Thursday, 30 January 2014

Thailand Travels: Day 3, In Search of the Emerald Buddha

After surviving an evening on the Khaosan Road independently, I felt ready to tackle exploring further afield. My friend had recommended I visit the Emerald Buddah in the morning before the heat of the day. When I'd checked out its position on Google maps it looked like it was just 14 minutes walk from my hotel. Excellent, I don't need one of those cheeky taxi drivers to take me off route!

Before I left the hotel I read up on the dress code in my Lonely Planet guidebook. It said, shoulders and knees should not be shown in the temple and proper closed toe shoes were preferable. So, despite it being about 30 degrees outside I donned my closed toed Toms, lightweight trousers and pashmina to cover my shoulders. And just to be on the safe side I packed a long sleeved top. With my attire sorted, Google maps and guide book in hand, I set out in search for the Emerald Buddha.

As soon as I stepped out the door of course I had 10+ tuk tuk drivers asking me: "Where you go? Temple?". "How do they know..." I wondered. Then I thought, "Clothing, map, camera and the direction I was walking.... Obvs!"

The navigating was going well until a Thai sitting by a group of Tuk Tuks stopped me and said: "Hey misses, where you go? Temple?" whilst pointing in the opposite direction I thought I should be going!

"Hmmm" doubt then entered my mind. "Am I going the wrong way, google maps might have got it wrong".

I ignored the Thai and walked purposely across the road, but then deciding to walk a little way in the direction he was pointing, just to see if that was right way. 15 minutes later I can see I've been duped! Ahhh man and it's SO hot in all this clothing!!! So then I have a 15 minute walk back to where I was. I stay on route after that and after 10 minutes I spot the ornate spires of The Grand Palace (Wat Phra Kaew) and I know I've made it! Lesson of the day: Always trust your instincts!

Before you're allowed into the complex the security checkout your clothing and approve or disapprove. I thought I was sorted but apparently my pashmina wasn't enough (despite the lonely planet guide advising this), luckily I had my other top, but a warning to anyone else planning a visit, the pashmina won't get you in!

Entrance to the Wat Phra Kaew (temple complex) was £500 THB (about £9) and boy was it worth it. I hadn't really looked at any pictures of the site before decided to go, so when I arrived I was blown-away with how spectacular it was! I've never seen so many ornate and opulate temples. Every inch of every building is decorated in gold leaf and gems, it puts even Versailles to shame!

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a fan of OTT bling, so this place was right up my street! I took some amazing photographs on my DSLR which I can't wait to print and look at up-close. For now though you can get a pretty good look at the place from these snaps from my iPhone.

Unfortunately the temple with the Emerald Buddah was closed for renovation, so after all that, I didn't get to see it! However I went into all the other temples, including the Phra Siratana Chedi which is the most beautiful of all. It's very sacred so you're not allowed to wear shoes or take photographs when you're inside, (so you'll just have to take my word for how stunning it is). Inside there's a huge golden glittering alter with a golden Buddah which you must not point your feet at. The floors, walls and ceiling are also adorned with hand-painted art. It's a very quiet and calming space and I enjoyed taking a little time there to meditate and be greatful for all I have.

The one thing that was a shame was there was no one to take pictures of me at the temples so I had to do the unthinkable to snap a selfie in the temple.... just to prove I actually got here! ;-) I did manage a couple of timed shots with my gorilla tripod and DSLR, but I think I may come back again with my group tour to get some more photos with me in them!

Today was fantastic! I'm really glad I went exploring and even getting lost was good because I found a pretty spot on a river bridge to stop and photographs on. I'm now pretty exhausted from all the walking and the heat today, so I think it's time for another massage!

Life's hard here... :-)


  1. Enjoying reading your updates...not jealous at all!!

  2. Thanks Ed! Not sure if I'll keep up the blogging pace once I join my g adventurers gap tour. But I'll do my best! Be nice to read back after it's all over :)

  3. It all sounds fantastic. I wish I could have blogged my journey around England instead of writing in a journal. Ah! times have changed. You will love reading about it when you get home as it's amazing how you do forget some of the things that happened. ENJOY!!