September 7, 2013
Ticks Off the Bucket List
See the Golden Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho ✔
My first day in Bangkok! I was wide awake at 5am and anxious to get the day started. I inspected my hotel room for the first time since I was too tired the night before. The room was great AND I had a walk-in 2 person shower! I recommend this hotel to others interested in visiting Bangkok –> http://www.centuryparkhotel.com/ I wouldn’t say it is exactly central though but you have easy access to the Sky Train. It’s crazy; 4 and 5 star hotel rooms run for $60-$100 in Thailand so it’s easy to travel in style here. The reason for this has a lot to do with the exchange rate and the fact that this is still a developing country. Roughly $1 = 30 Thai Baht, 1E = 40 TB.
After a long shower, I headed downstairs for breakfast. Couldn’t believe my eyes: a proper American breakfast was offered, alongside Thai breakfast, Japanese, etc as well as crazy things like buffalo wings! The only thing I was missing was a bowl of grits
I ran into another American at breakfast, Daniel. He’s a business owner back in Colorado who happened to be here in Thailand on his own, and had booked the same mainland tour as me. He was soon to become my buddy for the trip!
I had hired a tour company to organize my first 11 days in Thailand so that I could properly see the mainland. There is A LOT to see in Thailand and I wanted to see it all. First on the agenda this morning was Wat Pho- Temple of the Reclining Buddha. As I was walking into the temple, there was a man holding a huge python snake; the typical tourist attraction. Only difference here is that pythons are native to Thailand. The jungles of Thailand are home to some of the largest snakes in the world.
Walking into this temple was my first real Buddhism experience. I’ve been to the heart of almost all of the major religions in the world: Christianity in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Judaism all over Israel, Islam throughout the Middle East. But this temple striked me as the most remarkable, and so soo different from the other religions’ places of worship. The temples are built with a very fine attention to detail. Everything you see has a special meaning to it. And they use a lot of color. Fun Fact: There are a total of almost 41,000 Buddhist temples in Thailand alone! Not only are the temples remarkable, but the Buddhists themselves are. They have so many strange customs that I’ve witnessed since arriving in Thailand. For example, the monks walk the streets at sunrise and all of the Buddhists meet them outside to feed them. Also, Buddhists go to the temples to donate chicken eggs. So when you’re walking through the temples you’ll see huge bowls of eggs. I’m not sure the meaning behind this.
Wat Pho is home to the 3rd largest Reclining Buddha in Thailand. The temple is very important to the Thais and attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world. The temple is made up of many different buildings and is pretty large and easy to get lost in. I even came across my FIRST monk siting!!
In the temple of the Reclining Buddha…
you can make a special offering. There are 108 bowls lined up against the wall that, by tradition, you must walk along the bowls, drop a coin into each one and make a wish. Amor salud dinero, amor salud dinero… ;)
After a couple hours wondering through the temple, I went to my hotel for a quick siesta and was back at it. I was headed to Siam Niramit, one of the largest and most spectacular stage shows in the world. I couldn’t take pictures at the show but you can get an idea from the website –> http://www.siamniramit.com/ Through music and dance, they showed the progression of the Siam empire (the old name for the empire that spanned over Thailand and surrounding countries). Beforehand, they had a buffet dinner and I stuffed my face with so much Asian food it made me sick! It was good, I couldn’t resist. Productive first day in Bangkok!