My full intention when I woke up (late) this morning was to have a nice chill slow day. One of the downsides of staying in a hostel and being a light sleeper is when one of your dorm mates decides to (loudly) reorganise her locker at 1 in the morning. But it’s ok. Slow day plans!
To start off with, today was significantly less stressful than yesterday. I eschewed the bus in favour of the BTS skytrain and the hop-on-hop-off water boat. I could have gotten the regular water taxi for significantly cheaper – but I chose calm state of mind over getting lost again. I caught the boat up to Wat Arun, the site of the royal court for 15 years before everything was moved to The Grand Palace.
Wat Arun is Temple of the Dawn and is across the river (and down a bit) from the Grand Palace, and over the river from Wat Pho, where I spent a while this afternoon. The temple as it stands now is a re-building, and you are able to visit to the second floor. It’s not a very big complex, especially after the grandeur that was the Grand Palace. Cool colours and shapes though, even if the middayish, overcast light was causing havoc with my photographs.
I also got up the very steep steps to the second floor AND THEN remembered I don’t really like heights – I was find so long as I wasn’t looking directly down the steps because they were steep!
It costs 50 baht to enter, about half an hour to go around and take some photos and then ten minutes (at least) to wait for the ferry to take you (for 4 baht!) to the other side of the river, practically on the doorstep of…. Wat Pho!
Wat Pho, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha has a lot of spires – far too many to try and get into one picture! There were awesome bright colours and intricate shapes everywhere. Wat Pho is significantly bigger than Arun, and is the largest temple in Bangkok. In one building complex I wandered through, there were school classes being led by monks in the courtyard!
There were statues of Buddha in various poses along many of the covered walks, and the biggest one of them all was the Reclining Buddha at 15m tall and 46m long! And the statue is very, very shiny gold. Unlike the Emerald Buddha of (was it really only) yesterday, photos of the reclining buddha are permitted, and there are several little sections where you can try and get some impressive shots. I tried to do a panorama, but (unsuprisingly, having thought about it) it didn’t work in the slightest!
I then walked to the flower market, half in order to get the water bus back to my skybus stop, and mostly to take pictures of flowers. I ended up in a kind of warehouse next to the pier, with loads of stalls with loads of bags of flower heads, or flower strings and it was only once I got nearest to the water I found bunches of roses half wrapped in newspaper and the like. I felt bad taking photos with no intent to buy so … well… I didn’t take any photos.
I failed stupendously at finding dinner yesterday – which is absurd, I am in Bangkok! – because I couldn’t find anything I was sure would be Gluten Free. To avoid another night of wandering around in irritation and then eating half of what I ended up ordering because damn that’s spicy, I actually saved some gluten free restaurants in my phone – all recommendations from a blog post at For Glutens Sake here. I went to Cabbages and Condoms just for the name! It’s actually got a pretty good restaurant, and the whole concept surrounds a foundation for family planning. So – the decorations are all condoms, they give you a condom instead of a mint and there is a local handicrafts store. It was awesome.
Dinner ended up being the most expensive thing in my day, but you know what? Worth it! As I was paying, the rain that had been threatning all day came down in an absolute deluge! I sat and listened to the rain for about ten minutes before I remembered I had taken my raincoat with me so I could actually make a break for the train. I prioritised keeping my camera dry of course, so I ended up back at the hostel with a completely soaked front. It was awesome. Hopefully the air won’t be quite so soupy tomorrow!
For a day where I was supposed to be taking it slow, I have actually done far more than I did yesterday – but I’m not as stressed today, so I think that’s why it doesn’t feel as much. I am happy to keep paying more for the SkyTrain if it means I don’t get stressed trying to find the bus! In other news, I saw five cats today! Apparently my insitinctive nature to stop, point and cry out “cat!” has followed me 6000+ miles!
I’m off to see an even older temple tomorrow, Ayutthaya, just north of Bangkok! Providing it doesn’t rain of course….Update! I just checked the weather app. It’s due to rain all afternoon… and on Tuesday, so I guess I’m going anyway. Better pick up an umbrella at the 7-11!