27
Apr
17

Bangkok Diaries: Wat Pho, Silom, and More!

We didn’t have to go far from The Grand Palace to get to our next destination, Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.  It is just behind the complex and it is a must-see Bangkok attraction.

Scale model of Wat Pho

After having a “convenient” lunch around The Grand Palace area, we took a relaxing walk towards Wat Pho.  All I knew prior to reaching the temple is that it houses a huge reclining Buddha.  Little did I know it’s much more than that.

You may opt for a tuk tuk ride to get to Wat Pho if you prefer not to walk

The gates are often guarded by statues like these

Eager as we were, we went directly into the main temple where the reclining Buddha is in.  It is just overwhelming!  It is 46 meters long* and is covered in gold.  Standing near it makes you feel really small.  It is a bit of a challenge to take a photo because there’s hardly any room between the temple columns and the statue so after taking a few shots, I just stood there in awe!  It’s not every day you get to see a huge golden Buddha!

The reclining Buddha

A longer view of the Buddha

Then I went back to get a closer shot

The temple in itself is a sight to behold.  Like the temples in The Grand Palace complex, Wat Pho is filled with intricate details from the outside to the inside.  There’s just so many things you could look at.  And upon your way to the exit, you can purchase coins that you can drop in the 108 bronze bowls lining up the hallway for good luck.  The money raised become your donation to the monks in preserving Wat Pho.  Why 108?  108 is an important number as it refers to the 108 positive actions and symbols that helped lead Buddha to perfection.*

Impressive murals and paintings cover the interior of the main temple

The bronze bowls lining the hallway on your way out

The temple of the reclining Buddha is just one of the many structures in the compound of Wat Pho.  Since we didn’t really have anything urgent that we needed to do that afternoon, we took our sweet time to explore every corner of this vast property.  One of the first things I noticed were the numerous tall structures that looked like bells with antennas.  I didn’t know what they were called at the time but as I was writing this post, I found out that they are generally called stupas, but in Thailand they are referred to as chedis.  There are 91* of them and are distributed all throughout the complex, some inside pocket gardens that divide the area into sections.

Wat Pho Directory showing the location of the various temples

Just outside the temple of the reclining Buddha

Entering the rest of the complex

Some of the chedis as seen from the outside walls

Some chedis you can encounter as you walk the premises

Each one as elaborate as the other

There are so many of them you probably would not be able to count

The chedis of Wat Pho

As we walked along the corridors, we encountered long lines of Buddha images sitting in lotus position.  There’s 394* of them distributed in four chapels.

Wat Pho houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand

Each one is quite intricate

I’d have to admit that as much as we wanted to cover every inch of Wat Pho, there are sections that we missed.  Some sections were undergoing renovations as well at the time so we really can’t cover everything.  Nonetheless, I was really glad that we did this after The Grand Palace as this place is much more relaxed.

After a lot of walking, we settled into the Phra Ubosot, or main ordination hall, of Wat Pho to give our thanks for the safe journey and pray.  It’s the most solemn and one of my favorite part of this trip.

One last look at the towering chedis before we depart

You could get some souvenir items here at tourist prices 🙂

Time to head back!

Back at Tha Chang Pier on the banks of the Chao Phraya River to return to Sathorn (Central)

Some of the items you could get at Tha Chang

You could get these drinks at three (3) bottles for ฿100; elsewhere you could get this at ฿20 each 🙂

We took a standard ferry back to Sathorn Pier (฿40 per person)

Listed here are the stops of the boat we are in, like in a train (first time I saw something like this)!

At the BTS Silom Line Saphan Taksin Station (S6)

On our way back to our hotel, we decided to first drop by Lumpini Park.  As a runner, I always welcome the opportunity to visit a park as that’s usually where you can do your run safely.  And as I expected, Lumpini Park is an oasis in the middle of the city.  One minute, you’re looking at the infamous traffic of Bangkok, the next one, you’re enjoying fresh air and lovely views of nature.

Looking at BTS Silom Line Sala Daeng Station (S2) where we alighted

King Rama VI Monument at Lumpini Park

The views and ambiance here are so relaxing you’ll forget you’re in the middle of a bustling city

Just turn around and you’re instantly back!

That night, we went to Silom for dinner.  Silom is a haven of street foods and we saw a lot of things as we walked the street.  We ended up on a restaurant along the street and just picked something that looked good on the menu.

Feast your palate at the number of street food stalls that line the streets of Silom

If you prefer, you can eat right on the street

International franchises are also present

Another reason we picked Silom for dinner is because of its night market.  It’s not like we haven’t seen a night market before, but we’re curious at what we would see.  And I think I saw more that I should!

A scene from the night market of Silom does not differ much from those in Manila

I blushed when I realized that we reached the red-light district of Patpong!  I would not provide any more details, but it sure was interesting!  It is pretty safe though despite the street being lined with bars.  There are a lot of street food vendors as well when you reach the other end of the street.

What happens in Patpong, stays in Patpong!

Our adventure in Silom is still not over as we visited a nearby rooftop bar, Cloud 47.  It is already closed by the time you read this as we caught them in their final month of operations.  As you may have guessed with their name, they are located at the 47th floor, the rooftop, of the building they’re in.  We sought this place to view Bangkok from high above.  Interestingly, many of their staff are Filipinos, including the entertainers providing live music.

Cloud 47

The skyline of Bangkok at night

We have a 360-degree view of the city from here…

We’d love to stay long, but the trains only run till 10PM so that’s our Cinderella moment…

It was such a memorable day and it’s only just our first full day!  There are some loose ends, but I think it’s pretty good overall.  For those going to Wat Pho and the other places mentioned here, here are some of my tips:

  • Like in The Grand Palace, you should dress appropriately when entering Wat Pho.  Entrance costs ฿100 per person and that includes a free bottle of water which you can avail inside.
  • If you’re wearing socks, wear decent ones as you must remove your footwear when entering any of the temples.
  • Wat Pho houses a school of Thai medicine and is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage so if you are looking to get a massage, this could be the place.
  • We didn’t see any vendors inside Lumpini Park but there are nearby malls so if you’re going to be exploring the park, don’t forget to bring your hydration.
  • You can get a lot of interesting items at Silom, from street food to souvenirs, but I think some of the prices are more for tourists, particularly for non-food.
  • Trains run until around 10PM only.
  • Convenience shops are actually good places to buy locally made products.  My favorites are juices and soy milk, but some of them don’t have any English word on the labels so better ask if you’re uncertain of what you’re going to eat.

* Source: www.bangkok.com

To be continued…

* * *


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