Sunday, August 26, 2012

Barely in Bangkok

I will try to avoid complaining too much about my lost pictures in this post, but it won't be easy!

We had one night in Bangkok on our layover between Melbourne and Chiang Mai. We got in pretty late, but we stayed at the beautiful Hilton on the Chao Phraya River using Zack's points and enjoyed some room service and the view. This picture is from the plane, but the view from our hotel window was about the same.

In the morning (before our flight), we went to the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is one of the world's largest markets. It covers 27 acres, and it includes everything from food to pets to clothing to furniture to basically anything else you can imagine! We only got to see a small portion of the market, but it was fun to explore. The only picture we have of it is me sitting with the luggage (since we had to go straight to the airport).

The signs in the cab rides entertained us. Check out these symbols on the window. Can you figure out what each one means? Does the first one mean you're not allowed to bring a goat inside the cab?! I don't even want to know about the third one.
I purposely booked another long layover from Chiang Mai to Phuket a few days later so that we would have a full day in Bangkok to explore more of the city. We went to the Grand Palace, which is an absolutely incredible complex of buildings and temples with intricate designs. It absolutely breaks my heart that I lost my pictures from this day, because I spent hours walking around the grounds getting hundreds of amazing photos. Zack's phone pictures will have to do. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, or Wat Phra Kaew, is located here, but you weren't allowed to take pictures inside the building. It's considered the most sacred temple in Thailand. The little green Buddha (about 26 inches tall) that sits atop mounds of golden decorations is said to be carved from one piece of jade stone, and there are many legends surrounding it. 
At temples in Thailand, you have to remove your shoes before entering. Also, you're not supposed to point your feet toward the Buddha image, so you tuck them behind you when you sit/kneel. It's also a requirement to wear long pants and shirts that cover your shoulders. At the Grand Palace, they make you rent/borrow clothes if you don't have appropriate attire.

After exploring the Grand Palace, we walked to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, or Wat Pho. A well-known massage school is located here, and we each got a massage to see how good it was compared to the cheaper ones we had received in Chiang Mai (yes, this was better!). The main attraction is the huge reclining Buddha; it's 160 feet long!

We took a boat ride down the river in the late afternoon before catching our flight to Phuket, which was a nice way to see the city and a few more temples from afar. We didn't have much time in Bangkok, but we made the most of it!

Though my pictures are lost, I highly suggest you click on these links and scroll through the visitor photos. There are some that are similar to the ones that I took, and it's worth checking them out to get a feel for the amazing sights we were privileged to see in Bangkok.

Grand Palace

Temple of the Reclining Buddha

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