There is something to be said about exploring another country’s culture and practices. I often find myself reflecting back on our visit to the few Wats in Bangkok. While I’m firmly rooted in Christianity, it is amazing to see how other religions work in our world. Even more interesting to that is to see how devoted one country is to a religion. It’s just not something we see in the United States, and while I enjoy our melting pot, Thailand’s devotion to Buddhism is pretty amazing as well.
We made a point to visit the more popular Wats – Wat Arun, The Reclining Buddha, and The Grand Palace. We had read on various websites and travel blogs that these were definitely worth checking out.
The first Wat we visited was Wat Arun. We really tried to make our visits in the morning to keep cooler and to avoid huge crowds, and it paid off.
While we were a little disappointed that Wat Arun was undergoing renovations, we were still amazed by its intricacies and beauty. The style of architecture and design simply cannot be found in the United States.
Usually you’re able to take a walk up into the temple, but during our visit, they only allowed a walk up the one flight of stairs. The stairs were scary. Each step up was as high as one and a half steps in the United States and they were steep! We were glad to be wearing sneakers when we traveled around the temples.
Lilly and Jack did wonderfully here. We have made it a point to try and take the kids out early in the day, while they have high spirits. I don’t know about you, but our kids get a little hairy later in the day. It has been a huge relief to use our Ergo Baby carriers, too. They have made it so simple for Jack to take naps on the go and also a lightweight alternative to pushing a baby stroller.
How neat is all of this tiling?? The workers in the seventeenth century were skilled! So impressive and gorgeous. It almost reminded me of a New Mexico type mosaic, but with more colors.
Once we had our fill there, we moved on to the Reclining Buddha, AKA Wat Pho.
Can we just stop a minute to really look at the monstrosity of this Buddha? It’s even more overwhelming in person!
When you go into this one, you must wear appropriate clothes (no tank tops, shorts, or short skirts) and you cannot wear your shoes. The Wat staff is kind enough to provide bags to carry your shoes. AND if you weren’t dressed properly, they gave green smocks to cover your outfit. Once you fit their dress code, then you could walk around inside. Moral of the story here, dress conservatively and you will be just fine.
There was also a place to drop coins into 108 brass bowls that are lined along the backside of the Buddha. The idea is to make a wish with every coin dropped into each pot. For us, it was more like something to keep Lilly entertained for 10 more minutes, but hey! If you visit, make wishes! I am sure it will be more relaxing that trying to entertain a toddler – and we won’t be there, so there’s that!
After we exited the Wat, we were all ready to put our shoes back on, but could not find our shoe bag. KK and Josh ran back into the Wat and thankfully they found them. Pick pocketing is really common in Thailand so losing our shoes made me freak out a little. Looking back on it, I don’t know that shoes are really what pick pockets are hoping to steal.
We had really good intentions of entering The Grand Palace. You’ll notice that there aren’t any photos of The Grand Palace here. There is a good reason for that, or maybe two, or three reasons.
The first being that the cost to get into The Palace was over $50US for us to enter. The second was that it was almost lunch time and our kiddos were starting to get hungry and the heat was setting in. And the third reason was Josh was improperly dressed and we were turned away. Apparently, you must be fully clothed to go into The Palace. We’re talking long pants, and long sleeved shirts for the men; At least that is what we were told. So no Grand Palace for us.
Buuuttttt we did get a huge OJ for Lil on the way back to the hotel, which made her feel like a million bucks. I’m not sure if it was a combination of dehydration or lack of sugar, but the OJ perked her right back up. If we’re ever back in Bangkok, we will definitely visit The Grand Palace.
If you’re ever in Bangkok, I would definitely suggest to check out these Temples, and The Palace, but get there early!! It was much nicer in the morning before it got hot and before all of the tour groups showed up. I think most of the Wat’s open around 9am there, unless it’s a holiday – so the closer to 9 you can arrive, the better experience you will have. You won’t regret the cooler weather and less people!