12 days in Bangkok - days 10 and 11 - Bangkok Art and Culture Centre, brutalism and ancient ruins of Ayutthaya

phobo @phobo
· December 2018 · 5 min read · #photography


As I mentioned two days ago, I went on a photo walk yesterday evening with fellow photographers from facebook group Bangkok Photographers. I went to our designated meeting spot a couple of hours earlier, so that I was able to look at the exhibitions in the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre - BACC for short.

There were some very interesting artworks to be seen, but the thing that impressed me the most were photos of Thailand, made as per request from the government to make 2019 calendar. Some of those pictures were beyond amazing.

There's also an exhibition by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn going on at the moment (photography) as well as Bangkok Art Biennale 2018, where 75 authors from 35 countries are representing their art over 20 locations in Bangkok.

It took me about 2 hours to see everything, and the best part was that everything was admission free!

I decided not to take pics of the artworks exhibited - I think that would be somewhat rude - but I made one pic of an installation hanging in the main lobby:

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I didn't see any explanation and didn't ask anyone, but my guess is they're trying to raise awareness about plastic pollution, which is - sadly - still a growing problem in the world.

After seeing all of the exhibitions I was left with about 45 minutes of free time before the photo walk, so I decided to make some shots of the brutal concrete railway upon which the skytrain is operating:

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After taking those photos, it was time for the photo walk. Our theme was 'see the light'. I made some pics, but Dennie (the organiser) is publishing a magazine, and he kindly asked us to send them to him and not publish anything before he makes his pick, which is going to be on 23. of December, so I'll post them after that. I can say it was a very interesting experience, though :)

Which brings me to today.

I got up early (6:30 to be exact) and headed down to nearest skytrain station, where I took the train close to Mo Chit bus terminal, where I had the spiciest breakfast of my life, and then boarded a minivan to the ancient city of Ayutthaya.

Ayutthaya was also the name of the kingdom, which consisted of several outlying towns and the capital city with the same name.

The city itself was built in 1351 and was known for its friendliness towards foreign traders. By the 16th century, it was described by those traders as one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the East. The court of king Narai (1656–1688) even had strong links with the court of King Louis XIV of France, whose ambassadors compared the city in size and wealth to Paris.

Because of that, they naturally had various enemies that wanted to rob them of their wealth, and in 1765 - after 50 years of internal coups and struggles to seize the throne by generals and princes - it was the Burmese armies that succeeded. 40.000 Burmese soldiers marched to Ayutthaya form north and west, and after 14 months siege it was burned in April of 1767. Ayutthaya's art treasures, the libraries containing its literature, and the archives housing its historic records were almost totally destroyed.

The city never recovered, but it had been added to the UNESCO world heritage site. Another Ayutthaya city was built near the ruins, and it's still a big city today.

Ok, so now that you know a tiny little bit about the ancient ruins (their history is much more complex and interesting), let me share some of the photos I made while visiting them.

The first thing I noticed upon entering were all of the broken statues of Buddha, assembled in one place:

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The nature is slowly taking back the city:

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Ok, I'm not creative enough to make a witty comment with every pic, so here you go:

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OK, I know that's a lot of images and that I could just pick 10 of the best ones, but I wanted to give you some perspective on how massive the ruins are. I might as well mention, that I've only visited 3 spots out of 7; due to walking as per my ever so tight budget.

You might have noticed that pretty much all of the Buddha statues are missing their heads. As I was walking around I was thinking about that fact, and my imagination went a bit wild - I assumed that the Burmese bashed all Buddhist relics when they pillaged the city, but the truth is much less exciting - they were chopped off by various looters and sold off to private collections in Europe and the U. S.

Near the end of my excursion I sat down to have a bit of rest and drink some water, and I spotted this tiny island:

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The last thing I saw before exiting the park were tourists riding an elephant:

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My first thought was 'Wow, that's awesome!' but on the heels of that I started to hate the local guide for exploit the poor animal for profit. I hope he's at least treating it well.

This concludes my Bangkok odyssey; I'll have a day off tomorrow, I need to get the laundry done and make some plans for the last part of my trip - Nepal. My plane is leaving Bangkok on 19. 12., I hope I'll have internet access in Nepal - from what I've read it's supposed to be pretty shitty :)

Well, have a good one, see you all next chance I'll get.


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