Thailand is a crowded place: teeming with cars, vans, buses, motorbikes, tuktuks, and bicycles. Add in the crush of pedestrians darting around the street vendors and a few loafing soi dogs and city life here doesn’t stand still.

That is, until you step into the courtyard of an ancient Wat. Covering your shoulders and knees is required, and you’re careful to never point your feet at the Buddha (feet are dirty!).

You slip off your shoes, and feel the cool of the stone under your bare feet as you sidle quietly up the stairs.

And then, inside the stillness of the temple, you’re faced with Buddha and his enigmatic smile.

No matter what wildness and chaos is going on outside the temple (like leaving your debit card in the ATM, leaving you cash-poor in a cash-only society) or inside yourself (like a lovely stomach virus plus a sinus infection, combined with some free-floating anxiety), here is peace.

You just have to pause long enough to soak it in.

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