Matt and I are on vacation for Chinese New Year (I love working in Asia) and we’re visiting Keppy in China. We spent our first day in Bangkok, where we saw the Grand Palace, what looks like the biggest, shiniest jewelry box on earth.
We had to take a water taxi to get there – 18 baht for us, 130 baht for unsuspected tourist in “tour groups” (though the brochure was worth at least 120)
In English style, guards stood outside
In Asian style, eight enormous demon and monkey statues also stood guard to the entrances
The buildings in the central area were painted with 24 karat gold leaf and lined with colored glass tiles that twinkled like jewels in the tropical sun – rubies, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds.
There are three main buildings beside the temple of the Emerald Buddha, each done in a different style. The first style is Cambodian,
painted in gold leaf. (Thailand and Cambodia were once one kingdom.) The second building is Thai style, and the last is a combination, Thai on bottom and Cambodian on the top.
Inside these buildings are the ashes of the kings and the sacred Buddhist scrolls. One building was built for the Emerald Buddha, but it was too small for the ceremonies.
I forget what this gold thing is, but I love the men holding it. They are demons and monkeys (though they look the same to me).
I also forget what these are, but they were pretty, too
This is part of the mural that wrapped around the wall of the religious part of the palace. It tells the story of the first Rama King. Like the story of Helen of Troy, the demon stole his wife the Queen and the king called upon a monkey demon to help him. Many battles ensued – including one in which the monkey unknowingly fights his bastard half-mermaid, half-monkey, star-yawning son. This fight shows when the bad guys put all of the good guys to sleep.
The Emerald Buddha is the main attraction. It’s actually carved from one solid piece of Jade. You cannot point your toes at the Buddha, because feet are dirty. He has 3 sets of clothes for different seasons, which the King puts on him in a ceremony. Right now he’s wearing his winter clothes.
This is his palace.
These are the gardens outside of the main reception hall for state banquets. It gives me the feeling I had outside of Versailles.
This is the main reception hall. The bottom is European style and the top is Thai style.
Here’s a link to the album, with more shiny parts:
Then, we had some yummy real Pad Thai, and later some Indian. Next stop, the tropical island of Ko Chang