23 October 2006

Scenes from Bangkok: Wat Phra Keow

One year ago, on this day, I discovered that my stay in Bangkok, City of Angels, will be coming to an end was made known to me.

For the uninitiated, I stayed in Bangkok for a little more than a year, while working on a large project. A perk and a curse of my job, really. My Bangkok is a series of entries I'm writing, recounting the Bangkok I know.

It'll be a tangible recount of my memories in Bangkok, lest I forget one day. You can never tell when you will need some help to recount your moments in life.

In this first post, I'll touch on one absolute must see attraction in Bangkok ... the Grand Palace Complex.

As usual, all photos can be viewed in a larger version by clicking on it.

Located in the Rattanakosin area of Bangkok (which really is a man made island), the Grand Palace Complex is a large ground on which the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Keow) and numerous other buildings connected with the Royal Family.

The Grand Palace complex was first built by the first ruler of the Chakri dynasty in the late 1700s. The current Thai king is the 9th ruler in this dynasty. Over the years, the complex underwent quite a bit of change - each king added some new touches to the complex.

Being the center of a kingdom, the temple within the compounds, Wat Phra Keow houses the most important Buddha image in all of Thailand, and was formerly a royal chapel serving the Royal family.

Wat Phra Keow contains some stunning buildings, and much historical and cultural relics. Personally, I was captivated by the many statues and images from various Buddhist mythology and with Chinese influences.

Notice the picture above in the picture with the caption "Demons and Warriors" ? How do you tell the demon from the warrior ? Answer coming up shortly ...

There is so much history in the Grand Palace compound I can visit it no matter how many times I've been to Bangkok.

Admission fees apply (200 baht the last time I visited), and includes tickets to another palace and a museum within the Grand Palace compound.

Dress code applies - for men, proper shirts with sleeves; trousers that cover up to the ankle and proper shoes that cover the entire feet. For women, no sleeveless, no tubes, skirts are ok, but have to be reasonable lenght, and proper shoes again. You'll get barred from entry if you don't dress up. There's a place where you can rent clothes to rectify whatever shortcomings you may have, but seriously, the clothes there will challenge even the best fashion coordinators ...

Opens nearly every day of the year, the place is surrounded by opportunistic tuk tuk drivers. Don't believe anyone telling you the place is closed. Unless of course, the guards in there tells you that. Then you'd better believe it.

Best transportation option - taxi from wherever you are ... or by the river. Forget tuk tuks - they would probably want to take you all around Bangkok before sending you there.

Edit: Answer to the demon and warrior question - demons are barefoot, while warriors wear shoes.


Inevitable said...

Hmm... I am expecting some 'aquariums' review by you.

angel said...

LOL @ inevitable!
Oi, u want those type of aquarium, go get yourself a big tank and ask your gf to stand inside, then u imagine loh... :P

Oh yeah, I'm not a History type btw... :D But no doubt, I like the architectures!

moz monster said...

inevitable: aquarium all I don't review lah ... never been to one, how to review ??

angeliu: ?? you mean aquarium is some place for inevitable's gf to stand in ?? don't understand ... :p

how is the holidayliu in KML ??

Che-Cheh said...

So how do we tell the demon from the warrior ?

moz monster said...

che-cheh: I thought no one would ask ... the warriors wear shoes. Demons are barefooted.