Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 15: Ho Phra Keo (Haw Phra Kaew), Vientiane

Previously: Part 14 – Wat Sisaket, Vientiane

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Still Day 5: Friday, 30 August 2013

I exited Wat Sisaket with a new determination; that I must treasure the heritage and love the history of my own country. Even if there is no one who wants to uphold them, I will be the one who are going to safeguard the heritage and history of Malaysia. It is just disturbing when historical facts are purposely changed or omitted or heritage buildings are demolished as it will create a society with no real connection to the mother land.

Aku keluar dari Wat Sisaket dengan semangat baru. Aku cakap kat diri sendiri, aku mesti tahu dan jaga warisan dan sejarah negara. Sebab kalau bukan aku, bukan kita, siapa lagi kan?

The main entrance… which was closed the first time I passed by.

As I walked on the pedestrian walk, I looked up. The sky looked so dark. It was drizzling when I first reached Vientiane and rain was the last thing I hoped at this moment. I prayed for the sky to stay cloudy but not to rain. I continued walking until I reached another place that seems interesting to be visited: Ho Phra Keo.

Aku jalan dan dongak atas. Langit gelap sangat. Masa aku mula-mula sampai Vientiane tadi, ada hujan renyai. Jadi, aku harap sangat janganlah hujan hari ni. Tak seronok lah kan jalan dalam hujan. Jalan punya jalan, aku nampak satu tempat yang nampak menarik untuk dilawat: Ho Phra Keo.

Beautiful gardens with beautiful building as the backdrop.

I paid the entrance fee and walked inside. My reading told me that this place was formerly a temple but had since be converted to become a museum. It was famous for having an emerald Buddha statue, which has been located to another temple with the same name in Bangkok.

Aku bayar tiket masuk lepas tu jalan ke dalam. Bangunan ni dulu bekas wat tapi sekarang dah jadi muzium. Terkenal sebab pernah ada patung emerald Buddha, tapi sekarang dah tak ada sebab patung tu disimpan kat Wat Ho Phra Keo Bangkok.

A very detailed roof.

It was quite a walk from the entrance to the main building. On the left and right were gardens with green grass, nicely trimmed and flowers blooming, showing all their splendid colours. From a far, the main building looks so majestic. It is the biggest building in the compound and with wooden carvings and bronze colour, it looks so beautiful in my eyes. There were a lot of visitors too, taking photos with the main building being the background.

Boleh tahan gak kena jalan dari pintu masuk sampai bangunan utama tempat ni. Sepanjang jalan, kiri kanan ditanam bunga dan rumput. Nampak kemas je. Dari jauh, bangunan utama Ho Phra Keo ni nampak gah. Mungkin sebab ni bangunan paling besar dalam kawasan ni, dengan ukiran kayunya, warna gangsanya, nampak cantik je bagi aku. Pelawat pun boleh tahan ramai, dok ambil gambar berlatar belakangkan bangunan utama dia.

One of the many statues of Buddha.

I climbed the stairs and started to walk around. The floor was made from bricks and it was uneven. I entered the building and inside were statues of Buddha and other Buddhism-related exhibition. Visitors were forbid from taking photos inside the building. As I walked around, I saw a few people prayed in front of the Buddha statue. Though this was no longer a temple, they still prayed as there were several Buddha statues.

Sampai bangunan utama, aku panjat tangga, bukak kasut. Lantai dia buat guna bata, memang langsung tak rata! Aku masuk dalam, jalan-jalan dan tengok patung-patung Buddha dan lain-lain pameran berkenaan Buddhisme. Siap ada yang sembahyang lagi dalam ni, walaupun dah tak jadi wat.

Like Wat Sisaket, the main beam here is made out of wood.

There were not so many interesting exhibitions inside the building. However, what I liked the most was the design of the temple itself. As I mentioned in my epilogue (in Bahasa) during my first ever backpacking trip to Bangkok in 2011, I have a ‘thing’  with architecture especially when the buildings are something different from where I came from. So, I really admired the beautifully crafted roof and pillars of this building.

Tak banyak pameran menarik sangat bagi aku. Aku lagi tertarik dengan senibina bangunan ni. Macam aku cakap dalam entri epilog aku ke Bangkok tahun 2011 dulu, aku suka dengan senibina yang unik, yang tak ada kat tempat kita. Sebab tu, aku suka tengok senibina bangunan ni.

The wood carvings on one of the pillars.

I spent some time, taking photos and immersing myself with the architectural splendour of Ho Phra Keo before decided to end my visit. As I walked outside, I saw several people from a tour group arriving. I was taking photos of the building from the lawn area when suddenly the tour leader asked me, “Are you alone?“, in which I answered in affirmative. “Come, let me take a photo of you…“, he offered to take my photo.

Aku habiskan masa pusing keliling bangunan ni dan ambil gambar sebelum buat keputusan nak keluar. Masa dalam perjalanan nak keluar, aku jumpa satu kumpulan tour ni baru sampai. Aku tengah ambil gambar bangunan Ho Phra Keo ni dari jauh bila ketua kumpulan ni tanya aku, “Are you alone?”. Aku angguk dan senyum. “Come, let me take a photo of you…”, dia cakap.

Simply beautiful!

After he took my photo with Ho Phra Keo as the background, I asked about his tour group and he said he is a local bringing some tourists from Thailand. I thanked him and smiled.

Lepas dia ambil gambar aku dengan Ho Phra Keo sebagai latar, aku tanya pasal kumpulan tour dia bawak tu. Dia kata dia orang tempatan, bawak pelancong dari Thailand. Aku senyum dan ucap terima kasih.

The view of the gardens taken from the main building.

We are not strangers… we are just people whom are yet to meet and know each other“.

“Kita semua bukan orang asing… kita hanyalah manusia yang masih belum berjumpa dan berkenalan antara satu sama lain”.

The best part when you are travelling alone is when you met kind people along the way. :))

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To be continued – Part 16

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Ho Phra Keo or Haw Phra Kaew is a former temple built between 1556 and 1565, situated on Setthathirath Road, to the southeast of Wat Si Saket. Entrance fee for foreign visitors is 5,000 Kip [as of August 2013].

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4 thoughts on “Solo Overland Backpacking Trip to Thailand & Laos – Part 15: Ho Phra Keo (Haw Phra Kaew), Vientiane

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