The Sacred Buddha Protest & Party
Over the course of my travel in Thailand I had the chance to visit Bangkok twice for a couple of days, I experienced what I call the loud and quaint sides of the city. For a look at a quaint, more relaxing and scenic visit take a look at my stay in Chinatown by the riverside.
My first time in Bangkok started off in a disastrous manner; after a long night bus of no sleep, I arrived at 4am at the Mor Chit Bus station. In trying to find my way to Khao San Lovers Hostel by bus after some complications, I rode five public buses over 4 HOURS around inner and outer Bangkok by accident.
So take it from me when I say Bangkok is a huge city, I saw a lot of it I never intended to. Sleep deprived and exhausted, I napped until the sun went down and the Khao San lights came on!
Loud & Proud Khoa San Rd.
At night, this already busy tourist centre really comes alive! Indulge in every appetite: Bars, clubs, food stalls, fire shows, scorpion vendors, rotti and even some of Bangkok’s more questionable offerings are all abundant on Khoa San Rd. I indulged in my appetite for scary and exotic foods: The scorpion on a stick treat for 70 baht each (2$).
On my return journey from the National Museum of Thailand, I stumbled upon a protest demonstration rally taking place on Khao San Rd. The group was protesting the decorative use of the image of Buddha and general disrespect by the visiting tourists. They marched through the streets in a very orderly and peaceful manner, very reflective of Buddhism.
During the day, Khao San Rd. and the nearby side streets offer a pleasant market scene, fine & fried street food, and a lot of Thai massages!
Bangkok City Sights
The tourism centre of Bangkok is jam-packed with Wats (temples), monuments, museums and other beautiful sights.
Rent a bicycle or even better, take the water taxis down the waterfront! It’s not a long walk from Khao San Rd to the Palace or nearby sites, however in the midday heat it can very uncomfortable. Tip: Carry an umbrella and keep the sun off your back and head, I walked for hours although I looked a little silly.
Wat Pho – 100 baht
The Wat with the largest reclining Buddha statue in South Asia, this Wat is the most popular in Thailand and a great place to learn temple etiquette! There are six first class royal temples of which Wat Pho is the first. It is known as the birthplace of the traditional Thai massage and houses a school of Thai medicine.
When visiting a Buddhist temple in Asia, please remember the following:
- Cover shoulders and knees
- Remove shoes at the front steps, flow in on the right side
- Be discrete while taking pictures, preferably from a sitting position
- Don’t stand or speak loudly before the alter of Buddha
- The image of Buddha is sacred. Not for t-shirts, tattoos and mugs
- If a sign says ‘Women no enter’, don’t make a scene or a big deal out of it, this isn’t your country or culture so please check yourself
- The Buddhist temples rely on donations and serve their communities, they are places of worship and spirituality first and foremost.
Wat Pho is a large compound of beautifully restored Buddha statues and smaller alters. Strolling through the grounds on a bright day is soothing and enjoyable. They even have Thai massages on site for extra relaxation.
Khao San Lovers Hostel (250 baht/night)
I enjoyed my stay at this Hostel, the location was perfect for being close to Khao San Rd (7-10min walk) but still quiet. The hostel offers a cheap laundry service and a super clean bathroom with excellent showers with complementary soap and shampoo.
It wasn’t anything special, but it didn’t leave me wanting so I recommend it for its proximity to the party.