Day 8 - Bangkok, Thailand
Sunday, April 1, 2012: After breakfast, we were back at Central Pier again to do some more sightseeing.
|This was supposed to be a photo of the water snake we spotted from the tourist boat, but it doesn't appear to be in here. Oh well.
|Up the river we went again, past the fancy hotels, ...
|... and the riverfront mall.
|Our first destination was visible in the distance: ...
|... Wat Arun, Temple of the Dawn.
|We disembarked at Tha Tian Pier and took the ferry across the river to the Wat Arun complex entrance.
|These statues were adorable, but they were probably meant to be menacing.
|More water gardens and more waterlilies begging to be photographed.
|Wat Arun consists of a central prang (tower) surrounded by four small ones.
|The prang is decorated with porcelain and shells and Orchy.
|We climbed the steep steps up the prang, ...
|... and were rewarded with a nice view of the Chao Phraya river ...
|... and Wat Pho on the opposite bank.
|This is one of the smaller prangs.
|Here's some cool detail at the base of the main prang, ...
|... and here is some more. This is the temple we were most looking forward to seeing, and it did not disappoint.
|We crossed the river again and walked through the market toward Wat Pho.
|We walked into the complex, following the people in front of us, when Tom said, "Hey, isn't that the Reclining Buddha?"
|Yes, it is! There's a temple behind that scaffolding, and a giant reclining Buddha inside that temple. Here, some of his face, neck and shoulder are visible.
|We removed our shoes, entered the temple, and waited a moment to take this photo of the giant Buddha.
|He's a big dude with a gigantic head, and a body that stretches the entire length of the temple.
|If he's a little too big to take in, here's a much smaller statue instead. To give a little perspective, that is part of the reclining Buddha's thigh behind it.
|Here are his gigantic feet.
|This is as good a shot as anyone can get of the entire statue. The Buddha's feet are famous for their inlaid mother-of-pearl mosaics.
|Here's a closeup of one of his feet.
|He's not quite so interesting from the back, but still very impressive.
|For 20 baht (about 65 cents US), you can purchase a cup of very small value coins, ...
|... so you can put one into each of the 108 bronze bowls for good luck.
|Tom took part in the tradition so he got all the luck but he promised to share it with Debbie.
|The building in the background here is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It has a much longer official name, but this one is much easier to say.
|After seeing the biggest attraction on the grounds, we encountered this warm garden welcome. Is it Wat Po? Wat Pho? We saw it both ways many times.
|Tickets to the complex come with vouchers for free bottled water. It was nice.
|The Thai people really know how to decorate a roof corner. These were so cool.
|We saw many, many food offerings throughout Bangkok -- along the street, in shops, and in numerous places at the temple complexes. Here's one of the more elaborate displays.
|Here are some smaller prangs, just some of many scattered around the complex.
|These stray cats amused themselves with a large cockroach.
|Much of the decoration featured mirrored mosaics.
|Here's a smaller temple we passed.
|We saw several pretty orchid displays.
|It took a little time, but we finally found the Thai massage school located on the grounds. We walked in and paid 260 baht (~$8.50) per person for a 30 minute traditional Thai massage.
|Debbie had a female masseuse and Tom had a male masseuse, side by side on mats in a room full of identical mats. It was airconditioned and relaxing, except for the fact that Thai massage involves a lot of painful stretches and such. Afterward, we were given cold drinks (tea, perhaps) and sent back out into the heat again.
|We saw a lot of monks, but never felt right about photographing them, even when they were on their cell phones, but we did sneak one photo.
|These were pretty.
|Here are some of the larger prangs up close.
|The tile mosaics were quite beautiful, ...
|... and each prange featured its own designs and color schemes.
|When we left the complex, we bought some fresh mango slices from a street vendor, served with sticks. Very, very delicious. Next, we waited at the pier for the next tourist boat. While we waited, we paid 20 baht each for two cold towel packets, which provided a few minutes of cold bliss. We also bought a colorful Thai hat for dirt cheap.
|Back on the boat, we decided to continue the trip up river and see the sights. This building housed a Black Canyon Coffee on one level, and a Dunkin Donuts below. We did not stop here.
|Our food tour mate, Patty, told us to keep our eyes out for water monitor lizards on the shore. We had no idea what we should be looking for, but we eventually spotted this little guy hanging out in a pipe on the river bank.
|The tourist boat guides did a great job of narrating, or in the case of this guy, briefly serenading us.
|This bridge marked the end of the tourist boat's route.
|We decided to pick a restaurant at one of the piers, and this one, S&P, at Majaraj Pier was the winner.
|With overcast skies, shade, and a river view, it wasn't completely miserable sitting outdoors.
|We got some cold tropical drinks, including our very first taste of bubble tea (on the right). The freakishly large straw was needed to be able to drink the jelly-like bubbles in the bottom of the glass. It was quite amusing.
|For appetizers, we had cold spring rolls and calamari, ...
|... and for our entrees, we had chicken with rice noodes, and crispy catfish with prawn soup. The crispy catfish wasn't nearly as delicious as the catfish we had enjoyed on our food tour a couple of days earlier, which made us appreciate the food choices on that tour even more.
|It was nice to watch the traffic on the river drift by, including the monster barges.
|Once we were back on the tourist boat, we passed the Wat Pho complex on our left, ...
|... and Wat Arun on our right.
|We saw the occasional dead fish in the river, but we prefer to think that they died of old age rather than any other reason.
|We moved up to the front of the boat and had the entire bow all to ourselves. It was breezy and comfortable out there, and we had the entire river view in front of us.
|At each stop, the many fish in the water would jump and jump and jump, and we finally got this photo of several of them jumping at once.
|All great river journeys eventually end, and we were at Central Pier once again.
|Back at the Novotel on Siam Square, preparations were underway for a wedding reception in the pool area.
|In the time it took us to have a leisurely dinner in the Premier Lounge (this time with actual alcohol!), ...
|... night had fallen and the reception area was beautiful.
|We snapped these photos at the end of our floor's hallway. This is the Siam Paragon Mall across the BTS station, ...
... and this is the view to the right from the mall. The skyscraper in the center had a very unusual shape that was most beautiful when lit up at night.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy