For the longest time I have dreamt of going to Thailand – it’s also been on my vision board for as long as I can remember! And yes, I am one of those who has a vision board!
So as you can imagine, I was ECSTATIC when my boss told me that I would be running a global conference in Bangkok in April, and that I had to go do a recce beforehand! I was pleasantly surprised that the visa process for Kenyans was super easy and super smooth!
And the fact that I got to fly on the Kenya Airways Dreamliner! Wooohooo!!!
Enter Bangkok, welcome to the Millenium Hilton Hotel, a beautiful 5 star hotel on the Chao Praya river banks, where we will be having our conference. The food is a whole other story for a later time. But oh the breakfast spread!!!! The Hilton has boat shuttles that take people to the bank across, where there’s a great night shopping street; Asiatique as well as the local Skytrain and Subway stations – all very convenient!
When one thinks of Thailand, one thinks of Buddha, and the beautiful temples spoken of. How could I skip a trip to at least two of the famous temples then?
Wat Phra Kaew , The Temple of the Emerald Buddha , was my first stop! I took a boat shuttle to the public boat taxi, which sailed me all the way to Pier 9 , a direct walk to the temple, which is also in the confines of the Grand Palace. Now if I thought I was going into a serene space, boy was I wrong! There were so many tourists from around the world, it was INSANE to try and get through! The one thing is to respect a house of worship, and so I wore loose pants and took a scarf to cover my shoulders. What I didn’t know is that scarves are also considered inappropriate! When I got to the ticket line I was sent back through the throngs of people to a little room somewhere to borrow a (hopefully washed) shirt to wear so I could enter the temple grounds. So my advice to you, make sure you check on dress codes before you enter a temple space. The space is huge, so take your comfy walking shoes! After much walking around, seeing smaller temples and structures, I finally got to go into the temple that houses the Emerald Buddha – sitting high on top of the throne. The serenity I craved was finally visible! I spent my few moments of bliss and moved on.
From this temple, its fairly easy to walk to the next one over, the famous Wat Pho, The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, which had much fewer visitors and a way cheaper price! Here, my scarf was fine to wear (strange indeed) and I walked in. The only word I can think of – MAJESTICALLY TOWERING OVER. The reclining Buddha was somehow built to take up the space of the entire building, and I was completely awed! I walked around on the front side, and as I did (and took my human size comparison selfies!) I heard this amazing chiming from behind Buddha. When I walked round, I saw people in lines dropping coins into 108 bowls – representing the 108 auspicious characters of the Buddha, believed to bring good luck to those who drop the coins. I decided to also join this coin drop line, and it felt really good!
At this point it was almost 6pm and time for the temple to close , so off I went to find some good food! Would I go back? Definitely.