Monday, October 14, 2013

Bangkok Holiday - 1 Day Itinerary

I had a day free in Bangkok recently so I tried to do some compact Bangkok tour in a single day. I have been to Bangkok many times but most in the last 4 years were for business and I have not visited any attractions in Bangkok.

I have checked some guides online and I have found this One Day in Bangkok article in WikiTravel and I have decided to follow it. But since I am quite familiar with Bangkok, I did not closely follow the advises.

First step is to take a canal boat to Bangkok's old city center, Rattanakosin Island. Many arrive to Rattanakosin by a combination on train ride and boat ride on main river or taxi, but few knows that there are also boats running in smaller canals of the city. It is a relatively short ride on a speed boat but an authentic experience to try. These speed boats are heavily used by locals to travel around Bangkok.

The first step is to reach SkyTrain Ratchathewi station. I stayed in Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit 11 Hotel on Sukhumvit Road so I took BTS Sky Train from Nana station to Ratchathewi station.

I took exit 1. Just walk down and turn 180 degrees and walk down the street. There is a bridge over Saen Saeb canal and when you are walking on it you will probably see the boats and the pier. You should walk down the stairs near elephant heads sculpture and then reach this small pier called Saphan Hua Chang. You will take a boat which is heading left as you stay on the pier and your face is pointing the canal. Quickly jump to the next one. It is only 10 bahts and you will witness backyards of Bangkok while riding on the smelly waters of a canal.

Step 1 - Klong ride in the backyard canals of Bagkok 
I have disembarked at the Phan Fa Lilat pier (this is the last pier) near the Golden Mount. Just simply walk through any "helpful" locals and "tourist police" to not start your Bangkok old city tour with a scam!

To your left, you'll see a small bridge with oncoming traffic, and a large bridge with multi-lane traffic. Cross the large bridge, pass the white Mahakan Fort. Now original itinerary guides you to the Wat Ratchanaddaram. This is one of Bangkok's unappreciated temples according to the article and it says climb into the tower for a bird's-eye view of Rattanakosin. I have followed it but I would advise you to head to Golden Mount which is much more interesting and offers a better view from its roof!

Step 2: Golden Mount

After Wat Ratchanaddaram the original article advises to take taxi to Wat Pho. The distance is walkable but since you will walk a lot around Wat Pho, Grand Palace and Wat Arun, it is better to take a taxi. I have not seen Khaosan Road for ages and it is quite near to Wat Ratchanaddaram. So I have walked first to Khaosan Road and then from there I have walked to Grand Palace.

The original itinerary has skipped Grand Palace but it is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Bangkok and you should definitely visit there. Ok, the entrance is expensive in Bangkok standards but there are many things to see inside.

Step 3 : Grand Palace
Ok Grand Palace then Wat Pho is a little a lot of walk but doable.Wat Pho houses the world's largest Reclining Buddha and the rest of the large complex is also interesting, I suggest you first to go to Grand Palace and than wat Pho because there is a very famous and good massage school at the eastern side of the temple grounds and it is a definitely must. Lie down there for half an hour plus to recharge while enjoying Thai Traditional Massage at its best.

Step 4: Wat Pho
I have exited through the west gates behind the Reclining Buddha and went to pier of Tha Tien to cross the river to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). A little ferry will take you there for 3 baht. I have climbed up Wat Arun for a bird-eye view of  Rattanakosin Island. The last part of the climb is very steep and climbing down is more difficult then climbing up.

Step 5: Wat Arun
After crossing Chao Phraya river to Rattanakosin side I have headed to the Chao Phraya Express Boat dock. Once upon a time these boats were relatively unknown and offered a very relaxed and nice ride on the river. But thanks to online sources, they are extremely popular and as crowded as Tokyo Metro cars! I could not board the first Orange Boat and had to wait 15 minutes plus under sun on the dock to take the next one!

The original itinerary also recommends to stop by famous Bangkok riverside hotel Mandarin Oriental and enjoy a drink on its riverside bar named Bamboo Bar. You can do this but after a long day like this, I preferred to head to my hotel (the boat will take you to  Saphan Taksin BTS station) and drink there after a shower.

Step 6: Chao Phraya River Express
Since I have added Grand Palace to my itinerary I did not have time to shop in the afternoon. Anyway, I had 2 more days there.

In the night, I took a taxi to the State Tower (the riverside building with the golden dome) and went to Sirocco and Sky Bar, the world's tallest rooftop bar/restaurant with mind-boggling nighttime views of Bangkok below. Drinks are 400 baht and up, with a live jazz band for free. There is a dress code: no shorts or sandals. Eating there is very expensive so eat before heading to there.

and view from State Tower

1 comment:

  1. I visited last month.Bangkok is really a nice city.The atmosphere of this place is pleasant and relaxing.