I am in Bangkok ! (Long Thai names and lots of pictures of buddhas and temples ahead. I will post pictures of street scenes and more mundane items tomorrow).
The greater Bangkok has some 12 million of the 64 million people living in Thailand. 95% of Thais are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition. Buddhist temples in Thailand are characterized by tall golden stupas, and the Buddhist architecture of Thailand is similar to that in other Southeast Asian countries, particularly Cambodia and Laos.
My co-worker Will and I hired a private tour guide to take us around to the temples. The first series of pictures are from the former Wat Pho Buddhist temple – the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The full name is Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan (Thai: วัดพระเชตุพนวิมลมังคลารามราชวรมหาวิหาร) and it is located in Phra Nakhon district directly adjacent to the Grand Palace. The mother-of-pearl elephant is one of dozens of inlays in the Reclining Buddha’s feet. All the other pictures up to the water bottle with the red and white lion on was taken in and around this temple. It is hot and humid – we are only 14 degrees north of the equator, after all.
Next up was The Grand Palace (Thai: พระบรมมหาราชวัง, Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang). It is a complex of buildings and has 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. The Palace has been constantly expanded and many additional structures were added over time.
The pictures painted on the walls in this hallway have intricate detail of battle scenes with mythical creatures and gods.
Our final stop for the day was at Wat Trai Mit – one of the most popular tourist destinations for Bangkok visitors because of the Golden Buddha statue. It is 3 meters (9 ft) high and made out of 5500 kg pure, solid gold – it’s the biggest Buddha statue made out of gold in the whole world, and it is estimated that is more than 700 years old, created during the Sukothai period.