Written on 8/26 at 7:00pm
We started today with a visit to the Grand Palace and its surrounding grounds. This area is intense and breathtaking and the grounds go on and on. We began in Wat Phra Kaew, which is filled with stunning building after stunning building. It is terribly hard to capture the scale of this place in words or pictures, but every turn revealed a new marvel covered in intricate ceramic or glittering bright glass mosaics.
Buddhist murals span the interior walls and the doors are flanked with statue giants to protect the Wat and the palace. Imagery from the Thai version of the Indian Ramayana abound, including monkeys, dragons and beasts. The temple was closed for some kind of event so we were unable to see one of Thailand’s most famous Buddha images, the Emerald Buddah. In fact, due to the event we had to cover the whole area at a pretty brisk clip.
From the wat, we moved on to the Grand Palace. It is primarily European in style, though the spires and outbuildings pay homage to Thai architecture. The royalty does not live in that palace today, though they stay there from time to time.
Next we walked through several market streets to reach an amulet market full of people selling tiny buddah images, mysterious foods, and oddly enough, dentures… Then we returned to the Chatuchak Weekend Market to see it in it’s full splendor. I got a bunch of souvenir shopping done and we ate some deliciously warming chicken noodle soup.
We are sitting on the floor of the train station, waiting for our overnight train to Chiang Mai. We are surrounded by families and backpackers, all claiming a patch of floor before moving on to their next destination.