Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 3 - Bangkok, Thailand in 2006 (Grand Palace)

Today we were supposed to have a half-day tour to the floating market. We woke up early, brought kids down to have breakfast, and waited for our pick up at the lobby. We should have left the hotel by 630am, latest 7am. Unfortunately, after around 30minutes of waiting, there was no pick up. I was so furious I called the travel agency to check on them. It happens that there was some miscommunication on their side and they said they will go back and pick us up. Hello?! For what? It was already a few hours after the pick up time. I told them that we are not going on the trip again and that they need to refund our payment ASAP. What a way to start the day.

Since we didn't have anything scheduled for this morning, we changed our itinerary. Grand Palace grounds in the morning then check out and leave for Bang-na earlier than planned. We tried to be adventurous and walked our way to the Grand Palace, under the hot sun. I had to wear jeans, by the way, since I found out that shorts are not allowed inside the temples.

waiting to make our way to the ticket counter

bunch of tourists (local and international) who were visiting the palace grounds

Had the first glimpse of one of the buildings inside the compound. The Grand Palace is Bangkok's famous landmark. It is the official residence of the Kings of Thailand since the 18th century except for the present King (wikipedia source). It is made up of a complex of buildings which houses the Emerald Buddha, the Reclining Buddha and other temples.

Entrance to the Grand Palace was 500baht (excluding Wat Pho, 100 baht). 

one of the first few structures we saw inside the complex

posing with one of the mythological giants guarding the temples

the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)

This is the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. It houses the Emerald Buddha which was believed to be carved from a single block of jade. No one is allowed near the Buddha except the King.

standing outside one of the temples

posing with the statues on the Emerald Buddha Temple

doing some restoration work in one of the walls of the temples

Ira was finally in the mood, even under the scorching heat

two giant guard statues

one of the "human" guards around the palace

Wat Phra Keow

inside the Temple of the Reclining Buddha - Wat Pho

Buddha's toes

feet made of mother of pearls

Birthplace of the traditional Thai massage. This temple houses the massive Reclining Buddha, so huge we couldn't get a whole picture of it!

doing it the Amazing Race style...

After a few hours, we have finally covered most of the Grand Palace sights. But we were not yet done with the temples in the city. We still had one last temple in mind - Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn. 

To get there, we needed to cross the street and get as close as possible to the Chao Phraya River. We didn't plan to enter the temple. Seeing it from across the river was ok. We passed by a market and made our way through some storage areas and finally found an alleyway to the edge of the river.

a view of the Wat Arun

hot and exhausted

the busy Chao Phraya River - a major thoroughfare in Bangkok

couple pic with Wat Arun. We're dead beat tired at this time.

finally, we are back to the hotel. We still had a few last-minute packing to do and we were off to another hotel, in Bang-na.

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