We made a decision to focus our visit to Thailand on the smaller town of Kanchanaburi and the island of Koh Samui which meant our time in Bangkok was limited. With only one day to visit the city’s sights, we once again hired a private tour guide. Our guide Pat from Tour with Tong met us at our hotel Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn which was conveniently located next to the Surasak BTS Skytrain Station (Bangkok has both a skytrain and a subway system). We would recommend both our guide and our hotel.
We particularly enjoyed the hotel’s pool…
I think you’ll agree this is a pretty swanky pool
Enjoying the sunset in the cool of the pool
To get around the city, we used the skytrain, the subway, the ferry and taxis. We definitely recommend this over hiring a car as the traffic in Bangkok is notoriously terrible.
Priority seating on the subway. I think four of the five are easily recognizable around the world. The fifth is unique to Thailand I think. So when in Thailand remember to get up and offer your seat to an orange robed monk.
Turns out tuk tuks cost twice as much as taxis. Reason? They are used by tourists. We opted for the cheaper and air conditioned taxis.
Also if you ever find yourself in Bangkok, don’t take the ferry with the blue flag as that is the tourist ferry and costs several times more than the orange flag ferry that is used by Thais.
Our guide recommended that we skip the overcrowded Grand Palace in lieu of seeing the real Bangkok through its markets, mix in a visit to a temple or two and a boat tour of the city’s river and canals for a full day. Take a look at Bangkok as we experienced it…
First stop, the wet market…
Making thin bread similar to roti
Delicious roasted bananas, eggs, corn and sticky rice. We tried the banana leaf wrapped sweet sticky rice.
Bought too much? Hire one of these guys to wheel it for you.
Second stop, the wholesale market where people from the villages and small towns come and buy goods to sell back home…
Racks and racks of cheap costume jewelry
Just as many hairpieces to go with all that jewelry
Third stop, the flower market…
More temple offerings
Flower garlands for all occasions – temple offerings, weddings, protection, etc
Sleeping on the job at the flower market
We went from markets to temples…
Wat Traimit (temple of the gold buddha)
Ringing the bells to be heard. Maybe I should get me some of those bells.
The gold buddha, estimated to be around $250 million USD in gold. Amazing there wasn’t high security.
I forgot the name of this temple. Our guide brought us here as it’s one of the most beautiful but seldom visited by tourists.
Not gold buddhas
And the highlight of our day, the boat tour…
For 1000 baht ($37 CDN/28 USD), we hired a long tail boat like these
Many people still live and have shops along the canals and river. Some of the homes were in questionable condition though.
Thai flags and hats were deemed the items that tourists might want to buy while they are touring the canals and river
A monitor lizard. One of many of such inhabitants in the canals and rivers.
Even though we skipped the Grand Palace we did manage to see it from afar:)
The spires of the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Overall impression of Bangkok? It’s a city similar to many North American cities where large Starbucks and McDonald’s billboards can be found as you drive along the highways and pick up trucks and SUVs compete for space on the busy roads. And yet, it’s distinctly Thai where priority seating is given to monks, whole flower markets are dedicated to providing flowers for temple offerings, and there’s a spired wat around every corner.