After checking in Bangkok City Hotel, we wasted no time and we headed to our first tour of the day – the temple tour, do-it-ourselves way.
Most travel agencies offer half day temple tours – but you can actually do it on your own, cheaper and it’s more fun.
From our hotel, we took the BTS from Ratchathewi to Saphan Taksin, where we need to hop into a ferry boat to transport us to the port near the Grand Palace entrance.
We purchased the rabbit card (similar to octopus card of Hong Kong MTR) and topped it up with 300baht to avoid hassle in buying tickets for the BTS.
From Saphan Taksin station, we took Exit number 2 proceeding to the pier. I know that the regular fare from the main pier to N9 Tha Chang – where the Grand Palace is near to - is 12 baht only. Apparently, when I asked the first ticket booth I saw, we were charged of 40baht. I was caught off guard – and handed them the money. It was then when I had the glimpse of the ferry that I realized it was the tourist ferry – and not the public ferry. Grhh..! (When in the same situation, try not to buy their ticket first and look for the public ferry just few steps away from the booth.)
It started to drizzle while we were still in the ferry. The next thing we knew, the rain dispensed all its wealth upon us. What a way to start our day?
That famous scam they have in the Grand Palace, where most tuk tuk drivers will tell you that the palace is closed? Yes, they still do that. I wonder, don't they know that their swindling style is all over the world wide web? Haha. We were just asking for directions at some point, when that old man interrupted and told us about the ‘closed’ thing. And my mom and two aunts reacted right away – haha. I told them it’s just a scam. I think, it would be better if you avoid asking the tuk tuk drivers around the area. We asked the vendors, and more safely, ask the man in uniform.
The rain didn’t bother considering that we were all dressed up (with closed shoes and long skirts for me and my mom) for the Grand Palace tour, and still heavily poured all the remaining water there is to spill out. While waiting for it to subside, we decided to just change our dollars to baht in a money changer near the entrance of the temple and entered into one of the restaurants.
my first pad Thai experience
We stayed a little longer inside the restaurants. It was already 3pm – and the rain showed no sign of stopping. Did I mention, only one of us has an umbrella? So there, we were forced to buy one more.
A friend of mine told me once that there’s nothing much to see in Bangkok. She may be right. But if you have a half day to spare, a visit to the famous and grandest palace temple won’t be bad idea.
The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Entrance fee: 400baht (Free for locals. Pretend to be on at your own risk!)
Closing time: 330pm
Proper dress code is strictly implemented. (In our case, since it was raining pretty hard, we were allowed to wear our flip flops inside the area.)
It cannot be called the Grand Palace for nothing. My mom and my aunt eyes feasted with all the golden architecture and intricate structure in every part of the temple. The rain continued to spoil our afternoon, but that did not stop us from snapping photos left and right – amid the busy crowd.
the shining emerald Buddha
Just behind the very impressive Temple of the Emerald Buddha, you will see the one of the largest temples in Thailand –
Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha).
Entrance fee: 100 baht (free bottled water)
Closing time: 6pm
Apart from the floating market, I think one of the most famous landmarks of Bangkok is the Temple Reclining Buddha. It’s like when you see it, you would right away think of Bangkok. Well, it’s a huge marker not to be noticed. Wat Pho is measured 46 meters long and is fully covered with gold. His feet are 3 meter- long, decorated in mother-of-pearl illustrations. It is said to be the oldest and largest Buddha in Thailand. It's so huge that you I had a hard time putting it on my camera frame. So I made a 'chop-chop' version of it.
There's more in the temple other than the reclining Buddha. While in the ferry on our way back to the BTS station (this time, we took the public ferry), we had a glimpse of the Wat Arun temple from afar. They say you can climb the temple to see a panoramic view of the city. I wanted to see it for myself, but my companions started to complain about getting tired – and so was my camera.