Friday, March 28, 2014

MARCH 12, 2014: GRAND PALACE/TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA, WAT BENJAMABOPHIT, CHINA GATE, WAT TRAIMIT



March 12, 2014

     Starting the day right with a good breakfast.  This is our last full day for sightseeing this time in Bangkok as we leave tomorrow for Khao Lak via Phuket so my husband can scuba dive and then we go to Phuket for a meet up with our daughter and grandson.  Looking forward to relaxing beach/pool time.

     We walk to the Sathorn/Central Pier and for 15 baht each catch the orange flag local ferry to THA CHANG PIER/N9.  A short walk and we enter through the second gate on the right.  There's a wide stone path which takes us to the middle court.  Here is a large lawn lined with conical fir trees.  Turn left to buy your ticket-500 baht per person.  The gold GRAND PALACE ticket comes with a pink ticket for the Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations, and Coins and a pale yellow ticket for the Vimanmek Mansion Museum-this part is valid for 7 days after purchase date.  Unfortunately we never got to use ours due to time constraints.  With your ticket you receive a very nice guide pamphlet with a map of the grounds and details on all the buildings in this compound.  The GRAND PALACE complex was established in 1782 and consists of the royal residence, throne halls, and government offices.  The most famous of all is the TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA.  The complex is surrounded by 4 walls.  There is a very strict dress code which is enforced.  There are free guided tours In English a few times each day.  You can also rent an audio guide but need to leave passport or credit card for security.  Cost 100 baht.  We spent almost 3 hrs. here and didn't see everything.  It's a large area.






     GRAND PALACE  Lots of color and rich detail.  Statues of yakshis, garudas, kinnaras.  Upper terrace:  reliquary in the shape of a golden chedi; Mondop-holds Buddhist sacred scriptures inscribed on palm leaves; a mini model of Angkor Wat; Royal Pantheon.  Statues here of elephants and the aforementioned mythical beings. The Galleries contain walls painted with scenes from the Ramakien.

Hindu hermit Chivaka who is thought to be the first teacher of medicine.  His statue is by the Ubosot/chapel.

Each entrance is guarded by a pair of demons/yakshas.

Detail

Naga




Elephant statues on upper terrace
Mondop/library















Phra Wiharn Yod












Kinnara



Prasat Phra Dhepbidorn/Royal Pantheon is only open once a year on April 6th




Phra Asada Maha Chedi




Hanuman places Phra Ram's pavilion  in his mouth

Scenes from the Ramakien












Offerings







Belfry



Couldn't resist!





Think this is the Amarin Winitchai Hall/Throne Hall








 Dusit Maha Prasat Hall











     TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA  No pictures allowed and that is strictly enforced by guards inside.  Carved from a large solid piece of green jadite.  Enshrined on a golden traditional Thai-style throne made of gilded wood.  The sacred image is wearing one of the seasonal costumes-summer, rainy season, and winter.  The costumes are changed in a ceremony preside over by His Majesty the King.  The EMERALD BUDDHA was discovered in a stupa in Chiang Rai in 1434 covered in plaster.  Later the abbot noticed some of the plaster had fallen off revealing the green stone underneath.  He thought the stone was emerald and thus the name.  The image resided in several places, including Laos, but was brought back to Thailand in 1778.





I'm standing inside but by the window opening.  Lots of people stop here to have their picture taken with the Emerald Buddha in the background.  Too bad I didn't have my super safari type telephoto lens with me!


Lucky my camera was able to get this even though it's not the best.
     Walking back to the pier I turn right on Maharaj Rd. to get to the THA PRACHAN AMULET MARKET.  So many tables.  I purchase a lovely amulet  for 100 baht.  It is an image of Buddha which I can wear on a chain around my neck.  Maybe it will bring me good luck!

I bought my amulet from this table.
     Hop back on the ferry to THA THEWET/N15.  Get a tuk tuk to WAT BENJAMABOPHIT.  He will wait and take us back to the pier.  Cost 300 baht.  This is also known as the marble temple.  Admission fee 20 baht per person.  Located in the Dusit district.  The altar and main Buddha image are supposed to be the most beautiful in Thailand.  I din't think that but form your own opinion by seeing the picture.  Lots of different images in the cloister and a large bodhi tree.




























Ceiling detail

Bodhi tree






Gate for entry and exit to parking area


     Back on the ferry again to SI PHRAYA PIER/N3.  Another tuk tuk to CHINA GATE-marks entrance to Chinatown- for a quick picture and  HUALAMPHONG STATION for a picture.








China Gate

Hualamphong Station


     Then we arrive at WAT TRAIMIT/TEMPLE OF THE GOLDEN BUDDHA  Chinatown.  Admission fee 40 baht per person.  This is the one my husband wanted to see.  The 15' tall sacred image from the 13th century had been covered in plaster to hide it from enemy forces.  It was forgotten until it was being moved in 1955 and dropped revealing the gold!















Look at all that gold!





     We find our tuk tuk driver gone so it looks like we have to find another.  Wonder what happened as we haven't paid him??  We're approached by a driver who says our driver had to go get gas and he will take us back to the pier.  However, he doesn't take us to the pier but to a tailor shop.  We explain we're not interested and after a few words he takes us back to the pier.  Cost 150 baht total as he says he will pay half to the other driver.  I'm not sure I believe that but what can I do?  Back on the ferry for another 15 baht per ticket (much cheaper than the tourist fares) and to our hotel by 4:00 pm.  A very long, tiring day.


We pass by this market on the way back to our hotel from the Sathorn/Central Pier.

Lots of great looking fruits and vegetables


     Time to relax/unwind in the pool and then my husband says he doesn't want a heavy meal.   Dinner- don't laugh or scold us-MCDONALD'S  The chicken sandwiches taste like the ones back home!  Not bad and inexpensive too!  Cost Dessert SWENSON'S  This place is amazing.  Packed with people.  Menu has so many luscious looking ice cream concoctions.   We decide on hot fudge sundaes with some neat flavors of ice cream.  Cost 198 baht. Stop by the ROBINSON'S outdoor sale and buy a pair of flip flops for 285 baht.






We order the McSpicy chicken burger pictured here and fries



Menu

Menu-we order 2hot fudge super sundaes 

So many flavors!

My husband is very happy!



Don't think about the calories!

Yummy looking ice cream cakes



Night scenes walking back to our hotel




     
   


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