We spent a bit of time in downtown Bangkok before heading to Hanoi. We stopped at Siam Paragon. The “Pride of Bangkok”. The stores were incredible. They had Bentley and Ducati dealerships on the second floor. The finer vehicles were on the 3rd and 4th.
The nature of the sculpture escaped me. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.
Brent and I stayed at the Ariyasomvilla, a small lovely hotel near the heart of Bangkok but close to the public transport system.
We used the kind offer of the airport pickup. The drive up to the hotel can give you some misgivings. Very small mechanic garages surround the area. The garages are a wonder to behold since they are the size of single car garages and simply loaded with old parts for something. All the mechanics I saw simply sat on their hunches and worked on small engine parts. If there was any grinding going on, no gloves, no glasses, no concerns.
Plants and trees surrounded the small hotel so basically you were in your own separate world. Breakfast, the first photo, was always a wonder of treats you would not normally see in any North American hotel. We always sat beside the pool since the waterfall was right there.
The trees were very knotted and wonderous. Needless to say, there were orchids everywhere.
The weather co-operated perfectly.
We used a number of ways to get around Bangkok. Taking a train down to the waterfront was a nice way to see the inner parts of the city. The main idea was to get down to the ferry system.
The Chao Phraya River has a number of attractions right along the river bank. Using the ferry system I found was the best way to see Bangkok from a bit of a distance. The various temples stand out.
The ferry system is very much like a hop on hop off type of tourist bus system. The cost is minimal, but you have to learn the various types of ferries. You can hop onto to a direct ferry that may not stop at the various stops you were hoping for. The ferries do fly the various flags that give you a sense where they might be going and if they are coming for you.
We waited at one stop for a particularly long time till we decided to take another ferry across the river to access a more central ferry depot. Don’t hesitate to experiment. Its only a river.
We found this to be a great way to access the main temples we were interested in.
Here we are in Wat Pho. Behind me you can see the reclining Buddha. This facial style is quite feminine. At 46 meters long and 15 meters tall, it is covered in gold leaf. The entire structure occupies the entire building.
Covered shoulders and no skin above the knee are required. I used my Mountain Equipment pants that can be zipped off to convert to shorts.
I felt a bit self-conscious with my selfie stick taking a photo. Especially with Buddha looking particularly serene behind me.
The feet are 5 meters and covered in laksansas. The 108 movements and actions leading to perfection. After touring, my feet look the same, but I don’t get the same interpretation.
Here we have a few more temple guardians in Bangkok.
This is an even larger version of Yaksha, a fierce but benevolent nature spirit. He is charged with taking care of precious things.
This is another version of their stylized lion, called shishi in China, which are thought to have magical powers to repel evil spirts.
Bangkok’s many temples incorporate the mandatory guardians.
They have stylized lions, called shishi in China, which are thought to have magical powers to repel evil spirts.
Yaksha, a fierce but benevolent nature spirit introduced to Buddhism from Hinduism. He is charged with taking care of precious things.
We encountered a few other guardians which I will cover off next time. The decorations were amazing.
Brent and I spent a few pleasurable days touring Bangkok.
The chedi, also called stupa or sometimes pagoda is the most important and sacred structure of the wat. The stupas are conical shaped as Budda used cloth material to demonstrate what shape a stupa should take.
The mondop has a square and cubical shaped pavilion with a spired roof. These can be used as a place to store scriptures or objects used in temple ceremonies.
The weather was fantastic.
The faith of the people has definitely helped them through their tough times.
We spent a few days exploring Bangkok. The temples are amazing. A great way to see a lot of the city would be walking down to the river and taking one of the tour boats. This allows you to wander around and get on and off as reguired.
Thailand is primarily a buddist nation, and there are shrines to Hindu deities. One seen and easily recognisable is Ganesh (Ganesha), the elephant-headed god usually referred to in Thai as Phra Phikanet. Ganesh is known as the remover of obstacles and Thai Buddhists make an offering to a Ganesh shrine when starting out on a new venture.
We did a bit of wandering one night. The multicolored street night life was quite exotic. And agressive. I had to disentangle myself several times from the various people that would not take no for an answer.
We eventually had to get out of there intact and get back on to the main street. This was a bit more calm with some nice music and of course the local beer.
The outdoor restaurants and markets in Bangkok were fantastic. Here we went to potentially best restaurant in Bangkok to sample some of the wares. We were slightly warned off eating at the outdoor restaurants. We never encountered any food problems throughout the entire trip.