February 20, 2011
It’s our last day in Bangkok and we were yet to visit any temples, palace etc. Our hosts don’t have to work on a Sunday so they’re sure to accompany us along with the other travelers we met in this city, our Bangkok buddies. We’re looking forward to our hosts joining us ‘coz we missed them so the day before. Aside from the fact that they know their way around the city (less hassle for us), we really just enjoy their company. :)
We got up early so we can cover more places. Proper attire, check! The guys told us that they don’t allow shorts and sleeveless tops for women at the Grand Palace. From experience, if you’re going to wear pants, don’t go with capri, it’s also not allowed. Better stick to the usual length. But knee length skirts were fine with them. Camera and fully charged batteries, check! Sunblock, check! Do take care of your skin especially when you’re frequently under the sun to prevent skin cancer. ;) Wallet, check! Oh shoot! I forgot my shades back at the apartment and that day’s a sunny one! Ate Lea lent me hers since she had an extra in her bag, whew!
We haven’t had our breakfast yet, just some coffee. We’ll first meet up with Diana from across the Wat Arun before we eat. Coming from our flat in Klong San district, we took the bus to Din Daeng Pier (6.50THB). From here, we crossed the Chao Phraya river aboard a barge (3THB) towards Ratchawong Pier on the opposite side. We then took the river ferry and got off at Tha Thien pier – N8 (14THB).Immediately outside the pier were food stalls were food weren’t just cheap but tasted very good as well! She found us quickly and we had our breakfast here. I got a plate of pad see ew (others spell it as phat si io) and a glass of cold Thai iced tea. My fave Thai dish combo!♥
Deliciously sated, we again crossed the river (3THB). We’re now at Wat Arun! :)
First stop: Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Entrance fee – 30THB
Open from 8:30am ’til 5:30pm
Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple named after the Indian God of Dawn, Aruna. It is said that the central prang symbolizes Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. The temple’s construction was started by King Rama II (1800s) whose ashes were buried beneath the image of Buddha there.
In keeping with our wanting to cut on costs, we were told that since locals need not pay any entrance fee unlike foreigners (and because we look Thai) that we should just go straight in and they won’t call us out to pay for an entrance fee. I jokingly told Diana that I’ll distance myself from her when entering so they won’t mistook me for a tourist. She took it in stride good-naturedly. We tried it and true enough, we got in for free. Woot! haha ;) Ali met up with us here and Rahel will join us in a while.
Second Stop – Wat Po (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
Entrance fee – 50THB
As the name implies, it’s the temple of the reclining Buddha. It’s Bangkok’s largest and oldest temple and is known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.♥
The reclining Buddha measures about 46meters long. Do notice the details on the Buddha’s feet. It was inlaid with mother-of-pearl to illustrate the 108 auspicious characteristics (laksanas) that distinguish a true Buddha.
Some temple etiquette: The head is considered sacred while the feet are unclean. With this in mind, upon entering buildings within a temple, shoes are removed and placed outside (they have shelves for the footwear). Pointing in general is considered impolite. Do not point to a Buddha image using your foot. Women can talk to monks but we shouldn’t touch them as to prevent from tempting them. Ask permission first before taking their picture as some don’t like having their pictures taken.
Third stop: The Grand Palace
Entrance Fee – 350THB
A short tuktuk ride (finally got to ride one!) away from the Wat Po is the Grand Palace. It really is grand! Better make it your last stop when visiting temples etc as the others would pale in comparison. ;)
Built in 1782, the complex consists of not only the royal residence and throne halls, but also a number of government offices as well as the renowned Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most sacred site. Aside from the fact that it’s huge, the attention given to the most minute details were very intricate and makes one think highly of Thai craftsmanship. And since it’s where the most sacred site is located, visitors should dress modestly. If they weren’t, they’d be made to wear sarong to cover themselves up.
Admittedly, I wasn’t so sure if the fuss all around was worth it. The entrance was alright. When we got in, there was this huge stone statue, it was okay. But when I turned left, wow! I was amazed! hehehe There stood huge golden chedis! Buildings ornately designed were all around. It definitely look like it took a lot of planning, skill and effort (everything) in building this complex. It really is grand!