This is the first complete day in Bangkok, so
to visit the Grand Palace’s area this day. As this is two days before
King’s birthday we will pay attention to the events can be performed
there, as the “Troop of colors”, a parade which could be this day and
alter our agenda to watching it.
The spots marked at map, which we want to visit
1- Wat Arun
2- Wat Pho
3- Grand Palace
4- Khao San Road
5- Democracy Monument
We would take a taxi from the last spot, the
Monument, to our hotel.
;I knew last night the popular troop of colors is
not today, it was yesterday: December 2nd; so we can follow the
original plan of visiting Bangkok’s highlights.
first thing to do is taking our breakfast and, when I see the buffet
ready for it I get one of the greatest thrills of this travel:
everything you can breakfast is in here. It would even be a great
buffet for lunching. I try to taste as most as possible, and that
includes cereals, pad thai, soup, eggs, meat, juices, pasta, fruit,
salads, … When we leave the place there is more percentage of food in
my body than human being.
We need to exchange the rest of the cash for this
travel and I looked previously for the best place for it. Best rates
are in SuperRich and there is one office after two Skytrain stops.
That’s our first visit.
It is not easy for us to find the office on
despite of the map printed from their website, but Bangkok is full of
alleys, apart from the streets, which get to confusion some times. Once
with the Bahts, we go back to the Skytrain to get to the river, but
first we pass by the Erawan temple nearby. We just see there a small
altar and some local dance. We go up to Ratchambutri station from where
we can get a higher look of the area, with a huge hippodrome which has
got a golf field in the middle. We’ve got a lot of pictures of the
Christmas decorations around during our walk. It is curious seeing
balls, snowed trees, reindeers, etc… wearing shorts on the middle of
When we reach the river at the end of
the Skytrain line we just follow the rest of tourists because all of us
are going to the same place: the pier. We take Chao Praya Express for
going to the area we’re going to visit today by 30 Bahts, which are not
paid in advance, but once sailing by the river. We leave it at Wat Pho
stop, the temple we’ll visit later, but we still must take another boat
to go across the river where we’ve been watching Wat Arun shape some
minutes before. It only costs 3 Bahts per person. This is the only
visit on the occidental riverside and our approach to it corresponds to
the picture used as header for these pages.
When reaching the temple we’re meeting houses with the
typical local architecture and huge statues of warriors, as Colossi. We
find a couple of cardboard stand ups as the typical dancers with a hole
to put your face on. I ask Eva if she want that photo and I take it but
a woman appears from I don’t know where and asks us 40 Bahts because
she owns these stands. Damn! We don’t have any special wish for that
We pay 50 Baht per person for admission ticket to
the temple and go in. The visit is gentle and peacefully, as everything
in this country. The stairs to get up are steeped and the views from
the top are fantastic. The temple has that special thing of we haven’t
seen anything similar in our lives.
3 Bahts later we’re back to Wat Pho, where we pay
30 Bahts each as admission fee and take our shoes off to see the huge
Reclined Buddha which has an entire building for itself and spectacular
nacre feet. Once with shoes again, we walk around inside the complex,
between temples, small stupas and countless golden Buddha statues.
Just before the exit, on the opposite side of the
entrance, there is the most popular Thai massage school where we try
one of these authentic massages. We get a number at desk when paying
220 Bahts per person and wait for 10 minutes to be called for a 30
minutes massage. It hurts in some specific moments, but when you leave
you feel repaired.
At exit a man asked us for our tickets. It was strange for me nobody
asked for them at entrance, but doing it at exit is unusual as well.
That man explains our tickets are also valid for
visiting the temple with the fat Buddha in another area of Bangkok. I
tell him I already know about it but we’re now going to visit Grand
Palace. He answers it is closed until 3 PM, so his recommendation is
taking a tuk tuk by only 20 Baht to the fat Buddha and then coming back
on time for the Grand Palace. I had read
before about the touts telling Grad Palace is closed for getting
tourists to a tuk tuk which will take them to several shops where they
have a commission. So knowing who we’re dealing with I state we’re
going to go to Grand Palace now, he then reacts angry saying “It is
closed! I’m telling you!”. Then I answer him I’ve got contacts inside
and we’re going to be able of getting in now. He looks at me as if I
was crazy and I left smiling.
Grand Palace is really close to it: the next
building, but we walk all along the walls looking for the entrance,
which finally is in the side of the river. All the locals we meet in
this way are shouting to us that it is closed. Even my wife has doubts
about it stating that if everybody is saying the same may be true. Even
when we can see the entrance and people coming in are still touts
yelling that it is closed to the tourists. They’re really crazy about
sealing us a tuk tuk ride. I just take a picture at one at road and it
crosses all the lanes to come to me. I just keep doing denial gestures.
The picture is finally the one above.
Once with the tickets, Eva cannot understand how a
whole city can get in agreement to tell the same lie to tourist. We've
paid 350 Bahts each for the tickets and it is a big piece of paper
composed by several tickets to different places.
The complex is spectacular and has dozens of
things to see inside: the palace, with its unmoving guards, the temple
of the emerald Buddha, the golden chedi, a big model of Ang Kor Wat,
which makes us to smile with recent memories, and a bunch of other
temples, all shine bright.
The idea is lunching in Khao San Road, which is
close, but not with my way as, following my map and asking to several
people in the street, we reach it after a long walk. At least, we could
see the Democracy monument and the Giant Swing, which shocked me as,
looking at the map, I cannot explain how have we get these places.
Anyway, we finally reach the street and my wife is starving. I’m still
fine after the big breakfast of this morning.
It’s easy knowing you are in Khao San Road as the
streets around are quiet, lonely, while there is a fixed market here
and a lot of people, mainly tourists. We get into the first restaurant.
Its name is “Tapas bar”, which recalls us to Spain, but they don’t know
what “tapas” really are here. Eva eats a big plate of gnocchi and I’m
fine with some grilled prawns.
There is a seller of bamboo parasols by the street and he
sells one to the group in the restaurant’s terrace which seems to me
from the distance to understand it is by 200 Baht. My wife wants one of
them and I call him to come to us, which means for him to ask for
permission to the staff. Once in our table he writes 2000 in his
calculator. “Is this right?”, I ask, and it seems it is. I expected
from him to ask us more because we’ve called him and that means we’re
interested, but this is ridiculous. Something I’m learning about
bargaining is you can get incredible deals for things that you don’t
want, but if you want something, then you’re going to pay more for it.
I tell him I’ve just seen how he has sold one
outside by 200 Baht, but he denies it. We finally purchase it by 500
Baht and he is so happy that wants to sell more of them to us, but we
don’t need more. When he leaves, the boy that is serving us asks if we
thing that has been a good buy as we’ve paid around 10€. Eva answers
that, as it is handmade and painted, it is a lot more expensive in
Barcelona. The boy explains his mother make them and gives us the idea
we’ve paid overpriced.
After lunching we walk along the street, through
the market and do some shopping. Then we go to the parallel street
looking for the football shirts. They’re everywhere, but I’ve read
about a specific and small place where the replicas are perfect. When I
find it, in the middle of the street as it is not a shop, I can say
they’re really perfect and I can bring a Barcelona’s shirt by 340 Bahts.
When we’re back on the market looking for the
quickest way to leave and get a taxi, we meet the parasol seller again,
who offers one by 300 Baht. For the same item!
Taxis are cheap if you insist on using taximeter,
take a couple of fruitshakes just before being resting in our room. We
schedule a taxi for tomorrow morning at 5 AM to the airport as our
flight time is 7 AM. We now have the task of splitting our stuff on two
bags as one is going to be kept here and the other one will travel with
But I still want to do one more thing today: purchasing some
sandals I’ve seen in our way from the Skytrain stop to the hotel, which
can be used for water, thought for the elephants activity. As I don’t
want to get into a long bargain I leave all my cards and cash at room
except for 300 Baht. This way I’m sure I’m not going to pay more than
Pay attention to the following as it made me see
I take a look to the sandals out from the street and immediately the
seller comes out and kindly asks me to get into the store where there
are all sizes. I first ask about the price and he answers me not
concerning about it. I put them on and he gets in conversation about my
country and football world Cup just won. I insist in knowing price as
I’m not bringing so much money and he keeps answering not to be worried
about it. He finally shows me the label with the price: “It’s only 2800
Baht”. At this moment I realize I never going to buy these sandals so
don’t bother on getting into bargain. I just say I never expected
they’re going to be so expensive and state I never will pay for
something which is a lot cheaper in my country. He states it is Thai
quality ??. I’m leaving as I can see there is not going to be any deal.
He offers me a discount: 2500 Baht. “I can’t. I’m sorry”, it’s the only
I say. 2000 and is his final price and put them in a bag and try to
make me hold it. As I want to end this useless bargaining I confess I
only have got 300 Baht. He puts an unbelievable face and tells me I can
pay by card. As I see this wasting of time is not ending I show all the
contents of my pockets where only are three 100 Baht bills. Only then
he realizes. “I’m sorry” I say and leave, but just before reaching the
door I hear: “Give me the 300 Baht” and give me the bag. I’m so shocked
I only can thank him for this, but he is not happy and says “ok… ok…”
With this I learnt the indications about getting half the price or so
are outdated, they already know and can inflate prices a lot more than
that. You only know the bargain is good when the seller is not happy,
if he or she is it means you could do it better.
I’m going to my hotel’s room thinking about this
and recalling all the happy sellers we’ve left behind.