Day 32: Bangkok – City Tour – Dubai

This morning Pati and BeeBee got up at 6 pm, feeling a little better. They have arranged for a Bangkok city tour which will end when they are delivered back to the airport. It’s a good way to handle their luggage, since otherwise it would be stored at their hotel. Although they have had a similar tour before, they expect to learn more new things.

Golden Buddha

Their guide was a few minutes early, and they set off in an already warm and humid day. Their first stop was at a temple they had not visited before, Wat Traimit, in Chinatown, containing the Golden Buddha. This Buddha was discovered elsewhere in an abandoned temple. It was larger then and appeared to be made of concrete. It was extremely heavy, and when workers tried to move it, they cracked the concrete. They decided to leave it where it was. But the concrete eventually cracked enough in 1954 (it was kept under a tin roof)  that another Buddha was discovered hidden inside, the Golden Buddha.This Buddha is 5.5 tons of solid gold. It is believed that the statue was cast in India in the 13th century because the face is egg-shaped.

They visited the Grand Palace next. Here there are many beautiful stupas for royalty. There are four even more beautiful larger stupas here; the largest (the green stupa) contains the ashes  of a Buddha statue that was burned by the Burmese.

Emerald Buddha

The Grand Palace complex also contains the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew); this Buddha statue  is actually made of jade. Faithful readers will remember that this statue was previously kept in (what is now called) the House of the Emerald Buddha in Vientiane, Laos.

The next stop was to Wat Pho, which contains the Reclining Buddha. As on their last trip, Pati and BeeBee each bought a small bowl of small coins to toss into the long row of monk bowls. BeeBee hasn’t been able to figure out how to share the coins equally among the bowls: the last time, she put in one coin per bowl until the last one that received the extras. This time she started with two coins per bowl and ran out of coins well before running out of bowls.  She will need a new scheme for the next time. This Buddha is also under renovation, especially his feet.

Their last stop was to Watt Arun, the Temple of Dawn. The last time they had visited Bangkok, they had viewed this temple only from the river. That time, the battery in Pati’s camera died just before he could take a picture of it. This time, Pati has three batteries for his camera. This time, all of the batteries were dead by the middle of the Wat Arun visit. Maybe they are meant to visit a third time. The temple is undergoing renovation now, so pictures would be better on a third visit.

After lunch, they headed for the airport in rush hour traffic. The guide escorted them into the airline check-in line, explaining where they had to go next, before leaving them. Not a surprise, since they did this before on their own.

(Thank you, Miss Emmy. You were a good guide.)

(Incidentally, BeeBee spotted the elusive Gate 3 mentioned by the tour coordinator last night. It is a door for international departures, not arrivals. But the tour coordinator is in Hanoi, Vietnam, so she is not familiar with the layout of an airport in Thailand. This is a lesson learned by Pati and BeeBee.)

After spaghetti at Bill Bentley “pub since 1823” they headed to their gate with an hour left before boarding.

For completeness of today’s post, their flight did depart from Bangkok and arrive in Dubai on time.