Temples in Thailand

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Of course when you are in Thailand, it’s important to go see temples and soak up the different culture.

Some of the temples didn’t allow women, but I went to all the ones that did.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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This is a sign detailing the money being put into the project, and the history of different depictions of Buddha through time.

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Behind most temples is a smaller and less grand building where the monks live. This is a dormitory.

Seoraksan National Park

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There is a place on the northeast coast of South Korea called Seoraksan National Park. It is one of the most beautiful and challenging places that I have ever hiked, and I hope you get the chance to go there some day.

I went with my friends Will and Ash. I only had a weekend, which is not enough to do the whole park. But, I did what I could.

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There are some easy activities, like taking the cable car up to the top of one of the peaks, or enjoying tea in one of the temples. We did do those things the first day, but we also did the really hard hike to the Ulsan Bawi mountain on the second day, and then climbed the 888 stairs to the top.

It was a very difficult hike, and it took us most of the second day.

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On the trail up to the stairs we came upon a temple, a place to refill out water bottles, and some quirky rock stacks.

The views along the trail are really amazing. I did it in October, which is really the best time of year. It’s cool, and the trees are starting to turn. I went about a week to early to see the best of the colors, but it was the only time I could make it.

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The picture above is of Dragon Ridge, which you can see from the Ulsan Bawi trail. However, that is a two-day hike and I didn’t have time for it.

Instead, I did the second-hardest hike in the park.

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We stopped halfway up to have a picnic lunch that we brought and play a little frizbie. Will is the kind of kid that likes frizbie. It’s not my thing, but I like to make my friends happy.

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Sure, there is a temple to stop at along the way. There are places to get water. It’s a great trail that is well, worn.

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However, the air is thin and it’s a long hike.

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However, if you get to the top, it’s an amazing feeling.

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Don’t go for just one day. The mountains make it very hard to predict what the weather will be like, and there is way too much to see in a day.

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Instead, go for a weekend, or even an entire week. It’s a huge park with far more trails than I was able to do, and you can easily spend a week just hiking around.

Here is me with the flag on top of the mountain. Such triumph!

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Camping is permitted, but I stayed in the nearby village of Sokcho and took the bus in each day. I didn’t have a tent and all the gear needed to camp since I moved to Korea in suitcases.

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No matter how long you go for, try to do one of the hard hikes. I didn’t have time for Dragon Ridge, but I am told it’s amazing as well. It’s really worth it for the views, which on a clear day extend all the way to the East Sea (or outside of Korea; the sea of Japan.)

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