This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).
Today’s travel notes
One night in Bangkok… Well, to be exact, it was two halves of a night, separated by a full day. Me and the TC spent 24 hours in the city of angels, on our way from Australia to Germany.
City of angels? That’s a translation of the first part of Bangkok’s real name, as it’s known to people in Thailand. Here is the full name of the city:
กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยามหาดิลก ภพนพรัตน์ ราชธานีบุรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์ มหาสถาน อมรพิมาน อวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยะ วิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์
Me and the TC spent the day on a guided tour of three temples: Wat Traimit, Wat Pho, and the Marble Temple. The images of the Buddha in the temples are quite breathtaking. We saw a bit of the bustling city from the windows of the bus. Colour, food, smiles, and ramshackle poverty.
My impressions? A merry mix of magnificence and mundanity.
The book I’m in
The Rivers of London, by Ben Aaronovitch. Funny, full of action, with a touch of darkness and not a little magic.
When visiting temples, wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Especially if you have a few feet.
Me keeping a low profile at Wat Pho:
Wat Traimit is the home of the Golden Buddha statue:
The image of the Golden Buddha is very beautiful and very impressive indeed. At a height of 3 metres, it towers over you. At 5.5 tonnes of solid gold, it is the biggest solid gold statue in the world, and the one with the highest intrinsic value: around $250 million. I was surprised at the low level of security around the statue. I suppose it would be hard to steal!
When first built, 700 years ago, the statue was encased in a layer of plaster, presumably to hide the valuable gold. Only in 1955, when people were moving the statue to its new home at Wat Traimit, did they chip the casing by mistake and discover the pure gold underneath. “Wat Traimit is a lucky temple,” remarked our guide. This worm was rather taken with the statue’s noble profile:
Wat Pho is a complex of temples, pagodas and galleries. It also houses the original college of Thai massage. Here is the entrance to Wat Pho:
The image of the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho exudes serenity:
All round the Reclining Buddha are murals depicting the life of Buddha. This is just a small part of one of the scenes, partly picked out in gold leaf:
The feet of the Reclining Buddha image give an idea of its scale:
The bottoms of the feet are inlaid with mother of pearl:
Here is a close up view of one of the mother-of-pearl scenes on the feet:
Another lovely image of the Buddha at Wat Pho:
Wat Pho is a garden of pagodas:
A closer look at some of the tiling on a pagoda:
There’s so much to see, sometimes it’s hard to know which way to turn:
Dragons and flowers:
At the school of Thai massage within the grounds of Wat Pho, murals depict the human anatomy demonstrating massage techniques:
A closer look at a diagram for massage students:
Small statues in the garden, also demonstrating Thai massage:
The Marble Temple is made of Italian marble:
This worm found the windows intriguing: they’re stained glass, in the Italian style, but depicting Thai scenes:
Here is the gorgeous image of the Buddha in the Marble Temple:
This statue is a copy of the image in Northern Thailand, the Phra Buddha Chinnarat, which our guide says is the most beautiful image of Buddha in the world. Here is a closer look at the image in the Marble Temple:
Bringing us back to earth, the Marble Temple has more than 50 images of the Buddha, including this one of Buddha the aesthete:
This worm is drawn by some of the statues’ eyes:
That’s all for today, dudes.