We set off on our first full day in Bangkok with an ambitious plan for adventuring through the city and seeing the major sights. Our first stop was Wat Pho, which is really close to our hotel and famous for a giant reclining Buddha.
Here is Wat Pho...Dylan for scale.
The area surrounding the Wat had a bunch of cool statues and pagodas that made for some good photos
Notably, we also saw the main attraction - the giant reclining Buddha statue. It really was giant!
After a quick food and Thai ice tea break, we ventured toward the nearby Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This is clearly one of the top tourist attractions in Bangkok. It was jam-packed with tourists and buses. We felt a little like we were getting swept up in a stream of people toward the ticket office and entrance. But it wasn't too packed once we made it inside, and there was a lot to see!
...like these part-scary, part-silly looking demon statues guarding the entrance.
There were lots of these demon statues on the palace and temple grounds.
The inside of the walls around the palace had a mural depicting scenes from the Ramakein, which is essentially a story of good triumphing over evil.
Here's us with the belfry on the palace grounds.
And here's some pics of the actual Grand Palace.
This was one of the many ornate buildings near the palace...Dylan for scale, again.
It wasn't easy to get a photo of the emerald buddha, since no photos were allowed inside the actual temple. But Dylan got a pretty good photo from just outside!
Our tickets to the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha included a show at the Royal Theatre. It wasn't on our original agenda for the day, but we decided to check it out and took a free transfer bus to the theatre. We learned that when the theatre was built in 1932, it was the very first one in all of Southeast Asia to have air-conditioning. After a lot of palace and temple exploring, we were grateful for the air-conditioning!
Here's Dylan with a statue outside of the theatre.
The show ended up being based on the Ramakein epic as well. It was pretty informal...everyone was allowed to take photos throughout. But it was fun to watch the dancers and see all of the costumes.
After our show, we decided to continue our city exploring and headed towards the Temple of the Golden Mountain.
On the way, we came across a park with some low-tech exercise equipment. Our feet and legs were already well-exercised from all the walking, but we threw in some sit-ups to balance things out.
We also saw the "giant swing" which used to be used in Buddhist ceremonies on our way.
The Temple of the Golden Mountain was actually on a very small hill rather than a mountain, but it was fun to hike up all the stairs to the top. There were a bunch of chimes near the top, along with some good views over-looking the city.
The very top had a giant golden stupa and some cool statues.
We also saw a big Buddha and some cool trees on the temple grounds.
Continuing our day of max-sight-seeing, we departed from the Temple of the Golden Mountain and headed toward China Town. After taking so many photos in the heat, my phone was getting a little low on batteries so I didn't get too many photos of China Town. But this documents that we made it there!
From China Town, we took a water taxi back to our hotel. We had the option of taking a big, nice tourist boat instead, but we decided to embrace the adventure and low-price of the water taxi. The boat was really full, but all-in-all a fun experience.
The temptation to give up on our day of sight-seeing once we got back to the hotel was high. But instead, we regrouped, charged my phone, and headed back out to experience backpackers' street at night.
We sat down at one of the bars with live music and enjoyed some people-watching and Thai beer.
From there, we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner and had some bigger bottles of the same beer...
The restaurant we went to ended up being really busy and didn't get our order right. We decided that it was a sign that we should embrace the true Bangkok street-food experience.
We got delicious phad thai from this lady for less than $2USD.
And then had a nutella and banana roti from another stand. It was sooooo good!!!
The story of our tummies dealing with said street food is a story for another day...