Bangkok, Thailand is known as the “Land of Smiles,” which very much held true. The peace-loving people of this city are equip with ready grins and pleasant auras.
One encounter with an unnamed stranger at Lumpini Park (more about the park below) led to us making it into his diary! He welcomed us with tips for the outdoor gym machinery, provided consolation about the local lizards and gifted us both with a small handwritten cheatsheet for Thai sayings. He kept a little black book of all the people he has met from around the world and we were given the honor of being added to his memories, as he was to ours.
Adrian may have also worked out with another local, but I don’t know if that was as welcomed. 😉
Grand Palace: Built in the late 1700s, the Palace has been the official residence for Thai kings for hundreds of years — a building that signifies the creativity as well as the craftsmanship of Thai artisans. Though no one is in residence now, the building still hosts ceremonies and special events for the country.
Highlights: The Royal Guards marching through the Palace grounds. Their presence provided a real sense for the imperial government.
Wat Pho: The birthplace of Thai massage, monastery, school and home to more than a thousand images of buddha — including the largest Buddha in Thailand, Phra Buddhasaiyas (the Reclining Buddha). The Reclining Buddha is roughly 150 feet long and 50 feet high, covered in gold plating and decorated with mother-of-pearl.
Highlights: The Reclining Buddha is massive and a spectacle to be seen!
Lumpini Park: Named after the birthplace of Buddha, it was designed to be an exhibit for flowers and crafts displays, but that never materialized. Now it acts as a recreational park for locals with a running/bike track and outdoor gym equipment throughout. A shocking resident to this park is the monitor lizard, that can grow up to eight feet long.
Highlights: Oddly, the monitor dragons. At first, we thought we were imagining these beasts swim through the canals — until we saw one emerge from the water and cross the biking path...
Wat Phra Kaew (AKA the "Temple of the Emerald Buddha"): Located next to the Grand Palace and functions as a royal chapel, though it has architectural similarities to a Buddhist temple. The Emerald Buddha is considered the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand — so regarded that only the king is permitted to change the robe of the Buddha every season.
Highlights: Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to take any photos inside this temple. But even if that were the case, it wouldn't be impossible to depict the calmness and peace that overtakes you.
Mandala Harem Pants: Adrian invested in his first pair! Someone didn’t pack a single pair of long pants, so these bad boys were purchased before entering the Grand Palace. They are possibly his new favorites 😃
Water Taxis: We took our first and probably, last water taxi in the Chao Phraya River. It’s a choppy ride that splashes you with bacteria-infested water and is definitely overpriced — but you have to at least do it once!
Bangkok was our “re-intro to Asia” opportunity — a great way to dip our toes back into the Asian culture. But as I mentioned earlier, this isn't goodbye Bangkok — American Buddha Co. will surely see you again soon!
Next Stop: Siem Reap, Cambodia — Where we will explore world-renown Buddhist temples, meet monks, make some animal friends and eat ALL the Khmer food!