วันเสาร์ที่ 21 มีนาคม พ.ศ. 2552

Boats and Ferries in Bangkok

Information On Boats And River Cruises Iin Bangkok and Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand could be considered the Venice of the Orient. Some may argue that that is what it is called, but I don't think Venice would like the comparison. Bangkok also sits on the Chao Praya river which means The River of Kings. Both offer a means of getting around Bangkok and can lead to some very interesting places

Klongs / Canals

Bangkok has a maze of canals that allows travel around the city to be fairly possible. In fact, it's how I used to get to work but now that there is the skytrain and the underground I can see no reason for taking the canal.

Canals in Bangkok and Thailand are called Klongs and there are many of them but they are now so dirty and polluted that you really want to stay away from them unless they are slightly out of the city and take you to the snake farm, royal barges and the floating market.

Canals or Klongs in Bangkok, Thailand Some Klongs are cleaner than others.
Klongs / Canals are not very clean

Some are cleaner than others

It is quite often that you can see dead animals floating in the canals and so you really don't want to have that kind of water splashing over you. However, there are still some canals that splinter off from the Chao Praya river and these canals are "cleaner" and not bad to travel on.

The main and best known Klong is Klong San Sap and it's possible to travel all the way from Bangkapi to Banglampoo which is fairly close to the grand palace and only a few meters away from the Golden Mount temple.

To take one of the canal boat services that run through the center of Bangkok, you need to find a pier stop and wait for one of the boats to pull up to the pier going in your direction. When it stops you let everyone get off first and then VERY carefully get into the boat and pay the ticket collector the small fee for the journey.

You might need to change boats at Pratunam but you'll need to ask someone about this when you get on the boat. However, unless you have a real burning desire to travel on the world's largest toilet / sewer I recommend that you chose other modes of transport for getting around the city.

River Cruises & Ferries in Bangkok

Other boat rides can be had on the Chao Praya river. The Chao Praya or "River of Kings" is Bangkok's main river and is still a hub of life and it can be very interesting to grab a table at The Oriental, Shangri La and other river side hotels and just watch life on the river go by.

Take the bangkok river cruise from Saphan Taksin to Grand Palace
Boats often get busier in the evenings
The river cruise that costs 18 Baht

General ferry boats

One trip I highly recommend is the boat trip from Taksin bridge and then go up the river to the Grand Palace, passing Wat Arun ( Temple of Dawn ), Oriental Hotel and some other temples and places of interest. This river cruise is a simple boat bus that you get on and get off at the various stops.

Catch the boat at Taksin Bridge, pay 18 Baht per person ( assuming you get off at The Grand Palace ) and enjoy a cool ride up the river.

There are other river cruises that offer a similar ride but they charge 100 Baht per person, so avoid paying too much and take the same boat that the Thais use.

Getting on and off the cruises.

Hotel Ferries in Bangkok

A number of the hotels that line the river operate free faerry services that will pick you up and take you to their hotel or their restaurants. The Oriental Hotel, the world famous Thailand hotel, for instance has a restaurant on the opposite side of the river from the actual hotel. To catch this ferry, you need to go to The Oriental and make your way to the river side restaurant of the hotel. The Oriental has a nightly buffet and so you'll need to walk past all the mouth watering food on display and wait at the very small pier and a splendid looking Thai style boat will pick you up and take you to the other side of the river and to the other restaurant.

The Penninsula Hotel in Bangkok also offers this service as do some others, but my favourite is to take the Marriott Hotel and Spa's ferry that will pick you up from Taksin Bridge and take you for a 15 minute ride, down the Chao Praya to the splendid Marriott hotel which is home to a number of restaurants.

A temple along the Chao Phaya river, Bangkok, Thailand Wat Arun
One of the temples along the river

Take the boat on a sunny days is you can.


Pros Cheap, fun and nippy in traffic

Cons Loud, not easy to see the sights, pollution

Tuk Tuks

The Bangkok Tuk Tuk ( pronounced took-took ) is probably every visitor's favourite means of transport. They have an undeniable appeal and quality to them that makes them irresistible to all that come to Bangkok or Thailand.

The Tuk Tuk is a three wheeled, motorised rickshaw and can seat, comfortably, two adults but it is not uncommon to see 6 or 7 students crammed in, all sharing the fare; and the drivers don't seem to mind.

Bangkok Tuk Tuks are a great way of traveling short distances and as long as you are not expecting to do any sight seeing along the way. We say this because the canopy that covers the Tuk Tuk slants downwards towards the front slightly as well as curving round the sides at exactly eye level and so the journey is void of any ability to see what is going on around you unless you travel in a doubled up position.

Tuk Tuks can be found almost anywhere. You can either hail them as they come towards you or walk up to the driver if one is waiting on the side of the street. A lot of the time, if they see you walking down the street, they will drive up to you and drive at your walking speed in the hopes you decide to ask for a ride. Either that or you'll hear " hey". THis sounds rude to us but it's a direct translation of what they would say in Thai and in Thai, it's normal, formal, and polite.

In the rainy season, most tuk tuks have polythene sides that drop down and provide some sort of protection against the heavy Thailand rains, but you'll almost certainly get wet.

The cost of a tuk tuk all depends on whether you know where you are going and how much that journey might cost in a taxi. If you'd normally pay 50 Baht in a taxi, ask for 30 or 40 Baht and this is based on the fact that a taxi is more comfortable, has air conditioning etc.

Rather than take the very first Tuk Tuk that come along, ask a low price and wave them on if they refuse. It doesn't mean you've got the price wrong, it could mean they aren't willing to go for that amount, so try again with the next one. You'll eventually get it right.

One note of warning Tuk Tuk drivers, and others too, make extra money by taking tourists to certain shops. The shop owner will give the Tuk Tuk driver money for bringing in new customers and so you could find yourself being taken somewhere whether you like it or not.
Also, Tuk Tuk drivers can almost always be found outside large hotels waiting for tourists. They do this because they know they will make more from tourists who don't know how much they should be paying. Avoid these drivers if ou can and walk on down the road and stop one that's passing. You'll get a better deal and won't have as much "trouble".

The famous three-wheeled taxi of Bangkok.

วันอาทิตย์ที่ 15 มีนาคม พ.ศ. 2552

Thai Classical Dance

The diverse arts and culture of Thailand have a fascination of their very own, and one of the most fascinating is Thai classical dance and its rituals and traditions. Visitors don't really feel they have seen Thailand until they've witnessed at least one performance of Thai classical dancing--but many understand very little of what they see. It's beautiful and it's different, but its background escapes them.

In "A Descriptive Catalogue of the Siamese Section at the International Exhibition of Industry and Labour" held at Turin, Italy in 1911, H.M. King Vajiravudh wrote the commentary on the theatre of Siam. He classified contemporary entertainment into five types:

The Likay

The Hun

The Nang

The Lakor (Lakon)

The Khon

The Hun has survived in a different form as the Hun Krabock or marionettes; and the Nang as Nang Talung, or Shadow Play. According to the late Highness Prince Dhani Nivat, however, this Nang Talung bears no resemblance to its classical prototype except that both are exhibited on screens which are lit in such a way so as to cast the shadows. Today very few troupes of these performers remain active and the art is dying. The Lik ay is most often seen in travelling shows at temple fairs, or in rural Thailand where it is popular entertainme

King Vajiravudh classified legitimate theatre as being two distinct types--the Khon and the Lakon. His Majesty wrote:--"The theatre where the Khon and Lakon are performed ... possesses the beautiful simplicity of an ancient Greek theatre ... neither stage nor scenery is required ... Costumes and properties however, are very elaborate, and are made as accurately as possible. The costumes are made to resemble those worn in Siam in olden times, and have not changed during successive generations, because they have been found most picturesque and suitable. Queens or royal personages wear crowns or coronets; others have various kinds of headdresses suitable to their rank and station. Character parts, such as demons, monkeys, or yogis we ar distinctive masks of different colours and designs. Each mask is a good example of Siamese decorative art, and is distinctive and characteristic, so that each character may at once be recognized by the mask worn by the actor."

In earlier times there were no theatres for public entertainment in Siam. Kings, princes, noblemen and high-ranking officials maintained their own troupes of classical dancers and musicians--many of them trained at the palace. Performances were given for occasions such as birthday, important visitors, cremations, or simply the wish of the patron. Theatre programmes weren't necessary because almost all those who were invited to attend already knew the story--always portions of the Ramakian. Ordinary people found their entertainment at temples, cremations or other special celebrations. As recently as 1935 there were troupes of court dancers.

Many of the costumes, although very beautiful, are heavy and uncomfortable--especially the female headdresses and the masks of the male characters.

Since many roles of the khon demand extremely boisterous performances, the costumes are often fitted and sewn on the dancer prior to the performance. The different positions demanded of each character must be posed while the fitting and sewing are bein g done. This not only assures the proper drapes and folds, but helps to avoid an embarrassing rip of a seam during the action.

The most popular characters of males are Totsakan (the Demon King), Rama (the Righteous King), the Hanuman (the Monkey Warrior). Students are often selected to train for specific roles because of their size or build. The formalized movements of khon perfo rmances make the acting and dancing inseparable. Each step has a meaning, emphasized by the appropriate music, narration and song. Each is practised over and over again until it is mastered. Mom Rajawongse Kukrit Pramoj once called the khon training "inhu man". In many of the dances, the head cover identifies the character being performed. The jewelled crown headdresses (chada) that are worn are all much the same, but for the khon, the mask is the character.

Masks were not worn by khon performers before the Ayutthaya period (1350-1767). Instead the faces of the characters were painted on the dancers. Mask making evolved from the wish to have a more permanent means of identifying the characters; one which would retain the basic characteristics and features, and be easily recognized.

During the Ayutthaya period, khon performances were held in palace halls or courtyards lighted by torches. Complete performances of the Ramakian could continue for days. Often those who watched would leave for a while and then return to pick up the sto ry, since it was already familiar to them.

While each part of a khon costume has its own significance, the mask is the single most important piece. Contrary to popular belief, masks for each character can vary from troupe to troupe yet all maintain the necessary identifying characteristics. Eac h mask maker has a certain artistic leeway in his interpretation, however there are certain fundamentals of the character masks which remain constant. Blunt, curved tusks on a demon mask signify old age; straight, blunt tusks that point upward indicate th at even though he is a demon, he has mellowed and become kind-hearted in old age; curved, sharp tusks are those of a middle-aged demon and sharp pointed tusks which point downward are those of a youthful demon.

There are other decorative details which are used in differentiating between the masks. Eyes of the demons are not the same as the eyes of other characters. Demon eyes are of two type--"crocodile eyes" with half eyelids, and bulging "fish eyes". Tusks were formerly made of ivory, but today it's both scarce and expensive so other materials are used in most cases.

The major distinguishing characteristics of khon masks are the bald head and the crowned head. Monkey characters and soldiers of the demon army belong to the "bald head group". Whatever other differences may appear however, Hanuman is always white. The characters of Rama, his brothers, gods, rishis (wise hermits), Totsakan, his relatives and allies, and some of the generals of the monkey army wear crowned masks. An obvious difference between the demon and monkey masks is the long tusks of the de mons and the canine teeth of the monkeys. Some khon mask artisans believe the demon masks must also have the three characteristics: round chin, a glaring expression and eyebrow and moustache tips "in harmony."

More than 10 styles of crowns are to be found on khon masks. Some characters, such as Rama and his brother Lakshman use more than one type for their roles as the scenes change. (In modern versions of the khon, Rama and Lakshman may be without masks, we aring chadas instead.) As the mask of Hanuman is always white, the crown of Totsakan always has three tiers.

There are altogether more than 100 different demon masks used in the khon--these are divided into 14 groups to avoid confusion. To avoid further confusion, eyes and mouths are different for each character and facial colouring is also different. If the colours are too similar, other means of identification are used; for instance, masks with purple faces are worn by both Phya Thut and Khun Prachat, so to help in identifying them properly, Phya Thut carries a lance and Khun Prahat, a club.

Those who watch khon performances often wonder how those wearing the masks can breathe. Admittedly, it isn't easy. The masks have little ventilation and they're hot. Some of the actors--particularly those in the monkey roles--must perform acrobatics an d somersaults and to prevent their masks from falling off, cords are sewn inside the masks at the mouth. These cords are then held in the teeth of the performers to keep the mask firmly in place.

Since the people wearing the masks cannot speak, there is a narrator or khon phak who has not only to know his subject, but also the rhythm of the dancers' movements. A khon performance has to rely on the proper coordination of dancers, narrator and orchestra. (The clowns are the only characters who speak for themselves; even those who wear chadas do not speak.)

An artisan who makes the khon masks must fully understand the character and personality of the mythological being the mask will portray. It is said that a good mask maker requires three basic qualifications--he must be able to draw, to sculpture or mou ld well enough to prepare a model of the character, and to be able to engrave the delicate ornamentations. A sure and steady hand is a decided asset.

Originally models were made of wood or clay, but some mask makers today use more modern materials for making their models.

Before an artisan begins working on a new mask, he performs a ritual ceremony to invite the spirits of his old teachers, the gods, and the angels, to help him succeed at his work. The model is then covered with several layers of sa paper or papi er mache. Then it is thoroughly dried. Depending on their personal preference or method, mask makers do only a couple of layers before drying, and then add more material to the mould. Other prefer to do several layers at one time, and then add more mater ial to the mould. Others prefer to do several layers at one time, and then allow them to dry. Some of the artists also advise sticking the last couple of layers with a glue made of flour, to which they add a locally made insecticide. This helps to preven t the finished masks being damaged by insects and weevils.

Quite a large number and assortment of models are necessary--not only for the different facial expressions added, but in addition to humans, demons, and hermits, there is also a need sometimes for masks of elephants, horses, and mythological animals.

After being completely dried, the mask is cut from the mould and stitched together. The "scar" is covered with thin paper. The mask next receives a coating of rak samuk--a semi-hard lacquer, to sharpen and bring out the facial lines. Making a ma sk takes about seven days with most of the time taken up by the drying stages. Most mask makers work on more than one mask at a time, each one in a different stage of completion.

The art of mask making--and it is an art--is usually passed down from one generation to another; or a respected craftsman (chang sip mu) may accept apprentices who come to study and learn from a master and who show artistic talent. Today the num ber of old masters has dwindled and relatively few young artists aspire to the craft, for the financial reward is small compared to the time and experience necessary. The old-fashioned way of making khon masks has joined the growing list of endangered cra fts.

After a khon mask has been completed it must be initiated in the time-tested rites before it can be worn by a performer or a dancer. Gods are believed to give their protection to each mask and, without the propitiative ceremonies, all sorts of disastro us catastrophies may assail the one who dares to wear the mask.

The completed masks must also undergo a rite to "open their eyes"--the "Beuk Phra Netra" ceremony. Following this ritual, the masks are always kept in a high place as is proper for any object of reverence.

Before the first performance of a mask it is customary for the master, or head teacher, to personally place the new mask over the head of the performer. It is also customary before the debut performance of a khon dancer for an elder or respected teache r to place his mask on the dancer for a moment. The senior, standing before the novice, repeats sacred words and presses gold leaf onto the centre of the mask's forehead.

Since performers treat their masks with such reverence, periodic rites are held to pay homage to the spirits of the masks. Both craftsmen and performers look on the masks as "teachers", and therefore worthy of respect. Khon masks are always preserved a nd some that still exist are well over 100 years old. There are in fact, masks made by King Rama II which can be seen in the National Museum in Bangkok.

All teachers in Thailand are highly respected persons; and teachers of the classical drama and arts enjoy a special status--not only during their period of teaching, but for their entire lifetime. Khon performers show their est eem not only to their own teachers but to all the elderly masters as well. Thai arts and craftsmanship have a long and traditional history, and while all teachers in Thailand are honoured each year by a Wai Kru ceremony, the rites of honour for tea chers of the classical drama, music and arts are very elaborate.

The annual Rite of Homage (Wai Kru) for teachers of the arts includes a religious ceremony which is followed by an invocation inviting the divinities (Thevadas) to partake of the feast which gas been provided for then. An elder, usually the senior teac her or principal of the school, presides over the ceremony. On the auspicious day the elder is dressed entirely in white (or at least, wears a white coat).

A Buddha image is placed on the altar tables along with the traditional flowers, candles and incense sticks. Another table holds the food offerings which include a pig's head, duck and other fowl, both cooked and popped rice, beverages, folded leaf arr angements and flowers.

A Piphat orchestra plays specific musical scores as each divinity is invited to attend the ceremony. Following the departure of the divine spirits, another ceremony is held to include all those who are in attendance. All come together to form a cir cle and a lighted taper is passed form person to person. From the president, who begins the ritual, the candle is passed from one to another until it has completed three circuits. The rites are concluded by the president marking the forehead of each stude nt with a specially prepared white paste and sprinkling each one with lustral (holy) water.

Novice students are not accepted for initiation until after they have mastered both the fast and slow tempos of the dance well enough to appear on stage in minor roles. Some steps and postures are not taught until after the student has been formally i nitiated.

Another important rite for students comes after they are well advanced in their training, when they are elevated to the status of teacher. From that time, a student who continues to study and acquires greater expertise and ability, becomes eligible for higher rank, respect and honour.

It's not too surprising to learn that the presiding teacher or president of the Wai Kru and initiation rites must be a man; a female in this position is believed to bring about grave misfortune. All male teachers, however, are not eligible to perform i nitiation rites--only those who have been appointed by former senior teachers are allowed this honour.

Most old masters were always very careful in choosing 'worthy' pupils, and they jealously guarded their manuscripts of the rituals. The homage and initiation rites are always performed on a Thursday, for in Thailand Thursday is accepted as " Teachers D ay."

The performing artists and teachers believe that the Wai Kru Day is their special day and its observance is ethically and disciplinarily binding. Those who consciously stay away from this rite are sinning and drawing upon their heads the curses of thei r teachers. They also go to hell after death.

The great importance of the ritual and rites which are a part of the classical theatre in Thailand was given added significance in October 1984, when King Bhumibol Adulyadej presided over the presentation of khon masks and head gear to five newly appointed presidents of the "Traditional Paying Homage Ceremony" for khon and dance drama.

The five senior artists ranged from 37 to 50 years of age. They were appointed by His Majesty following the unexpected death of Kru (teacher) Arkom Sayakom who had died without preparing anyone for his position. Anyone who achieves this prestigious p osition must not only have great expertise in his field, but must also be of the highest moral character, merit the respect of society and have been ordained as a Buddhist monk. (Ordinarily he should also be selected by the pa st president and presented with the Prayer Book.)

As already mentioned, all khon masks are revered and considered sacred. This is even more stringent for the khon masks made especially for the Wai Kru ceremony. Their facial expressions are different from others, and some of these masks are entirely gilded.

Many years ago, an artisan who was commissioned to make a Master mask was required to be dressed all in white on the day he began work, and the work was usually begun on a Thursday. When a Master mask was completed the mask maker prayed to the sacred spirits to enter the mask.

As one can easily see, there is a lot more to the Thai Classical Dance than meets the eye of a casual viewer. And however an 'outsider' might view all the rituals and regulations, they do have significance to the teachers and performers. The traditions have evolved over many decades and while some may have been altered in some of their small details, they have certainly helped in the preservation of the classical theatre in this country.

วันอาทิตย์ที่ 8 มีนาคม พ.ศ. 2552

Krabi Rock Climbing

Krabi Rock Climbing

Rai Leh (also known as Rai Lay) is the major rock climbing site in Thailand and Malaysia and probably also in the whole of South East Asia.

It offers a unique combination of breathtaking scenery, beautiful beaches with soft sand, an excellent tourist infrastructure, many climbing shops and schools and an overwhelming number of routes suitable for both absolute beginners and experienced climbers.

Rock Climbing

The limestone cliffs that dot the entire area surrounding Krabi are heaven for rock-climbing enthusiasts, who come from all over the world to take up the challenge of climbing.
Over 150 odd routes have developed since the late 1980's when Krabi first witnessed the sight of people scaling it's craggy mountains. Routes include high quality limestone, steep, pocketed walls, overhangs and hanging stalactites, with some accessed by boat belay, others involving jungle walk approaches or abseils into the sea.

The headland between Tham Phra Nang and Rai Leh Beaches harbours some particularly popular spots, with good climbing for beginners and more experienced climbers alike. Guided climbs and instruction are available in most of the more populated tourist areas, particularly in the resorts and bungalows of Ao Nang and Rai Leh Beach. Climbing gear is readily available for hire as is information on routes and bolting. Extreme care must be taken however, to ensure that your guides and equipment are reliable.


The interior of Krabi's mainland is covered with richly forested lands much of which is designated national park area and ideal for avid hikers. A favoured area for hiking is Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, featuring caves, waterfalls, streams and rock pools. Easily reached by Songteaw, motorbike or mountain bike, the park has several trails leading to it's scenic spots and provides ample opportunity to observe abundant plant and animal life along the way.

Another good hiking spot is at Khao Pra-Bang Khram next to the Bang Teao Village. A 2.7 km forest trail - the Thung Teao Trail - begins and ends at the Khao Nor Chuchi Sanctuary Headquarters. Information can be obtained from the no-hunting zone office at Ban Bang Teao.

วันเสาร์ที่ 7 มีนาคม พ.ศ. 2552

How to Sleep On a Plane

Step 1: Book the right seat

A window seat gives you a wall to lean on. (Creative Commons photo by Stereogab)
A window seat gives you a wall to lean on. (Creative Commons photo by Stereogab)
  • Certain seats on airplanes are more conducive to sleep. These simple tips will help you book a seat where you are most likely to sleep.
  1. If you sit next to a window, you will have a wall to lean on as you sleep.
  2. You also will not have to move if someone else needs to use the restroom.
  3. Don't sit in the last row; these seats often do not recline.
  4. Seats in front of the exit row also often do not recline.
  5. The further forward you sit, the further away from engine noise you will be.
  6. Exit rows will give you more legroom, but you will not be able to put the seat arms up if the seat next to you is empty. Also, you will have to be alert if there is an air incident.
  7. The website can help you select the best seat.

Step 2: Prepare before your flight

Avoid alcohol before flight. (Photo by Christy Thompson)
Avoid alcohol before flight. (Photo by Christy Thompson)
  • Good preparation is one key to solid in-flight sleep.
  1. Wear loose clothing so you will not feel constricted.
  2. Wear layers; you can add or remove them depending on the temperature on the plane.
  3. Don't consume caffeine in the four hours before your flight. According to Canada's Centre for Addiction and Mental health, it takes four and a half hours for your body to metabolize caffeine.
  4. Don't consume alcohol in the four hours before flight. The National Sleep Foundation says it prevents sleep.

Step 3: Use accessories to increase your comfort

Sleep masks block light.
Sleep masks block light.
  1. A sleep mask will block out light.
  2. Earplugs will block out a great deal of the noise from the plane.
  3. A neck pillow may also be helpful.

Step 4: Warn people you plan to sleep

Tell your neighbor you plan to sleep. (Photo by J.W.M. Pap)
Tell your neighbor you plan to sleep. (Photo by J.W.M. Pap)
  • Flight attendants often offer food and beverages during flight. Your neighbor may be bored and looking for conversation. Here are a few ways to avoid those interruptions.
  1. Politely inform your seat mate that you plan to sleep during the flight.
  2. Tell the flight attendant not to wake you for meals or beverage service.
  3. Ask the flight attendant if he or she can hold your meal for you until you awaken.

Step 5: Use sleep medications

  • Some doctors recommend the use of prescription sleep medications in-flight to aid sleep. These should only be used on flights that are significantly longer than the duration of the medication's effects!
  1. If you are having trouble sleeping, sleeping pills can encourage you to sleep on the plane during your destination's night-time hours.
  2. Dr. Richard Dawood recommends the prescription drug Sonata, which puts users to sleep for only four hours.
  3. Dr. Dawood also says Restoril and Lunesta should only be used on flights that allow eight hours of sleep.
  4. Ambien users are warned by the manufacturer not to take it on a flight of less than 8 hours.
  5. None of these drugs should be combined with alcohol. There are several documented cases of bizarre behavior on airplanes after users combined Ambien and alcohol.
  6. The National Sleep Foundation recommends against taking over-the-counter sleep medications, as they can have a severe "hangover" effect.
  7. According to the CDC, prescription sleeping pills can cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting, confusion, headache, and dry mouth.

Step 6: If money is no object, fly business or first class

  • First and business class seats offer more comfort than coach seats. However, not all seats are created equal. "Recliner" seats tilt back further than coach seats, but do not allow the traveler to lie down. "Lie-flat" seats allow the traveler to stretch out; however, they are still at a slight angle toward the floor, so you'll always slide a little toward your feet. Only "flat-bed" seats are completely horizontal.
  1. If flying internationally, refer to charts on and Skytrax to learn which airline going to your destination has the most comfortable seats. International First Class Comparison Chart
    Figure 1: International First Class Comparison Chart
  2. Domestic flights currently offer only recliner seats. This chart on will tell you which seats lean back the furthest. The larger the number in the "Seat Pitch" column, the further it tilts back. Domestic First Class Comparison Chart
    Figure 2: Domestic First Class Comparison Chart

Resources for How to Sleep On a Plane

The Advantages of Chanting Buddhaguna

The Advantages of Chanting Buddhaguna

by Phra Dhebsinghaburajarn and English version by Dr. Suchitra Ronruen

Buddhaguna ( worshipping the Enlightened one ), I have discovered that when some people are foretold by a fortune-teller that they have bad luck and something should be done to eradicate that bad luck. Which the help of mindfulness, a thought arises in my mind that it's much better to chant Buddhaguna than to get advice from a fortune-letter .I then tell my disciples to follow this idea and it works well.

The chanting begins with Namo tassa bhagavato ...., Refuges, Buddhaguna, Dhammaguna, Sanghaguna, Bahum and Mahakaruniko. After that ,chant only Buddhaguna as many times as your age plus one. Suppose you are 40, then chant Buddhaguna 41 times and if you are 35, then chant Buddhaguna 36 times.

There was a fifty-one-year-old Christian widow who was a millionairess and had only one son. This widow possessed lots of lands in Lad Prao and Klong San-sab. Her son was not keen in learning and she sent him to study in U.S.A. The son was not interested in his studies.He spent three years there as a playboy and often wrote to his mother to send him money, lying to her that he nearly finished his studies. From time to time,the son deceived his mother to send him one hundred thousand,then five hundred thousand and so on.

The mother did not know what to do ,she then went to a fortune-teller to have him ridden her of her bad luck. She paid lots of money to the fortune-teller ,hoping that he would help her son to finish his studies.She also went to other fortune-tellers but none of them could solve her problem though she had paid them a lot. She was very nervous and could neither eat nor sleep

Fortunately, a man from Singburi who was one of her employees knew and asked for my help. At that time I didn't know that she was a Christian and when I saw her face I knew that her son would finish his M.A. and would continue a Ph.D. But why couldn't he finish his B.A. I wondered.

I suggested to her to chant Buddhaguna 52 times every night but she said she couldn't because she was a christian.That day she left the monastery hopeless.

She came back again after four or five months had passed. This time she came alone and confessed that " Luang Poh, I will follow your advice ". I then told her to buy a chant book but she refused. Her reason was that any Christian could not keep the chant book in the house. She requested me to write the words of chant for her. I had to write the chant words of Buddhaguna, Dhammaguna, Sanghaguna, Bahum and Mahaka for her. She still said, " I can't chant in the chanting hall because I am not a Buddhist." I suggested that she could chant in her bed by counting pieces of matches for the 52 times of chanting. Having finished chanting she should transfer merit to her son. I forbade her to scold him and suggested that she must wish him happiness and successs in his studies.

For three months she had followed my suggestion. She could remember all the words she chanted and there were two advantages she got .

First, her nervousness had gone. She became mindful and could eat and sleep. When she was happy , she began to transfer merit to her son in U.S.A. After six months of chanting, the son got that merit. The day he got it he had a serious accident. The car he was driving crashed on the electric distribution pole. His friends who sat in the back seat were thrown out of the car but none of them got hert. Only he who was in the car, was hurt. The electric distribution pole had fallen down (and he had to pay lots of money for this accident ).

The driver was unconscious and was sent to the ICU room. Fortunately, one of his cousins was a doctor in U.S.A. He came to see him at the hospital. The doctors reportd to the cousin that the patient should be dead.

On the following day he became conscious and felt seriously hurt. Tears filled his eyes when he thought of his mother. I notice that when someone is in trouble, he usually thinks of his mother but when h is happy with his friends ,the mother is absolutely forgotten.

Secoundly, the son missed his mother a lot .He was sorry that how unhappy would she be if she had known that her son did not finish his studies. He then determined that he would try to finish his studies as soon as he recovered.

Finally, he came back to Thailand and his mother brought him to meet me. He revealed what happened to him. After he had got well, he chanted every day and also went to practise vipassana meditation at Thai Temple in U.S.A. He could finish his B.A. as well as an M.A. and I knew that he would finish his Ph.D. in the future.

I then conclude that whenever someone is in trouble, he will think of his mother and perceive the Dhamma. That widow's son said to me " Venerable sir, I never missed my mother during three or four years while I was in U.S.A But when I was in hospital, I missed her so much." The mother told her son that it was I who helped him. He then had faith in me and I told him if he believed me , he should have his hair cut I then postulate that when someone is in bad luck, he should chant Buddhaguna.





An Approval

Chanting the holy stanzas is the way of life. A person who chants every day will be good and prosperous. He will be able to share this merit to his friends and to all beings.

May you and your family members chant every day for your well - being,rich of fortune,happiness and wisdom.

You should advise your children to chant every night before they go to bed. If they do this with firm faith, these benefits should be expected. They are :

1. They will have good discipline.

2. They won't argue with their parents but will be obedient and respectful.

3. When they are grown up,they will be good members of society as well as good citizens of the nation.

4. He who chants every day will lead a good, prosperous,rich,smart and intellectual life.He will get all good things he wishs.

Congratulation Phra Dhebsinghaburajarn

How to Chant ( Method of Chanting )

Begin with " Vandana" ( Namo tassa Bhagavato......that ends with sada sotti bhavantu te) ............ ( " green letters" ) only one chant.Then chant Itipiso ( " Red letters" ) as many times as your age plus one . After that, chant the aspiration, then follow by the transference of merit . When you finish this, you can make whatever wish you want.

Buddha Vacana.......................... Buddha s Words

Sabbapapassa akaranam .............. To avoid all evil,

Kusalassupasampada ......................To cultivate good,

Sacittapariyodapanam...................... To purify one's mind,

Etam Buddhana sasanam................. This is the teaching of the Buddhas.



Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma-sambuddhassa. (Repeat Thrice)

Homage( Translation )

Honour to Him,the Blessed One,the Worthy One,the fully Enlightened One. (Repeat Thrice)



Buddham saranam gacchami

Dhammam saranam gacchami

Sangham saranam gacchami

Dutiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami

Dutiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami

Dutiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami

Tatiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami

Tatiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami

Tatiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami

Iti'pi so Bhagava Araham Sammasambuddho vijjacarana-sampanno Sugato Lokavidu Anuttaro purisadamma-sarati sattha Devamanussanam Buddho Bhagavati

Svakkhato Bhagavata Dhammo Sanditthiko Akaliko Ehipassiko Opanayiko Paccattam veditabbo vinnuhi'ti

Supatipanno Bhagavato savakasangho Ujupatipanno Bhagavato savakasangho Nayapatipanno Bhagavato savakasangho Samicipatipanno Bhagavato savakasangho

Yadidam cattari purisayugani Atthapurisapuggala Esa Bhagavato savakasangho Ahuneyyo Pahuneyyo Dakkhineyyo Anjalikaraniyo Anuttaram Punnakkhettam lokassati

The Three Refuges( Translation )

I go to the Buddha as my refuge.

I go to the Dhamma as my refuge.

I go to the Sangha as my refuge.

For the second time I go to the Buddha as my refuge.

For the second time I go to the Dhamma as my refuge.

For the second time I go to Sangha as my refuge.

For the third time I go to the Buddha as my refuge.

For the third time I go to the Dhamma as my refuge.

For the third time I go to Sangha as my refuge.

Salutation To The Buddha

Such indeed is that Blessed One,Exalted, Omniscient, endowed with knowledge and virtue, Well-gone, knower of the worlds, a Guide incomparable for the training of individuals, Teacher of gods and men, Enlightend and Holy.

Saution To The Dhamma

Well-expounded is the Dhamma by the Blessed One to be self-realized; with immediate fruit; inviting to come and see; capable of being enterd upon; to be attained by the wise,each for himself.

Salution To The Sangha

Of good conduct is the Order of the Disciples of the Blessed One. Of upright conduct is the Order of the Blessed One. Of wise conduct is the Order of the Blessed One. Of dutiful conduct is the Order of the Blessed One.

This Order of the Disciples of the Blessed One namely , these Four Pairs of Persons,the eight types of individuals, is worthy of gifts is worthy of hospitality, is worthy of offerings, is worthy of reverential salutation, is an incomparable field of merit for the World.



Bahum sahassa' mabhinimmita savudhantam Girimekhalam udita ghora sasena maram Danadi dhamma vidhina jitava Munindo Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani

Marati reka'mabhiyujjhita sabbarattim Ghorampanalavaka makkhamathaddha yakkham Khanti sudanta vidhina jitava Munindo Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani

Nalagirim gajavaram atimatta bhutam Davaggi cakka'masaniva sudarunantam Mettambuseka vidhina jitava Munindo Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani

Ukkhitta-khagga matihattha sudarunantam Dhavam tiyojanapatham'Gulimala vantam Iddhibhi sankhata mano jitava Munindo Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani

Katvana kattha'mudaram iva gabbhi niya Cincaya duttha vacanam janakaya majjhe Santena somavidhina jitava Munindo Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani

Saccam vihaya matisaccaka vadaketum Vadabhiropitamanam atiandhabhutam Pannapadipa jalito jitava munindo Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani

Nandopananda bhujagam vibudham mahiddhim Puttena thera bhujagena damapayanto Iddhupadesa vidhina jitava Munindo Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani

Duggahaditthi bhujagena sudattha hattham Brahmam visuddhi jutim'iddhi bakabhidhanam Nanagadena vidhina jitava Munindo Tam tejasa bhavatu me jayamangalani

Eta pi Buddha jayamangala atthagatha Yo vacako dinadine sarate matandi Hitvana nekavividhani c'upaddavani Mokkham sukham adhigameyya naro sapanno

N.B. The last line "me" is changed to "te" if repeated for others.

Stanzas of Victory( Translation )

Creating thousand hands with weapons armed, was Mara seated on the trumpeting,ferocious elephant Girimekhala. Him, together with his army, did the Lord of Sages subdue by means of generosity and other virtues. By the grace of which may joyous victory be mine.

More violent than Mara was the indocile obstinate demon Alavaka, who battled with the the Buddha throughout the whole night. Him, did the Lord of Sages subdue by means of His patience and self-control, By the grace of which may joyous victory be mine.

Nalagiri, the king elephant, highly intoxicated, was raging like a forest fire and was terrible as a thunder-bolt. Sprinkling the waters of loving-kindness, this ferocious beast,did the Lord of Sages subdue. By the grace of which may joyous victory be mine.

With lifted sword,for a distanced of three leagues, did wicked Angulimala run. Him,did the Lord of Sages subdue by His psychic powers. By the grace of which may joyous victory be mine.

Her belly bound with faggots, to simulate the biness of pregnancy Cinca, with harsh words made foul accusation in the midst of an assemblage. Her, did the Lord of Sages subdue by His serene by His serene and peaceful bearing. By the grace of which may joyous victory be mine.

Haughty Saccaka, who ignored truth, was like a banner controversy, and his vision was blinded by his own disputations. Lighting the lamp of wisdom, him, did the Lord of Sages subdue. By the grace of which may joyous victory be mine.

The wise and powerful serpent Nandopananda, the Noble Sage got subdued by psychic powers through his disciple con-Thera Moggallana. By the grace of which may joyous victory be mine.

The pure, radiant, majestic Brahma, named Baka, whose hand was grievously held by the snake of tenacious heresies, did the Lord of Sages cured with His medicine of wisdom. By the grace of which may joyous victory be mine.

The wise one, who daily recites and earnestly remembers these eight verses of joyous of the Buddha, will get rid of various misfortunes and gain the bliss of Nibbana.



Mahakaruniko natho hitaya sabbapaninam Puretva parami sabba patto sambodhimuttamam Etena saccavajjena hotu te jayamangalam, Jayanto bodhiya mule sakyanam nandivaddhano Evam tvam vijayo hohi jayassu jayamangale Aparajitapallanke sise pathavipokkhare Abhiseke sabbabuddhanam aggappatto pamodati Sunakkhattam sumangalam supabhatam suhutthitam Sukhano sumuhutto ca suyittham brahmmacarisu. Padakkhinam kayakammam vacakammam padakkhinam Padakkhinam manokammam panidhi te padakkhina Padakkhinani katvana labhantatthe padakhine.

Bhavatu sabba mangalam-rakkhantu sabba devata sabba Buddhanu bhavena-sada sotthi bhavantu te.

Bhavatu sabba mangalam-rakkhantu sabba devata sabba dhammanu bhavena-sada sotthi bhavantu te.

Bhavatu sabba mangalam-rakkhantu sabba devata sabba Sanghanu bhavena-sada sotthi bhavatu te.

IIti'pi so Bhagava Araham Sammasambuddho vijjacarana-sampanno Sugato Lokavidu Anuttaro purisadamma-sarati sattha Devamanussanam Buddho Bhagavati

(Repeat this chant as many times as your age plus one.)

The victory protection ( translation )

The Lord greatly compassionate for the welfare of all living beings Having fulfilled all the perfections attained by himself the highest Bodhi: by the speaking of this truth, may you be blessed with victory. Victorious at the Bodhi-tree' root

He who increased delight for the Sakyans, thus may victory be yours May you win the blessing of victory. In the undefeated posture upon The exalted holy place having the consecration of all the Buddhas He rejoices in the best attainment. A good time ,an auspicious time, a good dawn, a good morning, a good instant, a good moment( when ) well-given( are things ) to brahmacaris, (when) bodily kamma is righteous, and righteousness is verbal kamma, ( when ) mantal kamma is righteous, righteousness are their aspirations. These righteousness having been done one gains the gosl by righteousness.

May all blessings accrue. May all devas protect you. By the glory of all Buddhas may security ever be yours!

May all blessings accrue. May all devas protect you. By the glory of all Truth's Laws may security ever be yours!

May all blessings accrue. May all devas protect you. By the glory of all Saintly Disciples may security ever be yours!

Salutation To The Buddha

Such indeed is that Blessed One,Exalted, Omniscient, endowed with knowledge and virtue, Well-gone, knower of the worlds, a Guide incomparable for the training of individuals, Teacher of gods and men, Enlightend and Holy.



Idam me matapitunam hotu Sukhita hontu matapitaro

Idam me natinam hotu Sukhita hontu natayo

Idam me gurupajjhayacariya nam hotu Sukhita hontu gurupajjhayacariya

Idam sabba devanam hotu Sukhita hontu sabbe deva

Idam sabba petanam hotu Sukhita hontu sabbe peta

Idam sabba verinam hotu Sukhita hontu sabbe veri

Idam sabba sattanam hotu Sukhita hontu sabbe satti

Transference of Merit( translation)

May this merit accrue to my mother and my father, May they be happy.

May this merit accrue to all my relatives; may they be happy.

May this merit accrue to my teachers and my preceptor; may they be happy.

May this merit accrue to all gods; may they be happy.

May this merit accrue to all hungry ghosts; they be happy.

May this merit accrue to all enemies; may they be happy.

May this merit accrue to all beings; may they be happy.


Buddha Vacana ......................Buddha words

Attanava katam papam .................By oneself is evil done,

attana sankilissati,.......................... By oneself is one difiled.

attana akatam papam ...................By oneself is evil left undone,

attanava visujjhati,........................... By oneself is one purified.

Suddhi asuddhi paccattam .........Purity and impurity depend on oneself

nanno annam visodhaye ...............No one can purify another.