“The Most Unmissable” tourist attraction in Bangkok, according to the Thailand Rough Guide, is the King’s Palace and the Wat (temple) that is there. With the book’s encouragement we took a taxi boat and then walked a few kilometres to get there. As soon as we got there we were sent to borrow clothes as we were not dressed appropriately (we actually did try to follow some guidelines in the guidebook but apparently failed along with half the other tourists). Once we got suited up we headed into the Wat, only to be stopped so that we could EACH pay 500 Baht…500!!! Now I’ll admit, that’s only about $17, but that is by far the most we spent on any single touristy thing. Our accomodation is usually between B300-B500, our overnight bus tickets are about B600 each, so B1000 for one activity seemed like a ton.
Once we paid we headed in and I’ll admit, the temple was beautiful. It is so intricately decorated with red, gold and green. It sparkles in the sunshine and was quite large with different sections. There was a model of Ankor Wat (the real thing is in Cambodia) so we checked that out since we are skipping Cambodia altogether. But after about fifteen minutes we were pretty much done. Maybe it’s because it was hot, maybe because there were so many people, but it just wasn’t that fun walking around looking at the stuff. And it certainly wasn’t B1000 fun.
To boot, after about 25 minutes (I was thinking of just camping out for the rest of the afternoon in order to get my money’s worth!) it started POURING rain. Absolutely coming down in sheets. Everyone was hiding under doorways and other buildings, but (much to Keith’s chagrin) I was going to get the most out of my money and carried on in the rain, getting soaked through my clothes in about 45 seconds. Once wet I trooped around, which was actually a little more enjoyable since I was a little cooler and while everyone else was hiding. I was finally convinced to leave by Keith and as we were walking out I SO badly wanted to start a flash dance mob in the rain. Unfortunately Keith was being a party pooper (and we all know that the first follower is really the most important for starting a movement) so we headed back to the taxi boat.
This took about half an hour and was not without a few big events.
First, a taxi driver got out of his car holding an umbrella in one hand and whipping out his penis to take a pee with the other hand (no joke, RIGHT beside us not even trying to hide it!). We have seen many little boys doing the same throughout the trip, but never a grown man!!!
Next, we stopped for a snack and just about got hypothermia in the air conditioning. Definitely the first time that I have gone back outside to get out of the aircon!
Finally, we just enjoyed seeing all the cars “float” through the streets. Seeing so many people hiding, waiting for the rain to pass (it didn’t until midnight). Seeing people taking off their flip flops to walk bare foot because a) they kept losing their shoes and b) all the side walks are made out of tile. TILE! Which by the way, gets soooo slippery when wet. Which is quite often, and sooo dangerous. Keith took a big fall later in the night and we are now firmly anti-tile.
After about an hour of trudging (Keith being grumpy, while I was determinedly optimistic), we made it back to the hotel to dry out.
But we learned a lesson, that I hope I can instill on others. The King’s Palace and Wat will likely leaving you watting, so you may as well just skip it and visit other smaller wats throughout the country and other countries for free. That way, you won’t burn out from the one (like we did) and could actually enjoy comparing the various differences throughout the countries. There is no question that they are very beautiful, and you don’t want to be left asking “wat’s the big deal” like us!