Sound and superstition: peaceful prayers and scaring spirits.

Thailand is such a vibrant, alive country.  Sounds of street vendors frying tasty morsels for passing hungry locals and tourists, the rushing traffic and endless pip-pip of the tuk-tuk drivers trying to get your attention, music blaring from bars as you walk past, with staff coming to chat and try to entice you inside.  But for me, the sounds of Thailand that I hold onto with fondest memories are the sounds of Thai spirituality. Contrasting ends of the scale, for this week’s travel theme: noise.

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It is traditional to start every new boat voyage is started with fireworks, to drive away the bad spirits. Here, at the start of a dive trip around the Similans, one of the boat boys did a great job with a string of firecrackers.  For such tiny things they make a real racket!

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Back on dry land, at Wat Hua Lamphong.  It is a Royal Buddhist temple in Bangkok, and its opulence was quite staggering.  By comparison to their surroundings these prayer bells looked quite drab.  But the whole time we were there the temple compound was filled with the gentle pealing melody of the bells being rung by visitors.  The belief is that ringing the bells while offering up your prayer increases your chance of it being heard and answered.

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