I’ve had an active day in Bangkok, doing the rounds of the main tourist attractions. I started with the Grand Palace and Wat Pra Kaeow, both of which are full of both splendor and tourists. It’s almost too much gold and decorations to take it all in and as you get jostled around by the other visitors it’s a bit stressful. I also noted that except for the billboards honoring the king, there were hundreds of black clad Thai people around the palace, waiting to pay their respects.
Wat Pra Kaeow with lots of tourists milling around
They have some splendid murals in the galleries surrounding the main courtyard
The three most famous temples inside Wat Pra Kaeow
I love these figures holding up the stupa
The Emerald Buddha chapel, too bad you can’t take photos inside
The grand palace, notice the black and white ribbons of mourning
The grand palace
Nice bonsai garden in front of the palace
Wat Pra Kaeow selfie
The next stop was Wat Pho, just south of the palace. There were less tourists there but the splendor was almost equal, with lots of decorated stupas. The most impressive part though, is the gigantic, golden reclining Buddha.
The main stupas of Wat Pho
That’s quite an impressive shrine
Belfry and memorial of the king
The galleries are lined with golden Buddha statues
Stupas, so many stupas
After that I wanted to visit the museum of Siam, sadly it was closed. There were some other temples nearby but I was starting to feel temples out (Something that happens more often the longer you travel) so I decided to go to Chinatown and the markets there. The market is a few hundred meters long, narrow alleyway full of vendors. What I like about it is that there were plenty of local people, meaning they weren’t just selling tourist bricka-a-brack.
Some shots from the market
Where the market ends there is another temple called Wat Traimit, famous for its gigantic solid gold Buddha that was “discovered” in the 1940’s when some movers accidentally damaged the gipsom used to hide it during the war.
The golden Buddha
I walked through Chinatown back towards the hostel. Seeing Chinatown with all the big neon signs shooting out from the budings really reminds me of being back home in Taiwan. Close to the hostel I also found some kind of fortress but it was closed so I could only see it from the outside.
The streets of Chinatown
Pom Mahakan fortress
For dinner I had some excellent pad thai at Thipsamai just around the corner from the hostel. I didn’t know it when I went there but apparently it’s hailed as the best pad thai in town by several magazines and newspapers. Since the hostel is very close to the famous Kaosan road I’ve of course been there but it’s really touristic and not very good. Even the backpacker ghetto in HCMC is more worth visiting in my opinion.