Wat wat

Trip Start Apr 21, 2012
Trip End May 06, 2012

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, April 23, 2012

In an attempt to get ourselves organised for getting down to Ko Samui. So we eschewed the more obvious tourist highlights – we’ll get to them later – and trekked down to the station and Chinatown. We stopped at our first wat on the way – Wat Suthat Thepwararam – next to the ‘Giant Swing’ , which was used for ceremonial purposes by men who tried to grab a suspended bag of gold with their teeth and now sit on a  busy roundabout.

The wat itself contains 100+ Buddhas sat neatly around the perimeter with an 8m high Buddha housed in the centre. A mural on the walls told a story we didn’t understand with key bits picked out in gold but was impressive nonetheless. The wat is a spectacular serene contrast with the crazy roundabout outside.

The road outside the wat is filled with stores selling all manner of Buddist paraphernalia – garlands of flowers, enormous shining gold Buddhas, incense and much more.

After sorting out our train for later in the week (the question about whether we wanted an air-conditioned carriage now a no-brainer) , we visited out second wat  - Wat Traimit, famous for its five tonne golden Buddha. Apparently it was only discovered to be gold when it was moved to its current location and the outer coating, added to disguise its worth from thieves, was chipped. Before that it had sat for centuries without anyone realising.

On the recommendation of the guide book we then braved Sui Wanit 1. This narrow lane is crammed with stalls selling tat of all varieties. Stores crammed with shoes, jewellery, umbrellas, fabric, and any other tat you may, or more likely may not, want. Deliveries are made constantly by m en with sack barrows piled high, or parcels on their shoulder or by a laden motorbike, all squeezing down lanes just two people wide passed the shoppers and carts selling fresh juice and food. It’s particularly hair-raising when you have a motorbike on one side and a woman deep frying fish in an open wok on the other. How the food stall owners do it I don’t know – it is so hot I’m on the verge of passing out and they’re calmly deep-frying, stir-frying and barbequing.

Hilarious moment as we entered Rommaninant park – desperate for a sit down in the shade for a drink. We were buying a drink and gave the bloke vastly more money than was needed because he blanked out any lines to show the prices on the pre-made sign -  so everything appeared to be 88 baht. He handed back 150 of the 160 baht we’d given him, chuckling when he realised what we’d done. I don’t think we’ve got the hang of the prices or currency yet.

We ate and drank down the street up from Khao San Road - delicious curries and a great atmosphere.

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