06 May 2015

Meandering in Thailand: Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace in Bangkok

After spending two weeks in Myanmar, it was time to leave. Hence I took a flight from Mandalay to Bangkok. It was quite refreshing to get back to modernity, seeing skyscrapers and highways and fast Internet. I spent a total of two nights in Bangkok, where I caught up with things, and since I already spent plenty of time sight-seeing in Myanmar, I didn't sight-see that much in Bangkok. Instead, I just ate my way due to its legendary cuisine. That being said, I still found time to check out one place, which was the Grand Palace.



This is a very popular site for visitors. There were so many people when I visited, and I tried my best to hide the people in my pictures. Anyway, as you can see above, the buildings are impressive. This is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the country's prime temple. Unlike the temples in Myanmar, there is a distinct style that is different from the Myanmar temples, namely, from a lay person's point of view, the architecture here feature more longer and taller lines, and more pointy objects. Myanmar on the other hand has more round and fat designs, but Thai temples seem to be taller and slimmer.



A visual comparison of the stupas also reveal a striking contrast between the Myanmar design and the Thai style. The Phra Si Rattana Chedi is taller and has more vertical aspects than horizontal ones. Needless to say, it is quite stunning.



There are plenty of statues in the temple complex. I am not aiming to provide a comprehensive description of them all, but instead, I am providing pictures to demonstrate the numerous things one can see here. A visit to this place is definitely a feast for the eyes, with plenty of things going on, and one needs to really think where to point the camera, as there are simply so many interesting things to see.



Adjacent to the temple complex is the Grand Palace, which was closed to the public, at least when I visited. It is an interesting building, mixing both Eastern and Western architectural influences, and in my opinion, showcases Thailand's royal heritage in quite a very good way.

So, after my visit, I definitely understand why this is the most popular place to visit in Thailand. It is just magical, and I recommend it to anyone visiting the city for the first time. This makes me want to visit Thailand properly, instead of just a short stopover.

3 comments:

  1. This is one of my weird memories of Thailand. It was a very unique place to me, pretty amazing, first temple of the kind I was visiting (unlike you, I wasn't coming from Burma but Malaysia and Singapore, where temples were either Indian or the "traditional" Chinese kind, no gold everywhere, no stupa).

    That said, I absolutely hated all the scammers around the palace. We were stopped every five meters.

    Upon entering the temple, the police/guards were checking if visitors were respecting the dress code. I knew about it so I dressed appropriately... not enough apparently, I had to cover my arms entirely. Okay, fine, no worries. But the police kept on bothering (okay, "bothering" is a bit strong... but I was going write "harassing", that's how it felt!) foreign women, saying in English "you dress like a whore", "no whore here", etc. I found it super inappropriate. Some tourists were wearing shorts and tank tops but none made a scene when asked to cover up... you don't call people "whore"!!

    It left a bad taste in my mouth.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, found my article. Didn't mention the "whore" thing, I think I was in rush when I wrote it and we were leaving Thailand anyway: http://correresmidestino.com/bangkoks-national-palace/

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    2. Zhu,

      Funny, I was there in Bangkok for only two nights, yet nobody even attempted to scam me. I am guessing it has something to do with the fact that I am not white, and therefore I can blend in easier. Hence, scammers would probably target those that look more foreigner and therefore more tourist.

      But wow, your experience with the palace guards was quite shocking I admit. One would like to simply chalk that up to language difficulties, but no, that is indeed plain rudeness.

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