I’ve now been In Thailand for a week and I have learnt a lot since I arrived and seen some great places. I realise I have got a bit behind with the blog so I will have to catch up quickly. Here is a brief rundown of days two and three, which were in Bangkok.
Day two – Sat – 6th June:
In the morning we started off walking with the plan to go to the Grand Palace. A local approached us, appearing to be very helpful? and showed us a to a tuktuk driver who took us to a river boat for 20 baht. Then the driver offered us a river boat trip for 800 baht (run by his friend) which we decided not to take it (he wasn’t very happy as he is on commission hence the low taxi price). We walked away to the Rama VIII Bridge and on the way we found a random temple, ‘Samphraya Voraviharn Temple’ which had a nice gold Buddha inside.
We got in a tuktuk Taxi under the bridge and were again told 20 baht. This time a different guy took us to his friends tailor shop (where he gets a commission if you buy clothes). We refused to go in and in the end he dropped us of at the Golden Mount and drove of in a huff and we didn’t have to pay anything.
It took a while but we basically learnt that you have to say ‘no stop’, ‘no shop’, when getting your tuktuk. You can take taxis but I think the tuktuks are more fun.
We got a tuktuk to the Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace. It was beautiful but very hot and we are quite exhausted by this time. There were causal looking guards around and if you forget to take you shoes off or took photos with a flash they would wack you with a ‘no shoes/no photo’ sign. Ah and also Maren had to hire some clothes as it was long trousers only for both men and women.
In the evening we went to the Anantara Sathorn Hotel and and had drinks at the ‘Zoom Sky Bar‘, where a cocktail costs what the average Thai lives on in Bangkok for a day! We went prepared with long trousers (and a long shirt for me, for men but not women) but had to hire closed toe shoes when we got there. There was a Thai lady doing a roaring trade in shoe hire for 100 baht with a 100 returnable deposit.
Day three – Sun – 7th June:
On my final day in Bangkok (before my Geckos trip north) we went to the Hua Lamphong Railway station in the morning to book Maren’s (my German friend) train ticket on the sleeper train to Chiang Mai (880 baht) and left her bag at the left luggage (for 70 baht).
We then took a tuktuk to the MBK centre which was like a shopping mall inside. There were a wide range of international brands, including Adidas, Boots pharmacy, and more. We had lunch in food court where you were given a prepaid card which held 1,000 baht and then paid at the end at the exit gate.
Then we moved on (using a tuktuk) to the temple of Wat Traimit, to see the world’s largest solid gold Buddha image. I quote ‘made of about 83% pure gold and weighing in at five and a half tons, 15-foot tall seated image’ very impressive.
We then walked to the river past ‘China Gate’, and got the express river boat for only 15 baht to the Reclining Buddha which is HUGE and only just fits in the temple built for it. It’s looks like a giant Buddha just crawled in there and lay down for a rest.
Here are a few pictures.I saw Maren off on a tuktuk to the train station and I went back to the hotel. My first time alone in a tuktuk. They are very quick and handy if you know what to say and I’m glad I met someone to navigate Bangkok with for the first few days.
At 6pm I met my Geckos tour group and we went out for dinner in a ‘locals’ place I never would have gone into myself, this is the benefit of having a native guide. I will talk more about the Geckos group in my next post.
Next up: days four and five.
Previously: first impressions of Bangkok.