Tuesday, 08.03.2011

Today we were in for an extended sightseeing tour: Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the Royal Palace, Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn).

We started at Wat Phra Kaew, being a part of the Royal Palace complex with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha at its centre. Every king had been adding one more element to the many temples, shrines and stupas
during the centuries so the whole complex looks a bit haphazardly and clogged. However, the whole ensemble is very impressing with its many statues of heavenly creatures and demons, the high rising Prangs, the colourful mosaics and the glittering gold everywhere.

temple guardian at the entrance

details from the Thai national epic Ramakien at the encircling galleries

the Royal Pantheon, Phra Mondhop (library) and the golden Chedi containing relics of Lord Buddha

details at the library

mythical creature

the Temple of the Emerald Buddha

richly decorated portals at the temple

detail of the ornamentations

Inside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha it is not allowed to take photos and guides watch over the visitors to maintain a quiet and dignified atmosphere. The Emerald Buddha itself measures only some 70 cm and is made of jade. It is one of the most revered Buddha statues of Thailand.

The Royal Palace is directly connected to the Wat Phra Kaew area. Next to the exit from the temple complex is the Phra Maha Monthien group with a series of Throne Halls. The adjacent Chakri Maha Prasat Hall is characterised by a mix of European and Thai architecture and is still used for state dinners.

Chinese guard at the entrance to the Throne Hall


Chakri Maha Prasat Hall

Dusit Maha Prasat Hall - royal mortuary

Wat Phra Kaew from outside

The next famous temple is just a few steps away: Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The giant Buddha statue measures some 46 m in length and 15 m in height and is an impressive sight.

Wat Pho

the Reclining Buddha

After visiting Wat Pho we took the river ferry to the opposite bank of the Chao Phraya and disembarked directly at Wat Arun. The Prangs of the Temple of the Dawn are decorated with colourful glazed tiles and the highest can be climbed on steep stairs. The view from the top is magnificent.

dried fish at a river market

Wat Arun on the right bank of the Chao Phraya

steep climb towards the sky


After this quite demanding sightseeing program we took the ferry boat to the pier at Khlong Bang Lamphu and then went back to our hotel.

In the late afternoon we were picked up by Apple and Mot. Dagmar and Apple maintained their penpalship over many years since their school days. They were both excitedly looking forward to their first face to face meeting.

Apple and Mot invited us to the show at the Siam Niramit. The complex consists of a theme park with Thai buildings set on a canal, where traditional cooking and handicraft are displayed. There is a large restaurant serving a Thai-Western buffet before the show.

The show presents scenes from Thai history, the traditional lifestyle of the Thai people and also religious scenes with a lot of elaborate stage technique and a huge cast. There is even a river floating across the stage and the rice growing scene has real rain coming down. There is a lot of staged fighting and dancing going on and there are even some living animals completing the spectacular show (we have not been particularly happy about the elephant, however...).

Dagmar, Apple, Mot

a rose apple tree on the park grounds

the legendary Kingdom of Lanna

Blissful Heaven

After the impressive show we drove back to the hotel and made plans for tomorrow's visit to a floating market near Bangkok.  =>

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