First day in Bangkok
Bangkok.. That sounds so different from what we know.. so exotic. But during our 20 minute ride from the airport to the hotel we realized that big cities all look the same at night, wherever you are in the world. Wide highways, tall buildings and insane drivers surrounded by concrete, concrete and more concrete.
The Amari Atrium hotel is nothing special. Run down a bit but clean with great service. Our first day in Bangkok was absolutely Awe-mazing and was all about temples. We started off with the Marble Temple. Jack (our Asian World tour guide) said it was the "less beautiful" of the temples we were to see that day. But to us, it was incredible! To make it even more special, a monk happened to be teaching as we arrived at the temple. We were quite thrilled to see that. One of the most distinguishing features of the Marble Temple were the more than 100 different Buddha statues outlining the corridors. Some dating back more than 1000 years.
Next we went to the Grand Palace which is considered the greatest spectacle of Bangkok and used to house the entire Royal family. The palace is of indescribable beauty. The most unbelievable part is it was built in only 3 years by volunteers who did it with love and respect for the king. You seriously have to see it to believe it.. This had the be the most astonishingly beautiful man-made building we've ever seen.
Last stop of the day was The Temple of the Reclining Buddha which is home to the 45 meter long gold Buddha lying majestically on its side with mother of pearl motifs on his feet. Majestic!! (And much too large to catch the whole thing from one snap shot..) There are 108 bronze bowls next to the Buddha in which you can drop coins as an offering to the temple and is known to attract good fortune. I obviously just HAD to do it and found it to be entertaining as well as surprisingly peaceful.
After a quick stop back at the Atrium to freshen up, we headed out for dinner and a show. The restaurant had been converted from a traditional house of very wealthy Thai people. After a delicious traditional dinner, we were treated to a series of cultural dance and music, previously reserved for the Royal family. The dancers and attire were dazzling. What stood out the most were the dancer's inverted fingers. Dancers were selected at a young age of 7 and for two hours every day of their life, they would bend their fingers backwards. As they aged, their fingers would have a natural bend to them. Why you ask? The King perceived this to be more beautiful.
After a very full first day, we didn’t have to beg for Mr. Sandman to bring us a dream..