Yesterday ended up being a little bit of a write off. I woke up at 6am, still a little jet lagged/excited to be here. I sat on the balcony, the heat already seeming unbearable, and waited for James to wake up. We had booked a hostel for the next two nights in Bangkok, a place closer to the city's centre. A taxi drove us that morning and we arrived around noon. The taxi driver was sure chatty, naming us Jam and P. Just a heads up that taxi drivers here love to try and sell you things, just be polite and everything will go smoothly!
The new hostel we're staying at, The MovyLodge, is so modern and clean. All the walls are white, with accents of light wood and green plants hanging everywhere. There's a cute little hang-out spot balcony with bean bag chairs and an outdoor kitchen, (I'm clearly way too attached to this place already) it's perfect.
Once we got settled into our room we sat on the balcony for a solid two hours, soaking up the wifi. Then we decided to go back to our room to decide what to do with the day, this is where our plans changed. We ended up falling asleep from 230pm till midnight! The jet lag got the best of us, and we definitely didn't expect it. We'll have to keep that in mind for planning for our next getaway. We both woke up wide awake, we had no choice but to stay up through the night, waiting for the sun to rise.
That morning we got out of bed at 7am, showered and decided to find a 7-eleven. Lucky for us there was one just down the block from us, they're apparently a Thailand staple. As we were walking, the smells of Bangkok were very evident, it smells like animal crap. Not just a slight odour, like a full blown smell of poop, everywhere. We think it must be from all the pollution.
At 7-eleven we stoked up on a few things since our hostel has a public kitchen. Since everything is written in Thai, we relied on the pictures to figure out what most things were. We grabbed a loaf of bread and some strawberry jam, a couple cases of juice boxes, cereal, a little box of soy milk, bananas (which were oddly sealed in packaging), a case of water and a bag of chips. The grand total? $14 dollars Canadian. I was just as shocked as you are. Cheap living makes for a happy Abigail and James!
We got back to our hostel where we ate our five star meal. We learned that the juice boxes were actually a yoghurt drink and that the so-called "soy milk" actually had milk powder in it...poor mister lactose intolerant James!
Afterwards we did some serious researching of how to get to the grand palace without using a taxi. A little bit of team work and google mapping, and we figured out a fairly simple way. Google maps are our best friend when backpacking. Taking a screen shot and using it like a regular paper map is how we get around and it works great!
We started off by walking to the sky train where we bought two tickets for about 2.75 each, there's signs everywhere and in English too so it was very easy to understand. Thank god the train was air conditioned because it is HOT. We got off on our stop and proceeded to walk to a tiny pier where an express boat took us down the river, again with everything being in English this helped a lot. The poor river was jam packed with pollutants and filled with large boats. We got off at our stop again and walked into a public bathroom where we changed into long pants because The Grand Palace did not allow shorts.
We walked into the gates of the Grand Palace where we were stopped by a local man. He seemed pretty friendly and gave us some helpful tips of things to see and places to go. We weren't really sure why, but he was adamant that we go to a tourist booth and The Standing Buddha. He bartered with a Tuk-Tuk driver for us and we got in for him to take us there. We were a little hesitant at first, but it all worked out fine. He actually explained to us that there are bad and good Tuk-Tuk drivers and the different colours of the bikes actually showed which was which. The driver would stop and wait for us when we got out to sight see. The last place he took us was the front gates of the Grand Palace. We thanked him and paid him 100 Baht, about $4 dollars Canadian.
It was becoming the early afternoon and the heat became more and more unbearable as we waited in line. Unfortunately for me my capris were still too short so I had to rent a long skirt to wear, plus my shoulders had to be covered so I wore a sweater. Oh, and did I mention it was 42 degrees, not including the humidity? I'm not too sure how I didn't pass out.
The palace used to be the former residents of the Kings of Siam but is now used for royal ceremonies or state functions. Construction began over 200 years ago and it's still
continuing to be built with 2,351,000 sq ft. Rather than being a single structure, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, all set around open gardens and courtyards. It really is a beautiful area, it was just too bad the heat was so intense and there was so many people as it made it difficult to appreciate.
After struggling to walk around in the heat we decided to head back to the pier where we got on the boat and then the sky train. Once we made it back to our hostel we immediately had cold showers in hopes of feeling less like a walking sauna.
We named Bangkok the concrete city. The high traffic and busyness of this city is very overwhelming. We both decided that we had enough of Bangkok and will instead book direct flights to the islands instead of taking a bus.
While James decided it was nap time for him, I booked our flights to Koh Samui and our hotel. Booking hotels and flights during our trip allowed for us to be flexible and not worry about timelines! We went down to the kitchen and grabbed a bite to eat for dinner and now we're ready for bed. We're both excited to be laid back relaxing on the beach tomorrow!
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