Bangkok – Part 3

Previously on November Getaway 2013: Pre-departure, Bangkok day 1 and day 2

11 Nov

This day was the last day in Bangkok and also the day that I was very grateful that I brought my sneakers. I used to think that sandals were my choice of footwear when it came to travelling but after the long walk today I converted to pro-sneakers.

The travel mate and I visited Grand Palace, Wat Arun, and Wat Pho. We went by feet and boat to reach those places and got back to Happy House to get some rest before watching the Siam Niramit show.

Grand Palace

Grand Palace was the reason I packed my sneakers. Visitors had to dress properly and that meant no bare feet (we had to wear socks if we’re wearing sandals/flip flop).

To The Grand Palace
Let’s walk walk walk to the Grand Palace!
Grand Palace Gate
.. and we’re there!

There was this one famous scam, one in which the swindler would say that the Grand Palace was closed and then lure tourist to other places (like gem stores) but that morning the Grand Palace gate was swamped by groups of tourist (with their buses parked nearby) so there’s no chance to see this scam live in action (not that I hoped to see or worse, fall into one).

Golden Palace
No wonder why I sometimes searched for ‘Golden Palace’ instead of ‘Grand Palace’
My Fave Area at Grand Palace
My fave area in Grand Palace
The Palace Guards
Guards on duty

The 500 THB Grand Palace ticket included several entries to other places. One of them was Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile which was also located in the Grand Palace.

At first I just wanted to cool myself down but this museum turned out to be offering much more than air conditioning. They put multimedia to a good use  and had amazing display cases to show off the royal collection.

They used special glass that surrounded several clothes and when the visitor moved around the glass, the glass will focus visitor’s eyes to one specific clothe only. Awesome! We couldn’t take picture inside the museum though.

Queen Sirikit Museum of Textile

To The Temples

Graffiti On The Way To Wat Pho/Wat Arun
Demo related graffiti found on the way to Wat Pho/Wat Arun
Snack and Lunch
Snack and lunch (chicken with basil)

We had lunch in front of the N9 Tha Chang pier (see map). At that point I didn’t have how-to-get-to-next-destination recorded in my brain. I only had this: Wat Pho and Wat Arun were near Grand Palace and somehow there had to be boat involved. That’s it.

So there we were, looking around Tha Chang pier, trying to locate where to buy boat ticket for a moment, we had no clue at all. So when we found a line of people started to form on one of the waiting points at the pier, we just followed the crowd.

Soon a boat came and we mentioned ‘Wat Pho’ to the boat guy and he directed us to the other waiting point on that pier. Apparently the queue was for the boat that travelled the other direction.

We then successfully boarded the right boat without tickets in our hands and knowing where to alight. The boat was full of people and we just stood at the stairs near the deck. A bit later a woman came and collected money.  Ah, so you pay onboard…

I mentioned ‘Wat Arun’ to the boat conductor and she mentioned the cost (15 THB). One stop later, catching the word ‘Wat Arun’ and ‘crossing’, we hurriedly alighted at N8 Tha Tien pier. This time it was clear to us that we had to purchase the ticket at the pier (3 THB) for boat ride crossing the river.

Crossing Chao Praya
Crossing Chao Praya – Wat Arun in the background

The boat was smaller and less crowded. It was a short trip, so short that the boat guy didn’t have a chance to finish his bowl of noodle.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun
Wat Arun and its freakin’ stairs (love that guy who was all smile at the stairs!)

Pigeons at Wat Arun

Wat Pho

Back crossing the river and then few minute walking from N8 Tha Tien Pier we found Wat Pho.

The Reclining Budha
The Reclining Budha
Wat Pho
So quiet, so peaceful here

There were several parts in Grand Palace and Wat Pho where we had to take off our footwears, i.e the praying area like picture above. We sat for a while in that place along with other foreigners, enjoying the silence and resting for a bit. I felt so peaceful there…

But not for long, stepping outside that praying area there should be an exit entrance nearby, just few meters from it really and I still don’t understand how my travel mate and I could circle around back to the entrance (Wat Pho is a 20 acres complex) and no we didn’t exit at the entrance, that would not be proper. We went back to find the exit gate. Disoriented travellers…

From Wat Pho we walked back to Happy House.

Thai Food
Recharging: Green Curry, Pad Thai, Vegetable Stir-Fry, and Mango Sticky Rice (no pic)

To Siam Niramit Show!

This show was number one in my Bangkok bucket list and it lived up to my expectation. If I ever get a chance to visit Bangkok again, I’d love to see this again, perhaps in Phuket.

We took bus no 53 to get us to Hua Lamphong station. Halfway the passengers needed to change bus with other bus no 53 (don’t know why). There was this one westerner expat on the bus assured us that sometimes it happened and he hadn’t found out the reason yet.

At Hua Lamphong station we wanted to get next day train ticket to Aranyaprathet (for land trip to Siem Reap) but the information center staff said that it should be same day purchase and we could buy the ticket tomorrow.

Besides train station, Hua Lamphong also had MRT station and we took train from there to Thai Cultural Center station. The travel agent from which we purchased the show ticket had advised us to go to Exit 1 and there we found the free shuttle van that would take us to Siam Niramit show.

Thailand’s Must See Show

Siam Niramit Pre-show
Performance and Thai Village to see before the show

We exchanged the receipt from the travel agent and got our seat number printed on a sticker that we should stick to our clothes. Cameras and video recording devices should be deposited right before entering the theater.

The theater was just like a cinema theater, a huge cinema theater that could accomodate 2000 seats. We got G48 and G49, that was in the middle of the fourth line from the bottom of upper seating area. I know, I’m not good at describing things but it was good seat and one hell of a show.

yours truly at Siam Niramit
yours truly

Siam Niramit show had an amazing set  and special effect. The decoration was sometimes gigantic yet the transitions between each stage were so smooth and fast. They also had ‘river’ on stage.

There were hundred of casts in costume. They even had goats and elephants walking on the stage and on the space between the bottom and upper seating area. Elephants. And goats.

The show lasted for 1.5 hours and I enjoyed every second of it.

Siam Niramit

They provided bus that took us to Thailand Cultural Center MRT station. We walked around the area for about half an hour and then got a taxi to Khao San road.

The taxi driver agreed to use meter but kept trying to make us pay 200 THB. No way, Mr. Taxi Driver! He took the taxi to the expressway and we paid 50 THB for the toll. Going on Bangkok expressway: checked!

Pork Noodle and Choco-banana Pancake
Midnight snack: pork noodle and choco-banana pancake

So that was it for Bangkok, a wonderful reminder of the excitement of seeing new places. I said goodnight and could not wait what the next city would bring me.

Plan: Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Cloud47 Reality: Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Siam Niramit Show

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