Grand Palace and Wat Pho

Posted from Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand.

Day 2

My plan – visit the Grand Palace and the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho.

I’ve been noticing the cab drivers are the same here as in any other city, always taking advantage of the uninformed, so I decided to use public transit to get to the Grand Palace. The easiest way I could configure to do this was to take the BTS to the river and take a boat up the river, just like the day before.

The problem I had was I didn’t bring a guide book, so I had no idea what stop to get off at, nor how to get to the palace after I got off. By some stroke of chance, the ticket collector never came by me on the boat and I didn’t end up paying for my trip. But that also meant I didn’t have a ticket to see where to get off. Luckily the palace is big enough I could see it. And I could barely make out the broken English of the announcer on the boat. I disembarked at Tha Chang pier and followed signs pointing me in the general direction of the palace.

Near the entrance was to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Near the gateway to the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

The palace houses the royal residence as well as many government offices. The sacred Temple of the Emerald Buddha resides here (no photographs, please.) Naturally part of the palace grounds are open to the public for 500 baht, but the grounds and the Emerald Buddha are about all you’ll get to see for how royalty lives in Thailand. I had to pay a fully refundable 200 baht to rent a sarong as my shorts were apparently too short or too tight or both. They went to my knees, but I suppose that’s not long enough.

After I was appropriately attired I bought my ticket, rented an audio guide (for 200 baht) and headed on in. I figure pictures are worth a 1000 words, so I’ll spare the boring commentary and just post some photos.

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The entryway into the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

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The palace.

Chakri Maha Prasat Hall. Was once the official residence but is now only used for state banquets.

Afterwards I went in search of Wat Pho or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. I remembered seeing an information kiosk by the Palace so I went there and got a free tourist map. Winning. The lady told me in which direction to head so I made my way there. This temple was less expensive at 50 baht and it included a free bottle of water.

The reclining buddha is probably the most impressive thing I’ve seen yet. Religious icons are common here, but not so like this 15m high by 49m long one.

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That's mother of pearl inlayed on the feet there. Stunning!

That’s mother of pearl inlayed on the feet there. Stunning!

IMG_0458I toured around the grounds, but for some reason I was in little of mood to be enriched by cultural differences this day. I’m not sure if it was a lack of interest or jet lag or my aching feet.

I left Wat Pho on a mission to find a 7-11 as I ate through all my phone credit using maps. A local who spoke some English told me where to find one and then tried to get me to use his friends across the street. I figured I’d give it a shot, but then when they wanted to charge me 5 extra baht to do something I can do for myself I said no and walked away – miffed. It never fails. I found the 7-11 five minutes later and recharged.

Next I headed towards the water to find a pier to get home. I ended up walking right into the food docks. Wow! I casually strolled along and watched as crates and crates of food got unloaded and loaded – and as curious workers wondered what the heck I was doing walking along. I wasn’t the only foreigner there, but I’m sure I looked lost.

Finally I found a pier and got on the right boat, not the tourist boat, and headed towards Sathorn Pier. This time it was the normal boat and it cost me 15 baht. I’m really liking riding the water home.

One Response to Grand Palace and Wat Pho

  1. Wow, I’m actually quite surprised at how expensive the palace entries are! Should I be??

    sKY:: February 7, 2013 at 7:02 am Reply

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