Tuesday, November 28, 2006


SUAH-PA n. jungle

Bangkok city qualifies as a jungle; a concrete sort of jungle, where the cars and buses represent the thick foliage, the people represent the insects that feed on it, the intricate network of soi and thanon resemble the weaving roots. And me, a sua-pa khoo. A complete alien. Thankfully I have a guide...

I wanted to do Bangkok in one day. I missed the early morning bus to the city due to factors out of my control, namely the heavy slumber. So I had to make few last minute adjustments, it was now Bangkok in half a day.

I knew what I had to see first. The Emerald Buddha in Wat Phra Kaew. So we took the cab to the nearest Skytrain, On-Nut. No time for buses and tuk-tuks.

Arrived at Hua-Lamphong Skytrain station at 2pm. The Skytrain is definitely the best retreat from the deadly afternoon sun. If you had bought a fresh fish in the morning and left it in the Skytrain, and picked it up 12 hours later, you'll still have a fresh fish. It was that cold in the Skytrain carriage. Surely chilled by made-in-Malaysia air conditioners.

Ok, now at Hua-Lamphong. Flagged a cab. "Wat Phra Kaew," we commanded.

Our cab wormed its way sleekly through the city. When I say worm, I meant a worm high on amphetamines. Missed a few beggars, negotiated a few red lights, brushed against a tuk-tuk. Who needs a PlayStation when you can have this much fun!

Got to the Grand Palace/Wat Phra Kaew in one piece.

We were greeted by a plain-shirt Museum worker as soon as we stepped out of a cab. "Why so late?" he said.

Why so late? Do I look a like a school-kid who's late for class? For goodness sake, I was a tourist on holiday. I can be as late as I want, what's your problem? I wanted to provide a sarcastic reply but I was too stunned to even move my lips. (I was later told that they close the place at 4pm, luckily I kept my mouth shut.)

Wat Phra Kraew was one amazing place. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

The Golden Chedi and the Giant Guards (Indrajit) in Wat Phra Kaew.

The mural depicting the Ramayana. A story about the Giants versus the whole species of the Monkey world.

Full-time score: Monkeys 5 (Red Monkey 2, White Monkey 1, Green Monkey 1, Giant Own-goal 1) Giants 2 (10-arm Giant 2). Some monkeys didn't play the full 90 minutes.


Believers and their Offerings.

A glimpse of the Emerald Buddha. The most revered image of Buddha in Thailand.

The Grand Palace. The cremation ashes of previous Thai Kings are kept here.

It was difficult to sum up the atmosphere and the experience in Wat Phra Kaew. Suffice to say, you must visit this place when in Bangkok. I could not think of a Kuching equivalent.

Next entry: The Journey to Peninsula

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds and looks like an interesting visit. I've never been to Bangkok myself; but hopefully will be able to do so sometime in the future. Right now, am planning a trip to the U.K. Ruins and castles and bobbies, oh my!

November 30, 2006 1:52 AM  

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