Up Close: Thai Architecture
December 27, 2009 – Day 367 – Bangkok, Thailand
After a stout breakfast of eggs and toast, we set out for a walking tour of the city’s main attractions. We left Khao San district and headed for the sizable Democracy Monument.
We crossed the massive intersections and continued on to check out the Giant Swing—a leftover from religious festivals that is no longer used due to the high number of deaths that occurred on it (or off it, rather). Across the road from the swing were the remnants of a “Bangkok 50 Years Ago” expo complete with excellent (and no doubt expensive!) classic cars from the 1940s and ’50s. Beautiful pieces of art!
On our way to Wat Pho we detoured into a quiet, serene city park with beautiful flowers and fat koi fish gobbling up bits of food left by some kind heart or happy child. Bangkok is so beautiful, organized, clean, and just fabulous all around. The King really knows how to take care of his people and his country.
Wat Pho was absolutely stunning. Thai architecture really celebrates Buddhism in a special way. It’s neat to see how different Chinese, Tibetan, and Thai people all celebrate Buddhism with slightly varied and all equally beautiful architecture.
Wat Pho’s large complex just sparkles and glitters when the sun shines brightly on the colorful roof tiles of the smaller wats. On top of the sheer magnificence of the complex, we got to see the world’s largest reclining Buddha! Covered in gold with mother of pearl inlay on the soles of the feet, it is a truly impressive sight.
We lunched at a sidewalk stand on fried pork and rice, a simple but tasty meal, while we watching the traffic roll by. We are definitely fully appreciating the lack of horn honking here! Even if you are standing right in front of a car’s path, the will not honk at you. It’s great! Maybe all that hearing damage from India can be halted and prevented from worsening toward complete deafness.
On the way back home, we stumbled across a long sidewalk flea market. It was not directed toward tourists so the stuff for sale was really neat and better priced than the usual markets. Tiny metal figurines of Buddha, old postcards, random collections of second hand clothing, shoes, and bags, jewelry, semi precious stones and carved religious images and so on. Great fun seeing what we could find!
We absolutely love Thailand and we have only been here for a few days. There could be no better medicine for coming from India than to come to Thailand. Just imagine if we had visited Thailand first! At any rate, we are thoroughly enjoying everything about this place. The people are so wonderful, the food is incredibly tasty, everything is so clean and organized, and the country itself is so beautiful.