If you look at the top left here, you’ll see little wind-chime bells hanging from the roof. They create a steady and constant music as you walk the grounds. They no doubt have a spiritual significance (scare away bad spirits?), but they’re also aurally enjoyable. On the bottom left you’ll see some lions guarding the entrance; a few shots later you’ll see the main temple guardian, a big scary monster kind of guy.
Strange as it sounds, the Jim Thompson house is a main tourist site within Bangkok. An American stationed in Bangkok during WWII, he stayed after the war and became well known for virtually saving the Thai silk industry, by introducing it to fashion houses in the West. He also collected many lovely works of art, and toured the provinces buying threatened old traditional Thai homes, deconstructing them and then rebuilding them on his grounds in Bangkok. After his death, the grounds have become a great place to learn more about traditional all-wood Thai architecture, and see beautiful art and
Notice the very steep and deep overhanging roof here — no doubt a very useful architectural detail during the monsoon rains, some of which I experienced while in Bangkok. Reminded me of the rainiest days in Nanning.
Sunday, my second day in Bangkok, my friend Tony had booked a wonderful full-day tour for us to Ayuthaya. (Thanks again, Tony, for everything — if you’re reading this!) Ayuthaya was the capital from 1350 to 1767 or something like that — so at least by Chinese standards, it’s not so much ancient as old. But it’s definitely very impressive and beautiful, and one learns a great deal about Thailand by reading this. (The city was attacked and sacked by the Burmese, for example.) The Emerald Buddha Temple/Grand Palace complex you saw earlier is modeled after one of the temple/palace complexes here in Ayuthaya, since Ayuthaya represented a political and cultural high point in Thai history.