Sunday, November 17, 2013


Our first full day in Bankok was an active one. Betty Lou will tell you without any prompting that we walked for at least 10 hours. Fortunately, the weather was unexpectedly mild and pleasant.

We left our hotel after breakfast and walked a bit randomly, visiting a couple of stunning temples we stumbled upon. It was still quite early and they were empty except for us and a caretaker. Most of the temples we have visited here are more ornate than those in Cambodia, and there are fewer monks about. Just as lovely but different.

One temple was full of people making offerings and ther were tables laden with flowers, fruit, alcohol, small cigars, incense, and pig heads. The exterior of the temples were extremely ornate, with detailed designs and carvings of mythical and religious figures.

We then visited Wat Phra Kaewa nd the Grand Palace. The complex was simply amazing. It was brimming with temples and palace buildings and statues, all covered with detailed ornatmentation; it was such an explosion of color and sparkle and that all we could do was walk around in awe and daftly say "wow".

Following the Grand Palace and associated wats, we walked further south to Wat Pho, which was also lovely (although i must admit that at this point things started to get blurry - too much of similar, beautiful  things viewed in a short time can be exhausting). It was smaller and more manageable however and we enjoyed the ornamental structures.

The big site at Wat Pho however is the reclining Buddha, which did not disappoint. It is a large gold Buddha laying on its side, is covered in gold (except the soles of its feet which are mother of pearl design) and is 46m long and 15m high. Pretty amazing. The room was filled with the loud sound of people putting hundred of coins, as offerings, into metal bowls which lined the walls.

My plan after that was to walk down to Chinatown, but we became sidetracked by this amazing flower market. Apparently it operates 24 hours and it runs for countless blocks, in which people are surrounded by giant baskets, or in some cases, whole rooms of orchids, marigolds, and other flowers. Along the way, workers were fashioning the fresh flowers into decorative garlands, and ornaments on to which candles were to be placed before the flowers were used as offerings at temples, or more specifically in this case, used in a full moon lantern festival which was set to occur the next night (and which we would miss by a couple hours due to our airport deadline). It was really interesting and very busy.

In the evening we had a leisurely dinner on Rambuttri Street (near Khao San Road and our hotel) and then i smoked some shisha while we watched the endless procession of tourists. The place has a definite night life vibe, which carried on far later than we did. I was detemined to get up early the next day to pack in yet more sightseeing before our flight (lest there be one temple or market alley we might miss). It was a great day.

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