The Temples of Bangkok

The Temples of Bangkok
Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand

Flight from Manila to Bangkok took approximately an hour and a half. We arrived in BKK around noon time, and after checking in our hotel, we quickly checked out two of the three famous temples in BKK. We stayed at the Imm Fusion Sukhumvit, which was conveniently located 5 minutes away from the On Nut Skytrain Station by foot. I specifically chose this hotel because I wanted to bypass traveling on BKK roads, and primarily just take public transport. Bangkok traffic is notoriously famous around the world. Braving the streets of BKK for the first time, my mom and I found it surprisingly easy to navigate ourselves through the bustling maze. All of the instructions in the Skytrain had English translations, and it was almost instinctive to figure out how the whole system works. Truly commuter-friendly. So, we then boarded the SkyTrain to get to the Saphan Taksin Station. Saphan Taksin is a station located along the banks of the massive Chao Phraya river – BKK’s major artery. From there, commuters have the option to choose a variety of ferries. We took the local ferry, which stops in all of the riverside piers. The trip was very scenic, and breezy…(If you are to do this, be careful with a window seat though as the murky river water can splatter on your face without warning). We got off at the Tha Tien ferry station to get to Wat Pho (The Temple of the Giant Reclining Buddha). From Tha Tien, we walked several meters through a public market to get to Wat Pho. We followed the crowd, and then, there it was before our very eyes, revered by Thais and foreigners alike, the largest reclining Buddha in all of Thailand. I was simply awe-struck! As we entered the temple, we were greeted by his humungous head. We went with the flow and slowly walked toward the feet area, which was just as enormous. After we finished taking pictures, we decided to take a “cross-river” ferry in order to get across to the other side of the river to see Wat Arun, the most photographed structure in all of BKK. Wat Arun was simply gorgeous up close and from afar. As you enter the Wat Arun compound, it was difficult not to be amazed by its stunning design. It was simply majestic! Plus, we got to climb the temple too. We did exercise extreme caution when climbing the stairs. They were terrifyingly narrow, and ridiculously steep. However, the effort we put forth in climbing this magnificent structure was not left unrewarded. The views from the top were amazing and gave us a rare panoramic view of the Chao Phraya river and the old Bangkok. Wat Arun is an essential stop to any trip in BKK. We were so exhausted after finishing two temples in less than 4 hours. We boarded the ferry again to the Tha Ratchawong station to check out Chinatown. Equipped with our Lonely Planet book, we tried to find a recommended restaurant in the heart of Chinatown, but to our dismay, it was already closed when we got there. We ended up ordering street food in one of the alleyways in the area instead, and treated our taste buds with its first helping of authentic Thai cuisine. Then, we quickly zoomed back to our hotel via the subway system. From Chinatown, we boarded a tuk-tuk to get to the Hualamphong subway station, where we boarded a train to bring us to the Silom Station where we transfered to the Skytrain. The BKK public transport route map was absolutely a life-saver! Upon arriving back in our hotel, I hurriedly scheduled a bone-bending Thai massage for the first time for 150baht. What a deal! I had a restful sleep. The next morning, we took the same exact route to get to the Saphan Taksin transfer station. There, we boarded a local Chao Phraya ferry to get to the Tha Chang stop, where the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (The Temple of Emerald Buddha) were located. You have to pay a couple of hundred thai bahts to enter the premises, and an additional couple of hundreds to get a walking tour. We decided to save some bucks and opted to tour the compound ourselves. There were countless buildings to see here, and they were all nothing less than spectacular. After the tour, we rented a long tail boat to give us a tour of the Thonburi canals. Thonburi was Thailand’s capital before transferring the seat of government to BKK. Interestingly, it is just situated on the other side of the Chao Phraya river. We sailed through neighborhoods, floating markets and temples located along the banks. We headed back to our hotel afterwards and then took a cab to the airport for our 1800 flight to Phuket via BKK Airways.

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