"Temple Running" in Bangkok

Before we took the flight to Bangkok for our all girls trip, we asked Stephie - the bachelorette to decide what else she'd like to do.

And she said, temples! But of course!

I forgot Bangkok is beaming with beautiful temples, that I only remembered the shopping part of this city. So I did all my research and suggested a few.OK - one day for temples it is :)

We started the day the usual.

Headed to Terminal 21 for a heavy brunch, sort ourselves out, learned our saved maps in our phones and then made our way out. It seemed like the best way to navigate to all the places that we wanted to go was to go back to where we were yesterday (Taling chan "floating market") which is Saphan Taksin/ Chao Phraya Pier, I've got so many inverted commas for this day please bear with me...

So we did just that.

We took the train straight to the last station towards the big river, queued for the boat and started on our first temple which was Wat Pho (the lovely Reclining Buddha). When we reached the stop... we were melting....

Even more when we walked out of the area. I think it was 12 something in the afternoon and I was already getting disillusioned by the heat #drama. When we saw a few tourists eating ice cream, I thought it was salvation. So we stopped by and ate the coconut ice cream we love so much under our tourist hats.




Luckily, Wat Pho was only within minutes walk from the ice cream stop. We took the time to explore Wat Pho, reading inscriptions, admiring the beauty of each carvings, and especially the main star - the reclining Buddha.




We saw these really funny descriptions of how the Thais back in the yesteryears describe other people from other nations. I never thought temple visit could be so funny, but it was.



We spent a fair bit of time there, walking around the Wat Pho complex for about an hour or two. Taking photos, hiding from the sun, taking photos again, hiding again.


After we were done with Wat Pho, we came out from another gate from the one we entered. By that time, it was already almost 2pm and scorching hot .. is an understatement. We saw some food and clothing vendors, by the side and wanted to take an "easy" walk to our next temple... The Grand Palace of course!

AND THEN. THE TORTURE BEGINS. 

So we asked a "kind gentleman" where The Grand Palace was (as we looked at the map it was just located next to Wat Pho) and he made the gesture of turning right, continue the walk until you see a gate, "about 1KM, he said". "1 KM? I thought, that's like from my house to 88 Marketplace". OK nevermind, maybe I miss calculated. We trusted the guy and walked anyway. About 10 minutes to the walk, three of us were becoming uneasy. Of the directions, of the heat, of how nobody else were walking towards where we were, of how there were no trees?!?! We each tried "hiding away from the sun/heat" - but at 1pm, and in that area, covering ourselves up with our tourist hats and scarves seem like the only bet. I felt bad for Stephie, she was trying hard to take care of her skin, from breakouts, uneven skin tones for the wedding - and walking under the sun didn't seem like the way to make it better.

15 minutes to the walk... we probably had walked for only about 300 metres and as we kept walking, the heat was becoming UNBEARABLE.

But the funniest thing was, NONE of us gave up. Yes, we complained, cursed at that guy, and were basically throwing tantrums halfway, but none of us quit halfway, called the tuk tuk or cabs - none of us did that, we just, went through it. 

This Grand Palace of a teaser had doors every few hundred meters giving false hope that it was the entrance, but every other time we reached one, some guard would gesture "keep walking". IMAGINE OUR PAIN. By the second door, and by now, almost half an hour of walking under direct sunlight and heat, we couldn't feel our legs, our face, our hands anymore. They're either burnt halfway or we have completely lost our mind. I think both.

Truth is, we may all have gone bonkers, but we kept walking under the DIRECT scorching heat and sun anyway. We became numb of the heat halfway through but we continued walking. We stopped halfway, hiding under a thin shade, thin enough to shade only a quarter of our body.

T______________T

By the time we reached the final, and possibly the fourth door - we saw flocks of tourists, almost like a ray of hope that we've finally reached the entrance!! But by the time we reached the entrance, we had lost half of our mind......

As we tilted our head left and right from the main road, we realised that the entrance to The Grand Palace could possibly just be as a 5 minutes walk from the previous Wat Pho temple. JUST 5 MINUTES WALK..!! WHAT THE --

We also just realised, that none of us could enter The Grand Palace because we were all in slippers and in shorts. So we had to rent them to go into The Grand Palace...............................

By this time, OUR SPIRITS HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY DESTROYED.

That one hour walk under the hot sun WAS PENANCE. OKAY, WE TAKE IT AS PENANCE. I RECKON ALL OUR SINS ARE NOW FORGIVEN WITH THAT DREADFUL WALK. 

Eventually we decided not to go.. The combination of that long and tiring walk, the heat, having to rent shoes and the millions of tourists flocking in to the temple really hampered us down. All we wanted was to hide in an aircond place, drink the coldest water....

The first place that came to mind was the museum. So we walked straight ahead, NO, RATHER DRAGGED ourselves and stumbled upon a museum, a beautiful place about the recollection of the King's life and his heirs. We walked into the museum, indulged in the aircond and sat around together reflecting on the day.

I love this quote from the museum. So true, what one does with their education is only at their control.

^A story about slavery back in the 50s.

After a good laugh about the whole day (albeit difficult because we were in the museum), we decided it's time to look for food. So we left the solace of museum and made our way to the Flower Market (Pak Khlong) which was en route back home to the train station from the boat ride. At 4pm, there was really nothing much since most vendors come out to play and business really early in the morning. So we skimmed through the market asked some questions, baffle at how cheap the bundle of flowers are, and then find some food.


We were desperate for drinks and some food so we went into a cozy Catholic (there was a Mother Mary statue) Vietnamese restaurant with THA BEST PANDAN DRINK MY GOD. I ordered two.

Anyway, after a good meal we decided to catch the almost last boat ride back to the train station at 5pm, and by then..... none of us had any energy left to chat away. We ended the day having successfully visited only one temple from our ambitious goal of at least three. We were so tired by the heat and by the crazy day we just had, we got into the boat, sat and left Chao Phraya unmoved, unfazed, undone...



WHAT A DAY. WHAT A "TEMPLE RUNNING" DAY. 

Love,
Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.

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