Bangkok – Visiting the Grand Palace and Wat Pho

As it is my first visit to Bangkok, we must see the big touristic places. For that we take the public transport ferry on the Chao Phraya River to reach the old city center.

travel tipp infoTip: The cheaper, public transport ferry is the one with orange colored top. Do not get invited to the privately owned tourist boats. The keepers want to sell you the ride at a much higher price.

Interestingly, the city has a metro system and a sky train system, and both do not reach into the old city center: It’s a touristic place. The average Bangkokian does not go there often. Normal life takes place where the trains go, you could say.

Old town – the Grand Palace

The monastery complex of the Grand Palace shines bright in the sunlight because of its many golden and silver mirror tiles. Red faced monster statues (called Nyak) guard the many temples and stupas around. Roofed corridors surround the area. They are covered with detailed frescoes. Huge gods and goddesses fight bare-handed against sea snakes.Golden holy men preach in front of bowing noble families. There are many stories to discover on the paintings!

The palace complex is larger than the monastery attached, and does not have so much bling-bling. White elephant statues stand in front of the white palace walls, surrounded by well-maintained greens. An eye catcher is the beautiful wallpaper inside the throne room. Wallpaper? A closer look reveals that the wall has not been papered, but painted!

travel tipp infoDon’t forget to dress properly! Don’t forget to bring long sleeves and long (over knee) pants or long skirts. Tight pants are not allowed either, even if they are long! These rules apply to everyone, man and woman. Access to Bangkok’s palace complex will be denied if you are not dressed properly, and the guards control thoroughly.

We must be careful not to run into a selfie stick or to step on someone’s foot. It is crowded! We try and mentally shut out the sheer mass of visitors, and make a sport out of taking pictures without people on it. A lot of close-up and rooftop pics from today…

travel tipp infoTip: Get in, visit, and get out! Better eat, drink, book, shop somewhere else in Bangkok. The streets around the Grand Palace are an annoyance: People want to sell you expensive city tours or talk you into their souvenir shops. They will lie ruthlessly in your face, either to get some money from you or to get rid of you. Needless to say that all the shops around are extremely overpriced. “Real Bangkok” offers lots of alternatives for everything you need.

Old town – Wat Pho

­­­­­­­We walk right behind the Grand Palace and visit the next important sight: The monastery complex Wat Pho is said to be the place where Thai Massage has its origins. As most visitors frequent the Grand Palace and need to head back to their connecting flights, the touristic mass has already thinned out here.

The monastery’s temples are not as well-maintained as the Grand Palace of Bangkok. Some plants crack out from the colorful roofs and white mural parts have been washed black by rains. The golden patina cracks off from pillars and reliefs. No “vintage”-app is needed for the photos!

Inside the temples, again golden Buddha statues sit and meditate, always with a celestial, soft smile on their lips. Flowers and donation boxes decorate their surroundings.

The Thai massage school is in the backyard of the monastery. You can apply for a course or get an authentic massage right on the spot.

We enjoy very much discovering the whole place.


Enough of sightseeing for today! We are hungry. We take a taxi from the historic center and get to Chinatown. We read in our guide book that there is a huge variety of street food stands, but we only see some single food stands selling either bananas or spring rolls. Not the variety we hoped for! We suspect that it is wrong timing from our side (food stands are having a siesta break) and head back to our “home” district Bang Rak for a *really* spicy chicken curry in rice with eggplants and *really really* spicy morning glory salad.

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