Greetings from Thailand!
T2 is off to an amazing start! After arriving in Bangkok, we jumped right into exploring the city! We took a ride to a market where we had the chance to get our first pairs of elephant pants and enjoy our first Thai meal. Our guides, Pe and Poy, even treated us to some native Thai fruits. At the market we also had the chance to make a traditional Thai garland that is believed to bring good luck to the person wearing it. We had fun putting the flowers together to make garlands long enough to be bracelets. After finishing our bracelets, some group members decided to give theirs away to other people at the market to spread the luck.
The next day we were out exploring some of the temples in Bangkok. Our first stop was Wat Saket, a temple known as the Golden Mount. We enjoyed seeing the colorful buildings and architecture as well as the different Buddhas, bells and gongs that adorned the temple grounds. After walking around the base, we began to climb the steps up to the temple itself. Inside the temple, we had the opportunity to provide the traditional offering to the Buddha. To do this we lit incense and put a lotus flower in a vase for Buddha. Then we took a little piece of gold and stuck it on the Buddha statue. Thai people believe that placing the gold on the stomach of the Buddha will bring you good health and fortune.
To finish off our time at Wat Saket we walked up to the golden dome roof. It was a beautiful photo opportunity of both the dome and the city of Bangkok below us! We also stopped by the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and the Grand Palace. At these stops we saw more of the traditional Thai architecture. We were all amazed by the colorful, intricate details and patterns on the buildings and statues.
Throughout the day we also got to try out many different forms of transportation. We started our day by taking the Skytrain and a boat with the locals. Later that day we took a much anticipated tuk tuk ride through the city. We all enjoyed zipping through the streets of Bangkok! It was definitely a highlight of our day. In the afternoon we took a boat tour through the canals of the city, where we saw monitor lizards and lots of fish. The best part was feeding the fish and watching them swarm to our boat to catch some of the bread we were throwing.
To finish off the day we stopped at Khoa San Road, a famous market in the city. Once we were done exploring the market we enjoyed spending some time in our hotel rooftop pool before heading off to bed.
The next day, we ventured outside of Bangkok to Ayutthaya to see the Stone Temples. On our way there, we learned how to fold the pedals of lotus flowers to prepare them to be offered to Buddha statues within the temples. Upon arriving to the temples, we each choose a Buddha statue to leave our offering with. Before lunch we took a break to try some traditional Thai snacks at a local market. We all shared a laugh as some of our group began referring to this stop as “Thai Thanksgiving” because of the abundance of delicious food. After our buffet lunch and a trip to another stone temple, we headed back to the hotel for a group activity. To end the night we played a fun game and then reflected on our time in Bangkok. Everyone agreed that they are having a great time so far and that one of the best parts of the program is the people they’re sharing it with!
We are looking forward to starting our community service project in Chiang Rai and exploring more in the land of smiles!
Until next time,
The Westcoast Blogger