.