In the video game, Temple Run, players have to run through narrow passages of ancient temples, taking sharp turns, navigating dark alleys and jumping over pits of fire.  Apparently this is fun stuff.  If you’re 12.

In Bangkok, tourists have to walk through narrow passages (of other tourists) at temples, taking hundreds of pictures while navigating how to avoid other people (taking the same pictures) in the blazing heat of full summer sun.  Apparently this is fun.  If you’re 40.

Our children and our niece were great sports and barely, hardly, rarely, infrequently, seldomly complained.  Okay, once.  Or a hundred times, I can’t remember which.  It seems the heat turned my brain to wax – and that it seeped itself out onto the streets of Thailand.

I can’t blame them if they did complain.  There were enough golden Buddhas in Bangkok to sear silhouettes of the idols into our corneas in the overzealous sunshine.  Plus, to the kids, one temple is the same as another.  And we saw many, many temples.  It was an epic temple run.

Just a slice of Nirvana at the Royal Grand Palace.

First, the Royal Grand Palace.  This is where the Emerald Buddha resides.  He’s a small Buddha who sits way atop a mountain of symbolic beauty and tourists are not allowed to take his picture.  Of the two pictures we didn’t take – neither is usable in this blog.  I think Buddhists call this karma.

Pretty, right?  Also quite reflective.

They held up their end of the traveling bargain.

…with a modicum of bribery.

Then came Wat Po, where the reclining Buddha lives.

This is one big lounging Buddha.  Someone bring him a martini.

Finally, came Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn. Home of the Golden Happy Buddha.

We loooooove Happy Buddha. He seems like one of us.  But so much…golder. 

If you ever find yourself in Bangkok, all three of these temples are worth your attention. Take your camera and take your time.  They are painstakingly decorated with little pieces of glass, hand glued onto every inch of every surface – giant kaleidoscopes.  They are spectacular.

And even if the kids won’t admit it, they were every bit as cool as a mesmerizing video game.