Thailand 2017 – Wat Pho and Loi Krathong
Today we felt like old pros when we hailed a tuk-tuk to take us to Wat Pho, another famous temple in Bangkok. When we reached a temple mobbed with crowds of tourists, the driver indicated that we had arrived and dropped us off. As we watched him drive away with a big grin on his face, it dawned on us that we were nowhere near Wat Pho. Ah well. Next time we’ll follow along on a map while we travel to make sure we don’t get scammed. Lesson learned. But the driver got such a big kick out of ripping us off that it was hard to be mad.
Wat Pho houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, the most famous of which is the Reclining Buddha. At 150 feet long and 50 feet high, the Reclining Buddha is truly an impressive figure. It is also the most popular spot in the entire temple complex so we didn’t linger near the statue for very long.
The rest of the temple grounds was much less crowded, and we spent several enjoyable hours there wandering around.
Little gardens and statues hid in between large impressive buildings and provided a shady respite from the heat.
For dinner we headed to Thipsamai, a restaurant made famous for its legendary pad thai. When we arrived shortly after the restaurant opened, a line had already formed down the street. The kitchen was located outside on the sidewalk, a fairly typical occurrence in Bangkok, so we got to watch the staff cook large quantities of pad thai while we waited. It was, indeed, the best pad thai that I’ve ever eaten. Definitely worth the wait!
After dinner we headed towards the Chao Phraya River to join the festivities for the Loi Krathong festival. Loi Krathong is an annual festival held on the 12th full moon of the calendar year. During the festival, Thais release small floating containers called krathongs into rivers and lakes and make a wish for the upcoming year. The krathongs are typically made of leaves and flowers, with a candle and incense lit just before they are set afloat.
We bought our own small krathongs from a vendor and released them at Phra Arthit Pier. A fun way to spend our last night in Bangkok.