Published: July 9th 2009June 20th 2009
We woke up early this morning and made our way to the Grand Palace. The cab ride from our hotel to the Grand Palace was B100, not too bad considering the traffic, but I'm pretty sure the cab driver made sure we took the longet route possible. :) As soon as we got out of the cab, we were approached by a nicely dressed Thai gentleman who spoke very good English. He told us that the palace was closed for the daily prayer (???) and that it will reopen in one hour. He then told us to go visit a nearby Wat and pointed us to a tuk-tuk. He said the tuk-tuk would take us there and 2 other temples for B30. This already smelled fishy, but we got in anyway- what the heck. So first we made out way to Wat Indravihan, or Wat In for short. This temple is known for the huge standing Buddha, 32 meters tall and 11 meters wide. It was so big, I couldn't get a picture of it without cutting off some part of the Buddha :) The topknot of the Buddha image contains a relic of Lord Buddha brought from Sri Lanka. We
Wat In. It's amazing how big this Buddha is!
then visited the temple which, as all Buddhist temples, was very beautiful.
We found our tuk-tuk driver, who then told us that we would now visit a couple of stores. What??? Yea, he was going to get free gas if we just go in a look for 10 minutes. Allright. So away we went to our first store- an expensive jewelry store. "we are students! we have no money!" we told him. "It's ok. Just look. 10 minutes" We went in to find an empty store, buzzing with bored salesmen. Of course, we couldn't afford anything in that place, not even the dust from the jewlelry. Then came a tailor shop. This one, unlike the jewelry store, was buzzing with foreighners getting measured and looking at fabrics. We were greeted by a very "in-your-face" Indian dude. He started showing us his catalog but after realizing that he was wasting time with us, he told us to go to the souvenir shop because 'we could maybe
afford something in there" His exact words. What a rude a$$hole! So after 2 more stops, we finally came back to the Grand Palace. Yea we felt stupid and angry and quite upset at
ourselves for falling into the scam we read
about before we came, but we got to see Wat In and he only got 30 baht from us. Later we learned that these tuk-tuk drivers get 20-30% of the profit, if the bait they brought it purchased anything! Free gas, riiiight.
The Grand Palace has a very strict dresscode, but you can rent appropriate clothes with B100 deposit. The ticket cost B350, a price special for foreighners, but it was worth the money. Amazing, stunning, breathtaking cannot describe what we saw inside. The buildings were so intricate, the attention to detail so great, that my head starting spinning, and still does when I look at the pictures :) It was a hot sunny day, perfect for walking around :) so after about 2 hours of walking the ground of the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the holliest Buddha statue in Thailand (it was tiny!!!) we decided to make our way back. We wanted to stay away from all the cabs near the entrance of the Grand Palace so we decided to take a walk towards our hotel and find a cab on the way, a task
The Grand Palace - near the entrance
which is not hard in Bangkok. We got a very chatty cab driver who talked all the way home.
Thai people are known for their hospitality and smiles, but a smile does not always mean that they want what's best for you. A smile is often very deceitful and you have to be careful. Don't be paranoid but be careful and keep your eyes open. In any country where tourism brings in a lot of cash, there will be people who will want to rip you off, and think that you are a stupid tourist. You can't always avoid it, but learn from other people's mistakes :)
There are more photos below