Our trip to Thailand was inclusive of a half-day tour around the city with GM Holidays. Although still tired from yesterday’s flight, we strived to wake up early the next day to explore Bangkok City. It’s never too early when you’re on vacation!
It’s worth noting that Kay from GM Holidays and her driver made a good impression. They were punctual; already waiting at the hotel lobby by the time we made it there. Aside from my family, only two others were with us on this trip—a married and expecting Filipino couple.
Kay, our tour guide, cheerfully welcomed us to Thailand. Knowing that we’re all Filipinos on-board, she amazed us by throwing in some Tagalog words and phrases in between her spiels. Our half-day excursion included visits to two Buddhist temples, to a jewelry store, and to a gallery of genuine leather products.
WAT HUA LUMPHONG
Our first stop was at Wat Hua Lumphong, which is only 20 minutes away from Pratunam Market. It is conveniently located along Rama IV Road, just a stone’s throw away from the Sam Yan MRT Station. This temple was extensively renovated in 1996 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the King of Thailand’s monarchy.
Kay introduced us to a variety of Buddha statues found in front of the temple. Among which are Phra Phrom (the Four-Faced Buddha) and Ganesha (also known as Ganapati and Vinayaka). It is believed that each side of Phra Phrom offers different blessings. Ganesha is one of the popular Buddha statues due to its elephant’s head. He is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences, and the deva of intellect and wisdom.
Kay asked each of us the actual day that we were born. In Thailand (or Buddhism), each birth day (i.e., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc.) represents one specific Buddha. Since I was born on a Tuesday, Pang Sai Yas (The Reclining Buddha) is my Buddha image. It is believed that those who were born on this day are brave, active, broad, and serious-mind[ed].
Please note, however, that those who were born on a Wednesday should know whether they were delivered in the morning or in the evening because there are two Buddha images for this day. Want to find out what’s yours?
Roan and I went to the Wat Tham Sua (Tiger Cave Temple) in Krabi, which is known for the tiger paw prints in the cave, tall Buddha statues, and the strenuous flight of stairs to reach the summit, but Wat Traimit was probably the most stunning temples I have seen thus far.
In this temple, you will find the magnificent Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon (the Golden Buddha), made entirely of 18-carat solid gold and weighs 5.5 tons. His eyes were made of sapphire (iris) and mother of pearl (sclera or the white part). The Golden Buddha was so beautiful; you’d find yourself staring in his eyes as if he’s drawing you in.
GEMS GALLERY INTERNATIONAL MANUFACTURING CO., LTD.
I didn’t know that you will find the finest sapphire and ruby stones in Thailand. At Gems Gallery, they made us watch a quick presentation of how these precious stones are made from raw products into beautiful jewelries.
We were also granted a walkthrough of their production area where they make the jewelries as part of the tour. Not only do they offer jewelries in white/yellow gold, they also have trinkets that are set in sterling silver for those who can’t afford the more expensive ones.
We were not allowed to take pictures inside the gallery, but we stayed awhile there because we each got ourselves little souvenirs.
GENUINE LEATHER GALLERY
Our last stop was at this genuine leather gallery (sorry, I failed to take note of its name) where we learned that any leather goods made from stingray leather can last up to 10 years or even longer! According to them, it’s more durable than any other type of leather!
Mom got Dad a stingray wallet (similar here) and a cow leather belt while Aunt Marie purchased a three-layer purple mailman’s leather bag that I strongly coveted! Sorry, no photos for this stopover, too! These may not seem a lot, but we ended up starving by lunch time!