The mini whirlwind…
We flew to Bangkok en route to Chiang Mia. We had a 7 hour layover in Bangkok, or so I thought. Caureen booked us a 5 hour day tour of the city with Ms. Joy, she was highly rated on TripAdvisor. Ms. Joy was waiting at the airport for us, but as we passed thru Thai customs and immigration, I noticed that mine and David’s tickets to Chiang Mia left sooner than I thought. After double checking with Caureen and Cody, I confirmed that I had purchased the wrong tickets and our flight was leaving in 5 hours. Caureen had booked her tickets correctly, so we promptly went to the Bangkok Airways desk to see about switching our flights to the later one. That’s what I get for buying tickets late at night, dead tired! The agents at Bangkok Air were great, they agreed to change our flights for a $30 fee each—and the fee was for the effort of finding our 2 checked bags and switching them to the later flight. With that done, we went back to our meeting spot where Ms. Joy was waiting.
Off we went to explore Bangkok. Ms. Joy had a van and driver waiting for us. She gave both Caureen and I a bouquet of beautiful Thai flowers. She had a small Thai snack for all of us, and ice cold water. We were off to see the Grand Palace first. The ticket entrance to the Palace closed at 3:30 so we were in a hurry. Our detour to switch our tickets ate into that time, but we made it within minutes of the ticket booth closing. In we went to view the ornately covered Palace and Royal Temple grounds. The gold and jeweled décor is amazing. Like in Cambodia, Ms. Joy also checked over our clothing so that we were appropriately dressed in long pants and sleeves covering our shoulders, in order to enter the Temple. The Buddha inside the Royal Temple sits high on a tower, and his gold clothing is changed with the seasons. The King is the only one allowed to change the Buddha’s clothing, but climbing stairs at the back.
From here we went to see a few other important Temples around the city including Wat Pho, the reclining Buddha, which is a huge statue of Buddha lying down. It is a couple hundred feet long. Lining the wall of this temple is a long row of pots. You change your Thai dollar into coins and put one in each pot to receive good luck. Another tourist handed both Caureen and I a bowl of coins for good luck. I then passed mine on to some children behind us for them to receive their good luck, since I don’t believe in luck from Buddha. The 4 of us then shared in Caureen’s good luck putting coins in all the pots for fun. Visiting all these Temples is an interesting perspective of Idolatry. But I guess we all have our idols, they don’t have to be gold statues to qualify. I sure spend a lot of wasted time on my phone.
Depending on how the Buddha is positioned tells you what the Buddha is trying to say. At all the Temples there would be the one main Buddha that they would bring their offerings to, but usually there would be several other Buddha's all over the Temple grounds, these would have varying positions with Buddha's hands or arms, to give you a different message. You would visit and give offerings to the Budha message that you would like good luck with. The most common position was the "stop the evil" Buddha.
We had hoped to visit one of the area’s floating markets, but the big one is an hour outside of the city, so we didn’t have time for that. But we did walk thru a local market and Ms. Joy bought us some mango and sticky rice and local bananas to snack on. We then boarded a longtail boat for a ride thru some of the canals in the city. Ms. Joy escorted us to the front of the line waiting for the boats and we had a private boat just for us. Along the canal shores are some beautiful traditional Thai teak wood homes. We stopped at one of the neighborhood temple sites along the canal where a lady was waiting with a basket of bread for us to feed the many catfish waiting in the area. They would flap their bodies and splash up water like crazy that I got some in my mouth—If I get sick… that’s what it was.
Our boat dropped us at a local shopping mall, next to the 24hour flower market. There were flowers everywhere. It was a huge market. Some just selling flowers, others bouquets or corsages or items made from flowers. It was beautiful to see and walk through.
That was the end of our Bangkok tour. It was time to head back to the airport for our evening flight. I was surprised that Bangkok was such a huge and modern city. With tall building and a large freeway. We definitely enjoyed our private tour with Ms. Joy. It was a good way to see so much in such a little amount of time. There’s no way we would have been able to make our way around by ourselves and have seen all that we did with Ms. Joy. She was full of information about the Palace and Temples and area. And the van always had cold water waiting for us, which was a nice bonus.