Wat Pho, Royal Palace, and Chinatown
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
I started my day by requesting a "better" room from YHA after the not so wonderful sleep the night before. As the nice receptionist asked me to come back at 9am to check for availability, I decided to first have my breakfast. And what's the best place to have breakfast? Mcdonald's!!! haha. I know I should try something Thai, now that I'm in Thailand... but I was just curious on how Mcdonald's would taste like in Bangkok. hehe. And the verdict? Their big breakfast taste exactly as the one I can get in Manila or Atlanta. haha. Oh well. :) And so I went back to YHA at 9am just to finalize my room transfer. I got a bigger room (4-person sharing with A/C), all for myself at that time, for 240baht. Not bad. :) I left YHA as soon as possible as I prepared myself to check-out places in store for me this day.
Agenda for the day:
1) Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha)
2) Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
With a map on hand, I took the Skytrain down to the Chao Phrya River, and took the River Express (from Sathorn pier up to Thien pier). From there, it was just a few meters walk to Wat Pho. :) From afar, I was already able to see those infamous Thai spires! And there it was; the hall wherein they housed the reclining Buddha. Barefoot, people were instructed to go inside the hall in a counter-clockwise manner.
Next stop.... the Royal Palace. As I walked my way to the Royal Palace, there were lotsa tuk-tuk drivers asking me if I'm going to the Royal Palace....and supporting their questions by saying "The Royal Palace is closed for today." Thanks for the warnings I got from my handy travel guide, I wasn't fooled by these drivers trying to tout me from taking one of their over-priced tours around the city.
Once I got in the Royal Palace grounds (yup, it was OPEN!), everything just seemed to glitter! The kaleidoscope of solid-gold stupas, golden Thai mythological creatures, temples made of colored glass and cut mirrors, intricate Thai wall paintings, and colorful ceramic spires were mesmerizing! I later found out that this was not the "palace" itself, but the Royal Temple (Wat Phra Kaew) wherein they housed the Emerald Buddha.
After being awed by the Royal Temple (Wat Phra Kaew), I was expecting to see something more impressive for the Royal Palace. Much to my disappointment, the Royal Palace turned out to be the modern Westernized building with Thai roofs that I initially thought was just a regular government building. Boo. :-(
After the Royal Palace, I was off to Chinatown.
I took the River Express and got off at Ratchawong pier. And here I was, in Chinatown. As expected, Chinese signs were now everywhere. Yaowarat Road, Chinatown's main road, was lined with jewelry shops, Chinese restaurants, and small shops. As I forgot to have lunch, my stomach started to make sound at 5pm, and so I did what people normally do in Chinatown ... to eat Chinese food! Haha. Chinese-Thai food that is. I stepped into a restaurant called Cantonese Garden and had my dim sum fix. I noticed that their dim sums differed to that in Manila's Chinatown, or even in China, as dim sums here were blander and less oily.
After spending almost a whole day walking, I decided to go back to Silom to prepare for my Ayutthaya trip the following day. I walked south of Chinatown, got lost several times, asked for directions several times, until I finally reached Hualamphong Station of the Bangkok Metro (MRT). (Trivia: The MRT is an underground metro system, while the BTS/Skytrain is an elevated railway system.) I took the MRT, switched to BTS, and got off safely at Chong Nonsi. I got hungry again so I decided to check out a Thai restaurant near the Chong Nonsi Station. The Pad Thai was so good! What's more, they gave me a far out customer service!! Having difficulty on what drink to order, they happily let me taste ALL of their drinks, not only on a shot glass, but on half-full glasses! That's customer service! :)
I got back to YHA, and was told by the receptionist that I will be sharing my new room with 3 Indonesians.
Indonesian 1: "So where are you from?"
Me: "I'm from the Philippines."
Indonesian 1: "We are from the Philippines."
Me [shocked]: "Ah...Talaga?" ("Uhm...Really?" in Filipino)
Hahaha. From that moment on, Filipino became the language of the room. :)