Today we visited the oldest and the largest temple in Bangkok; Wat Pho (pronounced “poe”). Instead of haggling for a taxi or a tuk-tuk, we had a 30 minute walk to the grounds. Once again, we found ourselves walking through another market area. This one, called Wat Mahathat, was selling various amulets. These good luck charms are a traditional part of Thai Buddhism and are worn as protection from evil spirits and bad luck.
From the market we passed the Grand Palace and then followed the long train of tour buses to the entrance of Wat Pho. We paid our 50 baht each (about $1.5) to get in, and then walked the grounds to start. Throughout the courtyard we found several smaller temples, different gardens and some very interesting statues. These granite sculptures were brought from China as ballast on empty sailing vessels. We were really captivated by the different depictions of warriors and philosophers.
Finally, we made our way around to the main temple where the Reclining Buddha is housed. The figure is 46 meters long by 16 meters high and is covered in gold leaf. Dating back to the 16th century, the Reclining Buddha predates the city of Bangkok. Its laid out position symbolizes Buddha’s death and passage into nirvana. The size of the figure was actually quite incredible.
By 11:30 we had trekked back to our ‘hood. We found some lunch and enjoyed watching the various activities going on in the street. It’s all about tourism here. Now we’ve taken refuge for the afternoon while the hot and sultry part of the day passes. In a few hours we’ll venture out to find our favorite noodle cart and observe the evening’s events. I’m going to soak it up because in a couple of days we’ll be back on the road. We’re really looking forward to it.
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