Thursday, February 14, 2013

Bangkok Grande Palace

So it's Valentine's Day (February 14th), but instead of being locked in the hotel room closet while my parents wrestle in their underwear, we decided to all go out together to check out the Royal Palace in Bangkok.

Since it was forecast to be about 92 degrees and humid today, my father we all decided to wake up extra early and get to the Palace right when it opened at 8:30AM so that we could try to avoid the mid-day heat.

Getting anywhere in Bangkok is a major PITA because of the insane traffic.  That's why we took the Chao Phraya Express ferry.

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We walked from the W Hotel to the BTS (Metro) Station at Chong Nonsi 5 minutes away.  Tickets were based on how far you were going, but we were only taking it 2 stops so it was 20 THB / person ($0.67 USD) to get to Saphan Taksin station where we walked to the river and hopped on the Chao Phraya Express (CPX) ferry.

The CPX ferry is pretty ghetto but also super cheap.  For 20 THB / person, you can go all the way up the river.  We were about 9 stops up the river passing a bunch of fancy hotels (Peninsula, Royal Orchard Sheraton, etc) as well as some dilapidated shanty buildings that I can only imagine house Thai kids training to be the next character in Mortal Kombat.

But unlike taking a taxi, we had no traffic up the river and we reached our destination in about 15 minutes.  That's because the boats never really make a full complete stop like they teach you in Driver's Ed.  Instead, they do more of a rolling stop like my father does at Stop signs and red lights when driving in New Jersey.  But somehow, people jump on and off board while the boat floats along.

We first went to the Royal Palace and checked out the most popular tourist destination in Bangkok.  Entrance fees were 500 THB / person ($17 USD).  We got there just when they opened at 8:30AM (they close at 4:30PM), and because we knew to dress appropriately we weren't kicked out of line like many of the Chinese tourists who wore shorts and tank tops.

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