Wat Saket is something special. I can’t explain it, only feel it.

Wat Saket dates back to the 1700’s and has an iconic structure named Golden Mount. This man made mountain has a winding staircase up to the prayer hall where followers can offer prayers, flowers and ask for divine guidance. Climbing up the very narrow and steep stair case to the roof is where you’ll find the golden stupa. The views and statues are really soothing to look at and when the breeze blows through, it feels refreshing and the dinging of all the wind chimes, adds to the ambiance nicely. Although it’s quite spectacular, the rest of the complex is really peaceful and serene too. If you want to see more photos of Golden Mount, you can check out my post HERE. If you need directions on how to get to Wat Saket / Golden Mount via public transport, I posted about that HERE. If you need a break on the way up, there’s a coffee shop on the way up I didn’t have time so I passed, it looks nice though!

I visited Wat Saket 2 days in a row because there was so much going on. It was Loy Krathong, the yearly week long festival (my post about it HERE). With all the festivities going on, I didn’t get any opportunities to get any pictures of the serene feeling premises. Maybe next time. Navigating was somewhat difficult as well because crowds got really big at times and not only were some entrances concealed by the crowds but once you’re in the mass, you really can’t go anywhere except with the flow of the mass. I actually had no idea where I was going and walked around the complex twice before actually getting to see any of the religious statues and things. Some buildings were closed when I got around to them and some I found totally by accident. Meaning I saw a bunch of people moving into something so I just went too. That’s how I found the starting stair case to get up to Golden Mount as well as a cave.

The man made cave houses a giant standing Buddha statue, that looks like it’s carved into the cave and smaller, free standing Terracotta like Buddha statues. Also within the cave are some pieces of really old looking paper with writing on it, but I couldn’t read it, looks important, though.

There is also cemetery that is part of the base of Golden Mount which doesn’t look creepy or anything and you’d probably pass it by not knowing it was a cemetery but look closely and you’ll see. What’s creepy, I think, is that I’m sure I took multiple pictures with my camera’s yet I can’t find any of the cemetery photos on any of them. What do you make of that? Anyways, there’s also a museum on the premises, with some more Buddha statues and history, if you’re interested in that. It was closed by the time I found it.

Then there’s the vultures. If I had not strayed off the path leading down from Golden Mount, I would have totally missed the scene commemorating those that perished from the cholera outbreak. This scene is known as the vulture scene. I took a picture of the commemorative plaque so you can have a read if you’re so inclined.

There’s also a few Buddha statues in enclaves that you can offer prayers too around this area. The main prayer hall isn’t that large but the plaza in front is quite spacious, providing plenty of space for worshipers to pray in front of the Buddha statue that is outside the hall. There’s an even bigger Buddha statue inside the hall. I didn’t get to see everything even though I went twice. I think, during non festive times, you could see it all in 3-4 hours if you’re just walking through. I’ll include a premises map so you can plan your trip 😎

I missed this whole section behind the building in the above photo, it may not even be part of Wat Saket (I think because it’s named a bit different) but it’s accessible from Wat Saket until closing time when the close the entry/exit gates. I think the people having a picnic beside red sign hopped the fence to get in because I didn’t see a way to get in there, lol.

Out of all the wats I’ve visited in Bangkok, Wat Saket is the one that resonated most with me. I “felt” something there, neither good nor bad, just something and for me that’s special. I later learned that there are Buddha relics (Buddha’s Teeth) at Golden Mount, enshrined in the golden stupa and enshrined in the 4 gold leafed statues in the circular shrine. If you need to satisfy your spiritual hunger and only have time to visit one wat in Bangkok, I would highly suggest Wat Saket over the more “touristy” wats. That’s my opinion, don’t roast me for it. 😃

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other (usually travel) bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art

Want to write about your travel adventures? Come join me on the TravelFeed.io platform

 



Wat Arun an experience to remember

Wat Arun is easily amongst the top 3 of must visit wats in Bangkok, Thailand. Is it worth the hype? Depends on what you’re going there for, in my opinion. Let me explain in more detail in this post but first if you fancy getting here via public transport (as opposed to taking a taxi, Grab or tuk tuk) check out my post HERE.

Wat Arun has arguably one of the most iconic Thai structures and the complex dates back to the 1800’S. The cost for admission to Wat Arun was $50 Baht. Relatively inexpensive, right? Well, it’s probably because you’re only paying to get access to the Prangs, which are the spire/pyramid looking structures, the rest of the wat complex is free . At first, I thought the main spire was a chedi/stupa. I’m not entirely sure what the difference between a prang, chedi or stupa is, only that a chedi or stupa usually houses and a relic/artifact. So I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t a relic on the premises (that I could find or was aware of). Once you pay the entrance fee, you can choose to walk around the spire platform or you can head up the 5 or 6 steps to get onto the platform that the spires are built on. I then took a walk around the platform in between the central spire and the four smaller ones before heading up onto the central spire’s platform using the really steep stairs that have no hand rails. While walking around the central spire, you’ll find more really steep stairs going even further up, but sadly they are closed to the public.

All the spires are covered in mosaic type decorations. You will also find sea shells and small sauce dish type ceramics used in the décor. On each side of the spire, on the first platform are gated structures housing different Buddhist themed statues. For a centuries old complex, the complex is well upkept, you can some cracked sculptures and even find piles of broken off ceramic, that I’m guessing will be put back. Must be a huge challenge even for jigsaw puzzle lovers, haha. That’s about it, but having said that it was still a sight to behold for being centuries old, worth the $50 Baht entrance fee, once.

The rest of Wat Arun’s complex is free and in front of the spires is where you will find two viharns. One of which is where you can find monks to offer prayers and blessings. One of which has Thai amulets and a very knowledgeable attendant. This attendant spoke English and Cantonese better than I can. He told me he can speak Mandarin and 2 other Chinese dialects and his mother tongue is Thai. Quite impressive. What I found even more impressive was his understanding of Thai amulets, he was able to recognize the two I was wearing and offer me a variety of amulets that would complement my existing pair, in various styles, sizes, material and cost. In addition, we spoke of current affairs in various S.E. Asian countries as well as their economics. Very, very insightful chap!

The only other wat that I’ve seen amulets for sale (in Bangkok) is in Wat Pho. The selection at Wat Arun is by far larger and of higher material quality. My amulet from Wat Pho has tarnished very badly but my amulet from Wat Arun is almost as shiny as when I purchased it. Also, when I purchased my amulet from Wat Arun, they brought me and the amulet over to the monk “on duty” and he “blessed” it, performed a “renewal” chant on my existing amulets and said a prayer for me as well! An experience I’ve never had when purchasing amulets. I quite enjoyed it, I haven’t had a prayer session with a monk in ages.

Anyways, in front of the viharns and off to the right side, is the market place, all the usual souvenir shops such as food, clothes, trinkets, costume rental (for photos) etc. A few more steps forward is the river and the piers. Heading left there is the way to the ubosot where there is a larger prayer area and a large golden Buddha statue. Oh, I’m not entirely sure if what I’ve called the viharn and the ubosot is actually what they are, it’s just my best guess from seeing them and what’s inside.

Around the ubosot are other structures including more spires/chedi/stupa/prang shaped structures, not sure what exactly they are but they look interesting. As did the bells you can ring by hitting them with a stick (as opposed to the usual clanging them with the stick that dangles inside each bell. Other works of art on the premises are statues and wall murals all are really quite nice, some look dated too.

Overall, my personal feeling is that Wat Arun, as a temple, is how it should be, the religious parts are free for the people, supported by donations and having a ticket able venue (the prangs). I very much enjoyed the temple complex, not so much the prangs. Having said that, I think the prangs are best seen either at sunrise or dusk. A monk told me to come back at night when the lights are on, “it’s much more beautiful,” he said. Having seen Wat Arun close to sunset, I would tend to agree, but as usual, I didn’t have time to stay plus I think the view of the whole complex would be better from across the river.

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other travel bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art

Want to write about your travel adventures? Come join me on the TravelFeed.io platform

 



Mega Plaza, 6 floors of awesomeness! Perhaps the largest toy mall in Bangkok?

Ok so whilst wandering around the vicinity around Wat Saket/Golden Mount, I found a mall named Mega Plaza. Six floors of AWESOMENESS ! ! !  Yes, I’m a kid and I ain’t afraid to show it, wiggle wiggle….uh ok never mind lol.  If you’re even remotely interested in anime, toys, collectibles and or camera gear you have to check this place out!  Plus it’s nearing Christmas time, so why not?

I would love to give you precise directions on how to get there but i can’t because i found the place by accident. I can tell you, though, that the closest train station is Sam Yot MRT (blue line) and that Google Maps sucked. It was actually much closer than the path it led me on (I had to find Sam Yot, MRT). Also if you’re into gold jewellery and firearms the vicinity is loaded with those types of shops but around 6:30 pm a lot were closing if not closed already.

The first four floors of Mega Plaza are filled with toy shops like baby toys, remote control stuff, lego, anime figurines (racks and racks full), Gundam models and mini drive able vehicles. I saw a figure that I really wanted to get (DBZ FiguArts Android 21)but I tried to bargain it down from $1800 Baht but was unsuccessful so I went to try to find a cheaper shop. I did find it in two other shops but one had it on sale for $2200 Baht and the other $2400 Baht so I tried to go back to the first shop but either they were closed or I couldn’t find it. Too bad for me.

There are a few console game shops which offer repair services as well. Comparing prices I found Nintendo Switch games to be slightly cheaper than in Singapore but you’ll have to shop around because prices differ, sometimes by a lot from shop to shop. I didn’t buy any because most of the games are from the European region and that eshop is the most expensive (that I’ve encountered so far from buying DLC’s). It looks to me that the Nintendo Switch games here are cheaper than the 3 shops I found at MBK mall. Anime figures are slightly cheaper too and I found an acrylic display box shop had really good prices but shipping is the deal breaker. If you’re into air guns (BB guns) I saw a couple of shops with a wide variety of guns, they were really quite impressive and realistic looking.

Half of the 5th floor is all camera shops unfortunately not all were open, some of the ones open at the time I was there were the ones offering repair services, used (older stuff) and vintage gear. Quite cool, I enjoy looking at vintage stuff!  If you’re looking for camera gear I highly recommend checking out Mega Plaza before you go to MBK mall (where there are a handful of shops as well, mostly all the new gear though). The other 1/2 of the floor is occupied by TCG shops (trading card games) like Magic The Gathering. I still play every now and then with my daughter and she was upset she didn’t get to check out Mega Plaza with me, haha.

On the top floor there is a food court and shops with the bigger models and diorama’s. Man oh man, were there some awesome looking diorama’s up there. I think there was a shop that takes custom orders meaning they custom make one to your design/liking. These shops makes the couple of shops in Singapore (that I’ve seen) look amateurish.

If I ever make it out to Bangkok again, I’d definitely make time to check out this mall again but this time earlier and with a list of stuff I wanna get this would be better than following my girls around Pratunam market looking at clothes. Oh, if you intend to go, keep in mind that shops start closing around 6 pm even though the mall doors says the mall is open until 7:30 pm so go early if you want the best selection.

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other (usually travel) bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art

Want to write about your travel adventures? Come join me on the TravelFeed.io platform

 



My experience at Bangkok Dental Care, another dental holiday

For all y’all just tuning in, I’ve elected to have my dental work done in Bangkok,Thailand this time. The majority of my dental work was done in Chiang Mai (HERE’s the post about that experience). This time, I didn’t go to Chiang Mai because the general consensus was that the process would need 3 weeks and I can’t be in Chiang Mai because I really wanted to meet the guys and gals behind Travelfeed.io and other travelfeeders (which was totally worth it) and to check out Steemfest as well. Oh well, another chance for me to step outside my comfort zone and have a stranger muck around in my mouth, YAY, NOT!

Bangkok Dental Care is located on the top floor in Century The Movie Plaza, right beside On Nut BTS station. There’s even a connected walkway into the 2nd floor of the mall from the BTS station. My first impression was that it looked decent and well lit but in a mall so the prices may be higher but I didn’t find that was the case after doing some Googling so I went in to inquire about getting partial dentures done and they fit me in so they could have a look and advise me on costs etc. The dentist could speak English well enough to explain to me the procedures and differences between the different types of dentures although a bit labored at times or maybe I was just asking stupid questions like “would I get a refund if it turns out I’m allergic to the metal” or “if they had a test metal strip I could put in my mouth” haha. The answer was ‘no’ to both questions so I decided to go home and do some more research before committing but I couldn’t. As luck would have it, it was a Monday and the dentist who does dentures is only there on Monday’s so I made an appointment for later that afternoon.

I get to my appointment on time and had to wait about thirty minutes. I’m thinking ok, not so bad since I am kind of last minute rushing things. So it’s finally my turn and I’m asked to go in but before I do I have to take off my shoes and wear the provided slippers. Kinda normal here in Thailand so no big deal. So here I am sitting in the dentist chair waiting and waiting and well you get the idea. I sat there looking around for about 45 minutes. A lot of time to notice things like spots on the wall that I thought they were roaches but they weren’t. Maybe lizard droppings? I couldn’t tell. I also noticed the equipment was dated and lots of saran wrap used to cover things. Then I saw a drip pan made from a re-purposed water bottle. I hope it was a drip pan cuz it was hooked up to that mouth rinse thing. So now I’m having second thoughts and asked one of the dental assistance, who happened to be walk by, how much longer I’d have to wait. Of course she didn’t know and went to go ask. Well, at least the dental chairs are all in their own little room connected by a “back corridor” so if I was to get up and leave no one would see, oh wait, I’d have to get my shoes. Hahaha.

Anyways, the dentist comes in 10-15 minutes later and we get started. She had to make notches or something in my teeth for the partial denture clips to grab hold of as well as to make a mold of my teeth. I don’t know if she was mad at me for rushing her (just kidding she and all the staff are quite friendly) but she felt heavy handed. Maybe I’m over thinking / reacting but the corner of my mouth did crack/tear a bit. Granted the weather is different than what I’m used to and my lips were dry and cracking so the tugging sure didn’t help. NOTE: I’m not blaming the dentist for ripping my mouth and it’s not like I Look like The Joker or anything. I’m just recounting my adventure and sharing my thoughts.

After the session I felt kinda violated, I can feel the dents and grooves on my teeth with my tongue and quite unhappy about it since I don’t have too many original and intact ones left. Oh well, life goes on. A week later, here’s my brand spanking new partial metal dentures!

This time around, the dentist was still kinda rough but was very patient with me when I complained my bite was uneven. She had to adjust/modify the dentures several times and then some. After that came the denture care counseling and stuff where I got a free “tupperware” to store my dentures in, bonus! Haha.

After wearing my dentures for the week (HERE’s the post about it) was painful even the putting on and taking off. Which was fixed in my “after care” appointment. Now 2 weeks after first putting them on, there is absolutely no pain from putting them on or taking them off or from eating.

OH, the few times I was there I noticed that a lot of the clients were foreigners so don’t worry about the English language barrier, they’ll understand you just fine. The total cost I paid was $12,000 Baht (over 4 visits), If you shop around more than I did, especially the less touristy looking clinics you may find the services a bit cheaper but even at this price, it’s still cheaper than what I was quoted in Singapore. I would still recommend checking them out if you’re in need of dental care while in Bangkok because I’m completely satisfied with the work done for me.

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other (usually travel) bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art

Want to write about your travel adventures? Come join me on the TravelFeed.io platform

 
 



Destination Ayutthaya and Sukhothai but ended up in Chatuchak Park, yet this was my most “soul” satisfying shenanigan

As some of you may know, I was in Bangkok to get some more dental work done, check out Steemfest and of course visit my kid. Since I’d be there for 3 weeks, I had also planned to visit Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, at least a day at each place. I really wanted to go as I love historic sites and those two are UNESCO heritage sites. Anyways, I didn’t get to go to either and in doing so I learned a lot about Thai people and everyday life in Thailand . . . Here’s the story . . .

After doing some research, I found that flights were too expensive for me from Bangkok to either Ayutthaya or Sukhothai (upwards of $2000 Baht) where as bus tickets ranged from $300 to $700 Baht and train service started at $15 Baht up to $600 Baht. From what I could determine travel time was about the same for both train and bus services with Ayutthaya being just over an hour away and Sukhothai being 8 hours from Bangkok and 6 hours from Ayutthaya. The only tricky part is that there are no trains from Bangkok to Sukhothai and that bus fares are cheaper from Bangkok to Sukhothai than from Ayutthaya to Sukhothai (almost 1/2 price) but travel time is probably going to be the deal breaker if you’re already in Ayutthaya. Something else to note are that the “buses” from Bangkok to Ayutthaya are more like vans ranging from 7 seaters to 14 seaters as opposed to those long distance buses with toilets on board. Also I read some reviews indicating that there is no room for baggage. Whatever you bring is gonna be on your lap. Not good for me carrying a backpack and a huge waist bag that holds my cameras.

Off I go to the bus station, which has moved from Victory Monument to Mo Chit bus station. To get there by public transport you need to alight at Mo Chit BTS Station and walk a little ways as if you’re heading to Chatuchak (HERE’S my post regarding Chatutak if you’re interested in doing some shopping while in Bangkok) but you’ll need to stop at the pink Chatuchak sign because that’s the bus stop, you’ll see the sign when you stop and turn around. I can’t tell you how much the bus is because I didn’t take it. As I was coming down the stairs from the BTS station, I started to feel my lower back start to give way. As I get to the bus stop my back starts spasming so I double back a few steps to get into Chatuckak park because I saw park benches in there. Just as I get to a bench I feel a nerve pinch and I’m on my knees. I shake off my backpack and lie down on the bench. A security guard comes over and says something I couldn’t understand. I just point to my back and try to smile. He smiles back and walks off occasionally looking back. After an hour or so I try to walk and succeeded for about 10 meters then my right calf cramps, bad! I haven’t felt that kind of cramp since high school track and field. So I sat at the closest bench for another hour or so watching people, trees and clouds. There are some elderly vendors that approach park goes selling something, but none came near me, maybe they thought I was homeless sleeping on the bench. Anyways, I see the same security guard approach these ladies and have a conversation and even went to get his water jug to share some water. Gave me the warm fuzzy feeling. Anyways, here’s some pics while I was sitting/lying on the bench:

I eventually made it back to the BTS station and security escorted me to the elevators both at Mo Chit and On Nut station. I thought I was in trouble at first but then realized that the elevators were reserved and doors to the elevator lobby was locked. I’ve also seen BTS security escort the elderly and handicapped on and off the train and out of the station. I’ve never seen that anywhere else, what caring treatment. These guys and gals are awesome! Oh instead of taking the bus to Mo Chit Bus Terminal, you could try to walk but most likely you’ll have to go around Chatuchak Park instead of through it because the park is fenced in and I don’t think there are any gates open on the other side close to the bus station. I saw a lot of foreigners looking for exits and looking relieved when they exited where I was seated on the bench so I’m guessing exits are few and far between. Here’s the Google Maps image I was going to use:

A couple days later I tried to take the train to Ayutthaya because those vans just weren’t appealing to me especially if my back starts to spasm. To take the train via public transport you’ll need to get to Hua Lumphong on the MRT line (blue line) if you’re on the light green Sukhumvit Line, you’ll change trains at Asok and walk to Sukhumvit MRT station (it’s like a 2 minute walk). I didn’t even make it 1/2 way to On Nut BTS station before my back and calves started tweaking so I turned around and went home. So I can’t really tell you how much the fare from Sukhumvit MRT station to Hua Lumphong but my guess would be between $30 and $40 Baht. I was so depressed because the notion of not being able to go to Ayutthaya and or Sukhothai was slowly becoming a reality, and the time I had left in Bangkok would mean if I went, it’ll be a whirlwind type adventure which my body won’t be able to handle.

So the next six days I just basically did nothing except walk a block to get lunch/dinner and a massage every other day. Being the creature of habit that I am, I ordered food from the same food stall, ordered the same drink from the drink stall and requested the same masseuse at the massage shop. Thai people are so friendly and welcoming! By the second day one the food stall owner would sit with me and chit chat, the bubble tea shop employees would smile when they see me and ask if I wanted the same and since the food court is right across the street from massage shop, I’d see the massage therapists eating there as well. One night they even invited me to drink with them, which I did and got to meet the owner and wife of the massage shop who subsequently was the landlord of the food court and the proprietor of the beer stall! BONUS! It was amazing to learn about their culture, their everyday lifestyle and experience chilling with all of them. There was always someone to translate the joke that made the group burst out laughing so I never felt left out or out of place. I would have so loved to hang out more with my new friends but all good things must come to an end. Oh, the massage shop closes at 11 pm and the food court at midnight.

When I had 3 days left in Bangkok, I felt good enough to risk a trip via train so I tried to book tickets but just my luck…tickets were all sold out for 2 days straight, and there were multiple trains too! So my advice is to book your tickets in advance even though some sites indicate that it’s pretty easy to get tickets at the counter for same day service. Although I didn’t get to visit the UNESCO sites I’m not terribly mad/sad/disappointed because I met so many cool people and learned so much. This whole trip turned out to be one big meet awesome people trip and by far one of my fav trips ever! Plus I plan to be back in Bangkok in December so I’ll try to get to the UNESCO sites then 😎

Me in Chatuchak Park, in pain, beside Mo Chit BTS station

I really think my back and legs giving out was the universe’s way of telling me to slow down and enjoy moments in life. “Be” in the moment don’t just run around trying to capture the moment.

Consider following me for updates to find not only my other (usually travel) bloopers, blunders and shenanigans but also photography related news/reviews and the occasional contest entry.

All the photos (unless otherwise noted in the post) were taken by me and are available for sale. If you’re interested in buying an image or three, 😃 please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details. Thanks in advance!

Comments & Critiques are always welcome, as are upvotes and resteems.

Thanks for viewing and best wishes!

PS. If you want to check out my other ‘works’, you can find them here:

Portfolio
Blog
Fine Art

Want to write about your travel adventures? Come join me on the TravelFeed.io platform