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ราชอาณาจักรไทย (Thailand) - Magnificent Buddhist Temples

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Travel pictures from Thailand

by Dr. Günther Eichhorn

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In October/November 2012 I visited Nepal and Bhutan. On the way to Nepal I stopped in Bangkok for a couple of nights.

I arrived in the evening and stayed in Sukhumvit. That evening I just relaxed in a street restaurant near the hotel. There were a lot of night workers on the streets in that area.

In the morning I took the Sky Train to the river to go on a river cruise. This worked out very well, I have a very enjoyable trip up and down the river. You can get a day pass for the boat that allows you to get on and off as often as you like. This was the best way so see a lot of the city.

The first stop on the cruise was at Wat Arun. This is a spectacular temple complex, a must-see. I then stayed on the boat all the way to Nonthaburi. I walked around Nonthaburi for a while, looking at the local market.

On the way back I stopped ad the Grand Palace. I did not go into the palace, it was expensive and very crowded. Instead I took a tuktuk to Wat Suthat, a small but nice temple. Taking a tuktuk is inexpensive, but you have to be aware that they work for the various stores. So any trip in a tuktuk involves visits to three stores. Some of the jewelry that I saw in one of the stores actually looked nice, but was too expensive. I am sure you can find better prices if you know your way around.

From there I walked to Wat Pho. This is the most impressive complex that I saw in Bangkok. It is definitely worth a long visit. The roof decorations are mirrored glass pieces. It was fairly overcast, so it was not very bright. But the sun was shining through holes in the clouds and reflecting off the glass pieces. This made for eye-catching light flashes from different parts of the temple roofs when I moved around.

One of the main attraction in Wat Pho is the statue of the Reclining Buddha. It is 15 m (49 ft) high and 43 m (141 ft) long. The 3 m (10 ft) high and 4.5 m (14.8 ft) long foot of Buddha displays are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. They are divided into 108 arranged panels, displaying the auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified like flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories. 108 is an auspicious number in Buddhism. I came across this number also in Bhutan on this trip.

From Wat Pho I returned to the river and took the boat back to my starting point. It was a great way to see quite a bit of the city.

Food in the hotel was quite expensive, so I ate at one of the street-side food vendors. They have good food that is very inexpensive. It is the best way to get original Thai food.

After the second night I continued on to Kathmandu in Nepal. One disappointment in the hotel was the drinking water. The bell boy that brought me to my room said that the water was free. But when I checked out, they charged me for all but one of the bottles of water, each bottle cost $4.00!

On the return I spent one night in Bangkok, but didn't get to see anything. I arrived late afternoon and left VERY early in the morning.