1:27 - chimes ring for meditation service, 2:10 - Kade and I enter the temple
This temple complex, Wat Ratchanatdaram, is the first significant piece of Siamese architecture I saw on my trip to Bangkok fourteen years ago. I was on an unairconditioned bus coming in from the airport, all windows down, chatting with a young lady from Germany who was "holidaying" in Thailand for the second or third time. There was a bit of excitement in the air! As we made our way down a congested highway and some busy streets, the driver eventually got us onto a multi-lane avenue that cuts through the heart of the city. On our left, just before reaching the Democracy Monument and less than a half-mile from the area where we'd find a guesthouse, was a spectacular cluster of buildings with a large courtyard, lovely gardens and a monument to someone important. The designs of the buildings were what wowed me really - the straight lines, tiered roofs, striking colors, gold leaf art. It was just so unusual. And then there was the metal "castle" with all those spires. I had never seen anything like it! Turns out that the "castle" (Loha Prasat) was built to honor the birth of a Thai king's granddaughter, and its design was styled after Sri Lankan and Indian temples constructed over 2000 years ago. Incidentally, it's this same king (Rama III) whose monument sits prominently in the temple's Royal Pavilion.
This visit to Bangkok Kade and I did a pretty thorough tour of the Wat Ratchanatdaram complex. We even walked to the top of the "castle" (Loha Prasat) for views of the city. Afterward, once the monks opened the temple for chanting and meditation, I moved quietly - no shoes, of course! - to the front to have my photo taken near the big Buddha. Mission accomplished!
Towards the end of our time in Bangkok, one evening we rode back by this temple, and I took this image.