Sunday, November 14, 2010

2008 February: Bangkok: Day 2: City Tour, Temple and Catholic Church Visit

2008 February: Bangkok: Day 2: City Tour, Temple and Catholic Church Visit

We were picked up at around 8:45am from the hotel. Our first stop is the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit). Always take care of your valuables and don’t be surprise if locals here are taking your pictures. They do sell these pictures for your souvenir. Note that shoes are taken off before going inside any temple in Thailand.

There is also a fortune teller machine here where you need to drop a 5 baht coin and the lights will go on circles. This will stop on a particular number, then you can get the corresponding paper for that number. Don’t worry because these are translated in major languages.

Our next location is The Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram). Entering the gate is so majestic as you will see the spectacular architecture of the temple.

Inside the temple you will see a bronze Buddha.

On the left area of the compound, you will see a short bridge, long river and a set of big bells. The scene is not a typical Thailand bridge, but it is more like of a European bridge.

As part of the tour, though most of the tourist do not really enjoy, is to visit a jewelry store. Of course it will start with the “sleeping time” when you are required to see a short film about ruby and other gem stones. Then you will see the actual designing and jewelry making. After which is you will check out the actual products. The one that we asked is about 10000THB for only a pair of pearl earrings.

Another store that the tour includes is a leather shop, but all of us opt not to go there anymore. Thus we were allowed to join theirs other vans that will drop us off to different places in Bangkok. Some wanted to visit Chatuchak, others are going to MBK. But we choose to go to Grand Palace instead.

I notice that just outside the Grand Palace is an ice parlor - Haagen Dazs. We had a long walk of about 10-20 inutes to reach a decent restaurant. We had our food in Royal Navy Club 77 Restaurant.

We decided to check out the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho - first in Thai Wang Road next to the Grand Palace. There is an entrance fee (50THB) to the main temple where the gigantic gold plated reclining Buddha resides. Inside the temple, you can exchange your money to be used for the metal containers where you can drop the local coins as while you are praying and wishing to the Buddha. Here you will experience a 360 degree view of the Buddha.

After which, we rushed to the Grand Palace, note that at 3:30pm this temple closes. We arrived there at around 3pm, with the ticket (250THB) you will be given als a map that will guide your journey inside the compound. In front, they also offer tourists guides who can speak in different languages, but for me you can check out the place on your own, not unless you are history fanatic of Thailand.

When asking for directions, don’t you dare ask the guards in front of the Grand Palace, (they are like the soldiers in front of Jose Rizal Monument in Rizal Park) they are not allowed to speak. For good directions, you can go across the street and you’ll find a very helpful tourist information counter. From this area, we took bus no. 25 to reach the Hua Lam Pong station.
Before we finally decide to take the subway, we ate our afternoon snack in the Authentic Thai Restaurant. This is just very near the Hong Kong Noodle Restaurant.

Plastic tokens are given to the single journey passengers. Good thing that they have counters in the station.

We drop-off Silom Station thinking that we can still checkout Lumpini Park. But due to time constraint, it is better to drop off the Lumpini Station then just walk straight to US Embassy to reach a Catholic Church in Thailand.
After we visit all the major temples in Thailand, it is just appropriate to visit our own Catholic Church. Sunday English Mass is held at 5:30pm in Holy Redeemer Church. From outside, the architecture is like the Thai temples except for the cross on the top.

From here, we took a cab to take us back to the hotel. It is advisable to print out your hotel’s name and address in both English and Thai language. Not all cab drivers can understand English, thus it might take you some time to get the right cab for you.

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