I arrived in Bangkok on Friday evening, and I have spent the first two days of the new Chinese year in the Thai capital. Saturday I spent most of the day on my own walking around in the city and visiting some of the main tourist attractions in the city, including the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of The Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho (Temple of Reclining Buddha) and Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple).
The Grand Palace, or Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang, is one of the most stunning sights I have ever seen, and I spent quite some time walking around and taking photographs. Luckily I was wearing long pants and sleeved t-shirt that day, because people are not allowed into the temple area without proper clothing. The building of the palace was started in 1782 when king Rama I decided to build a magnificent new palace as a place of residence as well as a centre of government when the capital of Siam was moved from Thonburi on the west to Bangkok on the east of the Chao Phraya River. The palace and the temple containing the Emerald Buddha were completed in 1785, so it the buildings are well over 200 years old.
I have previously seen beautiful pictures of the Marble Temple, but unfortunately when I was there the temple was under renovation so large parts of it were covered in scaffolding. Nevertheless, I it is a fantastic building and definitely worth visiting when in Bangkok.
On Saturday night I met my friend Marius at the airport, who flew in from New Zealand via Sydney. Today Marius and I have been looking around in the city, and we started off visiting the official Thai Travel Authority to find out how we can easily get over to Cambodia, which is our primary destination for the coming week. After having a chat with the travel agent and gathering some information we walked around in the shopping area for a little while before we headed towards Wat Saket and The Golden Mountain. We walked up the stairs to the top of the mountain and from there we had a great view of historic Bangkok.
After visiting the Golden Mountain we took a cab out to the river bank and jumped on the public boat which runs a shuttle service between the upper and lower parts of the river. From the boat we had a great view of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) as the sun was about to set, and although the boat was quite packed with tourist it was certainly an enjoyable ride. We ended up at the central station south of the city, and at that time we were ready to head back to the hotel and have a quick shower before dinner. After walking around in the city all day we didn’t have much energy left, so we decided to eat in the hotel, and we were positively surprised by the food.
Tomorrow morning we are planning to leave Bangkok and travel across the border to Cambodia. I have always wanted to visit the famous Angkor Wat, and I am very excited about our next destination.