Bangkok Day 2
Today is our second (and last) full day here in Bangkok. Due to the King's death, many temples, including the Grand Palace are closed. However, my friend from HKU who is also in Bangkok, told me that he had visited Wat Pho the day before, so we decided to try that out.
We got on the MRT (underground train) and rode it until the end of the line, where we got off. From there we were supposed to take a public ferry to Wat Pho. However, after we got off the MRT, we didn't know where to go. As we wandered around confused, a man approached us and told us that Wat Pho doesn't open until 12pm today and that his tuk tuk (third picture) could bring us to the ferry where we could do a two hour tour to the floating markets and then be dropped off at Wat Pho on the way back by long tail boat. He told us that the tuk tuk only cost $20 baht for all four of us so we decided to go. When we got there the lady tried to charge us $2,800 baht for all four of us. No thank you.
From there we decided to try and walk to the public pier where we could just take the ferry to Wat Pho. After arriving at that area, we were unsure of where to go, but I was hungry so I decided to buy some fruit (pictured above). I love that in Thailand there are many street carts filled with fresh fruit which they will cut up for you and then serve to you in a bag (with skewers). My favorite is the pineapple, so I got that again.
As I was waiting for the man to cut up the pineapple for me, we were again approached by a man who told us that his long tail boat could bring us on a two hour trip to the floating markets and Wat Pho, but for only $1,600 baht for all four of us (we would also get a free tuk tuk ride to the ferry). After debating about whether we were going to get ripped off again, we decided to do it because we had no better plans.
All four of us crammed into the back of a tuk tuk, which is basically a fast golf cart but is allowed to drive on the road as well. During the short ride we realized that the man was taking us back to the same place we had just walked from and we felt like we were going to get scammed again. However, we got out and walked with the driver to the lady in charge of selling their service and collecting money. We went to a different lady this time, and I made it very clear from the beginning that we were told it would be $1,600 baht only. Surprisingly, we got the trip for that price. We had not realized that the different ladies sitting were part of different companies.
Long Tail Boat Tour
After paying, we were led to the end of the dock and we were instructed to get into their long tail boat. It was a long skinny boat made out of wood, which had colorful sides and a top. The four of use were the only ones in the boat, so that was nice.
While cruising we saw many other long tail boats with other tourists aboard. We saw everything from a single person getting a tour to the boat being packed with people. The ride was very bumpy at times, but our driver was very good and I did not feel unsafe at any time. Note the color of the dirty brown water.
Long Tail Boat Tour cont.
The ride was pretty long, I'm guessing at least forty-five minutes and probably more like an hour. It was a lot of fun, and spontaneous (as I didn't think that we would have time in our short two days in Bangkok to do everything I wanted).
As we rode in the boat we passed many "houses" on the water. Some were nice, most were not. Many of the houses were completely falling apart and were tiny.
Talingchan Floating Market
When we finally got there we had to climb over three other boats to get to the dock. This floating market was one of the smaller ones, so there were many stalls on the ground as well. I really enjoyed stopping here, and wanted to try and see everything (even though we only had thirty minutes before we had to leave).
There were many stalls selling food, plants, clothing and souvenirs. It was really hot, so I got myself some water, but decided to wait until our final destination to buy food.
Talingchan Floating Market, cont.
After poking around for a short bit we had to go back to the boat. Above is a picture of me sitting at the front of the boat when we were docked next to two other boats. We rode in the boat for another thirty minutes to our final stop, Wat Pho. On the way to Wat Pho we passed the Jim Thompson house, which was on the canal as well.
After finally getting to Wat Pho we were told there was a "landing fee" by a man that stopped us after getting off the boat. He asked for $20 baht and then after we were all digging into our wallets he grabbed the bill right out of one of our wallets. Hmmm...
There were more fresh fruit carts, so I got myself some more pineapple. There was also a cart with a ton of skewers, so I got one with vegetable rolls.
Finally we reached our original plan of the day, Wat Pho! Wat Pho was almost directly across the street from the street carts, so we wandered over after getting some food.
Wat Pho was only $100 baht and it included a coupon for a free small water bottle. Wat Pho is a buddhist temple of the reclining buddha (last picture). The reclining buddha was enormous and took up an entire building. It was really cool to walk around and see everything that had been built. Since I had shorts on, I had to put on a pair of pants that I had with me. I also had to put on a robe (as I had a sleeveless shirt on) when going into the building to see the reclining buddha.
After leaving Wat Pho we decided to go back to our accommodations, as were were all tired and hot. There everyone but me napped for a couple of hours. I decided to relax in the pool again. After showering I decided to put on a pair of Thailand's famous elephant pants that I had purchased for myself (I'm taking orders if anyone wants a pair ;) )! They are so comfy and great for this type of weather because they are made of such lightweight material (since it is so hot).
Once everyone woke up revitalized, we decided that it was time to do something, but what? Two of us wanted to try a famous Thai Massage - although I was skeptical, I decided to go along and wait for them. After getting to the mall, I spontaneously decided to do it as well, because, well, why not? Plus it was only $5.71 USD for an hour! The mall was full of massage parlors, all right next to each other and they all had people standing outside calling out to everyone that passed by. We didn't know how to decide which one to choose and ended ip just picking randomly.
After choosing one (or they chose us) we were led inside where we were instructed to put on these loose pants and shirts and then to lie on our backs on the mat. I have only had one massage in my life before (for my 13th birthday back home), but I can tell you that a Thai massage is very different from the American version. If you don't know what a Thai massage entails, you should google it. During the massage the lady stretched and pulled my body into ways I hadn't ever thought it could go in. I was often wrapped around her, or she was using her legs and arms to stretch/massage me. Interesting, and definitely something anyone who visits Thailand should try. They also gave us tea at the end, which was nice.
Night Market Night 2
After leaving the massage we were all hungry, so we decided to go to the night market again to get a cheap dinner. I got another mixed berry smoothie for $1.14 USD which was delicious. For dinner I decided to try the fish balls - as there was always a line at that tent, I figured that they had to be good. They were great (and only cost $.57 USD!), and the sauce that came with them was very spicy but tasted good too.
After dinner we walked around a little more, but had seen all of the same stuff the night before so we decided to head back soon after. On the way back one of us decided to take a motor bike back to where we were staying. Many people in Thailand own motorbikes as they can quickly weave though traffic (or even drive on the sidewalk) since there are always huge traffic jams. I saw motorbikes with passengers sitting on them sideways and one with four people on them (none wearing helmets). Also, much like a taxi, you can pay someone to bring you somewhere. I decided not to, and took a traditional taxi back with the other two.
Now we have to get up in 4.5 hours as we have a plane to catch! Next stop Phuket, Thailand.