My second day in Bangkok turned out to be quite fun. I felt I got to know the city a bit better compared to the day before.
Our first stop of the day was the flower market. We took the public bus to Pak Khlong Talat where we were guided through the different stalls and warehouses. I hadn’t been very excited to visit the flower market at the start of the day, but I’m happy I did in the end. There were some beautiful displays and seeing the workers in the warehouse, made the visit feel more ‘real’ than touristy.
After the visit, we embarked on a boat trip on the Chao Phraya river to see the villages outside of Bangkok. It was a very interesting trip where we saw a glimpse of local life.
The houses and temples were all built very close to the water and some were better maintained than others. Unfortunately, due to the severe floods in 2011, quite a few houses were on the verge of collapse. It was hard to imagine families living in these.
On our return, we stopped at a stall on the water selling bread for the fish. Our guide bought some bread for us to feed the fish around us. As soon as the first piece of bread touched the water surface, the fish turned into a feeding frenzy, and all you could see was a flurry of wet scales and water splashing.
We arrived back on shore around lunchtime, so we decided to eat something nearby. As we stepped off the boat, we walked on wooden planks straight into a covered area full with little shops. The construction was maybe not too solid, but it had quite an interesting vibe.
We ended up in a little lunch place, overlooking the river where I had the best and cheapest Pad Thai I’ve ever eaten. I only paid £0.50 for a filling meal. The place itself, however, wasn’t too clean, and I didn’t want to look around too much out of fear I’d see cockroaches running around. ‘Ignorance is bliss’, right?
Some of my group used the toilet, which was basically a hole in the ground, straight into the river. I passed, and was lucky to find some toilets on our way to the Grand Palace.
We arrived at the Grand Palace were we had a few hours to roam around before having to get back to the hotel, collect our bags and head to the station for our overnight train to Surat Thani.
They are very strict on what you can and cannot wear. We were approached by a few merchants trying to sell us trousers and sarongs. I had come prepared with long trousers and a cardigan to cover my arms but some people in my group needed something to cover up.
We found out the Palace rents out clothes to tourists, so you don’t actually need to buy anything (you get your money back when returning the clothes). The merchants are pretty sneaky…
Find out more about the Grand Palace in Bangkok
I loved my visit to the Grand Palace with its beautiful statues and temples. A stark contrast to the disheveled houses we saw earlier by the river. After walking around for a bit and taking a bazillion photos, we took one of the big taxis in front of the palace and made our way back to the hotel.
As I was only in Bangkok for 2 days (more like 1 day, as it was afternoon when I arrived, and I left in the afternoon the next day), I only saw a glimpse of Thailand’s capital city. I’m glad to have seen the city, but I was also looking forward to the next part of my trip: taking the night train to Surat Thani