A nomad I will remain for life,
in love with distant and uncharted places.
~ Isabelle Eberhardt
After a hot midday tour at the Grand Palace, we moved on to few more temples. There are a lot of Wats nearby, and visiting all of them can be pretty mind blowing.
Outside the Grand Palace, we asked the security personnel on directions to Wat Pho. Sadly he can’t speak english so he called up this guy from the corner which in turn tricked us to a tuktuk ride. The ride was certainly cheap which will take us to the nearby temples and later on to Wat Pho. He told us about a current national event held in Wat Pho so its best to go there in the afternoon when it’s less crowded.
Shortly after boarding the tuktuk, I realized that we were off to a scam deal. There has been a lot of writings about the tuktuk ride so I felt hesitant to continue since we were on a very tight schedule and we can’t tolerate and buy time to make a stop to a jewelry shop, a tailoring shop or any exorbitant souvenir shop, that aren’t part of our itinerary.
I immediately told the driver to just drop us to the first temple and then were off to Wat Pho. Oooops, too late.
He refused and beg us to just explore the jewelry shop so he’ll get a gas refund ticket. We felt sorry for him so we’ve been nice but it got really annoying when he dropped us to 2 more shops for his gas tickets and asked us to stay for about 10 minutes on each. That killed 2 hours of our precious time?@#$!!
Finally reached Wat Pho, one of the largest and oldest Wat in Bangkok. It is the house of a 46 meters long and 15 meters high gold plated reclining Buddha. The feet and eyes are engraved with mother of pearl and illustrates the passing of Buddha into Nirvana.
The Wat Pho complex consists of two walled compounds. It houses more than 1000 Buddha images in total, most from the ruins of the former capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai.
We did a quick round and headed out. Since we swear off to use tuktuk for the rest of our Thailand journey, the mister and I decided to wander by foot and find our way to the Giant Swing in front of Wat Suthat. The 88 feet tall giant swing was formerly used for the swing ceremony, one of the 12 royal ceremonies during King Rama I regime. The ceremony was discontinued after several participants fell to their death. Today, it is one of the famous tourist attraction in Bangkok.
Further ahead, we saw the Democracy Monument at the center of Bangkok. It was built in 1939 to commemorate the 1932 Siamese coup d’etat. It led to the end of a 150-year old absolute monarchy and Thailand’s constitutional government was born.
Of course we can’t missed Thailand’s Khao San Road, the backpackers and budget travelers haven where the cheapest accommodations and best travel deals are within reach. This is yet the most lively part of Bangkok where you can find everything, from places to stay, variety of dining options and souvenir shops, open 24 hours.
Soi Rambuttri is a bit laid back than Khao San Road but hosts a number of budget options as well.
We sampled the most popular thai dish, pad thai from one of the street stalls. A stir-fried noodles that tasted heavenly!
On to our next destination, Mahakan Fort, one of the two remaining fortresses in Bangkok. It is built to protect the eastern entry point to the island. Behind the fort is a recently converted small park where we rested and killed time for sunset.
A refreshing sight awaits us at the resting area overlooking the river and Rama VIII Bridge.
Just a few steps away is the terminal where we boarded Chao Phraya Express Boat back to the Central Station. We were supposed to wait for night time to catch Wat Arun lightings but we only have 30 minutes left before the last trip and it’s not even close on getting dark.
Wat Arun or “Temple of the Dawn” is best viewed during sunset and evening where it makes an impressive silhouette against the skyline. Perhaps the most striking riverside landmark in Thailand.
Since we were out the whole day and we wanted some cold treats, we went mall hopping during the night. We window shopped at Siam Paragon and MBK. I’m quite disappointed since I can buy the same items back home (particularly in Divisoria and Tutuban) at fairly cheaper price.
We discovered something though, street stalls offer better deals, for the same item.
And what better way to cap of the day than a sweet ice cold treats from Swensen’s!
For him, strawberry stripes and for me, butterscotch brownie sundae. It’s high time to indulge and were lost for words. Mmmmm.