Saturday, June 28, 2014

Day Three : Getting Lost on the Way to Yaowarat or Bangkok's Chinatown

Our third day in Bangkok was hot and when I say hot, I don't just mean hot. I'm talking mind-numbing hot! I thought I had prepared myself for the sweltering heat of Bangkok, but boy oh boy,  I was wrong. I wore the thinnest and flimsiest short-sleeved shirt I had, a pair of shorts and extremely light slippers ( or thongs as my Australian friend calls them ) and I was drenched only after a few minutes out of the train station. 

By the way, that's Hua Lamphong Station, the main terminal connecting to the rest of Thailand. It's also where you we got off the MRT (subway) for our day in Yaowarat, the Chinatown of Bangkok. 

The station, built in 1916 in an Italian neo-renaissance style, is worth checking out even though you're really not going anywhere. You can even walk along the train platforms as they are no gates that block you from going inside. As there was a coup d'etat going on, there was quite a number of military personnel scattered around the station. 

As my friend and I navigated the confusing layout of the streets, it was obvious that I didn't remember exactly how to get to Chinatown. I've been there more than a few times and before arriving, felt so confident in my navigational skills that I didn't bring my trusty old guidebook with me. 

With every turn, we encountered sights I've never seen before. A street selling all things related to car parts was interesting to see and it reminded my friend of RPG games. I, on the other hand, was just drenching in sweat, feeling a bit bewildered. 

Still, I didn't want to worry my friend and kept the fact that we were utterly lost, a secret I didn't quite manage to keep for too long. As we entered another street, I started to babble about the cool colors of the buildings around us, pretending that this was all part of the tour. 

I even had my camera out, snapping away at random things, such as this charming post box that caught my attention. It was obvious we were touring a semi-residential area and I could see from my friend's face that he was getting suspicious. 

The thing about getting lost is that you could be lucky enough to stumble upon an unexpected surprise. Such was our luck today as we discovered this gorgeous temple in all its golden glory. Home to the largest golden Buddha in the world, Wat Traimit is a sight to behold.

As I discovered later, this is a major tourist attraction in the Yaowarat area and is nestled conveniently between Hua Lamphong Station and Chinatown. 

Made of approximately 83% gold, this 15 foot statue is certainly stunning to look at. To get to the Buddha, we were required to climb up more stairs that we wanted to, but we were here and that meant we had to go and take a peek inside. 

As we were both extremely hot and dehydrated from the heat and humidity, we decided to rest a bit and admire this beautiful temple. 

As our bodies started to cool down, we could finally appreciate all the beauty in front of us. Beautifullly-designed walls, marble-tiled floors and the high ceiling of the main temple hall made the Buddha seem even larger than it actually was. After we regained our energy and hydrated ourselves, we decided to continue our tour as it was nearing lunchtime. 

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