Wanderlust Lone Journey…..My heart was pounding while I was saying a little prayer “Lord, please do not let me freak out”! My prayer may have sounded a bit weird but it was a different set of circumstances. I was in my twenty-third year of my existence and it was my first time flying in a plane. I love traveling, but that means going from one place to another by land and by boat but not by plane. I am not a fan of flying, period!
Embracing the Fear
But if I want to be a wandering soul, I know I have to face this fear of flying to satisfy my wanderlust. I love to travel alone, it gives me this kind of independent feeling, the kind of freedom that my soul always begs to find. My solo travel began in the Philippines and I was confident it would continue in Bangkok. Why Thailand? Oh well, nothing beats a place with culture, temples, and delicious food! Yes, Bangkok was the first choice.
A Memorable Arrival
The first time to travel outside of one’s country is always memorable for everyone, I think. I can still remember how happy I was to do my first travel outside of my home country. I had that inner joy. The same feeling of falling in love with something you do, over and over again. I arrived late at night at Suvarnabhumi airport but my mind was so alive like I was in ecstasy (not using, just an expression. Hahaha). The airport was as huge and beautiful as I always read about the experience. I had nothing to compare, as it is my first time to see a new airport beside my own. My hotel was thirty minutes away from the airport and the night covered the sky but when we reached the road of Sukhumvit, the colorful lights of the street started to gleam into my eyes. Right there and then, the moment I stepped out of the van, the delicious smell of famous Thai foods was everywhere and I did not want to wait for the sun to touch the sky, for me to start to taste everything!
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My first day in Bangkok started with a famous Pad Thai. I did not know the difference between “no spicy” and “mildly spicy” as the food was really hot for my taste buds! Water was my new best friend in Bangkok because the food is really delicious but wow… it’s hot and spicy. After breakfast, I went directly to Wat Po, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
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Exploring Wat Po
This temple is first on the list of the six temples in Thailand classed as the highest grade of the first class, royal temples. The temple was expanded, renovated, and became the home of the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand. Wat Pho is one of the oldest temples. It was built before Bangkok was established as the capital by King Rama I.
The Marvel of the Reclining Buddha
My eyes were opened wide seeing this 46 m long, reclining Buddha in front of me. It was really huge and brilliant gold. The soles of the feet of the Buddha are 3 m high and 4.5 m long and are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Each is divided into 108 arranged panels, displaying the symbols by which Buddha can be identified, such as flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers, and altar accessories. At the center of each foot is a circle representing an energy point or what they called Chakra. There are 108 bronze bowls in the corridor representing the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. They said that if I dropped coins in these bowls it would bring good fortune, and it also helps the monks to maintain the wat. Besides being mesmerized by the golden Buddha’s around the place, what amazed me was the Phra Maha Chedi Si Ratchakan which is a group of four large stupas, each 42 meters high. I remembered the tour guide proudly pointing his finger at the stupas and telling me that they were dedicated to the first four Chakri kings. They honored them with these stupas which are really tall and full of details. When the sun touches them, the golden rays shine everywhere.
Immersed in Culture
The richness of Thailand really shows up in the temples and in the people smiling at us, as we marveled at their wonders. Besides their history what really excited me was to eat in the busy streets of Bangkok, where exotic and spicy foods are rampant. People are not really fluent in English but I will tell you, they try their best to be on the same page with you. The smiling faces of the Thai people also add to the homie feeling I had in this country. Well somehow they look like Filipino and the street looks like places in Manila but you will know the difference. The smell and the appetite of the people around them differ in Bangkok.
To complete the package, the other personal thing I loved about Bangkok was the cheap things everywhere with nice quality. Clothes, bags, shoes, electronics, and many more make you want to spend more time in Bangkok. All in all, my first trip out of my country journey was memorable and worth the experience. I will never forget how Bangkok welcomed me with its own uniqueness and beauty. The nice thing about traveling alone is the urge to make friends, I met wonderful people in Bangkok, and although they were not really fluent in English they were very helpful and hospitable in many ways. They know to make you feel comfortable with them and I will always cherish those people that were part of my journey. They say that first love never dies! I will always go back to this place because I am in love with its culture, people, places, and food!
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