Often listed as one of the 7 wonders of the world, we visited this stunning architectural and spiritual feat at 5.30am to see the sunrise. Typically we chose one of the cloudiest days we’ve experienced in SE Asia, so there was none of the infamous ‘red glow’, but it was still insanely beautiful. Something you have to see in your lifetime.
Charlotte’s dad claimed the 8th wonder was us getting up at 5am. Though disgruntled we were inclined to agree.
Wat Po is genuinely spectacular; a huge maze of temples and by far one of the largest and most interesting Buddha statues we’ve seen so far (and that’s saying something, we’ve seen hundreds). Here’s a quick round-up of our impression of Wat Pho:
Buddha wow-factor: 5/5
Stone Statues: 4/5
Strictness (regarding clothing): 4/5
Harassment: 2/5 (we were pestered by touts a lot)
Grounds maintenance: 5/5
Value for money: 5/5
Overall temple rating: 4/5
Opening times: 08:00 to 18:00
Price: 100 baht for single entry, including a free bottle of water
Following the nightlife of Koh Phi Phi and with our friend Corinne visiting for just a week, we used our second visit to Bangkok as a chance to embrace some Thai culture. What better place to start than with the largest and most sacred place in Thailand; the Grand Palace. Bangkok offers beautiful religious sites on nearly every corner, recognisable by the tell-tale coloured roof tiers, but the Palace stands out as the most impressive architecturally. It is a maze-like complex of buildings, temples, statues and spires set in green gardens and paved courtyards, which are completely overwhelming; the size and number of buildings mean that it can take a whole day to view fully. It costs 500 baht to enter (about £11), but is worth every satang*!
Firstly, just to confirm, there are no tigers at Tiger Cave. This was a common misconception. There is however, a stunning temple, a huge golden Buddha at the top of the mountain and caves that tigers once inhabited.
Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tham Sua), Krabi
We were given bracelets which had been blessed by a female monk, along with a golden foil leaf that we were to write our names on and hang from the tree, to bring us good luck.
Hanging our lucky gold leaves
We’d heard a lot of tourists moaning about the climb to the view point. After climbing the stairs to the top of the temple, we weren’t sure why people were being such babies, it wasn’t that high at all. It did offer an amazing panoramic view however, and was decorated with beautiful bells.
Whilst in Krabi town, we met loads of people who were just passing through for one night. The backpackers we spoke to seemed to see it as an opportunity to touch base with home, catch up on some sleep, and avoid spending too much money. It is a midway point between the Andaman Coast and the Gulf of Thailand, as well as being perfectly placed for those doing visa runs to Malaysia or flying to Bangkok. It has large ports and an airport, naturally making it a transport hub. Lonely Planet pretty much reiterated this, calling it ‘a necessary transit link’ – such an injustice!
We’re too scared of the motorbikes, the weather was overcast and we blew the budget back in Koh Phi Phi, so we rented bicycles. It was a chance to have some guilt-free fun and get some exercise after the buckets of noodles we’ve been scoffing.
Our trusty transport….
Obviously it was mayhem. Terrified of the roads and constant beeping, irrelevant road markings and traffic lights, along with the scooters that came head on at us down the wrong side of the road, we boarded the pavement pretty sharpish. Spending a good 20 minutes walking alongside our bikes, weaving between market stalls, cats and hurried Thai people who found us very amusing, we eventually confronted our fears and took to the road.