In Thailand, like other countries in the region at this time of year, people are building sand stupas at their local temple in order to make merit. The people of Bangsaen in Chonburi have taken this to the next step. Every year, towards the end of Songkran, local residents take part in a chedi building competition on the local beach. The results are quite stunning and it is often hard to believe that they are really only made of sand. The contestants started building their sand chedis yesterday and many of them worked into the night in order to have them finished.
We drove down to Bangsaen this morning to look at the results. Chonburi is only an hour away and the beach about 14 kms further. I thought all of the water throwing had finished by now so I stupidly had my car cleaned at the local petrol station before we left. The car was covered in white powder which had dried hard. I suppose it was all wishful thinking because I didn’t want to get wet taking pictures of works of art. When we got down to the beachfront we were confronted with a traffic jam of pickup trucks and thousands of people throwing water. Of course there was no way we were going to park there so we had to drive further up the beach to a quieter spot and then we walked back along the beach. We were lucky not to get covered in wet paste but the car wasn’t so lucky.
Bangsaen is a nice place to spend the day even if you don’t want to swim. At noon we drove to the northern end of the beach which was practically deserted. We sat down on beach chairs and ordered some lunch. We had tom yum kung and som tam with grilled chicken. The afternoon breeze made us feel sleepy and very relaxed. Before we left Bangsaen we drove to the top of Khao Sam Muk to see the beautiful view and also to see the monkeys. There were too many people so we didn’t stay for long. Driving back, we stopped briefly in Ang Sila which is a famous village for making objects out of granite. This is a good place to buy a mortar and pestle. As I have one already I bought two stone girls who were holding a jasmine garland and giving a wai. I thought they would look good by my front door. At less than $10 for the pair they were also good value for money.
Don’t forget to visit thaiphotoblogs.com over the next few days for some more pictures of today’s trip.