We spent our first day in Bangkok walking through the older part of the city and visiting its popular temples. When at the end of the long day we arrived at Wat Benchamabophit, a magnificent temple constructed with Italian Carrara marble in 1899, we soon realized we had left the chaos and the crowds behind. As we stepped into the temple's gleaming courtyard, we found this quiet and peaceful scene. Buddhist monkeys were preparing the yard for the sanctification ceremony that would take place the following day, on New Year's Eve. A local who was also assisting at the scene invited us to join them for the chanting that would take place to welcome the new year ahead and pray for good luck.