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Top 10 Highlights of my second trip to the British Museum

Sometimes it takes a second glance for some people to let the information sink it. Such was my experience on my second visit to the British Museum. My first trip was short and sweet when a long-lost friend met me in London and showed me the place like a professional tour guide. Like the start of a good novel, the first trip made me go back for the second visit. This time I spent nearly the whole day inside and took it slow but still, I only managed to see half. That means I will have to go back for a third visit.

The highlights contained here are from Ancient Egypt, Greece, and the Middle East sections. In order to make the most of it, I paid for an audio guide.

The top 10 highlights of my 2nd trip to the British Museum


1. King-List: Egyptian Hall of Fame


This panel shows the Egyptian kings from the first Pharaoh down the line. Hatshepsut was omitted because she was a queen who ruled as king. Queens were deemed unimportant. There were four other kings omitted in the list because they were associated with the ‘heretic’ Amarna Period.

2. King Amenhotep’s Fist


The head and the left arm are what’s left of the statue. Amenhotep was one of the four kings omitted in the King-list.

Why not Rameses? Well, he’s got everybody’s attention; but I have my own preference.

3. Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone British Museum

The most popular exhibit in the British Museum, the Rosetta Stone is considered the key to unraveling the mystery of the hieroglyphs and to understanding the inscriptions on the displays found in many sections of the museum.


4. Elgin Marbles


When these marbles from the Parthenon was first shown to the public, John Keats was among the earliest visitors.

5. The Birth of Athena

The sculptures on the east pediment of the Parthenon show the birth of the goddess Athena from the head of her father Zeus. From the left was Poseidon on a horse rising from the sea which represents the dawn, the time Athena was born. While all the other sculptures lost the heads, Dionysius has not, and he’s the only one with his back towards the scene, seemingly unaffected by the event.

6. Goddess Iris


An excerpt from the audio gives the best description of this sculpture.

This is the spirit of the air and motive that runs through the whole of the body
and drapery speed in the resilience of the body, in the tension of the legs and in the clothing
Forced into a series of ripples on the right thigh, pressed flat against the body itself,
and flattering away at the edges as the air streams through it.
Every single fold speaks the action of the wind.

7. A centaur attacking a young boy


A 5-minute film showed the reconstruction of this sculpture. Through the help of a 3D scan of the heads (which are in Denmark Museum) and a drawing of the sculpture showing the whole picture, they managed to restore it in 3D as seen in the image below.


8. Pottery and painting by Ezekiasachiles-and-pentheselia-queen-of-amazon

This wine jar shows Achilles plunging his spear into the neck of Penthesileia, Queen of Amazon. When he realised who the warrior was, Achilles fell in love with his victim but it was too late to save Penthesileia from death.


9. Assyrian Gate


The bronze braces on the massive doors and the two heads with animal body contain arts in minute details.

10. Royal Lion Hunting — King Lachish

Divided into layers not taller than 6″, this panel showing King Lachish on his lion hunting, displays the best of Assyrian art and craftsmanship. The tiny details demonstrate a painstaking job done by the carver.

The audio guide cost £5 but it was well worth it. You can even have the highlights of your tour emailed to you. Unfortunately, my audio kit ran out of battery before I could register my email address.

Have you been to the British Museum? What’s your favourite section or exhibit?

Please share your thoughts below.


Bangkok temple hopping & the tuktuk driver who disappeared


While I was taking a photo of a nicely painted building just across the street from the Panfa Leelard boat station, a man who appeared to be wearing a police uniform asked if I needed a tuktuk for temple-hopping. I asked how much it would cost and he said it was only 20 Baht. That’s less than 50 pence. I quizzed him why it was so cheap. He explained that it was the government’s incentives to tourists visiting the temples, but there’s a catch. The tuktuk would take us to a jewelry and textile shop who will give him  fuel vouchers in exchange of bringing them potential customers more accurately called prospective rip-off victims. I asked again if the tuktuk could take us to Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha within the grounds of the Grand Palace. He assured us that the driver would.

Believing I knew Bangkok well enough, I agreed and bit the bait. Alex and I waited for a few minutes until a tuktuk with a yellow flag in front arrived. The “man in uniform” talked to him in English telling him where we wanted to go.

When we got on his tuktuk, the driver said that he must first take us to the nearest temple.

To make the driver aware that I knew Bangkok like the back of my hand, I started a conversation with him. Noticing his right arm with bruise and fresh lesion, I asked him what happened in a casual tone. He said that he had an accident the night before. It made me worried a bit but I pretended to stay calm.

Suddenly, he revved up the engine so abruptly that the back wheels were almost left behind if they didn’t catch up quite quickly. Alex and I talked with our surprised eyes.


The Golden Giant Buddha

I thought I had seen all the major temples in Bangkok but there were more than I had imagined.

Wat Intharawihan or the temple itself had three massive ornate doors whose brilliance was intensified by the sun. Next to it stood the 32 metre-tall golden Buddha.

After admiring this colossal statue, our driver took us to the next stop.

The Temple of the Lucky Buddha

I was imagining a fat Buddha with babies around it but it was a relatively small Buddha compared to the previous one we just saw. In fact it was housed in a simple and open temple. The smell of incense wafted in the air.

In a demonstration, our driver taught us to bow three times to this Buddha for luck and left to give us our space.

Alex and I looked at each other awkwardly. We just didn’t know how to do it and what to ask for. Silently we walked away and checked the building next to it. Appearing from a small room, a man was surprised to see us. He asked if we were Buddhist. We said we were tourists.

“How did you know about this temple? Only locals know about this place.” He queried with interest in his eyes. He was right. There was nothing in it that would catch a tourist’s interest. Our driver took us here, was my short reply. He nodded in acceptance of my explanation.

Before taking us to the next temple, the driver drove us to the jewelry shop. He instructed us to stay at least 10 minutes inside so he could collect his fuel voucher. We stayed longer than anticipated. The driver waited patiently outside.

From there he took us to the textile shop where he gave us the same instruction. Alex and I struggled to get out of this shop because of the sales team’s relentless effort to make us take our wallet out from our pockets.

Marble Temple


If it wasn’t cloudy that day, this temple would have radiated even more. Its marble walls and columns were complimented by the ochre roof, scarlet-framed windows and golden fringes. It seemed as though it was built to be admired. The front yard could accommodate a hundred tourists at a time.

After soaking in the sight, we were ready for our final stop, the Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emeral Buddha within the grounds of the Grand Palace.

After buying young coconut for its water, we scanned the tuktuks to find our driver. We walked back and forth looking for a familiar face among the people but we couldn’t find our tuktuk nor the driver. Thinking that the tuktuk could have nipped for a few minutes, we waited impatiently but in vain. We had not even paid him. How could he take off just like that? We snorted and shook our head in disbelief.

We asked the other tuktuks to take us to Wat Phra Kaew and they were asking 150 Baht. That’s £3. It was more than 7 times the original price we were to pay our tuktuk driver who disappeared.