Visiting Bangkok or any part of Thailand wouldn’t be complete without watching some Thai boxing or going to the famous temples. Frankly, I’m not a fan of boxing but to be able to watch it live in front of my very eyes is an experience that I would like to have at least once! Thai boxing is aplenty in Bangkok, with huge posters displaying the fights on some of the shop lots along Bangkok, as well as boxers demonstrating on moving trucks on the streets. If you’re like me and wouldn’t want to spend money on these shows, there’s a free alternative that you can go to!
M.B.K. Fight Night
Every Wednesday from 6 to 8.30pm, head on to M.B.K. Center in Bangkok to witness the MBK Fight Night. We happened to walk past the mall coincidentally on Wednesday and saw a large crowd around this area that we just had to go check out. It turned out that a fight was going on, and most of the audience were cheering for their favourite fighter whenever he scored a point.
Fight about to start
We managed to watch one of the fights going on by 2 foreigners. If you’re lucky, you might be able to catch some locals in the ring for some of the fights.
Round 1 – start!
The beginning of the fight was pretty mild and boring, but as the crowd got heated up, the fight became more violent. In fact, I saw some blood at the mouth of the guy wearing the red shorts towards the end of the fight!
It can get pretty rough
To head to MBK Center, just take the BTS (Sky train) to National Stadium station and follow the signs to MBK Center. You will definitely pass by this ring!
Moving on, the next day, we visited one of the most talked about shrine in Bangkok – the Erawan Shrine, also known as the Four-faced Buddha statue. Getting here is quite easy – take the BTS to Chitlom station, and follow the signs to Erawan Shrine or Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel, and you will see a row of stalls selling flowers just outside the shrine. Along the way, you would have passed by Amarin Plaza, so you’d know that you’re on the right track.
Amarin Plaza along the way
Once you see a row of stalls selling flowers and incense, you’ll know that the shrine is just around the corner.
Stalls selling flowers and incense
View from outside – Filled with devotees
Even though we went there on a weekday, the shrine was packed with people – devotees and tourists alike, they all seemed to know what to do and where to go. We took a few minutes to observe the situation and find out what we were supposed to do.
The four-faced Brahma Statue: Face of Peace and Health, Face of Good Fortune, Face of Good Relationships and Face of Protection against Evils
From the entrance, there’s a booth at the right corner that sells incense and flowers. Each set costs about 30baht, consisting of 4 wreaths of flowers and some incense. One is supposed to pray all 4 sides of the statue, placing one wreath of flower and burn 3 incense sticks at each side while saying one’s prayers. Since there was such a crowd, the smoke from the incense and the heat from the sun made the task quite a challenging one.
Pray all 4 sides of the statue
Look at all the garlands of flowers surrounding the statue. It just shows how important and popular this shrine is, so much so that a man that vandalised the shrine back in 2006 was killed by the bystanders eventually. I tried to get a clearer and better shot of the statue but the incessant smoke from the incense made the picture look hazy and blur.
The golden four-faced Brahma statue
Now for a bit of history of this statue (taken from the information board):
“Thao Maha Brahma
At the end of the year in 1955, the Union of Thai Hotel and Tourism Company Limited, the founder of the Erawan Hotel, was told by Rear Admiral Luang Suwichanphaet, who specialized in astrology, that the original moment for laying the foundation stone of the Erawan Hotel was not really right auspicious moment. It must be corrected by building a shrine of the Thao Maha Brahma and a Spirit House in the area of the hotel. Then a shrine with the image of the Thao Maha Brahma and a Spirit House were built following the advice. The image was a sculpture in plaster covered with gold leaf, which was designed and sculpted by Mr Chit Phimkowit, a sculptor of the fine arts department. It was brought to enshrine there since the 9th November, 1956, and a worship ceremony of the image has been held on the 9th November of every year.”
This is where you should light up your incense
After praying, we saw that most people would head to this huge golden urn filled with water. Believed to be holy water, a small bowl was provided to scoop up the water to sprinkle on one’s head, face and hands.
Huge urn filled with holy water
Throughout the years, many have said that this shrine has granted their wish. Apparently, when a wish is granted, the devotees thank God by granting classical Thai dancers to dance in front of the God. Some even offered these huge teak elephants which were on display around the shrine.
Teak elephants as a sign of thank you
witch at Erawan Shrine
After the whole ritual under the hot sun, one was bound to become sweaty and warm. This was when a sweet and cold coconut drink would work wonders! Located just outside the shrine, there were several stalls selling cold drinks and coconut to quench our thirst especially on a hot afternoon. Each coconut cost about 50baht, slightly more expensive than the usual price but we were desperate!
The experience of visiting Erawan Shrine definitely enlightened us with the Thai culture and tradition. It’s an experience not to be missed if you visit Bangkok. Of course, you get a bonus if your wish is granted! 😉
Visiting hours: 6.00am – 11.30pm
Getting there: Take the BTS to Chitlom station or Siam station
Entrance fee: Free
Saucer with a cute girl
The Thai Ronald McDonald
Ending the post with some shots of cute statues around Bangkok! 🙂
*Note: Read the rest of my Bangkok Escapade here!