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Chris & Lindee see the world

Bangkok so far

THAILAND | Tuesday, 16 August 2011 | Views [513] | Comments [1]

The Golden Buddha

The Golden Buddha

We arrived in Bangkok pretty weary from our flight...and having been awake since veeerrryyy early on Sunday morning.  But...after checking in and freshening up we hit the streets of Chinatown to find some food.  Oh and did we ever find some food!  There's some weird stuff cooking up on the streets.  If I had to describe Chinatown in one word I would say "busy".  But it is so much more than that.  It's a bustling, noisy, smelly, wild experience of a massive city.  Our hotel is right on Yaowarat Road, a main thoroughfare through this part of Bangkok.  We headed along it and wound our way in and out of laneways passing stores!? full of just about anything you might want, need, or have to have!  And street stalls selling all manner of food??! on sticks, in bags, the odd plate.  The narrow alleyways were packed full of stalls, motorbikes and people.  You have to keep watch and listen at every direction for motorbikes loaded with wares to deliver to the stores and stalls.  Dinner was in a fairly ordinary looking place back on the main road.  A double sized Singha for Chris, a fresh coconut for me (been looking forward to that - delicious), and 5 serves of dim sum = $6 (approx).  Then back to the hotel where we (Chris mostly!!) were still a bit peckish, so enjoyed a serve of Pad Thai & spring rolls (yummmmo) with another double sized Singha = $10 (lashing out!).

Day 2 has been event filled.  We engaged the services of our guide, Elvin, through Destination Asia (the company who our airport transfer was with).  A bit pricey maybe but we had a great day.  Elvin was a lovely Thai gentleman who provided us with a day full of historical, cultural and everyday Thai lifestyle info.  We have seen the Temple of the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit), a spectacular image of the Buddha created in 5500 kilograms of pure gold.  During transportation of the image from Sukhothai, an old capital city of Siam north of Bangkok, it was dropped and the plaster it appeared to be made from cracked, revealing the real quality of the image.  It is very beautiful, very large and very revered in Thailand.  From here we travelled to Wat Pho to see the Reclining Buddha, an enormous image stretching almost 50 metres and covered completely with gold leaf all done by hand.  Around the Buddha are hand painted pictures of Thai life.  Then on to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (the home of the Emerald Buddha).  These spectacular structures are covered with mosaics made from recycled dinnerware that, many hundreds of years ago, were broken while being sent from China.  The king at the time decided that they could be reused to decorate stupas, dedicated over time to kings after they passed away.  Another is completely covered in GOLD mosaics.  A past king also wrote a story (among others) about how a king was kidnapped by demons and how his monkey warrior rescued him and killed the demon responsible for the kidnapping.  The story was then recreated as massive wall murals.  A bit gruesome but quite spectacular!

Once we were templed out we walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch beside the Chao Praya River (The River of Kings).  Lunch was relaxed and delicious, but no rest for the wicked, as they say!  Our guide then headed our driver to the River City jetty to catch a boat upriver and through one of Bangkok's canals where we were able to "make merit" by feeding bread to fishes in the river.  This is seen by Buddhists as being much better than eating the fishes.  Bit of a different take on "fishes and loaves"!  Before leaving the canal we transferred onto an old rice barge that has been converted to take passengers, particularly tourists, where we enjoyed Thai desserts and fruits, and Chris got to enjoy their free Mai Tais.  The Chao Praya River is an incredibly large and busy river that is central to the Thai people, as it has for many years been used to transport supplies from other parts of Thailand.

Sawasdee Ka and good night

Comments

1

Keep up with those Mai Thai's!!!

  Andrea Aug 18, 2011 1:09 PM

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