A red eye flight from
got us tired but excited to the international Bangkok
airport. A staff from AmiThai Travel was waiting for us, quite tired also! Our hotel
in Bangkok was the posh Royal
Orchid Sheraton: soon after arrival, we had a shower and went to bed…at
about !!! At ,
we were having breakfast with a magnificient view of the the Chao Phraya river!! B angkok was welcoming us
with sunshine and 30C+ temperature - humidity there is always above 80%!!!!
First item on the itinerary was Jim Thompson house (a tong breaker for Thai people). This is the story of an American who fell in love with Thai culture and Thai silk in the 1940’s. Thai people are grateful to Thompson for putting the Thai silk on the world’s market (and thus, competing with Chinese silk).
His house, in the heart of Bangkok, was our introduction to Thai culture. The interior of the house was fabulous but picture taking was not allowed.
The gardens of the house were offering glimpses of Thai plants and orchids. It felt like a paradise! Small temples in honour of Buddha displayed flowers (marigolds, straw flowers) also ornated the gardens.
A long-tail boat tour on the
Exploring the riverside of
Wat Arun is the best known temple of the country and it was our first visit to a Buddhist temple. Wat Arun, named after an Hindu God Aruna, existed in the 17th century but his distinctive spires were built in the early 19th century during the reign of King Rama II.
Families wearing the traditional costume were proudly displaying them and happy to have their photo taken!
Not only temples can be seen on the river edge...simple habitats also.
In a restaurant or in the evening, to relax after a very hot day, Chang beer was delicious!!!
Another day, another temple...Wat Pho was astonishing! A huge complex of 80,000 sq. meters and one of Bangkok oldest temples, it even existed before Bangkok was established as the capital of Thailand by Rama I. Indeed, in 1782, Rama I moved the capital from Thonburi (west bank of Chao Phraya) to the actual Bangkok site and ordered the renovation of the temple where his ashes are now enshrined. Wat Pho houses the largest collection of Buddha images (1,000) of the country and the 150 feet long reclining Buddha.
The temple complex has 2 main parts: one open to visitors with the buildings dedicated to Buddha. The other part on the opposite side of the street contains the residential quarters of the monks and a school.
Still in the huge complex of Wat Pho temple is a double walled cloister, Phra Rabiang, containing 400 images/statues of Buddha from Northern Thailand selected out of the 1200 images bought by King Rama I. Some standing, some sitting, are mounted on a gilded pedestal. While they stemmed from different periods in Thai history and therefore were of different colours and materials, Rama I had them covered with stucco and gold leaves to give them a similar look.
Larger towers of Phra at each corner of the courtyard are guardians of the four cardinal points.
Phra Ubosot is the main hall to perform buddhist rituals and the most sacred building of the complex. Here a Thai monk praying.
Equally destined to educated the public, small rock gardens are dispersed through the complext with statues showing methods of massage or yoga positions.