I already felt the humidity of Bangkok the moment we stepped out of the plane to wait for the service bus that will take us to the main airport terminal. The bus’ air-conditioning hid this fact for a few minutes, and so, the muggy air blasted onto my face anew as soon as we stepped out of the airport to wait for another bus that will us take to our hotel after we had cleared immigration and retrieved our baggages.
Bangkok, despite of what I’ve read and heard from friends about the place, immediately impressed me after the almost 40-minute drive to our hotel, which was located in the heart of downtown…along Petchaburi Road. The roadways were clean and nicely engineered. Towering concrete posts for the still-undergoing-expansion Skytrain, dotted the right portion of the freeway, but they were left neatly in place –no dangling wood forms nor rusting steel supports.
The country -temples or without- simply showed us that the people is where we sense more the ‘breath of nature’ that moves our innermost heart.
But one thing that awed me were the magnificent temples that literally lined up the entire streets of Bangkok–Budhhism being the main religion of the country. Not only they tempered the modern look of the country, but they also added ‘mystique’ to the already-exotic place.
After a brief, albeit, refreshing sleep, quick showers followed by the hearty breakfast buffet in our hotel, Bangkok and its magnificent temples, would, once again, dazzle us during the 6-hour morning city tour.
The city tour showcased most of the popular -and bigger- temples in downtown Bangkok that included, the Wat Phra Chetuphon Temple (more popularly known as the ‘Wat Po’ where the massive ‘reclining Buddha’ is housed) and the Traimitwitthayaram Temple inside the Chinatown district, where the ‘biggest Golden Buddha made of pure gold’ in the world is located.
Finally, on a trip to the countryside the following day, Thailand not only showed us its gentler side but also visually reminded us that, “all that glitters is not, necessarily, gold.” Why? Inside those temples, while the beauty and craftsmanship of all the icons and statues may mesmerize visitors, they all paled in comparison with the natural warmth and friendliness of the Thai people.