In a photo series, Clew photographer Lisbeth Ganer will take you to Bangkok. People. Food. Culture. Images of a culture:
- Buddhism is considered Thailand’s official religion, and Bangkok is its center with close to 95% of the citizens being Theravada buddhists. Bangkok is also home to many of the country’s most famous temples, called wats, and to most of the temples stamped on the baht coins. Flip a coin, temple side up you try to find it!
- The Thai National Anthem is recited twice daily; at 08:00 and 18:00 in public places, and before a movie, play or cultural performance the King’s Anthem is played and everyone must stand – first and foremost out of respect, but also because it is illegal not to.
- The Songkran Festival, a.k.a. the Water Festival, taking place in Bangkok in April, is host to the world’s largest street water fight.
- When in Bangkok, you may encounter barefoot monks in saffron coloured robes carrying the traditional “Bat” – a large bowl for collecting food donations. Today there is one community in Bangkok that has preserved the complex art of making Bats – it takes about two days to make one bowl.
- If you spot a small wooden house next to a house or any building, it is for the “keeper of the home” – a kind spirit that protects the owner and his house from all troubles.
- Find the backstreets and ‘Sois’ (small roads) where people live in communities that have not changed much over the years. This might be easier if you get out of the city, but you can also find these streets in the centre.
- For another glimpse of the real Bangkok, take a bus! That is, if you can a) find a bus stop, b) manage to get on the bus and c) that bus being the right one. It’s cheap and you get a ringside seat to places and sides of Bangkok you otherwise wouldn’t experience – for better or worse.
- Or take a boat on one of the remaining canals (Khlong), another way of catching glimpses of crooked houses and old ways.
Photography by Lisbeth Ganer, cultural facts found by Unni Holtedahl, January 2016. ©2015 Lisbeth Ganer.