If you had come across my earlier post, you would have known by now that I had travelled to Bangkok-Thailand for my first solo holiday.
Post the visa processing and baggage collection, I strode across the expansive Suvarnabhumi airport to the meet-up point for my hotel transfer.
Was pleasantly surprised on being met by a uniform attired chauffeur and his BMW. (Woo hoo…Jumping on the inside !) My journey of approx 45-50 minutes was every bit smooth, luxurious and wi-fi enabled, a perfect welcome to the city of angels and the tropical heat.
Once I reached my hotel- Chatrium Riverside Bangkok located in the Sathon district, I was escorted immediately to my room on the 17th floor facing the Chao Phraya river. The room was large with a splendid view and even a private balcony. But more about my hotel experience later.
Exhausted after my long flight and lack of much sleep, I decided to stay in on my first night in the city enjoying endless room service and the river view.
Following morning, I felt relaxed and charged up for my city tour spanning the entire day. I was promptly met by my tour guide- Tui from the company- Tour With Tong. Since I opted for the private tour due to the humid climate and for comfort, she was also accompanied by a driver and an air conditioned car. Tui immediately made me feel at ease and within minutes, I almost felt as if I was reconnecting with an old friend.
My first stop for the day was the most popular place of attraction and must do in the city -The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew –Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Grand Palace complex consists of several buildings and sprawled an area of more than 50 acres and was only partially open to public. The architecture was magnificent and its work could be noticed to be extremely intricate with the multi-coloured tiles. I particularly loved the colourful architecture with the sun sparkling off the red, blue, green tiles.
Unfortunately due to the Buddhist occasion of Vichaka Bucha the following day, the entrance to the actual Temple of Emerald Buddha was closed to public for preparations. This day is celebrated to be the day Lord Buddha was born, died and got his enlightenment. Due to this I ended up witnessing jam-packed crowds as the entire complex would also be closed the next day.
But the royal family currently does not live in the Grand Palace. However another local fact I read and quickly understood was that the Thais love their royalty and treat them with immense respect and devotion. It’s a big faux pas and even illegal to talk negative about the royalty.
Infact it is evident from the fact that the National Father’s Day is celebrated on the King’s birthday. Almost all of the major sights are decorated with Blue and Yellow flags symbolizing the King and the Queen respectively depicting the days they were born on. I was told that in Thailand, each day of the week had a colour associated with it.
Post the tour once I stepped outside the complex, spotted several street side stalls from where I tasted some of the most delicious ripe mangoes sprinkled with some chilli salt which was extremely refreshing.
We then travelled to the next sight, which was Wat Pho – Temple of the Reclining Buddha.
After Grand Palace, I just did not want to get out of my air-conditioned vehicle but this sight was such a welcome relief because it was hardly crowded and found it to be airy and breezy. I found out later it was majorly so because the Chinese tourists didn’t have this sight on their itinerary!