Ashley Zoch

Monday, August 22, 2005

Temples, Tigers & Touts

Chris and I jumped a Sky Train to Siam Station for a day of shopping. We drew the attraction of three separate folks on the way out advising us that the shops were closed and suggesting alternate destinations (presumable for a small commission). The last one confused us into taking a short Tuk Tuk ride to a the nearby Wat Saket temple as it was open for only one day this year. After a short walk around our Tuk Tuk driver tried to push us onto further shopping locations, but we caught on and headed back to our original destination. I'm still not sure how much of this was true but it was a cheap and quick diversion. Apparently Wat Saket has some great views from the Golden Mount atop but we weren't aware at the time and didn't go up.

Phra Sirtana Chedi at the Grand Palace.

We finally made it to Panthip Plaza (Bangkok's IT Shopping Mall) and wandered the floors of computer gear considering the odd wild purchase. We picked up a pair of speakers for some evening beats and a few odds and ends. Chris bought a copy of Tiger Woods golf to try out on his new laptop. After lunch we went to Big C (which is like a big K-Mart) and collected some domestic necessities (ironing board, mop, etc.) for Chris' new abode. We finished the day off with a couple of rounds of Golf.

Me at the Grand Palace.

Today I visited the Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). The complex was built in 1782 and previously housed the Thai Royal Family. It's a popular sight-seeing destination and was full of fellow fereng (foreigners) getting in each others way taking photos. The architecture was impressive but everything is close together so it makes for difficult photos. I enjoyed the exchange of cameras with strangers to get oneself in photos and the awkward dance to work out who spoke what language when asking.

Statue outside Wat Phra Kaew.

There were Thai guides showing folks around in every language and some were very animated (one particular fellow showing around a group of somber Japanese tourists). The tours looked like a lot of fun. The temple itself is open to the public and quite heavily visited so it has lots of racks around it for people to store their shoes. These are numbered to help you remember where you put them, but I thought briefly that they were sorting folks into shoe sizes. The inside of the temple is beautiful but it's hard to find much serenity with a steady stream of people moving through and guards ensuring everyone is following the required customs (particularly not pointing your feet at the Buddha).

The Grand Palace.

The palace itself is under quite intrusive repairs so I only had a quick look and then took a taxi home and sat in traffic for an hour with a lovely chap who helped me practice some basic Thai.


  • My biggest problem with Bangkok was determining who to trust. Had the Tuk Tuk ride from hell when I was there. Reflecting on it later I realised I should have feared for my safety.

    Pity because Thai people seem so nice.

    Oh, don't wipe your face with a white towel after being out and about for a while. You'll see what's now in your lungs...

    By Blogger tHor's_Hammer, at 12:09 AM  

  • I'd like to see video footage of you doing an awkward dance and trying to speak Thai.

    I'd like someone to cut it together like Pauline Hanson saying "I don't like it".

    By Blogger mjd, at 10:49 PM  

  • I imagine it might look something like this.

    I love that guy.

    By Blogger Ashley, at 4:42 PM  

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