Thailand, Travel

Sawadii Kah, Bangok – Part 4 : Chao Phraya River – The Grand Palace

Sawadii Kah, Bangok – Part 4 : Chao Phraya River – The Grand Palace
On our second day of our trip to Bangkok, my friends and I decided to visit the Grand Palace so we took a skytrain from Nana station and alight at Saphan Taksin station. A few minutes walk from this station is the central pier where we purchase our 1-day ferry tickets to take the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat to the Grand Palace and other attractions such as Wat Arun. There’s a unlimited number of rides you can take to several piers along the Chao Phraya river for just 150 Baht. 
In the last trip, I was conned by a tuk-tuk driver who lied that the temple was closed and asked me to take a long tail-boat cruise along Chao Phraya River to look at the floating market. It turned out to be a scam and we spent 500 baht on a long cruise along the narrow streams in the village. Oh well, just becareful of such tourist traps! Never trust anyone that easily especially when you’re just a tourist!

Purchase the tickets at the booth and a small useful guidebook with all the attractions and stations listed. It’s a great travel-friendly transport for tourist especially if you want to enjoy the beautiful view of the Chao Phraya River.

These ferries also works somewhat like their Skytrain stations where they’ve got different coloured lines or routes. The direction and different routes were represented by the colour flags found at the tail end of the boat. Refer to the map on the guidebook or the charts with the different coloured routes on the interior sides of the boat.

We hopped onto the express boat with a blue flag.

Chao Phraya Express Boat Website

Wat Arun, Temple of Dawn

Unfortunately, I did not get to visit this magnificient place. But I will make it a point to visit there and hop on the river cruise in the evening where this temple is beautifully lited against the night sky, with a warm yellow glow.

At the Grand Palace

Before entering any temples here, you got to make sure that you’re well-covered. No shorts, bermudas or sleeveless tops. It’s a form of a respect whenever we enter these sacred grounds. Luckily, there’s a booth to rent out Sarongs or  long-sleeve shirts to both men and women for a deposit of 200 baht per clothing.  This deposit will be fuly refunded after you’ve returned the clothing at the booth located right at the entrance of the Grand Palace.

Entrance fee: 400 Baht

This place is huge and even though it’s my second time here, the exsiquite patterned glass tiles, structures and architect never fails to amaze me each time I’m here. The gold linings of the rooftop tiles and statues would shimmer and glistens in the sun, sending piercing rays of light into my eyes. I don’t know why but it always seems to sunny and bright at the Grand Palace.

It’s best to visit the temples in the morning where lighting is perfect for photography. But at around 9am, this place is pretty packed with tourists from all over the world.

These blue patterned tiles reminded me a little of the Islamic culture in Turkey. I wonder if there’s any influence or fusion of cultures

You will these purple water lilies floating on a small pool of water in the huge porcelain containers in the temple compounds.

The Grand Palace also houses the temple of the Emerald Buddha but photo-taking is forbidden inside this temple.

This Buddha statue is plated with real gold! We’ve got a chance to touch the gold flakes with our bare hands. This metal is soft and slippery. Suddenly all the properties of metal I’ve learnt in secondary school had started flooding into my mind.

This is the building where the King of Thailand resides. The image of this palace is now of more significance to me after watching the video of Thailand’s National Anthem screened in the movie theatres before the movie begins. It was quite an experience when we were told to get up from our seats in the cinema as the country’s national anthem is played. The video speaks of the Thais honour and respect for their much revered King. I would have never forgotten that movie experience I had especially when the anthem was played before the movie, ‘Hotel Trannsylvia’.

There were throngs of students in uniform walking out of the Palace which has several european colonial influences in it’s architecture. I must make a visit to the library to read about architecture soon!

The tall steps reminded me of the strenous climb I experiences when climbing the Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

After returning our sarongs, I discovered this boutique selling pretty souvenirs right behind the booth. 
Outside this boutique, there’s also a cafe run by Queen Sirikit selling coconut ice-cream. After I had my first coconut ice-cream at one of the floating markets located in the outskirts of Bangkok, I knew I would I have to come back to Thailand to satisfy my coconut ice-cream crave. But instead of getting ice-cream from the parlour in the Grand Palace, we decided we should head across the street to try out the more authentic coconut ice-cream made by the Thai locals.
A little quaint cafe, a street across the entrance of the Grand Palace.
Old-fashioned furnishings which instantly brought me back to the 1960’s. Not that I’ve been through the 60’s but everything ornament here is so retro.
Coconut ice-cream with three toppings
This isn’t the best coconut ice-cream I have had but it didn’t taste that bad either. Coconut milk itself is delicious and you can never go wrong on that!
Mango with sticky rice
This is one of the traditional Thai dishes other than Tom Yam Soup and Mango Salad. Thai Mangoes are exceptionally sweet and its sweetness is well-balanced with the bland taste but fragrant sticky rice.

Next? 
There’s just so much to discover about Bangkok. 
I’m definitely coming back again.

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