19 October 2013


After a trip to the flower market, Megan, Troy and I took a ride on a modern tuk tuk. I say modern because unlike the pull or bicycle versions, these babies have tanks and power beneath the peddle – and they look a little like an old VW van.

Megan, with her map and a potential tuk tuk driver (I admit, I may make fun of the map but it did save us).

The tank

Our tuk tuk and a few others along Wat Pho

Tuk tuk drivers, like most taxi drivers, will only work for the right pay – negotiation is key, people. Once we knew a decent rate or, on the rare occasion, the actual metered fare, we would not accept high ball offers. We may look like stupid tourists but we quickly became educated! If the drivers could not meet our price, we walked.

Our ride was nothing crazy, and it was only a few minutes, but it was fast and the wind felt great in that Thai heat. When we exited the tuk tuk, we entered a world unlike any I have experienced.

Before we even entered the grounds, we were stalked by street vendors who attached themselves to our arms and hips, begging for us to buy their goods. Note to others: ignoring them does not make them go away.

All of the gates are guarded by stone giants.

Now, I am a Christian and I have my own, personal beliefs. I also respect that other people have their own, personal beliefs. For me, part of learning about a culture is to see how people live, work, play and pray, even though I may not agree with or understand the practices – let’s face it, there are some Christian denominations that I neither agree with nor understand.

This temple property, for me, was an opportunity to learn about a culture and share my experience. If nothing else, I hope you enjoy the photos.

Being in a place like this temple, surrounded by walls and carefully crafted structures gave me a sense of awe. I remember telling Megan and Troy, “No matter what my religion, this (the architecture) is awe-inspiring.”

The buildings and walls were white but the roofs, columns and trees became color bursts against the plain facades.

Upon closer inspection, a lot of the craftsmanship was actually old mosaic tile, aged with, in many places, lost tiles, as seen in these chedis, which reportedly contain ashes from royalty and from Buddha.

Though we were just three of hundreds of tourists that day, many gathered to experience their own religious service while onlookers observed.

Monks of all ages were present, including these young boys from the monastery’s school who assisted their elders throughout the property.

And what visit to a Buddhist temple would be complete without a special shrine dedicated to the Buddha himself? Here at Wat Pho we witnessed the reclining Buddha, 15 meters high and 43 meters long.

This is a view of the feet, etched in mother of pearl

A close up of the head resting on large, beautifully crafted blocks

Inside the temple, along the wall, were 108 bronze bowls where Buddhists placed individual coins to bring good fortune.

Megan and I thought we had dressed quite conservatively but Megan’s sundress did not meet the proper standards and, in one building, my skirt appeared to be a bit too far above the knee. Luckily, the temple workers had some great options on standby.

Troy is a huge fan of plaid on plaid

All joking aside, Megan looks awesome in lime green

Many small gardens filled with greenery and sculptures were found within the compound; I even found a couple kids positioned amongst the trees.

Once we finished at Wat Pho, we headed out on our first of two missions: get Troy some pants (and I mean American pants, not British pants).

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