Some of the temples didn’t allow women, but I went to all the ones that did.
Thailand is a majority Buddhist county, and unlike South Korea, they really enjoy their gold.
There are golden Buddhas everywhere. Some of them are just painted that color, but others are real gold.
With the gold Buddhas, you can buy sheets of gold leaf. It helps to support the temple, and you get to press the gold right onto the Buddha.
The photo (above) is of one such Buddha, covered in real gold.
I sat down to talk to some monks at a “Monk Chat.” They couldn’t talk directly to me, so they spoke through a man who was willing to rely my questions.
Mostly, I asked about why they became monks. The answers varied, but for the most part, they had families who were poor and they needed a place to live.
Everyone tries to follow the teachings of the Buddha, but they seemed to convey the thought that becoming a monk is about finding a place in the world when you need one. They also take and care for sick people if their families can’t.
Much like in a Muslim church, it is important to be covered. When I went looking at temples, I brought a shawl with me to make sure my body was covered.
They do offer shawls at some of the temples that you can use, but I brought my own because I have sensitive skin.
The architecture is really beautiful and unique. Of course Thailand is perfectly modern and they have modern buildings which are just plain towers.
However, with temples they try to use the traditional architecture. The detail is amazing!
This is one of the temples that women weren’t allowed in (above) so I don’t know what was inside.
I thought about trying to peer in, but unfortunately it seemed disrespectful so I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Even the neighborhood shrines are really neat. I had a tuk-tuk driver who took me around for a day, and he brought me to his local neighborhood shrine to offer a prayer for a good day.
Of course I donated to the temple, as is expected. I thought it was nice that he would think of bringing tourists there as a way to help improve his neighborhood.
This is the prayer the monk offered me in thanks for my contribution. He also gave me some incense to light for the Buddha in the temple.
Each house in the nicer neighborhoods has a little miniature house in front of it.
Many are made to look like the homes they are in front of, and they are meant to be a place for spirits to stop and rest.
Offerings of food, flowers, and alcohol are often left inside.
I even visited some of the ancient temples that they are trying to restore, in order to preserve Thailand’s history.
You can see the yellow railings around it, because it’s not open to the public during restoration. But it was still cool to have a look.
This is a sign detailing the money being put into the project, and the history of different depictions of Buddha through time.
Behind most temples is a smaller and less grand building where the monks live. This is a dormitory.