After a very splashy and somewhat unconventional canal tour, we found ourselves near the Royal Palace, which had been closed earlier but we could now see a line of tourists going in. We wanted to take a look but were told by someone nearby that without long trousers we wouldn’t be able to take a look. We could see on one of the city maps pinned to a tree that we were quite near a temple which contained a large golden Buddha so decided to go and see that instead.
A short tuk tuk ride later and we were there. The Buddha loomed over the rest of the buildings, coming in at about 40 feet it was an amazing sight. The first thing we came across was a man with caged birds selling them for 100thb for people to release as an offering to Buddha. This we did, partly to get on board with a local custom and partly because we felt bad for the birds!
Wandering around the place there was a general feeling of serenity, the noise of Bangkok had all but dissipated and we were left with the tweeting of newly released birds and leaves gently blowing in the wind. The sight contained all of the trappings that you would expect a Buddhist temple to contain, large bells, small shrines and beautifully decorated rooms… We also saw that lining the walls appeared to be urns with photographs next to some, it took a minute to really notice these and to then register their purpose. The temple was a mausoleum of sorts. Naturally we avoided taking any photographs of this point and opted instead to walk up the steps by the Buddha. The view from there was fantastic, being able to see the general layout of the temple and also a small shrine built into the supporting structure of the statue.
Overall it was clear that the golden Buddha was not somewhere we could spend the whole day, but it was free to look around for a 20 bhat tuk tuk ride from the royal palace it was well worth a visit. It’s marked on most tourist maps of the city and seems fairly easy to find.