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Bangkok Day 3 – Temples & Grand Palace

Day 3 – 25th September 2006 (Monday):

BEWARE: Record breaking looooooong post. Just view the pictures if you’re lazy to read.

We woke up early on day 3 as we are going to Pak Khlong Talad aka Flower Market. We left the hostel quite late actually… about 6.30am and traveled by Metro (subway) from Sukhumvit to Hua Lamphong. One thing good about our hostel is that it is in close proximity to Skytrain (Asok) and Metro (Sukhumvit) interchange.

Hua Lamphong MRT station is connected to Hua Lamphong Railway Station, one of Bangkok’s main railway stations. Its architecture reminds me of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in Singapore.

From here, we took 2 taxis to the Flower Market and it is at this station that we encountered 2 angels in the form of a railway guard and a taxi driver. It was the railway guard who told us to request the staff from Tourist Information counter to write down ‘Pak Khlong Talad’ in Thai language and he was the one who effortlessly take care of the taxi queue. I’ve never seen any railway guard or whatever guard who is so dedicated. Bravo.

3 of us hopped on the first taxi available while 4 other friends hopped on the next one. Unfortunately for us the taxi went into a standstill after 3 corners. Wooppps! The taxi driver told us that he was sorry and that he was unable to bring us there as his car couldn’t start. I asked him how much we should pay for the ride and he said “Nevermind”. We expressed our appreciation and quickly walk back to the station. Meter taxi flag down rate is 35Baht for first 2km.

The guard that I told you about earlier doesn’t seem to be amazed that we went back for another taxi. When we hopped on another taxi, he told us to make a note of the taxi driver’s no. plate (in case). Maybe he thought that the first taxi driver cheated on us.

Thankfully we were able to locate our friends who had arrived earlier at Pak Khlong Talad. Seriously speaking I’m still not sure whether the flower market that we ‘toured’ is indeed Pak Khlong Talad. There’s no signage whatsoever, there’s not much flowers and not much variety and we saw a few more flower markets there as well. So maybe the whole neighborhood is called Pak Khlong Talad? *scratch head*

These are young lotus. Beautiful yah.

Can Moz please help identify these pictures to see whether we visit the correct market?

As we go deeper inside the market, we saw vegetables as well. *scratch head even more* After a very short excursion to the market and back, we went looking for a place to have our breakfast. We stopped over at a shop that sells chicken rice and noodle soup. I guess this is the best way to appreciate authentic Thai food. We relished the taste of Thai chicken rice @ 25Baht per plate. Goodness me! The chicken rice and soup were awesome!

After our morning feast, we went looking for Grand Palace. We had no idea what street we’re on and have to ask around for direction. I knew we’re lost the moment the taxi brought us to Pak Khlong Talad. This event also sparked some constraint within our group. My group members were waiting for me and my sis to point to the right direction. I think they thought we’re tour guides! It was always us holding the maps & itinerary. Aiseh!

Apparently we found out that Wat Pho< is nearer. It was quite a long walk and we managed to view some local Thais sundry shops, small warehouses and school. Wat Pho admission charge is 100Baht (~RM10). In the picture below the towering pagodas are called chedis, memorials to the past monarchs. There's also the fame Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School but unfortunately due to time constraint we gave it a miss. Wat Pho houses the fame Reclining Buddha. The statue is 46 metres long and 15 metres high and are covered with gold leaves. Truly beautiful. The first thing I said when I went in the building was "WOW!!! The wall of the building is full of beautiful painted mural depicting story of the ancient world. The feet of the Buddha’s statue are laid with mother-of-pearl designs and we are forbid from touching it.

After that we had a LONG LONG walk to the Grand Palace. We were fooled by a tuk-tuk driver that told us to go ‘that’ way where we covered 1/2 of the Grand Palace outer wall #^@&!*% when in fact the other way is so much shorter. Along the way we were harassed by a few tuk-tuk drivers telling us that Grand Palace is close for the morning. Of course we knew it is a scam.

We rested quite awhile when we arrived at the Grand Palace main entrance because all of us were so exhausted. While resting we had a good laugh at some of the ‘Orang Barat’ tourists. In order to enter Grand Palace, visitor must dress appropriately and some of these women and men dressed in short, skirt above knee, sleeveless etc. Proper clothing will be loan to them at the entrance and there was this 1 hot guy we’re laughing about. He was wearing a VERY bright yellow trousers (loose fitting type). The moment you see that trousers I bet you’ll be turned off as well. Poor him.

The Grand Palace ticket costs 200Baht and admits you to Vimanmek Mansion Museum and The Royal Thai Decoration and Coin Pavilion as well (we didn’t visit these 2 buildings unfortunately). First, we visited the Upper Terrace which consists of a large golden chedi, Phra Mondop and a carved model of Angkor Wat and another building which I have forgotten the name. Phra Mondop is covered mostly in gold, white and mirror tiles. A sight to behold!

Next to Upper Terrace is the most famous temple in Thailand, Wat Phra Keow or more famously known as The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. These pictures didn’t do justice due to over-exposure hehehe I blame the weather and myself (too) for not recalling how to set my digi cam.

Ahh what can I say about the Grand Palace? It’s beautiful and it gave you a grandeur feeling. I especially loves the golden color roof top.

Ahh oh ya at the souvenir shop in the Grand Palace, there’s a small postage office… which brought sheer delight to sis and me. We’ve been looking for a post-office high and low. We sent 2 postcards back to our home just because we wanted the stamps. Hehehe. Got the postcard few days after we came back. It’s always nice to read back what you wrote in the postcards… memory.

Next stop is Chinatown and this time 3 of us gotten a ‘BAD’ taxi driver. I don’t understand. If he doesn’t want to take us there why in the first place agree to it? He almost had 3 accidents, he is a maniac and I suspected he took us ‘jalan-jalan’. First he came to a stop ‘somewhere’ in Chinatown. We said “NO” cause we already told him our destination is a hotel near Sampeng Market. He grunted loudly. And when he came to a stop at the wrong hotel, we said “NO” again and this time his grunt is so scary that we said “OK OK”. We walked several blocks to our 4 friends who while waiting for us had finished their lunch at a hawker stall. Along the way we asked quite a number of people for direction. Bliss eh?

I can say that my lunch at Chinatown is the sweetest of all. I had glass noodle soup + green tea @ 45 Baht. Slurpppppppppppp the soup was so ‘CHENG!’ (wonderfully delicious) that I drank it all… why not? hehehe and I got to convey Hokkien with the lady hawker. She is so sweet. Then we walk walk walk until we arrive at Sampeng Market.

At Sampeng Market you can find cheap clothing, footwear, jewelry, textiles, fashion accessories and many more. Sis and me bought a few packets of long beads, glass beads and crystals. Hahaha.

Right after Sampeng Market, we were supposed to visit Wat Arun but due to time limit (closing in 1.5hrs time) we decided to leave it until tomorrow. So we went back to hostel for a 2 hours rest. And then when we were about to leave for dinner, it pours. Our first Bangkok rain. Wohooooo…

Later on, one of the girls suggested to walk about our hostel area to hunt for hawker food for dinner. Because it had just rain, not many hawkers can be found along the road. But we found these… fried grasshoppers, worms, frogs, etc hehe. One of the guys bought a packet of ‘insects’ to be tried out after dinner.

We went to Robinson looking for a place to have dinner and thank god there’s a food court there. However one of the girls decided to skip dinner and go bra hunting instead. I had a shrimp tom yam for dinner plus 1/4 of a worm. Why 1/4? because I dare not touch the fried worm. It looked so alive. So my sis break ’em into 1/4. LOL. After dinner, our friend went and bought 3 more packets of ‘insects’ for souvenir for his friends!

Don’t worry we didn’t visit any 7-11 along the way home because we already bought some food stuffs at Robinson’s TOPs supermarket. I ate an instant noodle before retiring to bed. The tom yam that I ate is like nothing. Aiyoo.

Since sis and me were a little pissed off by that day’s episode about us tour guiding our group and we’re SO TIRED, we told our friends that we have cancel the next day’s plan. They can go wherever they want and we will follow them. Heh I’m not that evil lah woiiiii. But then it’s good that I cancel the next day plan (fyi, I drew out the Bangkok itinerary with Moz’s help hehe) because according to a Thai lady Damnoen Saduak Floating Market only opens on the weekend (blame myself for not paying much attention to this matter). Plus afternoon plan for the next day is shopping only… cancel also nevermind as more than 50% of us have little cash left. Thought of going to Taling Chan Floating Market but the Thai lady said no more or only on weekends. Ahhh I forgot. Wanna know where we’re going the “next day”? Find out about our floating market alternative tour. Stay tuned!

This is a short video clip of the song Don’t Cha (PSD) sang by a Thai singer at Suan Lum Night Bazaar. Enjoy.

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  • Reply moz monster October 6, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    13 months in Bangkok, and I did not meet as many terrible taxi drivers as you have !!! Must be because I look like a Thai …. or something.

    I’m glad you still found enjoyment although you’ve had some close calls.

    Hehe … lemme know if the itenarary needs improvement … I wanna become tourguide … maybe will make some money that way … :kaching:

  • Reply wuching October 6, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    ur right! super duper long post! u could break it into smaller posts!

  • Reply moz monster October 6, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    BTW, you were at Pak Klong Talad … which literally means Market at Mouth of River. Would have thought it would have been really easy for taxi drivers.

    As for the lack of flowers, not quite sure … maybe it’s timing. However, the street food in that area is pretty good, no?

    And also, did you try out any of the shark fins or bird’s nest in Chinatown ?

  • Reply Che-Cheh October 7, 2006 at 8:56 pm

    Moz Monster, I think you look like a Thai 😀
    Yeah inform your tour members to bring enough cash to Bangkok.
    Ok, so that’s Pak Khlong Talad. :applause:
    Ya we tried the chicken rice at that area. Awesome!

    Nope didn’t try any shark fins/bird nest but the street food in Chinatown is :drool:

    Wuching, come here let me break your neck. :beat_up:

  • Reply tihtahpah October 9, 2006 at 11:42 am

    Hey, my favourite place in Thailand is Ayuthaya…for more historical sites…

  • Reply Jemima October 9, 2006 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks so much for such a detailed review.
    It felt like I had gone on the trip with you. :LOL:

  • Reply kleio October 9, 2006 at 4:45 pm

    I’d like some worms please 😀
    So you didnt’ try it? Actually, I’ve been wanting to try some scorpions and some belalang also. Hehehe – fear factor style :laughing:

    I am quite daring and adventurous when it comes to food. Been to Hong Kong but, didn’t managed to get some of their famous ‘Stinking Deep-Fried Tofu’ 🙁

  • Reply Che-Cheh October 9, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    Tihtahpah, I would like to visit Ayuthaya one day. Must be really beautiful there. :daydream:

    Jemima, my pleasure. :laughing:

    Kleio, I tried 1/4 of the worm…does that mean I try it ? :laughing: Oh gosh you’re so brave. You should go to China. They have plenty of scorpions, cockroaches, grasshoppers, etc.
    Hey, my mission in HK is to try the ‘chow taufu’ too. I plan to go HK next year.

  • Reply chinky March 18, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    hey u r absolutely right there are some people in Bangkok who have absolutely no intention of helping or telling you the truth and they will mislead and misguide you
    You can expect some decent behavior if you are Caucasian Handsome guy or resemble Thai
    Well I am very disappointed …too much hype is given to Thaialnd unnecessary

  • Reply Che-Cheh March 19, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Chinky, of course not all Thai people are like that…only a few. Guess we met the wrong person at the wrong time. :confused_2:

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