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9 November: Last Day/Night in Bangkok Before Leaving

THAILAND | Thursday, 9 November 2017 | Views [199]

Thailand, Bangkok

Thailand, Bangkok

Today was our last full day in Thailand. Time to pack in as much Bangkok as we possibly could until around midnight.  That meant “Bangkok by day; Bangkok by night.”

Our hotel, the Grand Sathorn, is located not too far from the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. This used to be the lifeline of the city during a time where waterways were the most important thoroughfares.  A large series of “klongs” (canals) ran through the city as well. Most of the klongs are no longer here though. However, the river still is a vibrant part of life in Bangkok.

We hopped a cab to a pier and dropped about $45 on an hour long, private long tail boat ride down the river and one of the klongs – not bad for the four of us. Weather was a little overcast, but other than that, it seemed like a good deal. The boat would drop us off not far from Wat Pho, where the famous reclining Buddha image is located.

The boat ride was great, we got lots of great pictures and video. The riverside area of Bangkok is still experiencing flooding, so a number of the residents along the river are still dealing with that. If you go to Bangkok, you must take at least a short ride along the Chao Phraya – good times.

We saw some great sights for about an hour, then were dropped off at a local pier.  Nearby, we grabbed some coffee and ice cream at a coffee shop…. I wish I could remember the name.  After coffee, we walked down to Wat Pho. It is a sprawling complex with so much to see.  You must plan on a couple of hours for this one if you are to walk the grounds.  The reclining Buddha took us well over a half an hour to take proper photos and see the entire image. It is truly spectacular. We exited Wat Pho, headed down the walk toward Wat Phra Keao – the temple of the emerald Buddha. It was extremely crowded. Most temples will allow men to wear long shorts. Also, they will provide a sarong for women in shorts. Not this temple. A couple of people in our party were turned away, so we decided that it was too crowded anyway on this particular day.

Attractions in that area are quite crowded this month, because the exhibit honoring the life, reign, and lasting impact of King Bhumibol Adulyadej is still available to the public at the Royal Crematorium until the end of November. Never in my life have I seen a more beautiful tribute than this display, including the structures to honor King Rama IX of the Chakri dynasty.  Truly incredible. I am so extremely glad that we went to pay respects. For my wife – as well as the generation before her – this is the only monarch they have ever known. No singular person has had a greater impact on Thailand in the 20th and 21st centuries than this one man.  He saw himself as a leader, but as someone to serve the Thai people – a servant leader in the most respectful sense. Working to advance Thailand and the well-being of the Thai peoples, his accomplishments are too much to go into detail here, but suffice it to say his influence will be felt for many, many generations.  Visiting this memorial has inspired me to read a book or two about the King Bhumibol Adulyadej who forever changed Thailand for the better.

After the Royal Crematorium, we grabbed a tuk-tuk to take us to the storied Mandarin Oriental Hotel along the river.  The ride was like something out of a movie as the four of us and the driver went weaving from lane to lane – going against traffic at some points – just to get there a little quicker.  The Mandarin is such a beautiful hotel and its older parts evoke memories of a time long past. Grandeur and grace describe the Oriental in Bangkok. It’s a neat place to stroll around and check out.  We walked up a path or two from the Mandarin and found a great little boutique wine and beer joint where we could enjoy some refreshments on the street. We grabbed some street-food snacks as well.  Great friends, cold refreshments, good times.

Clock’s ticking. Gotta check out some more souvenirs. Sun has set and that means the Patpong night market is open.  We grabbed a taxi and headed down the road. Patpong USED to be the biggest red-light district in Bangkok. In the street, there has long been a night market that has souvenirs for tourists.  It is still there. However, many of the bars are now shops specializing in luggage and other items. In some cases, restaurants have replaced bars.  Thirsty for a drink, we tucked into a go-go bar before shopping the market. This bar was of course intriguing for my friends who have not been to Thailand previously.  After a drink, we found the last remaining souvenirs and headed out to the train station.

We paid our train fare and headed down to the Sukhumvit side of town. Getting off the sky train, it was a short jaunt to the famous “Soi Cowboy,” another red-light district.  Soi Cowboy does not have a street market in the middle. It is a relatively short street that has a lively atmosphere. We sat outside a local establishment and hung out for a while.  Good times again, but it was getting late….

Heading back to our side of town in a taxi, we stopped at the corner up from our hotel and grabbed some eats. Just what we needed late night before some packing and a few hours before getting up for the airport.

The day was packed full.  We put a lot of miles walking around, but what a great time it was.  Back at the room, final packing commenced.  A few hours of sleep was all we were afforded…. 4:30 AM was coming in a just a few hours…..

Thank you again for reading this journal. Cheers.

Tags: bangkok, thailand

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