Temple Stealth

Day 10 – February 10, 2014
Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok Centre Hotel

With no plans this morning we did what any weary traveller would do, we consulted a guidebook. Wat Traimit was within walking distance to our hotel so after a disappointing buffet breakfast we set out for about 30 minutes in the wrong direction. Eventually we did make it to the temple, a massive marble and gold ode to the Golden Buddha.

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My guidebooks and some websites said the temple was free so I was surprised to see a booth selling tickets when we got to the site. Curious I decided to climb the temple stairs and see if anyone was actually checking these tickets. There was one woman who seemed to check one person out of ten so I took my chances and walked past, saving myself a whole 40 baht in the process (about $1.30).

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Wat Traimit house the world’s largest solid gold Buddha, worth approximately $250 million. In the 1700s the Buddha was covered with plaster and decorated, possibly to keep it from being stolen. For 200 years the identity of the Buddha was forgotten until one day it was being moved and fell to the ground, breaking some of the plaster and revealing the gold shining beneath.

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In the evening we met up with the group we will be travelling south with, 13 new faces – Brits and Aussies all. We went out for dinner and then hit Khao San road, the famous backpacker mecca that is equal parts terrifying and fascinating. I’m pretty sure that anything you desire can be found on Khao San. We saw signs for the infamous ping pong shows, offers of laughing gas, stalls selling fake IDs, bars that don’t check IDs, skewers of scorpions and beetles, people falling down drunk and lots of money changing hands. We stayed out for a few drinks too many and then called it quits, ready for bed and not too anxious to see the sun rise.

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