yesterday, left to my own devices, I did some Bangkok sight seeing. Yes I have seen some sights already, but not the sort of ones you can show pictures of, so I ventured to an area known as the Bangkok Golden Traiangle and crammed in several different monuments, temples and places.
What is most amazing about all of the things you can find are their location. The most extravagant buildings and stunningly decorated temples are situated next to large hotel complexes, or ramshackle huts. They have been left untouched through the development of the city, and are treated with such pride by the country that it is impossible not to admire them.
The two most significant stops on my little self made tour were the Grand Palace, and Wat Po - home of the worlds largest reclining Buddha statue. On arrival at the palace, I realised I had made a grave error - I forgot that you are not allowed to wear shorts when you are looking around, and so ignorantly thought I could just stroll in. It was not long before I was accosted ny a couple of mean looking Thai guards and shown to a changing room to get some trousers on. i felt like the boy at school who forgets his PE kit and has to wear the scabby stuff from the lost property bin - I was handed the loveliest pair of blue cotton trousers, and popped them on over the top of my shorts. I sweated profusely the entire time I was looking around the Palace area, but it was worth it. The area it covers is not vast, and in it there are smaller temples and buildings, intricately decorated with gold leaf and various blues and greens, that when they catch the light, give them the look of precios jewels. The most famous temple there is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha: a sacred room containing a small green Buddha sitting on a disproportionately large plinth, and worshipped by many people every day. It was nice to see the quiet consideration that Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike gave the whole place, nobody appearing to flout the rules or disrespect the faith or the beliefs.
The palace itself is a relatively tame building, and a merely wandered past it, aware at this point that when I took my trousers off things might not be too nice beneath them!
The only other place worth note was Wat Po where the reclining Buddha was to be found. An enormous room housed the large gold statue, it spreading the entire length. It is brick built covered in gold leaf, and I have to say is not all that impressive to look at. Once you get over the scale of it, there is no detail or intricacies, with the exception of the base of his feet - a beautiful display of marble embedded with precious stones portraying various scenes from his life.
I saw both these things last time, but it was nice to reminisce and remind myself what they are really like.
That was the last bit of sight-seeing for the whole trip - we leave later on tonight, and all that is left for us to do is smoe last minute shopping - and a couple of massages! (Not naughty ones - legitimate Thai ones. Honest!)