Wat Pho

in Bangkok, Thailand

We started our day intending to visit the Grand Palace. Simple enough. But when we got there, the number of other tourists was a bit off-putting. We had just barely tolerated Versailles, and the number of people scurrying around with selfie sticks or taking jumping photos was reminding us a bit too much of that ordeal. Plus, the high entry fee, a dress code requirement, and short opening hours all made it seem like the wrong move.

We decided to turn around at the gate and head somewhere else.

We wandered around the east edge and found Saranrom Park, a lush, green space with gorgeous decoration. It was very well-kept, quiet, and peaceful. We guessed it was because everyone was at the Grand Palace.

We sat in the park for a while just enjoying the scenery, listening to the birds, and watching others feed fish. But eventually we decided it was time to head back and find dinner on our side of town.

We walked out a different side of the park along a small, stinky river. Boy was it dirty! As we kept walking, we realized we were definitely heading into a much less traveled part of town that rarely saw the likes of us. Nothing seemed too dangrous but we were definitely aware that we didn't fit in.

The road we were attempting to take back to the public dock was under heavy construction, so we decided to turn onto a random street to head back in the direction we'd come. By now we were getting very hungry and very close to just hopping in a taxi.

Then, quite suddenly, we came upon an unbelievably beautiful temple called Wat Pho. We couldn't believe how magnificent it was!

We walked through the temple grounds for over two hours. It is divided into several major sections, each holding progressively smaller concentric layers of buildings. There are small gardens peppered throughout the grounds, with waterfalls and playful statues everywhere. Everywhere we looked, we saw painstaking geometric precision embedded into the entire grounds, with incredibly detailed fractal decoration covering every surface.

We were simply in awe of this place.

We went into the center temple where a huge golden statue of Buddha was drawing a quiet crowd of people, religious and tourist alike. Amusingly, no one was really snapping photos until one of the monks finished his prayers and out of nowhere produced a smartphone, snapping a burst photo of the idol. It must be ok then!

Finally, the sun began to set and coincidentally the temple was closing. It was most beautiful as the night began to fall. I would have loved to be there when the day is slightly shorter, giving us more time to view it as twilight fell.

Some of the towers were so huge it was impossible to photograph with our simple phone camera. I tried my best by capturing a photosphere of our favorite set of towers. Be sure to look up!