These trips we go on are more than just relaxation and partying. While we do get in our fair share of both, we also have a vast appreciation for all cultures. I really enjoy a good history lesson. Traveling to places with deep cultural roots on display like we've seen in Thailand, feeds my soul.
Today Diana and I visited the Grand Palace (a tourist hotspot). It served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th century onwards. Construction of the Palace began in 1782, during the reign of King Rama I, when he moved the capital across the river from Thonburi to Bangkok. We took countless pictures of all of the intricate detail work on what seemed to be every surface; every nook and cranny of Palace & surrounding buildings. From the shimmering REAL gold leaf bestowed upon the buddha statues by visiting worshipers, to the artists restoring these relics, before our eyes. It was a truly amazing experience. The large gold tower is called, Phra Si Rattana Chedi. It was erected by King Rama IV in 1855 and regarded as the most sacred in the Royal Chapel. The interior is hollow and contains smaller stupas (tower like version of the outside) containing sacred Buddha relics. It is said that King Rama V had the exterior covered with golden mosaic tiles imported from Italy. All I know is that it was beautiful in person.
Being that it seemed like every street leading up to monuments like this were filled with tourist traps, Diana and I agreed that we like what was going on here, when it came to our money. The cost was pricey for Thailand, and we were informed it had cost much less in prior years. With the ongoing restorations, however, you could see where your money was going. I loved that there were some parts still not restored to all of the original splendor. I was floored and barely had a calm thought in my mind while I enjoyed the scenery. Daydreaming of what I must have been like to be a traveling merchant, or visiting leader from a far off land. The glass work reflected the sun like millions of sparkling diamonds. The stone and masonry work, seamless and flowing like modeled clay. It was truly impressive.
Wat Pho was up next after visiting the Grand Palace. Known also as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The official name is Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan. What was really interesting is that this particular temple is considered the birthplace of tradition Thai massage. What was more impressive is the sheer size of the gold plated Buddha, about 151ft long (46meters) and 49ft high (15 meters). The feet of the Buddha are hand carved and inlayed with mother of pearl.
Three letters... Three periods... R.C.A.
Royal City Avenue
I don't remember what exactly went through my mind when I thought about nightlife in Bangkok. I couldn't shake the image of lady boys, old guys with young Thai girls, or what they think or already knew are not girls, pushy pimps, and pretentious door men once we found a destination. Its hard to read a review and get the full picture. Mainly because you think, is this person anything like me. What were/are their expectations? For me, both were low, especially once I got here. And, I say low because, this city is massive!! Big non english speaking city means hard to find what you want, or at least you would think. Well after reading numerous travel blogs and looking up "things to do" on trip advisor, I figured we would try our luck with the R.C.A. What a great experience. To sum it up, its everything thing you're looking for in a bar/club/lounge all on one street. I call it, organized chaos. Imagine a full on testosterone match of whose sound system is better, and multiply it by a million. After that carry the remainder and create a space outside, just as good as the inside to house all the people you just attracted with the aid of your DJ keeping the crowd hype. Now if that wasn't good enough, they charge only $7 bucks at the door, and give it back to you in the form of bar vouchers, to which you'll get change back, because the drinks are just that cheap. How cheap?? The bottle service was $50 for top shelf whatever you wanted pretty much. I am not exaggerating. It was that good!