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    Tropical Heat Tour: Thailand Part 6

    Monday, August 6, 2012
    Bangkok, Thailand

    A squalid rotunda in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand.

    The chedi of Wat Somanasrajavaravihara peeks through some visual chaos in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A monk, a temple and a chedi at Wat Somanasrajavaravihara in Bangkok, Thailand.

    The plan today was to visit Wat Benchamabophit, an unusual white marble Buddhist temple about 1.5 miles North of my room. On the way, I spied the top of a gigantic golden chedi glistening away behind a quagmire of visually chaotic Bangkok buildings. Thinking that it was part of the Bench compound, I schlepped over there, but a monk literally closed up the big wooden doors of the temple at the precise moment I arrived. I was surprised, because it was only 4:00 pm. I walked around the outside of the temple, which is called Wat Somanasrajavaravihara, and managed to snap a photo and a video clip or two before I got the boot. Then I became semi-lost as I tried to locate the street that Wat Bench is on. I finally spotted a spectacular temple with a few tourists out front, so I headed over there, and sure enough, it was the one. By this time, the sky had turned overcast, which made my exterior photos of the temple look not so good. After paying a 75 cent entrance fee, I was given a snazzy-looking ticket that allowed me to proceed inside.

    The beautiful white marble temple at Wat Benchamabophit in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A close-up on the intricately carved roof of the temple at Wat Benchamabophit in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Buddhist monks sing inside the temple at Wat Benchamabophit in Bangkok, Thailand.

    I was pleased to find another congregation of monks singing in front of a huge, golden Buddha image, so I climbed up the stairs and sat on the floor in back and captured a nice five-minute recording, followed by a couple of more photos and a video clip. After I walked around the outskirts of the temple, I noticed a No Entry sign on the stairs where the monks were singing. If it was there when I walked in, I didn’t notice it. Next, I checked out a map and saw a big park called Suan Chitlada across the street, but when I crossed over there, I noticed the area was surrounded by a moat, a big fence and a guard. Plus, each side of the place looked to be over a half-mile long with no entrances in sight. I was way too tired to walk all the way around to look for one, so I decided to proceed West over to Thanon Samsen to eat at May Kaidee’s indoor location. On the way, I got so hot and exhausted, I had to stop and rest twice. I was stoked when I ran across a random little shop where I bought a little carabiner to fasten my umbrella to my messenger bag.

    A mass of constructed chaos in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand.

    Curry fried tofu at May Kaidee's in Banglamphu, Bangkok, Thailand.

    Roll over photos for captions.
    Words and photos ©2012 Arcane Candy.

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