Cultural Experience – We got the opportunity to tour the Grand Palace on our second day in Bangkok, and a better opportunity, local college students were coming along to give us their perspective! We were greeted at our bus by the local students, who brought us an assortment of local sweets. It was a interesting mix of gelatinous and coconut filled goodies, and for someone who doesn’t like coconut, thought they were amazing.
Grand Palace – After a half hour bus ride we arrived at the Grand Palace. Greeted by the Thai military marching outside the main gate with what appeared to be AK-47’s. I was taken aback by a military escort on arrival, it wasn’t for us they were marching, but where we we in proximity to where they were marching it might as well have been. So we followed numerous tourist from around the world and entered the main gate of the Grand Palace, where gold pagodas and temples abound. We saw many demons, Buddhas and other items that odorned the buildings, but the most impressive element was all of the gold. One of which was a 2 1/2 ton gold buddha and another was the reclining buddha, both impressive in their own right. We also got to go inside the Chakri Mahaprasad Hall, because one of the local college guys had a Dad that worked at the Grand Palace. In the Hall, we saw some of the royal carriages used to carry the King and Queen. It also serves as a banquet hall when they would use/live in the Grand Palace. Due to a mysterious death of King Rama VIII, the Grand Palace is more of a tourist destination instead of a royal residence.
Rain/Weather – After the Grand Palace tour, we were supposed to go on a longtail boat ride on the Chao Phraya river, but due to inclement weather we had to settle for the Vimanmek Palace. Vimanmek Palace is a beautiful teak palace that is a now a museum of old Royal items from King Rama V. Normally I don’t like museums, I think they just distract us from the real reason to go places, the culture, but there is something about the Grand Palace, and Vimanmek Palace that makes it worth the tours. It gives you a sense of history.
Did you know Bangkok is not the real name of the city?
Bangkok’s real name – Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Phiman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit. Krung Thep means City of Angels.