We are at DMK – Bangkok’s smaller airport waiting to board or next flight to Chiang Mai. It’s about a two hour flight. We made it here in record time as I think the cab driver drove 100 mph to get here! So we have three hours to sit around the airport. I’ll take this time to recap our 2 days/3 nights in Bangkok. We didn’t arrive til after midnight so we kind of lost a day.
Apparently the jet lag is still hanging on two days later as we went to bed at 8:00 pm last night and were awake at 2:30 am. Jerry finally ordered cappuccino at 4:00 am from room service and we just decided to go with it and get the day going.
Some of our experiences:
Taxis. I read about the taxi scams. Yes they are true. The average cost of a taxi from BKK to our hotel is 350-450 Bht (about $10-12 USD). Our driver charged us 600 (almost $17). The half hour ride turned out to be an hour due to a complete traffic jam at midnight due to construction and maybe an accident. The other important note-they don’t use GPS and they don’t seem to know addresses. I showed the guy a map provided from the hotel website and he still couldn’t figure it out. He wanted to know the soi. A soi is a side street. You have to know the main thoroughfare (thanon) and the side street (soi) or your taxi driver will have no clue! I finally gave him the hotel phone number and he called them to find out the soi. A little stressful start though as always seems to be the case every international trip we take. You also pay the tolls. So the meter says one thing. Then they add the tolls from the toll road. Then they add what they think their tip should be. That’s how we got to 600 Bht. Still, I could never take a cab ride in the states for an hour and only pay $16-17 so I really didn’t get too upset about it. The cab back to the airport cost 420 bht with tolls and tip ($11.75). That was the speed racer dude!
Coffee: We are coffee people. Gotta have it in the morning and the afternoon. Apparently they’re not real big on coffee here. I guess when it’s 90 degrees year round, you might not be! We actually found a Dunkin donuts. They make coffee with espresso and then add water to it. It’s just not the same. So far this seems to be our coffee findings.
BTS: elevated sky train (public transportation). We decided to stay away from the taxis and instead tackled how to use the sky train. Luckily for us there was a guy from Minnesota in line behind us and he showed us how it works. You have to know the station you want to get off at, press the station dot on the kiosk, insert money, and voila! Tickets in hand, a few minutes later we were on the sky train for $1.17 each (one way) to Bangkok’s main attractions. We had to switch trains once but it was nothing more than getting off and waking a few feet to the other track and getting back on. The train was amazingly clean even though very busy, as were all the platforms! You can buy a one day pass for unlimited on/off stops, but we opted for a one way thinking we would do the subway on the way back. We didn’t end up doing that.
On the train, Jerry struck up a conversation with Jake and Smrudji (sounds like Smoody) a nice couple from New Jersey. They were on there way to the same places we were headed, so we decided to all go together.
From the sky train we boarded the Chao Phraya River tourist boat ($1.11 each) which took us up the river and dropped us at the Grand Palace and Temple of the Jade Buddah. The tourist boat has a blue flag on it. It was a fun way to get to the attractions.
Wats – A wat is a Buddhist monastery or temple in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew(Temple of the Jade Buddah) -Admission price $14 each -500 Bht. You must wear long pants and have your shoulders covered. The grounds and buildings are just spectacular and well kept. There were TONS of people there. I’m pretty sure that if we weren’t with Jake and Smrutij, Jerry would’ve made me leave after an hour. He really doesn’t care for the whole crowd thing. He hung in there, although I heard a few comments from time to time. And he just loved the picture posing I made him do since we actually had someone willing to take our pictures!
You could take pictures everywhere except in some of the actual Wats (like the Jade Buddah)so I have no pictures of that one. It was much smaller than I thought.
Next we walked to Wat Pho – the temple of the Giant Reclining Buddah. Admission price $2.80 -100 Bht. The Giant Buddah is a beautiful gold Reclining Buddah. Currently his feet are under renovation. Again the grounds were beautiful and they also provided free bottled water. Yay! Did I mention it’s hot and very humid here?! Even though I put sunscreen on, I ended up with a bit of sunburn.
After Wat Pho, Jerry was more than ready to go, but we had one more Wat that the rest of us wanted to see. We all boarded a boat that took us across the river for .07 cents! Cheap transportation! We got off right at Wat Arun -Temple of Dawn – admission $1.39 – 50 Bht. This complex is under renovation so it was not as spectacular as the others but still beautiful and with more free water!
Lots of stray kitties around, even some babies. They were very rough looking.
At this point, every temple begins to look like the last. We had been on the go for 6 hours and realized that we never ate lunch. It was 3:00 pm. We picked up some fresh mango from a street vendor for .56 cents. It was a whole mango cut up served in a plastic bag with a stick. It was delicious…. Sweeter than our mangos we get at home. I was kind of surprised we weren’t even hungry at this point… Maybe the heat does that to you?
I had wanted to go see the flower market and Chinatown, but by now I was also ready to head back for air conditioning and to rest the legs. Back to the boats and the train we went. We got back to the hotel just in time for free happy hour, which was a Japanese food theme. By the time we got back to the room I showered, changed into pjs, and I just couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. 8pm eyelids shut. Zzzzzz
Oh and it seems that Bangkok never sleeps! In fact, around 5-6 pm it really seems to come alive with street food stalls opening everywhere.
Other points on Bangkok:
Most people speak some English. There really wasn’t any problem communicating.
We were told not to drink the water. Bottled water is everywhere.
There are motorbikes everywhere. They are even allowed to ride on the sidewalks! I’m not sure if there is a speed limit. Even crossing the street meant risking your life!
Luckily, where we stayed they had walkways over the road.
ATMs are everywhere.
Morning’s were always overcast till 9-10am when the sun finally burned off some of the haze.
Lots of foreigners have taken up residence here.
I would definately go back. It’s such a lovely place with so much we didn’t get to see!