Okay, we will continue straight away. If you’re wondering from what, click here for the first post.
At about 1oam, after having a hearty breakfast at Rockets, we left the hostel for the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace is well, grand. Do take note that they have a certain rules to abide which they don’t exactly take lightly. It’s the dress code – no revealing clothes, wear something with a sleeve, and make sure that your pants/skirt goes beyond knee length. No, they don’t allow you to use wraps/scarfs to cover your arms when you’re wearing sleeveless, or sarong. However, you have the option to wear the provided clothings for a fee. There are changing room provided but why waste time and go through the hassle of squeezing into your clothes in a room with 723647836732864 other people? Apart from clothing, take note of the operating hours and public holidays. Sounds trivial right? But don’t be surprised at the amount of people you see trying to get in beyond operating hours.
The entrance fee was 500 baht. A bit steep but I would say it’s actually well worth it. The pagodas and the buildings were all intricately designed and well maintained. I was in awe looking at so many golden things before my eyes. I went to every temple and imagined life at that time. If you’re like me, you will be spending a good few hours there to enjoy every nook and crook. One thing I wish I did before visiting the Grand Palace was to read of its history.
One of the coolest thing I saw was the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. No pictures enclosed of course. Because there’s no camera allowed. I saw before my own eyes the temple guard detaining a tourist’s camera for not listening. I am not sure what happened to the camera afterwards, but I am sure the contents inside were erased. I respect how they are really strict with the rules. There are so many tourists coming in every day and I don’t think protecting the place comes easily.
I won’t say much more about the Grand Palace but wear comfortable clothes and stay hydrated because it gets amazingly hot. Now let the pictures do the talking. 🙂
Afterwards, we went back to the hostel and just chilled in the hostel because it was too hot. I don’t remember eating anything that afternoon. Initially we took a tuk tuk to get back to the hostel. We didn’t reach any agreement because we were rushing to get into the tuk tuk. This is a NO NO. Me knowing that, immediately asked the driver how much. He gave us a price but did not inform us that this was going to be another stopover-ad. Realizing we were not in our hostel’s direction(Tips: Keep Google Earth/Map downloaded in your smartphones at all time and make sure it is available offline. That way, you know they’re not taking you elsewhere.) we stopped him, and told him to drop us off wherever we were, and paid whatever the suitable amount we thought it would have been. No, I do not want to put up with shit. In the quiet alley(yeah I know…), we walked towards the main road and grabbed a metered cab.
To be completely honest, we actually stayed in the hostel throughout the evening. We planned to hit up one of the nice rooftop club scenes but end up eating tom yum around the corner, feeling fat, and hit the sack early. Well, my friend did. I woke up however in the middle of the night, chilled in the lobby planning where to go next. There were two other hungry guys, Ross and Daniel in the lobby so we ended up walking to a stall around the corner for midnight tea. At the stall we exchanged stories as I listened to how the two guys were talking about getting ripped. Haha. Ross is English and has this accent the locals loved, and got another round of dinner invitation there. Daniel is a budding actor going to try his luck in Australia and was always writing ideas in his moleskin(or something).
Travelling alone can be a little daunting, but when you’re at a hostel, or anywhere even, all you need is a “hey, what’s going on man?” and you’ll have stories to swap and cool people to hang out with. Also, hanging out at local areas can bring you new opportunities.
After the midnight tea, we all went back to our dorms and continued sleeping.
In the morning, I woke up pretty early so I walked alone around the neighborhood. I got myself a cup of roadside coffee, just because, and it turned out really good. It was too sweet for me but it was good. Later, I entered a Kiwi origin cafe for breakfast and wi-fi. It is called Kai New Zealand . It’s not the usual backpackers price range but I travel for the food. The cafe has a really nice ambience and a wide variety of food. For the next 2-3 hours, after calling my parents and Sabrina(who just came back from Cambodia and was telling me her experience) on Skype, I went back to the hostel lobby to Sebastiaan and Ross. Ross gave lots of tips and told us to visit Chatuchak Market before he joins us for Lumpini park because it’s the weekend so we decided to go after we bought our train tickets to Chiang Mai at Hua Lamphong Station.
Chatuchak was easily accessible via the MRT with a very fair price. We stopped at the Chatuchak Park – which is beautiful by the way. There were people sitting and having a picnic and just at the street outside, there were food booth and all. Chatuchak Market is divided into various areas such as the art area, cafes, clothes or the wholesale. I personally loved the art area. The only thing was I didn’t have enough space to carry around luggage so I just took pictures and cholesterol ladened fries with wasabi sauce for memories. If you want to go shopping, do it here because they are dirt cheap. I believe this is where our local Malaysian hawkers get their things to sell at our own version of Chatuchak – maybe.
Before taking off, we chilled at the park eating too much fruits after coconut ice creams. Well at least I did. 😀
Then we boarded the MRT and stopped at Lumpini. After crossing large roads like a couple of idiotic assholes, we managed to get ourselves to Lumpini park. I personally LOVED this park. It was filled with buff shirtless guys doing cardio and lovely trees. The park is really large and well maintained with a huge pond and whatever a park usually has. The fresh air, which is not exactly what Bangkok is famous for is a fresh getaway from the city – ironically within the city. There were zumba class and people doing tai chi. Unfortunately I couldn’t get much picture here because my phone ran out of battery and so did my camera. It was already late when we got there so we only had some time before it turned dark and took a cab back to the hostel to freshen up and live the night!
I had my dinner alone at the Japanese restaurant around the corner. Sadly they forgot my order so I end up not eating much anyway. After that we took off to this rooftop club called Levels Club & Lounge in Sukhumvit. The club seemed a bit posh but there were no cover charge. You have to line up before they let you up the elevator. Hence, do dress nicely. There were a lot of fancy looking people there and the dance floor was awesome but they played house music. Me, not being a fan of house just sat outside enjoying the view from the rooftop. That night, apparently there were some VIP lady sitting there with her body guards around her. The place was nice, but I have to say it didn’t turn out as nice as I wished it would have been. Maybe because I am not that much of a party girl and that I didn’t have the right company(missing my girls). If they were playing R&B music it would have helped I suppose. Regardless of that, we somehow managed to stay until 12.30Am. Getting a metered taxi was quite impossible so we had to make do of the non-metered one. (Tip: Agree for a price before getting into one.). We got back to the hostel and at a sammich from 7Eleven and went to bed. 😦
I had another breakfast at Rockets because they’re just that good. Their hot chocolate comes as a chocolate bar with hot milk that you have to stir into a hot choc yourself.
After that, I just walked around Silam/Sathorn area and got myself a Thai massage. It wasn’t the best massage I have had but it was also pretty cheap.
In the evening, we all left for Hua Lamphong train station to board for our night train to Chiang Mai. My suggestion is to be there at least 1.5hours earlier. You might have to wait a little bit but you do need time to navigate yourself around the area, find the platform and get yourself comfortable in the train. My 2nd class sleeper ticket was around 890baht for a 12 hour ride to Chiang Mai. When we arrived in the train, there were no sleepers so I was confused. But apparently later in the evening, they would convert the chairs into rather comfortable beds with curtains for privacy. Wear something comfortable and thick as it gets pretty chilly at night. You can visit Seat61 for more information. I spent the next hours sleeping until they woke me up to fold the beds back into seats at 6.30AM or so. We reached Chiang Mai at 7.30AM and that’s for another post 😉 Happy Lunar New year!