It’s been a year since we were such Bangkok tourists and I still haven’t posted most of the pictures. Sad!
After our first day venturing into Bangkok to see Wat Pho, we decided to head back up the Chao Praya to see the Grand Palace.
The goal was to take the public river boat transport, as it was so cheap and easy; however, I was feeling a bit adventurous and didn’t want any FOMO. While on our way to Sathorn Pier from the hotel, I saw a long tail boat and thought, “I want a canal tour.”
Canal (Klong) Tour
Two minutes later I was almost regretting the decision as I was hopping way down from the pier, with a baby attached to me and a squirmy toddler, into a skinny, bobbing boat instead of the big stable boat that would take us right to Tha Tien pier.
Our driver whipped us around and sped off in the opposite direction of the Grand Palace, and headed down the Chao Praya, back toward the hotel. Off to the canal tour we went! As we hauled ass down the busy river, instead of enjoying the sunny day, sights, and wind in my hair, I was envisioning just exactly how to save my babies should the boat lose control somehow. Mothers, do we ever relax?
Here’s a picture of Matt taking what is, quite possibly, his first selfie.
Once we turned off the main river, the boat crawled along and things immediately felt better. We had a chance to look around at life along the canals. All different kinds of apartments, houses, temples, vegetation. We waved to some people as we passed and observed others.
We bought some cheesy souvenirs from a lady selling them from her floating-market boat, as you do as tourists. She also asked if we wanted a beer, which did sound AMAZING. So we bought some beers, and she gestured to our boat driver, and Matt bought one for him, too.
The canal tour on the long tail boat was awesome and ended too soon as we were all of a sudden shooting back out into the Chao Praya. We passed the stunning Wat Arun, and docked at Tha Tien. (Note: if you hire one of these boats, you’ll need to pay a docking fee at the end.)
As soon as we got off the dock, a rather familiar looking man came up to us. He was very friendly and we engaged in conversation, but he was ultimately selling tuk tuk rides. Emotionally high on the canal tour, we gave in and found ourselves on a tuk tuk. Luckily, this guy was our driver, and his familiarity made the decision slightly more comfortable. But again, instead of enjoying this crazy tuk tuk ride through gritty Bangkok like some 20-something year old trying to lose herself – then subsequently find herself – I was envisioning being hit by another vehicle with my babies on this ridiculous tuk tuk with zero protection. Despite the fears, and with death grips on our children, we had a hell of a time zipping around.
Bangkok Tuk Tuk Ride
Our first stop was at Wat Intharawihan, famous for it’s standing buddha.
Wat Intharawihan was very quiet when we arrived. This particular temple has the tallest standing Buddha statue which is cast in shining gold. After a nice look around, I took a break to breastfeed Henry and Matt purchased a bird for Porter to release for good karma.
After this stop it was on to a tailor. If you have something made for you, the driver gets gas money (tourist scheme). You maybe recognize this scenario if you’ve been to this area of Bangkok as a tourist. Matt in all of his travels with he President has been through this rodeo before, but actually wanted an updated suit. His last one was custom-made in India back when he was a Marine, so it was time for a new one and this was a perfect opportunity.
That being said, for me it felt like it took forever. I had a hot and tired 3-year-old and a breastfeeding baby to take care of while he was picking out his fabrics and being measured. The great thing was that everyone who worked there was so accommodating to our needs. They brought out juice and waters for our kids and tried to keep them smiling. I was able to shop for a few gifts for friends and family, so in the end it ended up being totally worth it.
Once Matt was finished, we boarded our tuk tuk and zoomed back to the Grand Palace. Our tiny boys fell asleep for the entire ride back!
Sleeping kids, a bit more faith in surviving the tuk tuk ride, and an amazing breeze keeping us cool – that ride back was one of the best parts of the vacation!
We thanked the driver and bought some cold fresh juice from a street vendor once we got back to Tha Tien pier.
The Grand Palace
Then we battled through a massive crowd to buy tickets to the Grand Palace and Royal Pantheon.
To be honest, we’d had a long day by this point, so unfortunately this visit was cut short. It’s not what I’d have preferred, but I’m perpetually in the mood to be forgiving of myself and grateful for any experience at all. As you can see, it’s an absolutely stunning sight to behold. I hope we can return someday.
For ease, we took a cab back to the hotel. We were stuck in rush hour, I had to breastfeed a couple of times, and Matt took one of his weekly phone meetings for work, but the ride back was voyeuristically nice. Boats, trains, tuk tuks, cabs, buses, long tail boats, whatever, it’s all a great way to see this city. With each mode of transportation you see different parts, and I fell more in love with Bangkok with each day.
That evening, Matt was actually going to be picked up by hired car and taken back to the tailor for a suit fitting. He was expecting a phone call but realized he left his cell phone in the cab.
We did all the things we could think of to try to find or retrieve the phone, to no avail. The consensus was that it was gone for good. Matt headed back to the tailor, defeated. I got the boys to sleep and ordered dinner. When he was dropped back off at the hotel, the front desk informed him that the cab driver BROUGHT HIS CELL PHONE BACK. Basically unheard of, I guess. Karma will return that kindness x1million. And hopefully Matt was taught a lesson?
Do you think Matt was the recipient of good karma because he bought those birds for Porter to release earlier that day?!
THAT was our most touristy day in Bangkok!