Exploring Thailand: Bangkok - Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Phra Sumen Fort and Santichaiprakarn Park

November 22, 2015

Upon my arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport, I am very much reminded of my hometown. From the look and feel of the terminal to the people around me. One thing's definite, it feels like home, somehow.

I didn't waste my first night and walked around the busy, loud and full of life roads of Rambutrri and Khao San. I also had my very first Pad Thai and Chang beer (yes, my first time trying out Pad Thai. ikr?) After two bottles of beer, I retreated back to my room and called it a night.

I started off my first official day in Bangkok flipping my room upside down trying to look for my GoPro and camera charging cables! Apparently, I brought the wrong ones so I had to make my way to Pantip Plaza where most of the IT stuff are. After getting one, I was ready to go.

First on the (official) list, is the Church where my grandparents got married 53 years ago! I went to Saint Louis Church from Pantip Plaza via MRT. After saying my prayers and absorbing the beauty of the Church and letting the thought of my grandparents getting married there sink in, I went back to my hostel to meet Mona, a travel buddy I met from Couchsurfing whom I'll be with to see the Temples.

We walked from my hostel at Rambutrri to the Grand Palace. I kid you not, the sun was very angry that day! I felt my skin steaming! We didn't go in the Grand Palace past the ticketing area. It was packed with tourists so we decided to skip it and go to Wat Pho instead.

Wat Pho was definitely quieter and with lesser crowd. We got our tickets for 100THB (S$4) which includes a free bottle of water (you'd be thankful for it). According to one of the staff there, Wat Pho is one of Bangkok's oldest temples and already existed before Bangkok was established as the capital by King Rama. There are about 91 pagodas of different sizes all over the temple ground. It's an amazing place! It's overwhelming to be surrounded by beautiful structures and learning about different beliefs and cultures.

Wat Pho is where the reclining Buddha is. The Reclining Buddha is 46m long and 15m high, and illustrates the passing of the Buddha into nirvana. The figure is modeled out of plaster, around a brick core and finished with gold leaf. The feet displayed 108 different characteristics of Buddha. It was huge and gold!

After a total of 4 hours under the scorching sun, Mona and I decided to retreat back to my hostel to freshen up before I send her off for her next adventure to explore the rest of Thailand, while I stay behind in Bangkok (sad face).

Flu was definitely creeping in so at 8 in the evening, I popped some (anti) flu pills and slept. My last day was allotted for Chatuchak Weekend Market (because according to travel blogs, half day will never be enough for shopping lol). I was up early feeling much better from the flu. Had my breakfast in my hostel and walked around the area since it was still early to head out. I honestly didn't have any idea where I was going until I saw a park and a white structure that looked familiar (probably from the internet). Walked my way to the park and realised I was at the Phra Sumen Fort and Santichaiprakarn Park. 

This Fort is one of only two forts remaining in Bangkok that were constructed to defend the city from invasions. King Rama I had 14 of these forts built. The fort is an octagon shape with three levels. Theses forts were used as an ammunition post and observation point overlooking the Chao Phraya. The bottom two levels had canons deployed which can be seen as you walk around the outside of the fort.

Since it was my first time, I felt like I wasn't prepared enough. It's a learning point though. So next time I get lost in Bangkok again, I will make sure not to miss Grand Palace and Wat Arun. I'll be back for you again, Bangkok! Oh, and my Chatuchak Weekend Market post will be up soon (I hope haha). It needs a separate post. Shopping blog post, can't wait! xx

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