01.23.2008 - 01.23.2008 95 °F
On my first whole day in Bangkok, I knew I had to go see the Grand Palace and Wat Phra - the must see combo of the city. The Grand Palace is the old royal residence and Wat Phra the most sacred and beautiful temple in Bangkok. I took the new BTS sky train to the river and then took the river ferry from there. Some of the views from the ferry ride up the river:
My ferry was not as speedy as the first boat, a longtail, or as pretty as the second old wood boat. Oh well, got me up the river for 15 baht! (50 cents)
The Grand Palace was closed to tourists so that Thais could come to pay their respects to the recently passed sister of the king. So I went ahead to see the temple. It was as promised, amazing and very impressive. The four walls around the temple had a long mural telling stories that I tried to follow. There were kings, wives, demons, monkeys and wars! I think you can imagine the drama:
Parts of the mural were being restored and painted with fresh new golden paint.
The buildings and stupas were beautiful, all gleaming with gold paint and intricate mosaics. The emerald Buddha (actually jade) is housed in the main building. It is one of the most revered images of the Buddha and wars have been fought to capture it. I don't have a picture of it, but it was much smaller than I expected. I especially loved the statues of demons and monkeys and winged beasts.
I stayed at the temples for hours basking in the beauty of it all.
More pics at Flickr.