Sunday, June 22, 2008

Narai Phand and Koh Kret (also spelled Gaw Gret)

Today, my only free day from class, was spent as a typical tourist - sight seeing and shopping. The first stop was at Narai Phand at government supported store for products made by Thais. They had just moved into new spaces so all products were not out on the shelves and some areas of the shop were not yet opened, but there were still lots and lots of excellently made products.

It was then back to the hotel to meet about 5 others on the trek to Koh Kret/Gaw Gret. This island created when a canal was dug in the Thai River to avoid a sharp bend is historically significant for several reasons. One, it was one of the most important pottery making centers in the city; and second, it is populated primarily by Mon, an ethnic Chinese group, who had initially migrated to Burma, were forced out of Burma, and then fought the Burmese on behalf of the Thais.

Like every other location in the city there were several wats (Buddhist temples). Renovations are being made to the historical Wat Chimplee. The grounds are on the banks of the Thai River and is now a playground for children as well as a location for food and craft vendors.

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