The next morning a group of us decided to wake up early and catch one of the vans back to Bangkok at 8 AM in the morning. There were 5 of us because 2 were heading to Taipei that day and the other 3 of us wanted to hang out in the city. We had everything all planned out and that unfortunately didn’t make any sort of difference. We didn’t leave the house until about 930AM and ended up sitting in traffic about 45 minutes outside of Bangkok which extended our trip an extra hour and a half or so. We arrived in Sukhumvit at what we thought was our hotel, but low and behold it wasn’t. We were staying at the Grand Centre Point Hotel in Bangkok which actually has 3 locations in the city that I know of. We pulled up to the wrong one and had to figure out how to find directions to the actual Grand Center Point we were staying at. By the time we left, got through traffic again and arrived at the correct hotel it was just after 1PM.
We settled in our room and decided to run and get some lunch.
I’ve been to Bangkok before and stayed in Sukhumvit last time I was there so I had a vague idea of where we were going. We started walking toward Terminal 21 which is a huge shopping mall along the main road and decided to walk down some of the main alley ways around that area to see if we could find some local vendors. We stopped by a street vendor for mango sticky rice because it was in season and then made our way back to Terminal 21 since we needed actual meals.
If you ever get a chance to go to Terminal 21 or shopping in Bangkok in general, I highly recommend it even if you’re just window shopping or people watching or just curious. Malls in Bangkok are no joke. Terminal 21 has 9 floors of shops and restaurants with each floor being themed a different city and country. The shops and food don’t necessarily match the theme of the floor but the decor definitely does. You will for sure find something for everyone there and what’s interesting is that this mall isn’t even the largest one in Bangkok.
We wandered aimlessly until the hunger really got to us and so we finally decided on a ramen place for lunch. After that, the boys left for their flight to Taipei and the girls decided to head over to the temples.
If you only have a few hours, the temples are a must in the city. There are three major attractions within a few blocks of each other that you should see. Wat Pho and the Grand Palace are across the river from Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn). So if you’re heading from Sukhumvit or city center, start at Wat Arun and then take the water taxi across the river to see the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
We caught a taxi to go to Wat Arun as our first stop. Unfortunately, Wat Arun was under renovation so you couldn’t climb as high up the temple and it was covered in scaffolding but it was still beautiful.
This temple is covered in bits of porcelain and shells to create the intricate designs that you see all throughout the space. You could spend hours here walking through the general area and checking out the architecture and the designs. Note that for foreigners in Thailand, you’ll typically pay more money than the locals so make full use of your time there.
After Wat Arun, we caught the water taxi over to the other side of the city to see the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. We fast walked as quickly as we could to the Grand Palace and ended up at the door 1 minute before it closed so we couldn’t get in unfortunately. I went last time, but I didn’t go into the actual Palace, just the gardens outside. So, this place is still on my list. Luckily Wat Pho closed about 3 hours later than the Grand Palace so we ran over and checked out the reclining buddha.
Things to keep in mind while you’re visiting these Buddhist temples:
- I recommend wearing shoes that you can take off and put on easily. In Wat Pho, you do walk barefoot.
- If you are not covered on your shoulders or if you are wearing short shorts; be prepared to wear something to cover up. They do have wraps and ponchos that you can pay to borrow but bringing a scarf is a good idea to do some cover up.
- Be prepared to be overwhelmed with the intricacies and beauty of these temples. They are beautiful and it’s absolutely amazing to just stand and take in everything you’re seeing.
- Catching cabs around this area is easy but know that they will charge you more. You can either do the option of following the meter or trying to bargain with the cab drivers. (This is true for all drivers around Bangkok)
After walking through the grounds around Wat Pho, we headed back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the group for the remainder of our time in Bangkok…