Day 3 – Temple Run, Thai Massage and Dinner Cruise
This day started early and ended pretty late so you could say it was a long day of running around temples, riding in boats and eating leisurely. We made arrangements with my friends, who flew in the night before and stayed in a different hotel, to meet at Saphan Taksin BTS Station before 9 am. From there we walked to the Central Pier Station and boarded the Chao Phraya Express boat, the one with the green flag, to reach our first destination, N9 Tha Chang Pier Station where the Grand Palace is located. Note that at the Central Station there will be a ticket booth selling the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat (with the blue flag) for 150Baht which gives tourists unlimited ride to 8 piers for one whole day. Sounds reasonable, but it’s actually unnecessary to purchase this since you will only get to ride the boat a maximum of 6 times for one day of touring the spots. The first time we went here we purchased it and only got to ride it 4 times, which would only cost us about 60 baht (for 15 baht per ride), so it was really a waste. This time, I did my research and noted that for each flag color, there’s a specific route, and as long as you got in the right boat you’ve nothing to worry about. The Piers to remember are N9 Tha Chang (Grand Palace), N8 Tha Tien (Wat Pho & Wat Arun), and N3 Si Phraya Pier (River City Shopping Complex).
First stop, the Grand Palace! We alighted at the Tha Chang Pier Station, and from there walked to the Grand Palace complex. It’s not so hard to find since once you come out of the market area the complex will be in full view. After paying the entrance fee of 500 baht per pax, we went inside the palace grounds. It is important to note that there is a proper dress code when entering the palace, so make sure that you’re wearing the proper attire or risk having to use the attire they rent out. It must be holiday in other countries because there were a lot of tourists that it was difficult to have our photos taken without anyone else in the background.
The Grand Palace (Thai: พระบรมมหาราชวัง, RTGS: Phra Borom Maha Ratcha Wang) is a complex of buildings at the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The palace had been the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) since 1782. The king, his court and his royal government were based on the grounds of the palace until 1925. The present monarch, King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), currently resides at Chitralada Palace, but the Grand Palace is still used for official events. Several royal ceremonies and state functions are held within the walls of the palace every year. The palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand.
The Wat Phra Keow Complex is the first area you will see once you enter the Palace compound. Wat Phra Keow (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in Thailand. Surrounding this temple are more temples and structures that depict the standard Thailand architecture named the Rattanakosin style. I’m not really good in this history thing so I’m just gonna post photos of the various buildings you can find inside the complex.
After touring the complex, we exited and went to the Grand Palace grounds. The one thing I liked here is the round trees surrounding the palace. It is truly a majestic place and the palace grounds is huge. I can only imagine the grandness of parties that can be held in these grounds, or inside the Palace itself.
Afterwards we decided to head back and have our lunch. Before we left we went to the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles located near the entrance (you have to go one round and exit the way you entered). It houses a display of the different national costumes worn by the Queen for different occasions. I must say, I suddenly had an interest in different national costumes from different countries and I loved the dresses on display. The queen is indeed a stylish and petite fashionista when she was young.
After lunch we went to Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), a short distance away from The Grand Palace. There was an entrance fee of 100 baht and it came with a complimentary mineral water (it was a very hot day). Wat Pho Complex is one of the largest wats in Bangkok and is home to more than one thousand Buddha images. This temple is also known to be the birthplace of the traditional Thai Massage.
After the Wat Pho we walked to the Tha Tien (N8) Pier Station and paid 3 baht for the boat transfer to the other side of the river to visit Wat Arun. Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) is among the best known of Thailand’s landmarks and the first light of the morning reflects off the surface of the temple with pearly iridescence. There is an entrance fee of 50baht and what struck me about this structure were the details of intricate flowers and statues all around the temple. Some of us didn’t go inside anymore because we were too tired but I had my chance to go there 3 years ago and I must say, if you think you had enough of temples in Grand Palace and Wat Pho, you’re wrong. This temple has a different style altogether that makes it unique from the others. The photos below would be the ones we took 3 years ago.
We took another boat transfer to go back to the Tha Tien Pier and waited for the boat that took us to Si Phraya Pier (River City Shopping Complex). We took the blue flag one, which cost us 40 baht instead of the regular 20 baht boats.
River City Shopping Complex
The Si Phraya Pier is where the River City Shopping Complex was located, where we had to wait for our dinner cruise. The cruise was scheduled for 8pm and we still had so much time to kill, so we went and roamed around the mall, and we found a few massage places. Since I was craving for a massage, I tried Thai Massage for one hour from Yin Yang Massage located on the second floor. For 320 baht (less than 15sgd) it wasn’t that bad. Although I have to admit, I didn’t know that Thai massage is a dry massage and that there was no use of oil. haha. I should’ve taken the Oil massage instead. But still, it was a good massage and my muscles were thanking me after.
Chao Phraya Princess Dinner Cruise
A sumptuous dinner under the stars while cruising along the Chao Phraya River was how we ended our day. It was nice to see all the beautiful sites we went to that day, but viewed from the river with night lights. We availed our dinner cruise at 990 baht each through Thailand Tours Center. They also have pick-up options but we chose the one for the cruise alone since we will be coming directly to River City after our temple run. In the lobby we were given stickers which determined the boat we were in and flowers to pin to our clothes. We were assigned the Chao Phraya Princess IV, and after settling into our seats, the cruise began. We went to the direction of the Grand Palace and turned back when we passed by the Rama VIII bridge. We then went all the way to the Central Pier and returned to River City Pier. The duration of the cruise was two hours and I honestly didn’t notice the time pass by. The food was served in a buffet and there was good selection of western food as well as Thai dishes. It wasn’t that good, but it wasn’t so bad either. It was enough for our hungry tummies anyway. As for the entertainment, I would’ve preferred if they just played recorded songs or let the saxophonist play solo, instead of letting the singer sing. No offense but her English diction was not good considering that this was a tourist cruise and most would be English speaking foreigners. (Also, she ruined one of my favorite song ‘When you say nothing at all’ )
We finished past 10 pm, said goodbye to my friends and took a cab to the hotel. It was a very tiring albeit fun and unforgettable day ^_^