Visit to the Wood Pavilion

Trip Start Jan 28, 2013
Trip End Mar 02, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Chon Buri,
Friday, February 15, 2013

This is the 2nd day at the Laem Chabang port near Bangkok. The only thing on our agenda was the excursion to the wood pavilion, which would take a total of 4+ hours, including the 40+ minutes bus ride. All 6 of us were in group 15, which meant bus #15, and we left around 8:30am.

The wood pavilion turned out to be a really impressive site! It's actually called the Sanctuary of Truth. The entire pavilion was built with all kinds of wood – red wood, golden teak wood, etc. The person who started this was a Chinese who was a self-made wealthy man (who died in 2000 at the age of 86). He started it in 1981, 32 years ago. It is still a work in progress and being built continuously – we witnessed workers working on the wood carvings in the area by the pavilion. The entire structure was full of carvings of different cultures. It is hard to use words to describe the phenomena! It was set right by the ocean. If we could have had the right angle to take some photos, it would have been really breath-takingly beautiful! The few photos I snapped could hardly do it justice.

After the wood pavilion, we were taken to a shopping place for local gems and handicrafts. It was one of the low lights of the trip – the place was jammed with tourist groups from everywhere, who were being herded through the halls of merchandize. We hardly looked at the jewelries. I bought 3 pewter elephants which I saw once before and really liked.

After waiting for our bus to finally maneuver its way through the single-lane parking lot, we finally left this shopping place and were on our way back to the ship. The pavilion was in the town called Pattaya. Our guide told us that this town used to be a quiet and nice seaside place. But things changed forever during the Vietnam war – this place became the R&R place for the US soldiers. It is now very touristy, and has a "red light" district. Our bus took us back through the ocean front drive. The place could have been a very attractive place! But it is a complete tourist spot, with stores, hotels, cafes, restaurants, and all sorts of other things, with signs in English (and Thai). It’s quite crowded.

We got back to the ship after 1pm. There was a shopping area right on the dock, with things twice as expensive as elsewhere. We walked around hoping to get some good finds with our Bahts. Not much luck.

Back on the ship. Had lunch together with the 6 of us – burgers, etc. Then I tried to do some laundry. Unfortunately too many others had the same idea. Then Bob and I played “Mexican train” domino with Ira and Fran till about 5pm. After that I was able to do my laundry.

Tonight the 6 of us had dinner at the French restaurant “Signal”. It was pretty good – good service, good food, good company. After dinner, all the others were too tired to watch the show or do anything else. Bob and I went up to the observation lounge for a look, then I went to see the show and Bob went to play Blackjack. Tonight’s show turned out to be very good! The couple who was the acrobatic dancers started the show, followed by a juggler from Canada. The juggler was also kind of comedian. He did very well and was very entertaining. Good ending of the day!

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