After a wonderful nights sleep, we meandered down to breakfast around 10am. Walking past the rice and noodles, I filled up on a more “Western” spread of french toast, bacon, watermelon, OJ and lots of water.
With a plan in place, we made our way along the riverside to the water taxi. Our hotel is conveniently located on the Chao Phraya River, so it only took us a short boat ride to Wat Arun. Wat Arun (aka Wat Chaeng) is the Temple of the Dawn and one of many Buddhist temples. It is believed that after retreating from Ayutthaya, King Taksin arrived at this temple as dawn was breaking. He later renovated it and renamed it to Wat Chaeng. Before the Palace and Capital were moved to the other side of the river, Wat Chaeng was the home of the Emerald Buddha. When exiting the ferry, you walk into a small market selling souvenirs, snacks, and drinks. Barbara treated us to fresh coconuts to toast our trip to Thailand. After snapping a few pictures of the temple we headed to the river crossing ferry. For 4฿ you can cross from the West bank to the East bank.
We walked from the river bank up to Wat Pho. Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is one of the largest temple complexes in Bangkok. When visiting temples it is important to dress respectfully. This means covering your knees and shoulders for women. Also, wear shoes that are easy to take on and off as you will be going barefoot inside the temple. Once inside the temple complex we made our way to the other side for a Thai massage. The complex is home to the national headquarters for the teaching and preservation of traditional Thai medicine, including massage. Jake, Jack, Mady and I opted for a 30 minute massage while Barbara went for the full hour. I wouldn’t consider a Thai massage particularly relaxing, however, they certainly get your body stretched out leaving you feeling loose and limber once all is done. While waiting for Barbara to finish, the four of us headed over to view the Reclining Buddha, the true star of Wat Pho. The Reclining Buddha is a massive 15 meter tall by 46 meter long golden statue that appears to be squished into its building. It is nearly impossible to get a photograph of the entire statue. You can circle around the statue and on the back side purchase a bowl of coins to drop into the 180 bronze bowls lining the length of the building for good luck.
Once again meeting up with Barbara, we took our first tuk tuk back to the hotel. It felt a bit like a clown car fitting all five of us into the back of the tuk tuk. Walking a few buildings down from the hotel, we stopped in Buranee for lunch starting our Thai food experience. I had sweet and sour chicken with rice, which I somehow managed to drop in my lap. Apparently, I should have purchased those coins to drop into the bowls. Following lunch, we took a walk and headed to the 7/11. It’s amusing how many 7/11’s there are, but only the larger ones sell slurpies. We spent the rest of the afternoon poolside while Barbara napped.
Later that evening saw us being led by Barbara to Khao San Road for dinner. The street was a lively mix of bars and street vendors. While walking down the street, Barbara stopped at one of the vendors selling an assortment of insects and promptly purchased a box of crickets. We ended up choosing The Macaroni Club for dinner. After we were seated, Barbara gave the remaining crickets to our waitress. While finishing up our meal the waitress came back with a bag of crickets. They were her personal snack. She offered them for us to try saying they were fresher than what the vendors sell; those are for tourists. The crickets she offered were much larger and I couldn’t bring myself to eat one. Once dinner was finished we walked back to the hotel to call it a night.