By Brittany Gebben

I’m currently on an explorative trip visiting the country of Thailand, and I’ve enjoyed learning more about the Thai culture, history and the Buddhist religion. I love to travel, and Thailand has been on my husband’s and my bucket list of world travels together for many years.

The first full day in Bangkok we took a tour of some well-known Buddhist temples. The Grand Palace, established in 1782 and sitting on 60 acres, consists of royal residence and theatre halls but is also home to the renowned Emerald Buddha. Here, we got to see beautiful, historic art and fascinatingly intricate detail.

This beautiful wall mural had 24 carat gold leaf placed on the wall and was then painted over in certain areas to reveal the gold detail throughout. This mural, in The Grand Palace complex, is the longest continuous mural in the world at 1,500 feet.

Chinese statues came from China in the early reign of the Chakri Dynasty. In those days, Thailand had trade partnerships with China and exported rice and teakwood while importing silks and porcelains. The statues were used as ballasts on the ships to help balance the weight while transporting.

At another temple grounds, Wat Arun, you can see porcelain, that was broken from the shipping process, was used to create this and many beautifully constructed temples.

At Wat Pho, another Buddhist temple complex and home to the famous Reclining Buddha, Buddhas have been gathered from temples around the country and line the walls. The Buddha statues are made of solid bronze and covered in 24 carat gold. A Buddha is easily identified by the top knot on their head; if one is without a topknot it is a disciple of the Buddhas.

This day of touring temples was very informative about Thai history, culture and the Buddhist religion. On our temple tours and throughout exploring the country, we’ve seen many elephants and learned that the elephant, the country’s national symbol, has played an important part in Thailand’s history and today. It also has special spiritual significance with its deep religious associations. We spent one day caring for and washing elephants, and it was a breath-taking experience. It was astonishing to see the elephants walking freely in the wild, and being able to interact so closely with such a grand animal was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

There’s so much of the world for us all to see, and I’ve enjoyed sharing some of my Thai adventures!