Day 2

Thailand Travel Blog

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Entrance to Golden Buddha Temple
With the time change we arrived into Bangkok airport at approximately 1am - on August 15.  For Andi and I, August 14 never existed! We've missed it completely, never to get it back.

Even at this late hour, our tour guide "Jimmy" was their to greet us.  He was extremely friendly and full of smiles.  We had tacked on an extra day of travel that was originally not included in the tour but Jimmy gladly offered to begin a day early and spread out our travels over a more leisurely pace. We agreed to meet him around 11:00am. So at least we were able to get a little bit of sleep.

* Some history: Bangkok has been the capital city of Thailand since 1782. This year is King Ramad IX's 80th birthday.

Inside the temple - a place to leave an offering
He was actually born in Boston, MA and speaks about 6 languages. He also has a medical degree. His photo is spread all over the city on large ornate billboards. His wife (the queen) has her photo everywhere as well. The royal color is yellow because the King was born on a Monday -- and Monday's color is yellow. The King and Queen are extremely well-loved by all the people of Thailand. But their govenment is very similar to England in that the King and his family are more for show now. They have a parliament and the people elect a prime minister.

Thailand used to be called Siam. In 1939, the name was changed and it means "land of freedom". The country is about 700 years old and the first King created the Thai language by pulling from neighboring languages. It is the only country in Asia not to be captured by a Western country.

Myself in front of the Golden Buddha
  Thier flag is striped as follows: Red, White, Blue, White, Red.  Red = Blood, Blue = monarchy, White = Buddhism.  The country is 95% Buddhist, 3% Muslim, and 2% other.

1st stop  - Golden Buddha Temple

We had to drive through Thailand's oven Chinatown. Seems like there's one in every country!

Before entering the temple, you must remove your shoes and leave them outside. This temple contains the largest Golden Buddha in the world -- 5 1/2 tons of solid gold. It was found covered in cement. They are not sure who made this Buddha but they believe it was covered in cement to protect it from thieves. A small piece of the cement that was used to cover the Buddha resides in a glass case on the wall. Out of respect, I left 20 Bhat as an offering.

Praying Buddha
  We gather our shoes and climb back into a min-van.  Off through "china town" again.

Bagkok actually means "City of Angels". Bangkok's real name is almost a page long -- it is the longest name of a city in the world (Guinness Book of Records). We were quite impressed that Jimmy our guide could recite the entire name from memory.

2nd Stop - Royal Palace and Emerald Buddha

Absolutely Amazing!Very exspansive courtyards with many buildings -- all exquisitely ornate. Before we passed through the gates we had to don our shirts with sleeves -- no spaghetti straps or sleeveless shirts allowed. And since it was around 92 degrees (F) and very sunny, we were just a bit hot. :)

Every building glittered with real gold, mother-of-pearl, in-laid colored glass in many, many intricate patterns, painted wood, and painted china.

A photo of the Buddha with the cement in a casing in front
Before entering the temple of the Emerald Buddha, we went into a museum that told of the history, not just of that temple but of Thailand as well. we saw coins, and "drinking/eating" seets; beautiful jewelry, headpieces and belts along with many photos of the royal family wearing them. We saw swords and weapons. And finally the costumes for the Emerald Buddha. Each costume is finally detailed and made of gold. There is one for the summer, winter, and rainy season. The rainy season was only a photo becausee that was what was currently draped on the Emerald Buddha. And only the King is allowed to climb up to the Buddha and change its costume for each season.

We entered the temple after removing our shoes once again.  the Emerald Buddha is not as large as many of the other Buddha's. Also, it is acutally carved from a piece of Jade - "emerald" only refers to its color. The Buddha sits on a golden throne, which is raised up by several bases. Mural paitings ocver the walls and ceilings and depict numreous scenes of the life/lives of Buddha. Once we came out there was a basin of holy water. You dipped a large flower in the water  and then sprinkled it on your head. Because it was so hot, the water felt really good as well.

(to be continued)

AndiPerullo says:
This was one of the best days of the trip! We got to see so many beautiful, beautiful things. I miss Jimmy!!!
Posted on: Nov 27, 2007
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Entrance to Golden Buddha Temple
Entrance to Golden Buddha Temple
Inside the temple - a place to lea…
Inside the temple - a place to le…
Myself in front of the Golden Budd…
Myself in front of the Golden Bud…
Praying Buddha
Praying Buddha
A photo of the Buddha with the cem…
A photo of the Buddha with the ce…
Another Buddha
Another Buddha
The magnificent Golden Buddha
The magnificent Golden Buddha
A school just outside the temple
A school just outside the temple
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