So, for our last day in Bangkok Peggy had been hard at work researching places to go and things to see! We had a train to catch at 7:30 pm and she had been working on filling the day with cool stuff to see before then. At first I was thinking…”Why we gotta be jammin’ in a bunch of stuff before we take the overnight train”? But then I remembered why we wanted to travel the world to begin with and it wasn’t so we could sit in hostel rooms staring at the walls. So, I got up early (around 6:30 am), started packing for the trip and got ready to fill the day with some cool sightseeing.
First up was Wat Pho. Wat Pho is a temple complex known for its giant reclining Buddha. We grabbed a cab around 8:30 am and headed straight to it. The entrance fee was 100 THB (about $2.75). I’ll be honest, sometimes things like museums, and statues and churches or whatnot escape my interest. Sometime I just don’t quite understand the allure of standing around staring at something that doesn’t really mean anything to me. Lately though, through my own curiosity, I have been reading up on Buddhism because I just wasn’t sure what it was all about. So, after learning a bit about the different Buddhist traditions, I was curious to confirm what I had read about and see how it was in real life. Also, I have always been a fan of architecture and the design features of the Buddhist Wats are pretty awesome. I snapped a few pics of the temple and had a generally good time looking for the different Buddha poses and sharing with Peggy what I had learned about things like the “stretched ear lobes”, hand postures and just why you sometimes see a fat, jolly Buddha (Laughing Buddha) and sometimes you see the solemn Buddha with the stretched earlobes. (for more) on that check out this article on GW Nunn’s blog. Here are some pics from Wat Pho:
We spent about an hour or so wandering the complex and I really enjoyed studying the architectural features but eventually it was time to move on the the amulet market.
Peggy had found an “off the beaten path” sight to see: a small street that hosts a sort of flea market that sells mostly amulets. Apparently in Bangkok it is a thing to collect these amulets, which have different meanings like “Good luck”, “Safe Travels”, “Prosperity”, etc… She is great about finding these not-so-touristy tings to see and do. We wandered a mile or two until we found the street she was looking for. As expected, there were vendors lining the streets each selling amulets (These are really mostly like pendants for a necklace, though some where a bit larger than a standard necklace).
After a short while of walking through the amulet market we decided it was time for lunch. We thought we would catch a Tuk-Tuk since we had seen them driving all over Bangkok for the past three days. We approached a group of three Tuk Tuks and asked for a ride to Hua Lamphong. When the driver asked for 400 THB (about eight times the cost of a taxi to the same spot) I didn’t bicker with him, I just realized that the Tuk-Tuk is something of a tourist trap. It may be decent for very short runs where they will charge ten or twenty THB but for those sorts of short runs, well… we just walk. 🙂
After lunch it was time to finish up our packing and rest up for the long, overnight train to Surat Thani. We rested up and grabbed dinner around 6:00 pm then headed to the station. Our train (number 85) was already on the platform so we just walked right up, climbed aboard and settled in for the night.
I thought it was going to be really awesome riding the “Thailand Express” but, since it was a night train there was nothing to see but blackness. Still, it was a decent alternative to a long bus trip or an expensive flight. We traveled second class sleeper and it was pretty nice. For about $35 we had a pull out sleeper bed (bunk style) that was more comfortable than the guesthouse bed we had been sleeping in (no joke). I will write more about the details of riding the train in Thailand in a future post but for now, I’m gonna catch some zzz’s.
Tomorrow I will be on Phuket island ready to hook up some BJJ with the guys at Phuket Top Team!
Until then, Oss and good training!