Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand

I write this as we pack for our flight to Laos after getting in relatively late yesterday night from our day. We spent the morning in a nice spa day, and then were famished by the time lunch rolled around (at about 2pm). We ended up at a restaurant that is part of the massive Grand Hyatt here, called the Erawan Tea Room. It was a mix of Chinese and Thai influences, and is modeled after the beautiful tea houses of yesteryear (despite being located in an upscale mall/hotel). Perry tried the Pad Thai, which here is usually put inside of the egg omelette, rather than having eggs scrambled into it. I had their version of Drunken Noodles, which included peppercorns similar to those normally in Jungle Curry.


Then, because it was already a little bit later in the day, we only had time to go to one Wat, one of Bangkok’s most famous: Wat Pho, home of the “sleeping” giant Buddha. After we haggled with the taxi driver on price (everything guide books suggest about only taking ‘metered’ cabs is, frankly, BS. They may technically have meters, but they sure as heck won’t use them, so you have to be willing to negotiate and severely low-ball what their price is – for example, 400 Baht at their suggestion usually means the ride should actually be about 70 Baht, we usually round up the $1 or so difference and offer 100 Baht), we were on our way, and got a rather scenic view of Chinatown on the way.


The first thing you notice upon arrival to the Wat is the amazing ceramic work on the many spires of the stupas contained within the complex.


As you wander within the complex, there are several different temples and areas of worship, including a ordination hall and a big tribute to the late king of Thailand.


There are also many Buddha statues lining the walls of the temple as you walk toward the main attraction, which is the giant Buddha.


The neat thing about the temple is the many types of architecture that are present, including many types of iconography and design that are all incredibly beautiful to behold. You truly feel small amongst all of the spires as well.


Then, you finally come upon the chamber with the Buddha, and it is incredible. The detail on both the Buddha and the wall, and the sound – it is quite quiet, with the exception of a plunking noise we later discovered is worshipers dropping small denomination coins into offering jars all along the backside of the Buddha.


The view of the Buddha’s head from behind.

After this, we walked for a little bit around the area, before haggling with a different cabbie on the way home. Traffic was so bad that we ultimately got out of our overpriced taxi and walked. Then, we had our free drinks at the hotel and planned out dinner. We ended up at a beautiful restaurant that is in an art gallery, and which has incredibly good food for a very low cost. Perry got a duck paneng curry, while I got the Southern style spicy yellow curry (for my mom: tastes exactly like you used to make when I was a kid! Seems like Indonesia and Thailand have some flavor overlap after all). The free starter they brought out was an interesting sampler of flavors we have savored here in Thailand: crispy baby shrimp, toasted coconut, bird’s eye chili and onion, lime, and peanuts, to be placed in the betel leaf and then coated in a tamarind sweet-spice sauce and eaten as a little pouch.

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After that, it was pretty late so we came home and packed a little bit. Now we are woozy with our malaria pills but fully packed and headed to the airport shortly to embark on our next adventure: Laos! While Thailand has been fairly rainy and foggy, it is full on monsoon season up in the mountains of Laos, so it should be an interesting experience. Our goals are to visit the rice paddies, enjoy as many of the ancient historical temples as we can, hopefully go to an elephant sanctuary and help to care for the rescued elephants, and of course, try as much Laotian food as possible.

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