Thailand Chronicles 2: Wat Phra Kaew, The Grand Palace, Wat Pho And Some Shopping

We started out the day a bit later than we wanted, but we had a bit of jetlag and needed the rest. We got up at around 9AM, showered and packed our stuff up real tight. We saved our photos on our laptop and prepared to eat some food. The food was OK, but took a very long time to serve. My wife found a bug in her salad and we decided not to eat there again.

We walked out and took a cab to Wat Phra Kaew and The Grand Palace, located next to each other in a giant complex. A perfect start for our visit to Thailand.

It was a very hot day and we spent it exploring the monuments and towers. It was beautiful and I managed to take some photos of the Emerald Buddha, thanks to my 18-200mm VR lens. Those weren’t as good as the photos from the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, where we aloud to take pics without any problems. However, I decided against getting directly into the temps and snapping away, I knew it was disrespectful.

After that, we toured around the temple and looked at the Grand Palace. The entrance fee for both things was 250 BHT, the most expensive that I expect to pay to visit any temple.

We had fresh coconuts and water as refreshments. The cocount was incredible, I want to have a few every day. At the same time, we were both confronted by the bathroom situation. I have already blogged about the Taiwan toilet problem. There is even a bigger problem in Thailand, mainly because they give you a few sheets of paper and then you have to squat.

I won’t get into the details, but there was a “douche” that you had to use to clean yourself first, and then wipe. Anyways, I got a bit of water all over the place, but not too much on myself. At least I had relieved myself. Not all of the toilets are like that, we went to the MBK center next to the National Stadium Skytrain stop, and they were fine, unless you discounted the fact that you could hear some foreigner with clear bowel problems.

After that, we went to Wat Pho. We were pretty happy to hear that it was located right behind The Grand Palace and made our way there. Before getting through the “foreigner entrance”, I haggled a bit for a hat. I am still sure that I got screwed, but at least I only paid 150 BHT. Compared with the initial 400 BHT, it was still a deal.

Wat Pho was a lot less crowed and in peak restoration period. The reclining Buddha was very impressive and covered in gold. We took a break after having photographed him and decided on what to do next. After noticing that it was already 3:30PM and that we probably wouldn’t have time to visit another Wat, because most of them close between 4 and 5PM, though Wat Pho closed at 6PM, we read our lonely planet. It was suggested that we charter a long tail boat in the lonely planet. We decided on a cheaper version of the same thing.

We took a cab, who tried to scam us into taking a boat tour (1500 BHT) and wanted to bring us to a tailor, we disembarked at a pier. We walked around and finally were able to find out that we had to walk a bit more before we would be able to find the right pier for the Chao Phraya River Express boats.

The cost?

13 BHT each!

We spent half an hour on the boat, going by Wat Arun and taking some pictures before getting off at a point and making our way to the skytrain. We were unsure how to find the restaurant, so when my wife was looking at some shoes, I decided that we would eat some Thai noodle soup at a small restaurant right by the skytrain. It was packed with locals and I knew this was a good sign.

The soup was great, but we were still hungry.

I read the lonely planet a bit more and found out that the MBK Food Center was recommended as an eatery. So we took the skytrain, which is quite impressive to the National Stadium stop and went directly into the shopping centre. My wife found some clothes, I waited and we made our way to the food court.

My wife pointed out the Indian Food restaurant, and we ate there.

I overstuffed myself and had to take a break to digest. I was shortchanged by someone and corrected that mistake quickly and drank a cool fresh coconut to rest. At 7PM, we started going around the mall to do a bit of shopping. I found some Diesel t-shirts in a stall for 199 BHT. I also found some cool Replay pants, but wasn’t prepared to shell out 1200BHT for them.

That was the problem. I found some G-Star pants as well for the same price, but still, they weren’t exactly the ones that I wanted. So I just decided to stay with the 6 t-shirts that I bought.

My wife bought some Diesel jeans for 699 BHT and another shirt to cover up her arms because she has “tanned” a bit. She is a redhead and at least she hasn’t become all red yet, because she uses a lot of sunscreen.

At the end of the day, we made our way back to the guesthouse and had planned out our next couple of days.

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ranjitwithkinginbehand.jpgI'm Range, your host. On the menu, photos, art, stories, entertainment and reviews. Links, maths, education and social issues. I'm in Quebec (Canada) or Taiwan (R.O.C.). Follow me on Twitter.

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