May 15, 2016

#TRAVEL - Beautiful, beautiful Bangkok [PART 2]

If there is any city out there with a huge clash between modern and history it has to be Bangkok. As I already mentioned in my last post, Bangkok is a really busy city. A lot of traffic, a huge population, many different nations, skyscrapers and so many other impressions. But when you move a little more to the west of the city, to the historic district, you discover a whole new world.
There are no high buildings and huge glas-covered hotels. It is very traditional and very impressive.
We got there by a traditional long-tail boat. One of many that drive over the Chao Praya River and let me tell you - these things may look pretty cool, but the pollution they cause through their fumes is unbelievable. You are absolutely not able to breath normally when you're standing in the midst of a black fume cloud.

You can leave the boat at the Tha Thien Pier which is located right beside the two most famous temples of Bangkok. The Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and the Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). The pier is literally packed with tourists and people who wanna see the temples. While walking through the small boat house that is build on the pier you can buy every souvenir there is in Bangkok and even after leaving the pier you find food or drink carts alongside each other the whole way to the entrance of the temples. So it's very "touristy" over there, but that is just natural nowadays. We first went to the Wat Pho, because I really wanted to see the Reclining Buddha. I once held a presentation about Bangkok in school and I wanted to know if what I was talking about back then is still true. And I can tell you: I was not disappointed!
Those temples are so damn impressive, it's unbelievable. All those little details, the statues, the atmosphere - everything resembles the old Siam and you feel like you're in different century.

I am a complete fan of buddism every since I started practicing yoga and diving further into the religion just made me realize how beautiful buddism really is. Unfortunately - and I really mean that - the Wat Pho is so filled with tourists, that it is impossible to really feel the atmosphere. I wanted to be in the moment and enjoy the temple with its entire presence but I was not able to do so, because every so often there is a person bumbing into you, hitting you with their selfie-stick or begging you to take a picture of them. Why take a picture of yourself when you're in one of the most beautiful temples of Bangkok? That made me really mad and I was angry at so many people, but I will probably address that in a different post. 
The Wat Pho is as graceful as a temple can get and I really loved it there. The Reclining Buddha is just unbelievable in its size and beauty. But when talking about size and beauty, there is just always a temple right next to the Wat Pho that'll easily top that. I am talking about the Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha/King's Palace). I have truly never seen anything as magnificent and stunnig as this temple. 

Seriously, I take my camera everywhere. But sometimes, pictures aren't good enough to show the overwhelming reality that is the Wat Phra Kaeo. You really have to see and feel it. The pictures just barely scratch the surface of this temple. There are so many golden Chedis and golden statues - well, basically everything is golden in there - and it's just awesome. The most intriguing thing is, that everything is clean and tidy. There are so many people storming this palace every day and it still hasn't lost its beauty. When you're in the temple area you won't see water bottles or tissues on the floor. There are police men controlling the area and if someone dares to let something fall - you better run really fast. The temples heart is the Emerald Buddha. It's a tiny, tiny Buddha statue made of jade and I think the statue including the throne is just 60cm high or something the likes. This Buddha has its own waderobe which is changed three times a year and it's a huuuuuge ceremony. Only the prince himself is allowed to change the outfit of the small Buddha. He is located in a great building and you're not allowed to take pictures or videos (which I think is great by the way, because it's still a very religious symbol of buddism). I am a big fan of this temple even though you can hardly enjoy it because of all the people. But hey, I was one of those people so who am I complaining about?

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