Sunday, December 10, 2006

Unseen Thailand

Thai Temple

The Thai Temple offers not only a place where you can strike lottery, but also a place where you can eat and sleep. Great news for backpackers if you do not mind the occasional drifting spirits and the skeletons that they keep for show.

Thai people when traveling, often likes to stay in temples for they do not charge you, but instead accept a donation of any amount that you will give. However, it is not to be taken advantage of as the amount of donation given is inversely proportional to the likelihood of being strike by lightning on a clear day. In a common village temple, you get to sleep in the big hall with most likely wooden floor. The toilet is literally a hole and like most Thai places, the flushing system is a bucket of water with an algae infested floating scoop in it. Sometimes when you are doing your output process, a really huge spider will stroll across the walls or a giant gecko will be watching you like a pervert camera hidden.

Meals, you get to taste real Thai food, most likely in buffet style. The caretakers will cook and layout the spread on a common table. Just pick what you want and feast. After that you could have a smoke anywhere you want, maybe even join the smoking monks, but do respect the temple and not to treat religious ornaments as giant ash trays.

Some well funded temples in the northern region offers near 3 star hotel services. It is really a hotel like building they constructed. Run by volunteers and you sleep in rooms for 2 with attached toilet that has proper heating and flushing facilities. There is commonly a pantry area where you get free flow of coffee. You need to book in advance by calling the temple up. Most Thai tour groups stay in such places. And again, pay any amount you want. From what I heard, on group tours, the organizers pays only THB$50 (SGD$2) per room per night. It is most likely they will never strike lottery in this and their next three lives.

To repay the kindness for sheltering you, wake in the morning and offer the monks your service by washing up dishes, sweeping the floor, cleaning the toilets or catching that hidden pervert gecko. Once seen on TV, in Australia, a Thai person on tour went to a scarce Thai temple there and stayed over as well.

Things I never knew. A holiday that never ends.

No comments: