Day 2 – February 2, 2014
Today was the election in Bangkok, the day that I had been warned about to stay indoors and avoid all public gatherings and polling stations. There was no way we were going to stay inside all day so we thought the best thing to do was hit the most touristy areas possible, the temples. The three we wanted to visit are all close together and close to Chao Phraya river so we took the Skytrain to Saphan Taksin station and hopped on one of the boats heading North on the river. Everything is clearly labelled, colour coded and numbered so it’s pretty hard to get lost.
The boat was clean and crowded, but we hummed along the river pretty quickly, stopping only a few times before reaching Tha Thien pier, our destination. Following the crowd that spilled out of the boat we made our way to Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha. Ashley and I made a couple new friends before entering the temple…
…and luckily we both remembered to dress conservatively (shoulders and knees covered) lest we would be forced to wear these charming numbers.
The Buddha pretty much takes up the whole temple space at 43 metres long and of course, he’s gold.
Behind the Buddha is 108 bowls for the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. You can purchase 108 coins and drop one in each bowl to help bring good fortune and to help the monks maintain the wat. As you walk down the corridor with your coins you can hear the clinking echo throughout.
The grounds of the temple are a site themselves, filled with interesting architecture and curious statues, everywhere you looked was something interesting and beautiful.
Feeling the heat we decided to move on to the Grand Palace, which happened to be right next door and is absolutely massive and super sparkly. I honestly don’t even know where to start with this place so I’ll let my pictures do the talking. One thing to note, the main attraction of the Grand Palace is the Emerald Buddha, which is quite small and you aren’t allowed to take pictures of it.
For lunch we popped into a small restaurant by the pier and then headed over to Wat Arun, a heavily decorated temple with steep stairs that reward with awesome views of the city and river.
Absolutely exhausted we headed back to the hostel and packed up. Tonight is our last in Bangkok for a bit, tomorrow we head to the Surin Province for a week with the elephants!