The Temples


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Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok
July 31st 2012
Published: July 31st 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

We started out the day experiencing our first scammer on the street. This nice, sweet old lady came up to us outside the shopping mall and started talking to us. She knew English (somewhat), and told us she was a school teacher. She told us of a shop that sold cheap clothing and souvenirs, and she even hailed a tuk tuk (little 3 wheeled taxis) and negotiated the price to get us there. So, off we go to this shop. Once we get there, all we see is tourists being dropped off by tuk tuk's. Inside is the most useless Thai junk. We learned very quickly not to trust the people who approach you on the street.

After we left the junk shop, we headed to the big shopping mall again (which the old lady had told us was closed) and went in. This one was called the MBK center, and it was a much cheaper shopping mall than what we had been in the past day.

Kevin and I both bought a few items including a blouse for me that was appropriate to wear to the temples. Ladies must wear long pants and at least 3/4 length blouses. Needless to say it was going to be a hot day for me.

We took a Taxi to the west side of Bangkok to find the temples. The taxi dropped us off at The Grand Palace, which is a huge temple complex.We didn't realize their was a dresscode for the men as well. Kevin ended having to rent a pair of pants because shorts are not allowed in the complex. They were a pair of hideous, khaki material draw string pants. Not the most attractive things in the world, but it allowed us into the temple compound.

The first temple we spent some time in was called Wat Pho, or the reclining Buddha. It was the largest gold Buddha I could imagine. It was 160 feet long and about 50 feet tall. We had to take our shoes off to enter this part of the temple and inside there are many areas for offerings, prayers and donations of every kind. I wish our pictures did the temple justice. Every inch of ivory, mother of pearl or gold was meticulously placed and ornate.

We had to cross the river to reach the next temple which was a journey in itself. Kevin knew that we needed to take a ferry, but we were not exactly sure how to get to the ferry so we wandered around where we thought it might be and found it due to the smell of the dried fish in the street when we got close. You had to go through another market before reaching the ferry. This ferry is an open platform boat with 2x6s randomly placed for seats, but with a 3 baht fee (10 cents to us). Why would it be any different? The river itself was mass chaos. There is no such thing as river etiquette. There were boats everywhere going every which direction, but surprisingly no wrecks.

Once on the other side of the river safely, we went to the next temple called Wat Arun. This one was our favorite. It was much like what we have seen in pictures of Mayan temples. It had stairs that went close to the top which were interesting to climb. We climbed to the top where we could see the whole skyline of downtown Bangkok and found a great breeze to cool us off. Again, it looks like each piece of the temple was specifically placed and beautiful.

When we had seen the temples we wanted to see we decided to head back to the hotel for A/C and to rest. We hailed a taxi and negotiated the price back to the hotel. Everything with a taxi or a tuk tuk is a negotiation because they will not use their meters. We jumped in the cab, which we found out really quick had a broken A/C, and headed off. Little did we know that our taxi driver did not know the fastest way back. It took us at least twice the time if not more and then he still didn't drop us off in the right place. It was close enough for us so we jumped out without correcting him. We were close to the really fancy mall we had visited the day before so we decided to stop off and try our first real Thai meal. I trusted this place more than the street vendors, but we will be trying them tomorrow. We orded two different meals and enjoyed both of them very much. I am not going to say that it will be a frequent meal in the future, but it is a nice change.

After a really late lunch we took the Skytrain back to the hotel and took showers to rinse the 2" of salt off of our bodies and took a nap. More adventures to come later!


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