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Big Budhas and the Grand Palace

sunny 34 °C

We visited a few Buddhist temples during our 6 days in Bangkok, but nothing was as cool as Wat Pho, The Temple of the Reclining Budha. Wat Pho is one of the oldest and largest temples, and they say is the birthplace of traditional Thai massage (it houses a massage school). The impressive Budha staue is 46 meters in length and the temple itself has over 1000 images of Budha, more than anywhere else in the country. It was breathtaking!

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Naim making donations at the temple
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We also went to see the Grand Palace, which has been the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government for more than 150 years. Although the present King Bhumibol (Rama IX) lives in Chitralada Palace (not open to tourists). We took a taxi from the hotel, and I had read that you have to be sure the taxi drops you off near the entrance, as for some reason they don't like to, but of course we had no idea where we were, so believed our driver that is was just around the corner, and ended up a bit further than we thought. It was boiling outside and we only had the baby carrier since the stroller wouldn't arrive from the airport until later that evening. Zavian also chose that moment to be sleepy and prefer to be held, so my sweaty arms were tied!

One thing you learn about Bangkok, is that if you are a tourist, everyone tries to take you for a ride. Prices are inflated, lies are told (even where there is no personal incentive to do so) and many attempts to get you to take their friend's tour or taxi. Towards the end of our 6 days in Bangkok, we started to get a little sick of it, as we didn't feel we could really trust anyone. On our walk to the Grand Palace, a man who said he worked for a hotel, stopped and asked if he could help us. We asked to be directed towards the Palace and he told us, but then said it would be closed during the lunch time because of Budha's birthday. Hmm, hadn't seen or heard anything about Budha's birthday...He then reassured us if would reopen by 3:30 PM, so don't worry and then tried to get us a taxi, but we said no. When we finally arrived at huge white walls that enclose the Palace, we stopped at what we though was an entrance and asked a security guard where we could enter. He said the entrance was down to the right, but that the palace was closed during lunch, so he suggested we take a river tour and then return, and pointed us towards a tuk tuk who proceeded to harass us. We said no and then walked towards the entrance anyway, as we could surely just see if it was closed once we arrived at the correct spot. As we approached, we saw loads of tourists entering and leaving. Both guys were telling lies, and the second one was security for the Palace! Inside where you buy tickets there was a big sign that said don't listen to anyone on the street as you try to enter telling you it's closed for a 'Buddhist holiday', 'cleaning' etc, or asking if you want to see the 'Lucky Buddha' instead. I found out later it's all part of a sophisticated gem scam. Good to know, but they really should post these signs on the way to the Palace!

In any case, the palace was worth it, as it was simply stunning, well maintained and interesting. The beautiful architecture and intricate detail give a proud salute to Thai craftsmanship. They have a very strict dress code and we did have to cover up, no bare shoulders, shorts, etc., so we had to wear more clothes once we got inside (sooo hot) and Naim hired some great trousers that I thought made him look like he works in the ER.

Grand Palace pics
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You can get blessed before you enter to see the Emerald Budha, and Zavian giggled when the water touched his hair and made this woman laugh.
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An illegal photo Naim took, not supposed to take photos inside! At the top the very small, very famous and greatly revered Emerald Buddha that dates back to the 14th century
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Naim thinking he look like George Clooney from ER
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Posted by jknazef 08:24 Archived in Thailand Tagged palace grand bangkok reclining budha

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