So today I ventured to Phetchaburi (pronounced petburi…note about Thai English translations…whenever there is a ph or th, they’re pronounced as p’s and t’s, just not pronounced as as hard as their counterparts without h’s) the provincial capital of the province bearing the same name, which Cha-Am (where I technically live) is located. I haven’t done anything in a couple of weeks and I wanted to go somewhere before the end of the term and my trip to Vietnam next week.
Anyways, Phetchaburi is located about an hour bus ride north of me, roughly 1/3 of the way to Bangkok. It’s known for some old Wat’s, Buddha filled caves, and a palace built by Rama IV, King Mongkut who you’ve probably heard of from “The King and I”…yes he was a historical figure, and really was the King of Siam, hence why that movie and any based on the same story are banned within Thailand for their not-so-positive view of the King. You have to realize that the story is based on Anna’s (don’t know her last name) memoires and is the European view of things…in her writing she refers to the Thai people as “heathens” and can’t understand their way of life. The King was really bald though.
I caught the bus to Phetchaburi which takes a while to get there as many buses here pick up people along the way…convenient, but slow. When I arrived I made my way towards this mountain in the middle of town, with King Mongkut’s palace and an older Wat on top. In the process of trying to find the way to get up, I came across this nice old Wat that had a big reclining Buddha inside (see right).
I found the road leading up to up to the top of the mountain (which is a national historic site) and the road was covered with tons of wild monkeys! There were vendors selling corn on the cobb and bananas for people to feed the monkeys…I think feeding them is a way for Buddhists to make merit, much like the feeding the fish that we did in Ayutthaya. I could definitely see the resemblance to humans and they were quite handy…peeling bananas and picking up things to much on. There were a few even drinking out of cups! See photos below.
Anyways I made it up to the top of the mountain (which was quite a climb!) and came upon Rama IV’s palace…it was built in a sort of mixed Chinese, Thai, European style. I don’t have many photos cuz they weren’t allowed, but we toured the inside that still had lots of 19th century furnishings and china inside. It was really simple…nothing like the opulence of the palaces built by his son, Rama V, that I saw in Bangkok. There were also some striking views of the surrounding area.
I also found my way over to the Wat on the other side of the mountain. Rama IV had this temple built in a similar fashion to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, though I didn’t really see the resemblance. There’s some photos below.
On the way down I stopped to do more monkey watching and saw this really fat looking monkey witch a mini tail sticking out of it and my first though was that it was pregnant and in the process of giving birth! Then I realized that it was carrying a baby on its stomach! Anyways by the time I got down it was 3:30 and the caves were closing at 4:00 and I was hot and tired so I decided to head home. I think tomorrow will be low key and full of studying as I’ve got finals this week. On Friday I’m leaving for Vietnam…and there will be lots of excitement then!