The Magnificent Mekong Day 4

This morning we boarded a coach for a tour of the Grand Palace and then on to Wat Pho.

To visit the Grand Palace, the entrance requirements were strictly enforced! As you enter, the first stop was to make sure you were dressed appropriately! No shorts, no shoulders showing, no flip flops, no deep cleavage, no short or see-through tops, no torn or tight pants, and no bike pants.

The white fence that surrounded the Grand Palace.

The Grand Palace was built in 1782. We walked around the grounds and the temperature was in the mid-80’s but the “real feel” was in the 90’s and it was only 9:00 AM! Pete and Jenny, our Bangkok guides explained the history of the palace and the Kings. Pete shared that the movie, The King and I, was banned in Thailand because most of the film had hisotrical inaccuracies.

The Grand Palace complex was built to serve as the royal residence and administrative offices and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The current king is Maha Vajiralongkorn since 2016. He also was the wealthiest of all monarchs.

The amount of buildings in the palace complex numbered over 30! It was massive and beautiful.

The temple with the Emerald Buddha was beautiful. No photos were allowed inside because their king visits often and the palace security doesn’t allow them for his protection. But you could take a photo looking in from the outside.

Emerald Buddha

As we were getting ready to leave we saw their version of the changing of the guard.

Changing of the guard

Our next stop was Wat Pho. This was another temple. Again no bare shoulders or knees showing, but it wasn’t quite as strict as the Grand Palace. Our shoes came off and left outside before entering. Here we saw the reclining Buddha which was 151 feet long and covered in gold leaf. It was located about ten minutes from the Grand Palace.

The reclining Buddha’s feet were 16 1/2 feet long and decorated with mother of pearl-of-pearl which were characteristics of the Buddha.

Bottom of reclining Buddha’s feet

For good luck one could purchase a bowl of coins and then drop one in each of the bronze bowls that line the length of the walls. This money went toward helping the monks renovate and preserve Wat Pho.

We had a break for lunch back at our hotel. When we went to our room we had another fruit to try, a Chinese pear. It was very tasty!

This afternoon we met Jenny for an afternoon tour of Chinatown, the Flower and Vegetable Market, and a visit to the Temple of the Golden Buddha.

Our first stop was Sukhothai Traimit, where the Golden Buddha was located in Chinatown.

It was the largest Golden Buddha image in the world. It was made of solid gold! It was 12 feet 5 inches in diameter and was 15 feet 9 inches tall. It weighed about 5.5 tons! It was valued over 35.3 million dollars!

What’s fascinating about this solid gold Buddha was that it was covered in plaster to protect it from invading armies. It was over 700 years old. When it was moved to Traimit, it was accidentally damaged and some of the plaster came off. The movers noticed something that was shiny. After careful inspection they found that it was made of solid gold.

When we went in to see the Golden Buddha we were dressed appropriately and our shoes were left outside.

We walked through Chinatown. The streets and sidewalks were very crowded and Jenny told us this was nothing compared to how crowded it would get in the evening! As we walked the area we saw many gold shops, open/street vendors and restaurants that opened out into the sidewalk.

The flower and vegetable market was our last stop this afternoon. These markets were opened 24 hours! They had a day shift and a night shift. The prices of the flowers were cheap by comparison to flower prices at home.

We also couldn’t get over the size of the carrots and how nice the corn was, as well as the other vegetables. It all looked delicious!

It was a sweaty but a good afternoon. Another shower because we were drenched!

In the evening we walked over to Iconsiam, the shopping mall. We stopped and took some photos of our hotel from the street.

On the sixth floor was a terrace restaurant with incredible views of Bangkok and the river. The bad thing with the restaurant was that for gluten free options there was on choice, fried rice. It was pretty dry because they didn’t have any gluten free soy sauce.

When we arrived in the lobby of our hotel, an artist was creating a beautiful fruit carving!

We went to bed on the early side because tomorrow we needed to be up by 5:30 AM. We would be saying goodbye to Bangkok.

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