Sawadee ka! After such an awesome adventure in Cambodia where we surrendered ourselves in amazement towards Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and the whole Angkor Temple Complex, we made it safely to Thailand, “land of the free”.
We woke up to another day of eager exploration as we walked on foot under the scorching heat of the sun and travelled using their public transportation system. We explored the temples along the Chao Phraya River and were astounded with the grandeur and beauty of the Thai temples—mostly characterized by the glorious color of gold!
We started off with the Grand Palace, which gave us a preview of traditional Thai culture and beautiful architecture. Past monarchs of the kingdom resided in the Grand Palace, but today, it’s used for ceremonial occasions of the country. Not all parts of the palace grounds are open for tourists and visitors. But fret not, because the areas accessible to the public would not be a disappointment.
The palace complex is laid very similar to the palaces of Ayutthaya, the glorious former capital of Siam which was raided by the Burmese. Indulge yourself in appreciation as you get bedazzled by the vivid colors, intricate patterns and shapes using gold leaf, ornate tiles and mirrors.
They are strict with the dress code, ladies needed to be covered up well as a sign of respect when visiting the temples. The management “loans” several items of clothing and I had to borrow a polo shirt because I was wearing a sleeveless top at the time of our visit. The temple management will ask you to deposit 200 baht in exchange for a polo (if you’re wearing a sleeveless top) or a sarong (if you’re wearing shorts). But don’t worry, the 200 baht deposit shall be returned once the loaned clothing items are returned.
Take caution outside the palace when touts or scammers pretending to be official-like looking people come up to you and tell you that the palace will be closed in the morning, or afternoon, or lunch, or whatever time of the day. They will just take you along with them, usually in shops or markets, where they could get commissions for bringing in people. Spare yourself from this hassle and please ignore them and just go straight to the main office located near the entrance.
WAT PHRA KAEWJust beside the Grand Palace was Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha measures approximately 45 cm, and is considered as the holiest religious object in Thailand. But despite its name, the Emerald Buddha is not made from emerald but from a block of jade.
We had to ride another boat to get to Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. This temple is also one of the best-known attractions for tourists. Wat Arun was just so beautiful and just astounding because of its beautiful embellishments with ceramic tiles and porcelain bits. This was also one of the most challenging temples because we had to climb VERY VERY STEEP steps all the way to get to the top of the temple. And yes, every step was nakakalula. But it was very much worth it because at the top is the priceless view of the Chao Phraya River.
And finally, we visited Wat Po, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, one of our most favorite temples. The Reclining Buddha measures 46 meters long and 15 meters high.
We followed local tradition as we dropped coins one by one into a row of pots, for good luck! And as of the time I’m writing this post, I could say that I have been greatly blessed everyday (maybe because of my own God but also through the different gestures I do in the different countries I visit just so I could experience the richness of the culture of the new place).
In this temple reside thousands and thousands of Buddha images. If you’re feeling bored, then you may find it helpful to use the time in counting the Buddhas. not.
Truly, Bangkok welcomed us warmly. It’s one of those countries that gives much comfort and makes any person just visit the country over and over again. I know I will be back. I just know it.