Wednesday, August 17, 2011

110707 Day 22: Day 2 in BKK

We woke up and headed down to the hotel cafe for breakfast. It was pretty good, and I definitely forgot how much I missed being in a hotel and having people cook eggs for you for breakfast - yummy! I could definitely get used to living in a hotel and having an entire buffet line for breakfast, everything from miso soup and sushi to croissants! Thanks Uncle Mak for breakfast!

hotel breakfast!

After breakfast, we walked (a long walk) to Lumphini MRT station, and took it to Hua Lamphong MRT. From Hua Lamphong MRT, we walked (another long walk) through Chinatown to Thailand's most famous temple (wat) - Wat Pho - the oldest and largest temple in Thailand, home to the most buddha images in Thailand and one of the largest Reclining Buddha imagines in the world. By then, we were already exhausted. We had walked about an hour and a half in 35-degree-centigrade temperatures, and are completely drenched in sweat, and have downed three bottles of water. Welcome to Thailand.

On the walk to Wat Pho, many people stopped to talk to us. Mostly because we looked confused and lost, since streets are hardly named here in Bangkok, and you just have to know your way around. At first, these people seemed genuinely helpful, but after telling us that where we wanted to go is either closed, or not yet open, and redirecting us to other places, and finding us tuktuks (motorized trishaws), we realized that their intentions are not good at all, and are probably out to cheat us on the tuktuk fare or try to take us on a spin. Luckily, we read in the guidebooks that the Wat Pho and Grand Palace areas are full of cheats that divert tourists away from these attractions, and did not fall in their traps.

Eventually, we made it to Wat Pho, and blindly entered the temple, strangely escaping the entrance fees as well. How did that happen? I don't know, but if nobody wants to collect the fee from me, I wouldn't object to that!

chedi

more chedi

guard statues guard the entrances/exits

little garden with statues

more chedi and the inner wall

more of wat pho

one of the halls with buddhas inside

these are the huge chedi that is famous in wat pho

Buddha

an entire wall of Buddha images - this wall runs around the perimeter of the compound

people praying

In Wat Pho, we saw many buddha sculptures. Apparently, Wat Pho has more than a thousand buddha images in it, the temple that has the most buddha images in Thailand. Amongst all the buddha sculptures, the most famous, and one of the largest in the world, is the Reclining Buddha. The Reclining Buddha is a massive 15 meters high and 46 meters long, and is gold plated.

Reclining Buddha

Jas, our model, puts its size in perspective

feet of the Reclining Buddha - with mother of pearl inlay

pots where people throw little coins in

Jas :)

After walking around Wat Pho a bit, and looking at the intricately designed chedis (Buddhist stupas) within the wat, we decided to head to the Grand Palace, since it was nearby. Walking out of Wat Pho, we headed toward the Grand Palace, fending off over enthusiastic 'tour guides', tuk tuk drivers and other people. We walked around the walls of the Grand Palace to find the entrance, but could not really find one. The one entrance to the Grand Palace had a person dressed in a police uniform tell us that theres 'nothing to see' in the Grand Palace, a phrase that we get alot from the 'cheats' when we tell them where we're heading. Great, so even the police man wants to hook us up with a tuk tuk driver and drive us somewhere else, and get some commission from that.

Eventually, after walking around the walls of the Grand Palace in the hot sun and meeting such people, we decided that we no longer want to visit the Grand Palace, or deal with such people anymore, and took a cab back to the hotel. We were exhausted, and it was only about three hours since we left the hotel!

Back at the hotel, we lounged around in AC, and only left when the sun was starting to go down. We walked to the downtown district and walked around Central World, then walked to Siam Square to check out the street market when it opened. Siam Square was where the riots last year happened, and one shopping mall got burnt down. That plot of land still remains empty, but it seems the Thais have since gotten over that, since they're back with the street stalls, everywhere. Also, Thailand is a lot more expensive than I remembered. Gone are the stores that sell things for 100 or 200 baht. Everything is now more upscale and boutique-ish, unless you're at the street market.

pad thai for lunch at CentralWorld

Jas had satay and rice

rice and other condiments

bought some street squid - Yummy!!

After walking for what seems a long long long time, we're finally back at the hotel, enjoying a bath in the tub, and enjoying watching TV from the tub - nice! I love hotels!

dinner - kuay teow pork

When Uncle Mak came back, we ordered room service! Obviously, its a totally new experience for me. I don't remember when the last time I've had room service was.

pad thai

basil beef and rice

wonton soup

room service!

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