The temple tour and more…..
Our very first stop was the Reclining Buddha Temple which has the longest statue of Buddha. The statue is 46m long and is gold plated.
Next we visited the Marble Temple which is locally known as Wat Benchamabophit, meaning Temple of the fifth king.
The temple complex has many statues of Buddha in various poses – walking, sitting, meditating, preaching etc!
The temple complex also displays well preserved ancient manuscripts that give details of traditional medicines and beliefs.The stupas (roughly translates to pillars) around the temple complex have intricate designs, are very colourful and play a role in the religious rituals.
To be blessed, one can either drop coins into each of the 108 pots or have a monk tie a ‘blessed band’ on one’s wrist. Gifts ranging from razors and toothbrushes to toys are offered to the monks!
The royal family is revered in Thailand. On the streets of Bangkok, pictures of the royal family can be seen at almost every street junction. This also holds true for any establishment wheather it’s a shop, hotel, store or super market.
Our half day tour concluded with a visit to a local jewellery shop and a silk store. For families / groups traveling to Bangkok a piece of advice – there are big Diamond Jewellery outlets who run tourism promotion vans. So if you are in a group, ask your Hotel manager to ask for a free taxi for your day trips, as they are free for you, to go anywhere you want to go!! The catch is that during you 2-3 days of stay, you must visit the Diamond Retail outlet & check their wares. That’s all, there is no compulsion on purchase and the whole travel tab is picked by the Outlet!!
On our second day on the streets of Bangkok – the main attraction of the day was the Tiger Temple. From what we heard, the monks at the temple first started raising tiger cubs they found abandoned near the temple. Since then, most abandoned or hurt tigers are brought to the monks.
The temple now cares for about 75 tigers and has its own breeding program. Funds and volunteers pour in from across the world. We caught the tigers in the middle of their afternoon siesta.:)
We also visited the Cobra show, Elephant ride, Floating Market, the memorial of the Second World War and the Kwai bridge. The bridge is also known as the Death Bridge because a staggering 80000 of the prisoners used to construct this bridge died in the process. The Floating Market is a must visit as it gives a picture of how goods are sold in the rural areas of Thailand.
The last day in Bangkok was dedicated exclusively for shopping. The weekend market at Chatuchat has about 15,000 stalls that sell clothes, bags, footwear, cosmetics, perfumes and handicrafts at very cheap prices. I’m not sure about boys but girls should allow at least 5 to 6 hours time for a complete shopping experience Another tip for shoppers – always bargain before finalisation of the deal. All prices are inflated and the locals expect you to bargain!! So you can always start as low as 30% of the price quoted by the salesperson!
About our trip to Phuket and more on Thailand in the next post….
Supriya Kurpad, an engineer by vocation decided to leave her job and pursue further studies in Singapore where she currently resides. In her free time she loves reading, exploring local places and vegetarian food besides globetrotting!!
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