Scenes from Bangkok – A Temple Tour

The Grand Palace of Bangkok – note the three different spires, or stupas, of Wat Phra Kaew including the Golden stupa and where you’ll find the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, among the most revered temples in Thailand, within the Grand Palace compound in the Old City.

#Bucketlist this: Thailand – Scenes from Bangkok, Part 1: A Temple Tour

Among its serene, happy people, Bangkok is known as Krung Thep, which can be translated in English as City of Angels. The citizens, aside from some political differences, do have a slight angelic quality to them, a friendly, generous and very tolerant society that makes you feel safe and welcome.

The majestic temples, or Wats, that reach to the skies that can be found all over the city, are testaments to the Thai peoples’ devotion to faith, particularly Buddhism. No trip to Bangkok is complete without a visit to at least one Wat, but beyond that, we’ve discovered a few must-do’s with the help of Thai travel experts, Smiling Albino. Calgary-born founder, Daniel Fraser, is a full-time resident of Thailand now, which makes him and his company a go-to travel insider. Fraser is a fan of “milestone” trips, a term he uses when he customizes tours for his clients. A mother and daughter, celebrating mom’s 50th; a group of 60-something guys heading to semi-retirement and about to embark on the second phase of their lives; a 25th wedding anniversary for the whole family.

Aside from the spiritual, Bangkok is also a city of food, of nightlife, of Southeast Asian culture come together. Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim all share the city, in a peaceful, respectful manner. The political climate has eased – Thailand is among the few countries that seem to function better under military rule, a rule that also respects their revered King above all else. He is the figurehead and the father of the country, and in Bangkok, his and his family’s image are splashed all over public spaces.

And that’s just it. With a country that sometimes has its name in news due to politics or royal dissent, it’s important to have someone on the ground that knows the terrain. Fraser and his team are entrenched in the country, and in Bangkok. Can’t speak the language? No worries, the guides at Smiling Albino are fully fluent in Thai. Many guides even come from the areas of the country that you might find yourself in, making it a much more in-depth, local experience.

So, hit your own milestone, and travel with me – and Smiling Albino – to Bangkok. www.smilingalbino.com; North America toll free: 1-877-THAIWAY (842-4929); Calgary: 1-403-668-9455

 Here, we follow the Smiling Albino guides for a spiritual journey to some of the most holy Buddhist places – and palaces – in Bangkok.

 

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1GrandPalaceGuardians, or yakshas (mythical giants), at the Grand Palace of Bangkok

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2GrandPalaceMother of pearl and inlaid intricacies mix among topiary trees at the Grand Palace

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3GrandPalaceHistory and storytelling via painted frescoes line the walls of temples and buildings at the Grand Palace

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4GrandPalaceGreen spaces are nature’s foil to the embellished architecture on the Grand Palace grounds

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5GrandPalaceStupasA close up of the three main spires, or stupa, including the Golden Stupa, modeled in the Sri Lankan chedi style, and the slender-steepled library

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6GrandPalaceOnGuardOn guard at the Grand Palace

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7GoldenMountTemple of the Golden Mount, where if you give an offering to the monks, you will receive a blessing

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8ThisWayUpElephants and Buddhas lead the way up to the Temple of the Golden Mount

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9BellsRinging the bells in welcome at the Temple of the Golden Mount is encouraged

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10monkA monk in saffron robe, with some of the offerings, ready to make the blessing

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11Temple-of-DawnThe Temple of the Dawn and colourful longboats from the river Chao Phraya

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12A-RecliningBuddhaThe Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. The Buddha reclines at the length of 160 feet…

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12B-reclining-buddhaAnd, speaking of feet, Buddha’s feet are intricately inlaid with mother of pearl

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13WatPhoThe Reclining Buddha’s view at Wat Pho

 Want more Bangkok? This is the first of a four-part series. Read the entire series here!

 

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