The Buddha’s feet are made of mother-of-pearl and are HUGE.The grounds which house the large reclining Buddha is a massive compound with large, ornately tiled and bejeweled chendis or stupas and buildings. Massive and unbelievably ornate. The next temple we visited was the Marble Temple, with a large courtyard and buildings made completely of marble.Housed around the courtyard was a collection of different styles of Buddha and explanations on what the different positions Buddha statues represent.
Seated Thai Buddha
Standing Japanese Buddha
Seated Burmese Buddha
Standing Khmer Buddha
Seated Fasting BuddhaOn the opposite side of the river is the imposing Wat Arun. With it’s gigantic spires, it was an impressive structure from afar and even more impressive up close.We were able to climb to the second level of the tallest structure on the temple grounds, which gave us with an amazing view of the river and Bangkok below.
And now for the hard part – getting down and conquering fears.Wat Phra Kaew is across the river and home to the famous Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace and the only site we had to pay to see. It was a large site with a strict dress code. At all the temples it is required that women have their shoulders covered and clothing be below the knee. At the Grand Palace men were not allowed to wear shorts, but this is a common issue with tourists so there is a place to “rent” pants.
The Grand Palace was, well – Grand.The Emerald Buddha was, well – Green and Small. The history of the Emerald Buddha is fascinating. The Buddha was found in a cave in Loas covered in stucco, a monk discovered after seeing a piece of the stucco coming off the Buddha that the Buddha statue was actually a solid piece of green jasper. The Emerald Buddha has been transferred back and forth through years of war between Thailand and Loas and now sits in Bangkok.The temples in Bangkok are amazing, not only because they are grand and ornate, but the fact that these temples reside in a major cosmopolitan city, accessible to everyone makes the temples the premier attraction of Bangkok. We thoroughly enjoyed them.