Good news: Heather was feeling better this morning. So glad she’s on the mend. We grabbed a coffee and jumped on the Aloft hotel’s resident tuk tuk for a (free) ride to the train station and the fancy mall for lunch (the salad bar was too much to pass up). From there, we hopped on the sky rail to Central Pier to catch the Chao Phraya ferry to see the sights. Note: the public transportation in Bangkok is very good and easy to navigate. Most rides, anywhere in the city where the lines run, are between 26 baht and 40 baht ($.80 and $1.10) one way.
The Chao Phraya Tourist Ferry is a good deal: unlimited off and on between the main piers, plus running commentary. If you’re a nerd, like me, you can answer easy questions (what is the name of this river?) and win keychains. And an offer to sing on the microphone. Which I politely declined. More on that later.
Disembarking at Tha Tien Pier, we headed towards Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha. Housed in a (too small, if you ask me) Hall, the Reclining Buddha is massive at 46 meters, with a beatific smile and impressive feet. Note: as the temple surrounding the Buddha is under renovation, entry has risen from 50baht to 100baht. In addition to the big Buddha, there are tons of other Buddahs, more than any other temple in Thailand. The gorgeous colors, detail and sparkly bits are breath-taking on these temples and totally worth the trip.
We tried to get into to see the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha,but it closes at 3:30pm to visitors. Disappointing, but that will teach us to get up and moving a bit earlier. We walked back to the pier through the Amulet Market and enjoyed the river ride back to
Central Pier, riding by Wat Arum, the Temple of the Dawn.
It was nice to get back to the hotel after our day of sightseeing; we decided to stick close for dinner and wandered up the street for a bit. Sukhumvit has a great variety of restaurants, but we knew that we would get a lot of Thai food on the Ko Tao (our next stop) so we stopped at Mulligan’s, an Irish bar near the hotel. After dinner, we had to try one of the “van bars” that stop along the road. Converted vans or cars, these bars bring their own tables and stools and set up shop on the side of the road, complete with disco lights and music–another great idea that I might have to steal when I get home,
We had a Singha at the “red wages,” an old VW van, and figured out a list of songs that, if ever asked to sing in a boat again, we would feel comfortable belting out. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” was first, with Bon Jovi in a tight second. And then the discussion as to wether or not Bon Jovi ever wore jean shorts. My vote is a an affirmative negative.
A good time was had by all.
Tomorrow: market day and an overnight train, bus and ferry to Ko Tau!