Vietnam-Cambodia-Thailand, Day 5, Part 2: Of opulence, Wat Pho and conclusions (Golden Buddha at Wai Tramit, Ruan Kum Thai Restaurant and Body Tune Spa at La Villa and Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link)
April 7, 2011 1 Comment
We left Gems Gallery International a quarter of an hour past two in the afternoon. Our cabbie who has been waiting for us outside for almost an hour immediately led us to Wat Traimit as promised. We got there after approximately thirty minutes.
This welcomed us upon our arrival:
If Siem Reap’s temples were archaic, this one at Bangkok was just very regal. Doesn’t it look like a castle of some sort? Even from the outside, we could already feel the grandeur of the structure, it being predominantly marble and gold. We were already captivated, and we haven’t even seen the actual Golden Buddha yet!
We paid 40 Baht each as an entrance fee and went upstairs afterwards.
At the topmost floor, there in plain unobstructed view, was this:
That’s five and a half tonnes of solid gold! Tell me who won’t get spellbound with that? Because of a lack of a proper tour guide, we didn’t really know the backstory of the statue. Only now, with some research do I get to know the tale of its discovery and it being on its new home because of the King’s 80th birthday. Nice…
Looking at the statue was transfixing. Set in actual temple where Buddhists and pilgrims say their prayers, it evoked a feeling of calm, peace and serenity. That amidst almost being blinded by all the shiny surfaces we saw inside. Really nice.
We left Wat Traimit almost half an hour after three. We instructed the cab driver to get us back to MBK and we were there in no time. We haven’t had lunch yet, but we were not hungry either, so we decided to grab a quick snack. We bought most of our food pasalubong here too before searching for a place to fulfill the last item in our trip’s agenda: a genuine Thai massage. We passed by four malls (MBK, Siam Discovery Center, Siam Center and Siam Paragon) in pursuit of that massage, but failed to find one that’s within our budget. Fortunately, someone from the group (I don’t remember who) recalled having seen one at a commercial space near Ari station.
True enough, there it was, Body Tune Spa, on the topmost floor of the small La Villa center. If I remember correctly, we got charged 400 Baht for an hour of traditional Thai massage. Unfortunately, there were only four masseuses available, so one of us had to miss the treatment. Maan volunteered to be the unfortunate one. Anthony, being the gentleman that he is, decided to skip the massage as well to accompany Maan and explore whatever can be explored at La Villa. (Awwww…)
Can I just say this: that was one hell of a massage! We were fully clothed during the entire time, hence the dry massage. That also meant Cha, Leah and I were able to share a common area. What blew my mind was how the young and petite lady that was assigned to me was able to do all the things that she did to my rather huge frame. My goodness, she almost lifted me! Amazing. It was so good it got to a point where I was almost sure the two ladies I was with was hearing me moan already. (Embarrassing!)
Rejuvenated (and borderline violated… Kidding!), we met up with Maan and Anthony to grab our last proper meal in Bangkok. Of course it had to be Thai cuisine, so we went directly to Ruan Kum Thai Restaurant. (Oddly enough, La Villa was dominated by Japanese restaurants. Ruan Kum Thai was the only Thai resto there.). There we feasted on veggie omelette, shrimp curry, deep fried duck served on a bed of deep fried and of course, Pad Thai and iced milk tea. We also shared a bottle of a local beer, Singha, served the best way I could imagine: in a chilled glass lined with frozen water. Awesome.
We went back to the hotel to pick up our stuff. (We checked out earlier that day and just left our bags in a secure room near the lobby.) It was eight in the evening and since we had plenty of time to reach the airport everyone freshened up and we left All Seasons at nine. The group decided to do one last adventure. Instead of taking a cab, we got to the airport by the BTS Skytrain-SRT Airport Rail Link route. From Ari, we got off at Phaya Thai, changed platform and boarded a smaller train, that dropped us off directly inside Suvarnabhumi Airport.
We made it unscathed! Haha! We got off wishing Manila had anything near Bangkok’s transit system. The time we spent at the airport was uneventful, save for a few BVs. The check-in and immigration lines were so long. I had a small altercation with the lady at Burger King’s counter. (French fries. Sprite. Seriously, how can you confuse the two?). Finally, the flight was delayed for almost an hour. Good thing we were on such a high, we just shrugged all of it off.
At the plane, I realized we’ve officially come to the end of our grand trip. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, didn’t fail me. It was two in the morning.
There were two kids (one toddler, one infant) on the flight back home. They were howling – sometimes alternately, sometimes simultaneously – for the entire trip. First time that ever happened to me on a plane. How’s that for a homecoming welcome?