17 November 2014
After taking yesterday's tour and our tour guide telling us we need to see the Grand Temple we gave in and went. But first...breakfast. Here is a picture of where were ate and is pretty typical of the kind of restaurants in this "backpacking' area we are staying in that caterers toward tourists:
There were tons of buses for at least 1/2 mile from the site, and when we got there there half of China there taking a tour. After pushing and shoving our way through the pack we finally bought our tickets ($15 USD each...quite expensive) and made our way to the renowned emerald Buddha. We approached the huge temple and couldn't wait to see this Buddha. As we entered, there it was...a tiny, little 2 foot tall green Buddah on an enormous golden throne. Although the Buddha wasn't big, the ground were amazing. Here are some of the highlights:
After the temple, we entered the area of the Grand Palace where the royalty of the past built building after building as they took power. Great architecture, color, and landscape.
Here is the obligatory picture of me with the royal guard:
After being Grand Palace'd out we decided to head back to the hotel and unwind. On the way back we passed the Thammasat University with sculptures in yard. We walked around and found out it was a Memorial garden for the fight for democracy. There were some pretty cool sculptures:
Our plan was to spend a small time in the room to cool off in the air conditioning and then head off to the sites to the east of where we are staying. First stop Wat Bowonniwet:
Next stop Golden Mount. This is a temple built on a artificial hill that was created when a large stupa, under construction in the year 1830 collapsed. It was a bit of a climb up there, but the views were worth it.
Time for a little snack after that climb:
Next we passed Ban Batt where the last remaining family hand makes alms bowls for the monks. I would have loved to buy a bowl that only cost $15 USD, but we can't carry it around for 4 months, so a picture will have to do.
Sao Ching-Cha (giant swing) and Wat Suthat. I guess people used to swing on that red structure trying to grab a bag of gold. Many people died trying, and around 1930 they stopped holding this contest.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped for our first (of I'm sure many) bowls of street vender soup. YUM!
Before going to the room we stopped for a few beers and called it a night. Tomorrow we check out of this hotel and move to a different part of Bangkok for a couple of nights.