Go With the Flow!

Saturday, January 30

We started off with a terrific plan! My Thailand Lonely Planet book (aka my travel bible!) had a 2.5 mile walking tour of Bangkok that hit several of the highlights that are on our to do list yet allowed us to keep our own pace so we thought it was a win-win deal! We chatted with some people at our hostel and figured out the best way to get to our starting point, and then we were off! We had 7 hours before our 8pm flight to Cambodia, my Lonely Plant book, and our walking shoes...nothing was going to stop us!

We got to our starting point, Victory Monument, and we sat down so I could read us some information on what we were looking at (thanks Google!) and I got no more than 3 sentences into the description when a middle aged man stopped near us and started to chat. Next thing we know he was handing us a list of "must see"/non-touristy destinations to hit, flagging us down a tuk-tuk driver and waving us goodbye with the most happy of smiles plastered across his face...so our plans were off to a rough start, but when opportunity knocks, I can't say no!

Our first stop was a teeny temple with zero tourists around making it a nice quiet place to explore. As soon as we arrived a man working there begin speaking to us in English and showed us an apparently 1000-year-old Buddha statue that the temple was famous for and told us if we touched it, it would bring us good luck (I'm still waiting on the call from Jackpot Lottery!) 

After a visit with the baby temple, we headed to a more famous spot in Bangkok, the Marble Temple. This temple is constructed from white marble imported from Italy and is beautiful! The outer courtyard is like a ring or a donut around the temple in the middle and features 52 different Buddha statues in varying positions. My personal favorite was popcorn Buddha (ok not really, but I swear his hands were out like for an offering and someone had filled them with popcorn...and guess what, I didn't even borrow any from him!) It was interesting as each Buddha had a little explanation about what their pose or position meant. Within the Buddha donut (can you tell its snack time here yet?!) was the actual temple which housed a large golden Buddha and motifs painted on the wall from the different provinces around Thailand. 

After leaving the temple our tuk-tuk driver drove us to a suit tailor. We had no intentions of actually purchasing a suit but it was on our list of things to do and we thought why not check it out! Apparently the guys who own the shop could sense this as well, after showing us the books and asking us to look around next thing we know they said OK five minutes goodbye have a nice day and showed us the door. So much for hospitality!

Later, after the suit and then gem shop (if we looked for 10 minutes our tuk-tuk driver got a coupon for 5 free liters of gas...sure we'll help you out buddy!) we asked our driver to take us to the Bowan Temple. We paid him a whopping 40 Thai Bot ($1.14 USD total for several stops) and said our goodbyes. We checked out the Bowan Temple for all of 5 minutes before we decided that food was a must before more temple exploration. We found some amazing Thai street noodles filled our bellies, then went back to work on Bowan Temple! Like many of the temples in Thailand the Bowan Temple had a large golden Buddha at the center of the temple. Unlike most of the temples though, there was a second building on the grounds that was used for monks' meditation. Each floor of the 6 floor building was laid out in a simple grid pattern with basic instructions as to guide you through your walking, standing, and sitting meditation phases. The top floor was entitled nirvana and was an open roof with spectacular views of the city below!

Leaving Bowan Temple we decided to take the river boat back to our hostel (one of Bangkok's several forms of public transportation) and enjoyed much different, yet equally spectacular, views of the city from the river. Quickly grabbing our belongings from the hostel we found our bus and headed for the airport; Cambodia {and Tory and Rebecca} were waiting!!