Found along the way from Hua Lamphong Mrt Station to Chinatown, the Temple of the Golden Buddha houses a – you guessed it – Buddha made of Gold that weighs 5.5 tons. After missing it a few times on our previous trips (because it was always closed by the time we visited Chinatown), we decided to pay a special trip bright and early in the morning. A few tour groups were here by the time we arrived; we never knew it was such a popular attraction!
It is said that the Golden Buddha was hidden in plaster to prevent it from being discovered by invaders, and later uncovered by a monk who, to his surprise, found a Golden Buddha hidden in the rock. Wat Traimit was later built to house this Buddha, itself a beautiful structure to admire.
We decided to do a tour of the Grand Palace again because the first time we went, our hotel room had a break in and we lost our camera as well as the photos in them. Besides, we were really young then and couldn’t remember nuts; so, my sister suggested for us to go again.
The nearest train station is Hua Lamphong MRT and to get here, we took a tuk tuk from Wat Traimit (~10 mins ride). There was a long stretch for us to walk in and our journey was filled with many throngs of visitors, clustered within their tour groups. Thankfully the ticket queue was alright (500 Baht per entry) and we rented an audio guide (200 Baht for 1.5h). Throughout our visit, we witnessed many mourners who came to pay their respects and their profound love and loyalty to their late King made me feel humbled.
The sun was scorching hot and there were so, so many Chinese tourists around, which made some parts of the tour a bit unpleasant. Nonetheless, the trip was worthwhile in every way because of how exquisite and unique the architecture was. Besides that, it houses Wat Phra Kaew, temple of the Emerald Buddha. While the name is pretty self-explanatory, this temple is a top attraction in the Grand Palace for its beautiful decor as well -mainly of coloured mirror or glass mosaic pieces found on its walls and pillars.
Many of the buildings in the Grand Palace were stunning in the same way – they were decorated with mosaic pieces made of glass, mirrors or porcelain bowls. Statues of mythical creatures are built to guard these buildings and the entrances of the compound, and are the opportune photo spots for a picture straight out of a postcard! (See the featured image of this post. :P) For more photos of the Grand Palace, click here! 🙂
Sadly, we didn’t visit Wat Pho (a temple which houses a reclining Buddha), which is separate from the Grand Palace complex but is walking distance away. (And…that is because my sister feels that she has a good memory of the place. I’m sure it must be equally mesmerising; my memory has failed me.) So moving on…
Still in the Western part of Bangkok, Wat Suthat is the temple with the giant swing and we have come here since our first visit. (According to my dad, he has been here 10 out of his 10 visits to Bangkok.) Although less impressive than other temples which receives more tourists, what I really like about this temple is its serenity and that Buddha statues in Gold and Black colour line its perimeter.
Behind the main temple, we discovered a new complex that we have never visited, its colour scheme not golden, but a pristine white with colourful porcelain flowers as its motif. Although its exterior is a refreshing design from other golden shiny temples, the interior is similar in nature as Wat Phra Kaew and the main hall of Wat Suthat – it is adorned with paintings depicting Buddhist symbols, such as the Buddha and his disciples.
Somboon Seafood at Central Embassy
As a prayer session was going on in the main hall of Wat Suthat, we did not linger and headed to town for lunch. We never knew that there were 3 ‘Central’, being Central World, Central Embassy and Central. Our tuk tuk driver brought us to Central World and so we had to suffer once again under the merciless sun to our destination.
The food must be nice but my appetite drops when it comes to expensive food. We had their famous curry crab, which did not taste like curry and wasn’t satisfying because we weren’t provided with ‘tools’ to take out the crab meat. The morning glory was not stir fried with shrimp paste. Our last 2 dishses, braised duck with mushroom and fried fish were better but limited in quantity. I don’t think we’ll be coming back again but at least we ticked this off our to do list since our uncle recommended it to us since our first trip.
Platinum Fashion Mall
Things have really changed a lot since our previous trip although we only went 2 years ago, and despite our high frequency of visitations to the Land of Smiles, we may not be the most informed after all. Case in point: there is now an overhead bridge that links the BTS Chit Lom to Platinum Fashion Mall, via Gaysorn and Big C! It is extremely convenient since the mall isn’t right next to the BTS station and one has to cross a few roads (sometimes dangerously) to get there.
Platinum Fashion Mall is definitely on all Singaporeans’ destination because it is where you can find the most number of retailers under one roof to shop for clothes! Usually, my sis and I would only be able to cover 30% in a few hours’ time. But for the same reasons as Chatuchak (fashion sense that disagrees with us), we moved from store to store very quickly and were 100% done with what we wanted to complete in 3h! Good timing! (And nah we didn’t buy that jacket in the end)
Only 5 mins walking distance using the very convenient and safe overhead bridge, we arrived at Big C, which is a hypermart with Thai products. It has probably the cheapest prices, judging from the crowd of locals. We bought some local snacks as souvenirs back home for our friends!
We met back with our parents in our hotel for the evening but since everyone was too full for dinner, we went to Terminal 21 for a quick dinner fix as it is only a few minutes of walking distance from our hotel.
This mall is very special from the rest and is popular with locals despite being located further away from town because of its unique theme for every floor and for its relative newness! Every level is designed to represent a certain country, and the whole mall itself is based on the theme of an airport terminal. One of the best things about this mall is also its food court because it has a large variety of Thai food, from Mango sticky rice to Beef Noodles Soup, and has lower prices as compared to the food courts in town. Totally love food that is both good and cheap! 😛
My sis and I ditched the hotel’s breakfast buffet to have thick toast at After You cafe. We have looked forward to this ever since we last ate it and this time, it didn’t disappoint either (although we both later had sore throat due to the amount of butter they added to make the toast crispy).
p.s. T21 also has After You Cafe but the waiting time is crazy when we visited yesterday
“Siam Paragon has the best of everything!” I kept exclaiming this while window shopping in the mall and it is true! The basement and its supermarket is extremely well stocked with all kinds of food imaginable! The food court is simply the best for the same reasons as Terminal 21, but its portions bigger (despite being slightly pricier)!
On the upper floors, we walked into a stationery and gifts shop which had a large variety of products and we stopped very often to admire them. Then we headed to Kino, which is SERIOUSLY THE BEST KINO I EVER BEEN TO! They have books in every language and genre – I pored over Biology colouring books, novels which were made into films, TV series-based books (ahem GoT) – and the most satisfying thing is, everything was SO WELL ARRANGED! (Unlike certain branches in SG where I spend x3 time and effort to find one thing zzz)
On even higher floors, there’s a movie theater with IMAX and 4D. And nearby, Siam Discovery Centre also has an underwater aquarium of its own. Simply amazing! It is my only regret for not staying near the city…
Like everything else in Bangkok, MBK also upgraded! It used to be more old fashioned and dingy but now, it has been renovated to keep up with the times. They added a new luxurious food court on level 5, and renovated the ‘ordinary’ food court on level 6. We headed to the latter for oyster omelette (which is said to be delicious), and indeed, it lived up to its name YUM~ The egg was so crispy and the oysters had no smelly taste. Just to my liking~
We later proceeded to spend 30mins on Mario Kart and basketball 🙂
Bangkok Art and Convention Centre
New to BKK, what my sis and I love about this place was that 1. It is HUGE, 2. It features many LOCAL artists (unlike the SAM), 3. It had an exhibition on the late Thai King, which we enjoyed very much.
Through that exhibition, we could see why King Bumi was well received by his people and what kind of contributions he has made for his country (mainly involvement in the rural farming areas, where he did many projects and first hand surveying). My sis and I were really touched by the artworks, which we could feel were made with much love and sincerity. Only if we had more time to admire them and the galleries on other floors… We also liked how various art mediums were represented, from using cloth to tiles. It was definitely a soothing break for the soul to see something besides food and clothes heh 😉
Slightly more disappointing than what I recalled from our previous trips because it is filled with posh shops and restaurants. (Personally, I believe it is only good for its Toys’R us, BAKE cheese tart outlet and Marvel store, all found on the upper floors. We had no appetite for expensive food although there were sure many options around.)
Our plane was delayed by 2h (AGAIN) so we ate more good food here and checked out its Kino book store (which GREATLY pales in comparison to the NUMBER 1 SIAM PARAGON) HAHA!
Here’s the end of my post! Hope you enjoyed it; we certainly did ^^