Day 2: Of closed off temples and a rainy afternoon... sigh....

Bangkok Travel Blog

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My camera's ruined!

Thursday morning, our first full day in Bangkok. Joann and I were up at 9am and ready to take on the temples! But first, we got ready and made our way downstairs for breakfast, and were crestfallen to see that it was raining!! Praying for better weather, we went ahead and ordered the American breakfast that consisted of two slices of toast with two eggs overeasy, and jam and butter on the side, plus slices of tomato and the teeniest sausage I have ever seen!

We discussed our plan then - to cover the Grand Palace plus the temples of the Emerald Buddha and Reclining Buddha during the day, and in the evening, we'll take a taxi to Sukhumvit to check out the club scene there, which included a couple of gogo bars!

It was still raining by the time breakfast was done, but we decided to brave the rain and walked out to the first "wat" or temple, which was a minute away from the hotel.

Another outdoor shot of one of the gilded windows of the temple, taken with my busted up cam!
One of the lesser known but more important temples, Wat Bowonnivet, was built in the 19th century. This temple is part of the Royal Buddhist monastery, one of the oldest in Thailand. Apparently, all of Thailand's kings had served their time as monks here. I had no idea what this temple was called until I got home and did some research on it.

I was intrigued by what I now know is called the Golden Mount, which was larger than life, when I stared out of the balcony on the 5th floor of our hotel. But just before we accidentally disrespected the vicinity of the Golden Mount (which I will go into detail later), we headed into the main temple area, with gilded window frames that were gleaming, in the cloudy weather. I got my camera out to start taking pictures, after checking and resetting all settings to make sure that it wasn't underexposed, and started shooting.

Inside the temple.
.. and I couldn't see anything but a white screen!!! Arrgghhh!! I couldn't believe it. I was made as hell. There was nothing I could do, not even setting the cam at a low light and underexposure had done any good.

Not to be defeated, I decided to just enter the temple, jeans unfolded and barefeet. What a beautiful sight to behold! The statue of Buddha was seated in a serene position, with what looked like a larger statue of Buddha again right behind the first one. In front of the statues, we noticed what looked like the statues of three, probably very prominent monks who were significant to Wat Bowon. At the time I wrote this blog, I found out that one of what I thought were three prominent monks, was actually the Thai King!

After spending some time here, I tried my camera again, and it didn't seem to have any trouble taking indoor shots, which I was so grateful for!

I wanted to stay there longer, it's amazing what places in worship - no matter the religion - have in common is the peace one feels when one is inside the temple/church/mosque.

But we moved on to the Golden Mount, where ignorant me actually thought there was something to see inside, and so Joann and I climbed the wooden stairs and walked around the stupa, which I later discovered housed the relics of Buddha.

As we walked on opposite directions opposite the stupa, I met Joann who advised me that we should get down and fast! It wasn't a place we should have been exploring, especially not with shoes on!! So we make our way down as quickly and respectfully as possible and after more pictures, decide to head out to the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the Emerald Buddha.

By this time, I was wet with the rain, and sweaty, and to top it off, my knee was acting up again, and the last thing I wanted to do was to walk to the Grand Palace, without knowing which way we were supposed to head to! Referring to the map we had in our possession, Joann and I knew how far we were from our next destination and decided to play it safe by getting a tuk tuk instead.

Well, we discovered that the tuk tuk, a terror on three wheels, charged as much as taxi in the city! As we were walking back towards Khao San, where we thought we'd have better luck with cabs, a taxi pulled up and offered to take us to the Grand Palace for BHT40. So we jumped in, grateful to be dry for a bit, and minutes later, we arrive at the entrance to the Grand Palace. 

At the entrance, we were approached by a tout, who informed us that the palace was closed due to a royal ceremony that was to be held later that afternoon. GREAT! There was no way to have known that this was going to happen, and we thought we could enter the temple instead (which shared the grounds with the palace), but it was closed as well and would only be opened after 2pm.

It seemed the gods were against us today.... First my camera goes, then my knee (or was it the other way around?) and next the rain that wouldn't let up. Now, we had nowhere to go, and Joann was adamant that we make the most of this holiday. Going back to the map, we decided that we'd visit the NAtional Museum and National Gallery instead.

So we walk... a full ten minutes after passing the Thammasit University, we arrive at the museum and pay BHT200 to enter.  Receiving our guide booklets and map, I was shocked to find 22 buildings that made up the museum!! This was going to take ages, I thought to myself, but decided to suck it up and start the tour. By the 8 exhibit hall, I was spent and was so relieved to see one of four gardens in the vicinity of the museum with park benches, and happily parked my behind while trying to figure out if I could go on.

I've never been in so much pain. I text Joann and told her to take her time with the tour and to call me when she was done. She met me minutes later where we planned to stop by the National Gallery next and continued her tour of the museum. It was a very interesting museum, and the many galleries housed many important artifacts that belonged to the Thai monarchy throughout the centuries, from the time of its birth. But I was just not up to viewing  everything.

And neither was Joann, because ten minutes later, she meets me and we head make our way to the National Gallery, which we found out was across the highway and had to take a long walk across to traffic light junctions to get to the other side. By the time we get to the National Gallery, I just didn't want to move! But I didn't want to be a party pooper either, so again we pay BHT200 to enter the gallery, and I leave Joann to explore the gallery while I take a long breather at the lobby and only start walking around 15 minutes.

One thing I love is art, so I was able to enjoy the exhibits from Thailand's talented artists, including some members of the royal family. But the pain in my knee was just too much to bear, and I headed back to the lobby to wait for Joann. It was half an hour later when she appeared, and ten minutes to closing.

We decided to head back to our hotel for a little siesta, but not before checking out the shops on our way back to get some souvenirs. With tummies growling, we make our purchase of table lamps and tee shirts and head inside a Subway Restaurant that was behind us, facing the souvenir stall! Having our fill of a BMT for Joann and a roast beef sandwich for me, I make my way back to the hotel room while Joann stays behind for more shopping.

I couldn't get to the room quick enough, where I tore off my sweaty and rain-soaked clothes and jumped in the shower, risking a scalding with the heater turned up and the shower on my knee to ward off the pain.

After almost 30 minutes, I'm out and on the bed, looking for the painkillers I usually bring for headaches, to help with the knee.

Joann then returns after an hour and we make plans for dinner, wondering if we should head out to Silom or Sukhumvit to check out the night life. We also plan to check out the tour office on the ground floor of the hotel and find out if there were tours that we could take to make our visit to BAngkok worthwhile.

At 7.30 local time, we're dressed and head first to the tourist office, where we purchased tours for the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun (the temple across the ChaoPhraya river), and Wat Pho, the temple of the Reclining Buddha.

We also decided to go on a dinner cruise on the Chaophraya River (which cost BHT1600 a person) and on Saturday, the day of our flight back, we planned to visit the floating market.  In total, we paid BHT2600 for these tours, which I thought would be better compared to venturing out on our own, at a ridiculous pace, especially with the limited amount of time we had in Bangkok. Then we asked the lady behind the counter if it was worth taking a cab to Silom or Sukhumvit, to which she replied that she wouldn't do it, as it was way to pricey!

So, we change our plans and head out for some local food at the corner of the street from where we stayed and planned to check out more of Khao San since we had more time.

It's true what they say, that if you want fabulous and cheap food, go to where the locals are, and that's what we did! We had the best Thai dinner on our trip, all for BHT105, plus two bottles of water! It was spicy and bursting with flavor!

After dinner, I felt like dessert and we wound up at Swensen's for some ice cream.

Original Thai food: (from left) minced pork with basil leaves, chicken and pork with bamboo shoots and sweet pork curry, all served with rice.
Chocolate ice cream with fudge was all I needed to put a spring in my step and we were off again.

Well, we must have taken a wrong turn, as we ended up getting lost! We had to walk all the way back from where we came to get back on Khao San Road, where the shopping never ceased, and we bought a bunch of pretty scarves and token souvenirs for the many friends and family back home.

My knee started to hurt again, so we had to decide if we were going to hang out somewhere or head back to the hotel... and it was only 11pm! Then we passed a bar where a local rock cover band was performing and decided to check them out. These guys were awesome! My expectations of cover bands are never high as they do their best to cover the melodies and keys of a song, but rarely do the songs any justice.

Joann can't wait to get stuffed!
But these guys were great. We had so much fun, and what started with an empty bar soon filled with tourists. They performed until 1am before another band took over, and that was our queue to leave.

I was optimistic about Friday, especially since we didn't have to run around like headless chickens, to find our bearings. The tours were definitely welcomed!




nomaden says:
my camera is really acting the same and has the same results. i can't use it outdoors coz the shot will just turn out while with just an outline of the subject. But its okay indoors but it still has visible horizontal or vertical lines on the pic. my cam is a canon and its started doing that when i left it outside its case in the room with the AC on. i ended up buying a new lens for it. :(
sorry to hear about your knee.. may i ask what cause that? i'm glad to hear that u were able to visit the Wats..
Posted on: Jun 04, 2009
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My cameras ruined!
My camera's ruined!
Another outdoor shot of one of the…
Another outdoor shot of one of th…
Inside the temple.
Inside the temple.
Original Thai food: (from left) mi…
Original Thai food: (from left) m…
Joann cant wait to get stuffed!
Joann can't wait to get stuffed!
Street dining... in Malaysia, the …
Street dining... in Malaysia, the…
A tuk tuk driver parked next to ou…
A tuk tuk driver parked next to o…
Swensens chocolate ice cream with…
Swensen's chocolate ice cream wit…
photo by: halilee