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The Spiritual Visit at Bangkok and Yangon – A truly serendipity experience

Posted: September 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Experience | No Comments »

It was unplanned and unexpected, but it was a beautiful journey.

Some of you might have already read my previous entry on how I was denied entry at Myanmar Airport immigration. Because of that, I landed in the land of smiles: Thailand. I was flown (by a Myanmar immigration officer) to Bangkok. I reached Bangkok around 7pm local time. I had made accommodations less than an hour earlier. I told the taxi driver to send me to a hotel at Silom called The Heritage Hotel. I checked in, and my friend Jop arrived not long after that. I told him what had happened. We then visited a night market called Patpong. He was helpful; he was the one who had helped me find a place to stay. I bought a ticket to Myanmar for Saturday morning, so that I could  make it to the Oxbridge dinner that night and tour Yangon in the afternoon.

The next day, I woke up early and arrived at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok at around 7 to get the front of the queue (the office opens at 9). There were already 3 people queueing in front of me. Sometimes at a foreign place, when you are going to the same destination, regardless of your nationalities, you become friends. One was from the UK, doing quality assurance stuff; another was an American, just graduated, a programmer; and the other an English teacher from India. Then, a retired man from Sweden joined us. As much as I wanted the visa to be processed faster, I was suddenly immersed into conversation with these new friends. And by the time the office opened at 9 pm, we had already talked about politics in America, the job market in the UK, the caste system in India, and how one can travel around the world after retiring.

The visa can be collected only in the afternoon, at around 3.30 pm. I was keeping Suriya, the organizer of the dinner in Yangon, in the loop. He seemed to be the imaginary support for me throughout this journey.

Since I had a little bit of time, I decided to explore the city a bit. The first stop – Erawan Shrine, more commonly known as the Four-Faced Buddha. It was not a huge temple like what we normally see; it’s just a small place in the middle of the city. Nevertheless, Erawan Shrine has attracted devotees and tourists from around the world. I was attracted too, of course.I went to The Four Face Buddha. I made a wish. Just one wish. I hope that it will come true.

I then visited Siam Square, got a Thai foot massage, and went back to the Embassy. I got my Visa! I shared the good news with Jop, and we decided to meet up that night as well.

Just when I was on the way to meet Jop, I saw a ceremony going on in the Hindu Temple, not far from where I stayed at Silom. I decided to drop by and pay some respect there. I went through the ceremony, and since I was already there, I made a wish too—the same wish I made at Erawan Shrine.

I met up with Jop that night, and we went for a movie in IMAX. The auditorium was huge. And what surprised me was that everyone had to stand up for the national anthem before the movie started. The movie Lucy was not bad. There are many haters around for this movie. There are many interpretations of this movie too. My key takeaway from this movie was, really, to pass it on. I like this message very much.

I caught the earliest flight to Yangon on Nok Air at around 6:40 on Saturday Morning. I arrived there pretty early and checked into the Park Royal Hotel. I made a visit to the city’s oldest Pagoda: Shwedagon Pagoda. I had a guide to lead me. I stood in front of the Pagoda where the Buddha’s Relics are stored. It is one of the holiest place in Yangon. Devotees, mostly locals, go there often to pray to the Buddha to cleanse their souls.

I then visited some other places, like Scott Market and Chinatown, and walked around the city near my hotel. I went back to the hotel to prepare for the dinner that night.

photo 4

Botatung Temple.

The next day, I met Suriya for breakfast, and he told me that he was going to a temple. I decided to go with him. It was Botatung Temple. This was the last temple that I visited during the trip. It was a short but sweet journey. I learned about what Suriya is currently doing. He is in his early 60s, and there is so much wisdom that I can gain from him.

Like what Suriya told me that my journey had been a blessing in disguise. First, I was denied entry at Myanmar immigration, but because of that, I managed to visit the Four Face Buddha and Hindu Temple in Bangkok and Shwedagon Pagoda and Boatong temple in Yangon.

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