Wat Phra Kaew & Grand Palace
One of the must things to do in Bangkok is to take the boat taxi rides along the Chao Phraya. Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and go downstairs. Head to the river about 100 meters away and you will see Sathorn station (Chao Phraya Express Boat). At 15 baht, you can get to Tha Tien or Tha Chang. These two stations will get you to one of the most busiest and tourist packed areas in Bangkok. You pay on the boat. Do note that the boats have different colored flags and you will find out that some stop at every stop, while others are express.
***Please be properly dressed when visiting the temples. Long pants, sleeved shirts and no low cuts. This goes without saying for both male and female. It also is a rule of thumb when entering any religious place in any country.
It was a rainy day in Bangkok, you had the feeling that the skies would pour down at any moment. Not good photography weather. When you exit at Tha Tien, you will find an area filled with hawkers and stalls set up to take advantage of the tourist influx. Keep walking and do not get adorned by whatever wares / clothes/ scarfs that the opportunist would try on you. It was time to get some breakfast and it was quite challenging in a foreign city. I guess you just have to give in to your guts and risk it.
You will see many tourist in this location. The walk will not be lonely. However, when you get to the entrance, keep walking. The Wat Phra Kaew is ALWAYS OPEN. Do not get scammed by some oppurtunist who says it is closed today and you can take an alternate tour which will bring you to far away places and be asked to buy jewels or make a suit.
There is a lot of people. You have so many people crammed into this area. The site is large but with so many people, you need to be careful of your belonging and also patiently follow the pace of most leisurely strollers.
There is a model of Angkor Wat built by King Mongkut and King Rama III as a memorial to Angkor Wat which was under the Siam rule under French colonization of Cambodia.
At every corner, you will see beautiful decorations. Do not touch them so that they can be preserved.
The Grand Place is a more modern design. The Grand Palace has been the home to the Kings of Siam though the current king, King Rama IX stays at Chitralada Palace, he still uses this palace for official events. There are guards at almost every corner. Probably more for show. This area is less congested than the Wat and offer more spaces for the crowds.
I was quite disappointed by the weather. Bright sunny skies with some clouds would have made beautiful photographs. That being said, it is a beautiful place to see. If you have to choose one place to come to on a short trip, this is one of the must do’s. Heading out of this complex, I was quite relieved to escape the crowds. The threat of rain was ever present. At times, drops would be falling and with the Wat not having any room for shelter, if it pours, you will be stuck in the rain. It was also a long way back to the hotel to change.
What you need to prepare : Umbrella for a rainy or hot sunny day. You must remove shoes when entering the temples. Proper attire. Lots of patience. There is a lot of people. And I mean a lot!
Do not get conned. If someone brings clothes to you, do not stop. Keep walking. Just dress in long pants and a sleeved T-shirt and you will be fine.
For more photos, click here.