A visit to Thailand is not complete without setting foot to its famous palace and temples where one can truly be amazed by its awe-inspiring architecture and glittering decorations. This is our last day to immerse ourselves in the beauty and culture of the country and we will make sure that this tour is another extraordinary feat!
Our heartfelt thanks to Julie, our host for our Thailand tour. She excused herself as our tour guide for today for she wanted to take a rest. As such, Jhen and I are bound to do the DIY adventure excitedly. And to spice it up, we will also try Thailand’s unique public vehicles which we haven’t experience for the past three days.
Things to consider when visiting the temples:
1) Chapels and temples are important shrines so it is a must to pay respect by wearing a modest dress. Shorts, strapless, wide-neck, tank tops, short pants, mini skirts, low-waist pants, and crop tops are not allowed inside.
2) There are temples that will require you to remove your shoes so wear a pair that can be easily removed.
3) Photography and video footage are not allowed inside the Emerald Buddha Temple.
As a start off, we boarded the songthaew, a small pick-up truck with two rows of seats at the back for a fare of 11 Baht/head only. We alighted near the bus stop and waited for the red bus no. 60. Unfortunately, no one came. Since we are running out of time, we hailed a taxi and paid 238 Baht.
If you haven’t read yet the first part of our Thailand Trip, click: Bangkok, Thailand City Tour: Day 1, our Second Day: Ayutthaya, Thailand: The glory and splendor of the past – Day 2 and for the Third Day: Pattaya, Thailand Tour: Day 3
These are the places we visited for our Temple Run adventure:
The Grand Palace
Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River at the heart of the Rattanakosin Island is the Grand Palace, the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782 (now Thailand). This is a complex of buildings and one of the most popular and must-visit tourist attractions in Thailand one should not miss.
The Grand Palace has a combined area of 218,400 square meters with many brightly colored buildings, halls, pavilions, golden spires, courtyards and, gardens. It is huge and is nice to stroll around because every structure was brightly colorful and impressive. It is divided into several quarters but we only visited the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and toured inside. There was also a museum partially open to the public.
The construction of the palace began on May 6, 1782. As of this date, it remains a place of worship, a center of big ceremonies, and Thailand’s prime and famous tourist attraction.
Location: Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm (Opens daily)
Entrance Fee: 500 Baht (Entrance to The Grand Palace, the Temple of Emerald Buddha, Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, and a show at Khon Performance at Sala Chalermkrung Royal).
The Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew
The main feature of the Temple of Emerald Buddha is the image of the Gautama Buddha seated in a lotus position. The image is about 26 inches tall and is not made of gold but of a semi-precious green stone called jasper clothed in gold. The emerald here refers to its color and not the stone.
Picture taking and video footage are strictly prohibited inside. Before anyone can enter, one has to dress modestly. Shoes and hats are also not allowed. A plastic bag is provided near the entrance for the shoes and it will be disposed of properly in a container upon exiting the Temple.
The temple has a long gallery with fantastically detailed murals of 178 scenes of the epic story of Ramayana. You may take pictures here.
Location: Na Phra Lan Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Operating Hours: 8:30 am to 3:30 pm
Entrance Fee: with an adjoining ticket to the Grand Palace
* There’s no need to hail a taxi in getting to Wat Pho as it is a ten-minute walk from the Grand Palace.
Khon Performance at Sala Chalermkrung Royal
One of the perks, when you pay the entrance fee for the Grand Palace, is watching the Khon Performance at Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater. Khon which is known as the masked dance drama from Thailand is one of the most prestigious performances inscribed by UNESCO in 2018.
Khon Performance is a stage show about His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn preserving and carrying forward the nation’s art form of classical dance.
After a tour under the scorching heat of the sun, it was relaxing to sit awhile and watch the iconic show. We never want to miss watching this so we had allotted time for it. We were entertained by the story and were able to see Thailand’s art, rich culture, and history.
- Schedule of 25-minute performance: Monday to Friday-10:30 am, 13:00 pm, 14:30 pm, 16:00 pm, and 17:30 pm.
- A shuttle bus is available for a two-way trip from Phiman Deves Gate of the Grand Palace to the theater and back. Bring the ticket to the theatre for admission.
- Video footage and picture-taking are allowed during the show.
Wat Pho (or Wat Po) or Temple of The Reclining Buddha
Official name: Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Rajwaramahawihan
Built by Rama III in 1832, Wat Pho is considered the oldest and largest temple complex in Bangkok. It is considered the first public university in Thailand that specializes in science, religion, and literature. Now it is known as a center of traditional massage and medicine.
Its main draw is the Reclining Buddha covering a height of 15 meters and 46 meters long. The right arm of the Buddha supports its head together with heaps of two boxes encrusted with glass mosaics. This position is said to represent the entry of Buddha into Nirvana and the end of all reincarnations. It was huge and impressive.
Apart from its body, its sole with a height of 3 meters high and 4.5 metes long is another highlight you should never miss to see. Each sole is divided into 108 arranged panels displaying symbols that helped Buddha to perfection. If you will take a closer look, you will see flowers, elephants, dancers, and tigers.
There is some piece of history of Wat Pho near the entrance and other Buddha images which includes a big gong. Here you will remove your shoes when you enter. As you go around, you will also see colorful buildings, prangs (towers), halls, and chapels. Other attractions inside the temple are the gilded Buddha images, long lines of golden Buddha statues a number of large Chinese statues.
Location: 2 Sanam Chai Rd, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Operating Hours: Daily from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm (massage available until 6:00 pm)
Entrance Fee: 200 Baht with 1 free bottled water.
* There’s no need to hail a taxi in getting to Wat Pho as it is a thirteen-minute walk from the Grand Palace (1.1 km away).
Wat Arun or the “Temple of Dawn”
Official Name: Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan
Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple situated on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, a personification of the reddish glow of the rising sun. One has to ride the five-minute ferry to get to the temple from Maharaj pier.
Its main draw is its central prang, a Khmer-style tower with a steep staircase (closed to the public). It was built in the early nineteenth century during the reign of King Rama II. There are four small prangs in each corner.
The courtyard has an Ordination Hall, a well-manicured garden, and a restaurant. It has a chapel with a Buddha lord statue and surrounded by golden Buddha images and Chinese warrior sculptures. Devotees offer prayers and offerings.
Off all the temples we explored, I was fascinated by the unique charm of Wat Arun. It wasn’t covered with glittering decorations but with colorful porcelain tiles and seashells. We were told it’s best to take a picture of the temple and the river during sunset until it is illuminated at night.
Wat Arun is strict in dress code so it is a must to dress modestly. You may rent clothes at the temple for 290 Baht with a deposit of 100 Baht.
Location: 158 Thanon Wang Doem, Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand
Operating Hours: 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily
Entrance Fee: 50 Baht for foreigner
Ferry fare: 4 Baht
* Again, there’s no need to hail a taxi in getting to Wat Arun as it is a eight-minute walk and 4-minute ferry ride coming from Wat Pho (550 meters away).
Before we head off to Wat Arun, we had our lunch in a restaurant near the Port. We ordered Thai food, a chicken in coconut soup with mushroom, lime, and galangal. It was cheap, somewhat spicy, and taste just right.
End of tour
We were about to visit three more temples; Wat Suthat or the Giant Swing, Loha Prasat, and Wat Mahathat but we will be running out of time for we will head to Pratunam to buy pasalubong goodies for our loved ones.
Overall, we enjoyed our DIY tour. We were amazed and happy seeing colorful temples, buildings, chapels, prangs, and Buddha images. It’s good to see and embrace the rich culture and heritage of Thailand. We are planning to go back with another set of travel buddies. Surely, we will spend another whole day for a more happy Temple Run! Haha!
We bought grocery items (lotion, shampoo, Snail soap) in Sangchareon Beauty Plus. Then we headed to the Chaimongkol market and bought t-shirts (90 Baht to 150 Baht), skirts (220 Baht), dresses for my mom (180 Baht). We also bought famous candies, the milk candy fruit with flavors of Taro, and strawberry for 90 Baht/pack. Prices were really affordable that we were able to save some cash.
*From Grand Palace, take a walk in getting to Bus Stop Sanam Luang and board the Bus 2 or 60 in getting to Pratunam.
|Bangkok, Thailand City Tour: Day 1||Ayutthaya, Thailand: The glory and splendor of the past – Day 2||Pattaya, Thailand Tour: Day 3||Soi: Eat Thai. Love Thai. Yummy Pad Thai|
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