I love you when you bow in your mosque,
kneel in your temple, pray in your church.
For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.
Days before our trip to Thailand, I plotted our first day to be a walking tour around Bangkok. We are eager to do-it-ourselves rather than join the many travel tours offered around town. This saves us with more shopping money and quality time.
Disclaimer: If you are up with this challenge and wanted to follow our itinerary, you’d better be fit and able to go distance at an unbearable heat. You should be ready to get lost and still have a good time.
Our Thailand itinerary will get you started with the information needed such as commuters guide, landmarks, fees, timings, and the like. Thank God, google is just a click away and fellow bloggers like Gael did a wonderful account on her previous Bangkok walking tour as well.
First Day in Bangkok
BTS Skytrain Ratchatewi station is a good 5 minutes walk from our accommodation. We bought our BTS Skypass Smartpass since we will be using the skytrain on most of our trip. At 8:30 AM we found ourselves heading to Saphan Taksin station.
At Saphan Taksin Station, we walked towards the Central Pier to catch the Orange flag express boats. Flat Fare is 15 baht. We didn’t wait long, and a passenger boat appeared shortly. When everyone is aboard, it left at once. We sailed away through Chao Phraya River. Our eyes were treated with floating restaurants, private boats, temples and architectures. We were impressed by how convenient and effective this mode of transport for tourists and locals alike, a far cry from being stuck on road traffic.
From Pier 1 we went down to Pier 9, The Chang. This is the gateway to the Grand Palace. Off the pier, we entered a market, since we were already starving, we didn’t hesitate to try out our first thai food for breakfast. I ordered fried rice with vegetables and chicken while the mister tried out some local soup. We enjoyed our meals that we were both sweating like pigs when the day has just started.
At the end of the market we turned right, walk along the sidewalk, Amulet Market, I reckon and got lost. We found out later that we should have crossed the street from the market and walk straight until we find the entrance to the Grand Palace. We lost about 30 minutes and shed a few calories from our first boo-boo.
Finally found the entrance, with a lot of early visitors touring as well. We can’t deny that this is the most famous landmark in Thailand, and a visit for a first-timer is a must.
The fee is 350 baht which is inclusive of:
- The Entrance ticket to the Grand Palace and the Temple of Emerald Buddha
- The Entrance ticket to Vimanmek Mansion Museum, Support Museum Abhisek Dusit Throne Hall, Sanam Chandra Palace
- The Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations and Coins
We only used the first ticket as we weren’t really eager to see the other 2 places.
The Mythological Giant Temple Guard
Temple Dress Code:
All Buddhist temples in Thailand have very strict dress codes. Be sure to dress up properly to avoid inconvenience. Men should wear long pants, shorts are not allowed. Women should either wear pants or a long skirt. Mini-skirts, sleeveless blouse and see-through dress are not allowed. Shoulders should not be exposed. There are shawls available for loan at the entrance.
Leather sandals are preferred more than shoes since it is highly observed to take them off when entering a sacred temple. Flip flops are not allowed too. Buddhist temples are extremely sacred places, for visitors it may only be a tourist spot but for the locals it is a place of worship.
Phra Si Rattana Chedi – Grand-Palace
The Grand Palace is a magnificent complex of buildings in Bangkok, Thailand. It served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th century onwards. King Rama I eventually ordered the building of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha; as the Monarch’s personal place of worship and royal temple.
Hands down to the craftsmanship of Thai people. Their creativity prevailed in each and every temple around Grand Palace. The intricate details, from carvings to paintings were excellently done from wall to wall.
European Style Grand Palace Hall
Is it true that too much of temples make you sick? Having been to Indonesian temples just last month, I still had a vague memory of their amazing sculptures. To quote our new Thai friend , “What is a wat? They all look the same.” Having seen a few, my mind can only take as much of the strange sculptures and bright colors. And too much gold.
We spent 2 hours wandering around Grand Palace. My headache is building up so we didn’t finish checking out the inside of each temple. We still had a few places on our list and we’re running out of time.
We got screwed up by riding the Tuktuk. More on our next Thailand post.