Bangkok, Thailand, Asia
Today I finally got to see the Emerald Buddha! I got to cross off #48 on my top 100 list, which was the 47th thing I’ve seen. I’m making good progress! We got up at about 9am and started some laundry and grabbed some breakfast downstairs. We had to decide what we were going to do after Chiang Mai, and we decided on a nice resort in Phuket for a week.
You can get some awesome deals at these resorts, so for one week the four star resort is costing us about $200 each, with free American breakfast every day. I’m pretty happy with that. It’s a little more than I’m used to spending in hostels along the way, but I’m really looking forward to a bit of luxury and not having to live out of a backpack for a week! So we booked our flights down to Phuket and booked the resort, and we’re both pretty psyched about that.
We headed out from the hostel and went back to the Central Pier to get the boat upriver. We got off at the stop just up from the Grand Palace and grabbed some lunch before going in. We had to put on full length trousers and Lynne’s shoulders had to be covered for us to gain entry to the Palace, so we took care of that before buying the tickets. We got in to the grounds around the Emerald Buddha and it is truly impressive. I have never seen such a colorful and shiny temple in my life. The entire area was like it was just painted and polished, it all glimmered in the sunlight.
We found the temple housing the Emerald Buddha and had a look inside for a few minutes. It’s a lot smaller than I thought it was going to be, and you’re not allowed to take any pictures in the temple. The Emerald Buddha itself is only about 66cm (28 inches) tall, and is actually made of jade, but it is surrounded by so much gold and jewelry, that you can’t help but be impressed. We had a walk around the grounds a bit more and found the Grand Palace, but we weren’t allowed to go inside. There was a funeral at the Palace today, so I’m not sure if maybe that’s why we couldn’t go in.
We walked through some of the markets near the pier and got some fruit smoothly and freshly made doughnuts from street vendors. We made our way back to the hostel and got ourselves ready for this 12 hour bus journey. We have decided to stay one night at the Elephant Nature Park just north of Chiang Mai, so we booked that online. It’s a little expensive, but it looks like a great experience, and one that you can’t get many other places in the world.
We decided to walk to the bus terminal and because we knew traffic was going to be so busy, we left really early. I’m glad we did, because it was a pretty long walk, especially when we were both carrying our bags that were about 50 pounds. We finally made it to Indra Tours and checked in with about an hour to spare. We nipped over to Dunkin Donuts to get a much needed drink before getting on the bus, and now we’re relaxing on a nice coach bus on the way up to Chiang Mai. The bus seats are really comfortable, and recline to about 45 degrees. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some sleep on this bus tonight…