Bangkok, City of Temples
Bangkok is one of the premier travel destinations of South East Asia, or the world, for one reason or another. The city seems to have what you’re looking for. The city is sprawling with modern skyscrapers and some not so modern areas. It’s said to have some 3 million vehicles on its road and it definitely shows with gridlock in almost all major streets. They do have elevated toll roads that make it convenient if you can afford the toll. They have also begun to build a subway system that will eleviate those issues. If you’re a food enthusiast, Bangkok is definitely a place to visit.
I came for the history and culture of Bangkok. For that reason, I stayed at a hotel in what I like to call the historic area. Just across the street from Wat Pho, also known as The Temple of the Reclining Buddha and just a walking distance from The Grand Palace, with other temples in the area.
My hotel was on the River of Kings, Chao Phraya, right across from the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun which was not fully aluminated due to current construction.
The first full day in the city started out with a bit of a disappointment. I walked to the Grand Palace at a time I thought was early, at 9:30 a.m. The line to get in was half a block long with many hundreds already inside.
It was the start of a week-long event in part of the moruning period of their deceased king, who had passed away last October, 2016. So beloved he is still being mourned. I walked back to my hotel without entering the palace, just taking pictures as I went around the whole palace.
The afternoon fared much better as I booked a private tour to take me to some of the temples. The first one was, of course, Wat Pho as it was just across the street. It is the biggest temple in Thailand housing the biggest buddha. A Buddha, 150 feet long, reclining on its side as if it was pondering why so many people would come to see him. It’s a grand temple with many replicas of Buddha that have been collected from dilapidated temples across the county. The structures in the complex are also amazing.
The second temple we visited was the Temple of the Golden Buddha, Wat Traimit. It houses the largest solid gold buddha in Thailand measuring approximately 16 feet tall and 5.5 tons of pure gold. The buddha may be old but the temple that houses it was built approximately 10 years ago with the proceeds of visitors who came to see it. Other than this temple, there is not much to see here. But, the temple is beautiful and stunning.
The third location we visited was the Marble Temple, Wat Benchamabophit. The marble buddha is housed in a beautiful ordination hall that reminds me of similar halls in China. This temple is smaller in comparison but the structure is stunning.
If you are in Bangkok and wish to visit the many temples in the city, I would recommend visiting Wat Pho as it is the largest and most beautiful. I, also, suggest coupling the visit with the Grand Palace as it is in walking distance and make sure you visit the palace first and early to beat the crowds. The temples are a great way to look back into Thailand’s past and worth a visit.