15 November 2008

Muay Thai and the Golden Mount

On Thursday night we went to see some Thai boxing. It was a great evening out and not just for the fighting. The locals do a lot a betting at these events and the bookmakes are right in the crowd. So, with the punters cheering on thier boxers with big money at stake. The bookies shouting the latest betting and odds at each other, accompanied with a manic hand waving tick-tack in a John McCrirrik crossed with Magnus Pike stylee. Oh, and the live musical accompanyment. It was certainly quite a spectacle. Sometimes you didn't know whether to watch the boxing or the crowd!

The tickets are split into 3 classes. 1st class, which are 2000 baht (40 quid), puts you ring side. We sat in the 2nd class area for 1500 baht (30 quid), whilst for 1000 baht (20 quid) you get the luxury of the caged off bit at the back where all the die hard locals are! Our only complaint is that there is a major two tier ticket system in place where foreigners pay exponentially (somewhere between 50 to 100 times) more than locals. We don't mind paying a bit more but I think that this is a little too much.

On the way to the boxing we visited Golden Mount (Wat Saket), which is buddhist temple built on an artifical hill overlooking the Banglamphu area in which we are staying. I think it could hold the record for the noisiest place of worship we've ever been to.

At the bottom of the mount is a really hectic market cum fun fair which has to be negotated first. Then as you wind your way up the steps you are accompanied by various prayers and chants that are blairing out of speakers spaced every 10 to 20 paces. As you continue to climb you also encounter several series of large bells which the faithful all have to ring. This is accompanied by further prayers and chants that are blaring from more speakers at the top of the mount! It's a real cacophoney of noise . . . but not in a bad way. Even though we didn't understand all that was going on all the noise really added to the atmosphere.

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