Monk

Pieces of Bangkok: Night 3 + 4

Flight time: 1 hour || Distance: Singapore --> Bangkok - 994 miles || Project: The Unsung Heros of Bangkok

Photo 1: Phijit, a 32 year old Thai monk, stands outside a shop selling religious adornments, Buddha statues, and traditional robes. Phijit has been practicing for 12 years. There are over 300,000 monks, and 32,000 monasteries in Thailand. To become a monk you must be at least 20 years old, a man, and free of debt and disease. This lifestyle requires a great deal of discipline - as monks must abide by very specific set of rules (227 to be exact). These include not touching woman (even their mother), never driving a vehicle, and practicing chants, meditation, and worship techniques up to 10 hours a day. -
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Photo 2: Quinton, 24, of Montana, meditates inside the Wat Thepthidaram Worawihan Temple. I met Quinton on the plane to Bangkok, and we happen to have the exact same travel itinerary - small world. We will be trekking to Angkor Wat and rural southern Cambodia together next week.
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-Photo 3: Nipon, a 48 year old street vendor in downtown Bangkok, sells assorted grilled meats on a busy street corner. Nipon fought hard for the rights to this location, and makes a great return on his investment. Each day he makes around 3,000 baht ($95usd), an impressive daily wage for Bangkok. 
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Photo 5: A woman sews the bright orange robes worn by monks in the neighboring monasteries. The saffron color dates back centuries, and was chosen because of the availability of the orange dye at the time. The robes symbolize simplicity and the detachment of materialism. -
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Photo 6: Soi Cowboy is a 150-meter long street dominated by the sex trade. Consisting of 40+ bars, it’s serves as the central hub for strip clubs and prostitution. Despite being illegal since 1960, prostitution is a well-documented trade in Thailand - generating over 6.4 billion dollars a year in revenue. It is estimated that there are over 2 million sex workers in Thailand - 800,000 of which are under the under the age of 18. (We chose not to explore, as this is an industry I most certainly do not agree with/want to support in any way.)