The collected writings of a Renegade Tourist

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The Ride to Tainan

Last year I went to Tainan to participate in the Yanshui fireworks festival. Unfortunately I had misunderstood the schedule and managed to miss the whole thing. This year I was determined to join so I planned it better, double checking the schedule several times.

The festival was going to start on Monday with the main celebration Tuesday night until Wednesday morning. I originally planned that I and Renegade Wife could ride my motorcycle together over the weekend ending up in Tainan, so we could see the fireworks. Sadly my wife’s aunt passed away during the Chinese New Year so we … Read the rest

Buddha hand cave 4:40 pm

The place looks like a normal temple from the outside, the facade covered in typical temple decorations with the name above the door. Once you get inside you realize it’s actually a cave, a wide tunnel burrowing some 10 or 20 meters into the rock, divided into two sections by a concrete wall. Each section has an altar against the back wall, as well as all the other paraphernalia that belong to a temple. The walls are bare rock, with carvings and niches for statues here and there, and then, in the corner next to one of the altars is … Read the rest

Wat Pho 2:11 pm

The backside of the reclining Buddha, all you can see of the statue is his back, the folds of his robes hanging down to the pedestal and the pillars supporting the roof. On the opposite side of the corridor is a row of brass bowls on little stands. In each one of them is a number of coins and the room is filled with the plinking sound as people keep dropping more coins in the bowls. They go along the corridor, dropping a coin in each one then moving on to the next. It’s some kind of ritual and though … Read the rest

Wat Pra Kaeow, 10:45 am

Two buildings right next to each other, one predominantly blue, the other predominantly green. The walls are covered in glazed, lozenge shaped tiles, each of which is adorned with a bas relief flower; the gaps between the tiles is painted gold. The multi tiered roofs, tiled in red and green, are supported by pillars covered in mirror glass mosaic sparkling with silver in the sun, and gold painted decorations. It’s all a bit hard to take in, so much splendor, so much fine detail. Of course, it doesn’t help that the place is crowded with tourists, every time you want … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: trains and bats in Battambang. 

My main reason for coming to Battambang was the bamboo train which sounded really cool. So, this morning I rented a motorbike and headed out to the train station. The train is actually more like a small rail cart consisting of a wooden frame covered with bamboo slats that rests on two axles and is driven by a little petrol engine at the back. Me and my companions, a guy from Singapore I talked to on the boat yesterday and some guys from his hostel,  took our seats on the little cusions provided, and off we went along the crooked, … Read the rest

Bayon temple, 11:54 am

The central chamber of the main stupa: despite the size of the the surrounding structure, the room is small and cramped. Save for the sunlight that comes in through a small hole at the very top of the high, narrow, conical roof, the only light inside comes from a few candles. In the center of the room a seated Buddha statue wrapped in an orange cloth with a few decorations on either side. In front of the Buddha is a family, sitting on a thin mat, praying. The room smells of incense, sticks of it burning in a vase at … Read the rest

The Big Indochina Trip: back to Phnom Penh

Having seen all there is to see in Kampong Thom, we headed back to Phnom Penh right after breakfast. We arrived at our hostel around lunch and, since we weren’t able to access the room for about two hours, we decided to kill the time by going to the nearby Wat Phnom which is one of the main temples in the city.

I feel a bit templed out so I didn’t take as many photos as normal but it’s nice all the same. The inside especially has some nice paintings depicting scenes from the Buddha’s life. 

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Wat Xieng Thong, 2:24 pm

The roof is steal with a high peak, the sides sloping down towards the ground in layered curves. The low walls and the pillars lining the central aisle, four on each side, are decorated with an intricate patterns in gold and red. At the back of the room is an altar adorned with Buddha figures and bouquets of red and white flowers, and behind that, a gilded ¬†Buddha statue with a shimmering orange sash across the torso, the statue is so large it almost covers the back wall. A group of people, probably around 30 of them, sit on the … Read the rest

Prabang temple, 8:49 am

The sign says “No photograph” but they can’t stop me from taking one without a camera. In front of me is a kind of gilded bas-relief depicting two griffins facing each other and on top of them two fantastical snakes facing away from each other, their tales entwined in the middle. Behind it a stepped dias done in red and gold, at the top of which is a kind of pavilion, two pillars on each side supporting a stepped roof. Under the roof is a small gilded Buddha statue, standing erect with palms facing outwards. At the foot of the … Read the rest

Exploring Tainan County

It is Moon Festival in Taiwan which means we have five days off. Except for going back to Erlin to celebrate with Yini’s family, we planned to go out to the coast for a few days. However, the weather gods didn’t seem to like our plans because they sent not one, but two typhoons our way. The first one caused floods and lots of chaos down in the south and east parts of the island but Erlin, which is in the middle, was fine and we had two nice days with the family, barbecuing and shooting fireworks in the evening. The second … Read the rest

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