Today has been the BEST day that I’ve spent in Bangkok so far and I owe 100% to the best tour guide and my new friend, Mod! Nattaya, from back home, was sweet enough to introduce me to her dear friend, Mod, through Facebook when I told her I was traveling to Bangkok. She immediately made me feel welcome to the city and agreed to show me around town today. My top must-see destinations in Bangkok were The Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. And we saw them all (plus more!) in one day.
We started early in the morning, around 9am, and arrived at The Grand Palace, which was already packed with tourists. The architecture and decorations around the temples were extraordinary. The colors were mesmerizing and literally sparkled in the sun. My favorite part of each temple was seeing the phra ubosot, which is beautifully decorated with gold. After The Grand Palace, we took a ferry across the Chao Phraya River to Wat Arun. Unfortunately the temple is currently covered in scaffolding and the main staircase to climb is closed off. Not a problem! Back across the river we went to Wat Pho and then Wat Saket. At Wat Saket (Golden Mount), we climbed to the top and were able to get a nice view of Bangkok.
- The Grand Palace – 500 THB entrance fee for non-Thai visitors
- Sleeves MUST be worn to enter the Grand Palace. Unlike other religious sites, sarongs and scarves are not permitted to cover shoulders. Tourists are not expected to wear all black, however, it is respectful d/t the current state of mourning the past Thai King.
- Wat Arun – 50 THB entrance fee for non-Thai visitors
- Wat Pho – 50 THB entrance fee for non-Thai visitors
For lunch we went to a nice restaurant in Tha Maharaj near the river called Ros’niyom. Mod was kind enough to pick out some new Thai dishes for me to try, and I loved them all! We started with minced pork coconut stew served with a salted egg and various vegetables followed by an order of pork satay skewers. The star of the meal was the Kua Gai, which is a thick rice noodle stir-fried with chicken and egg and squid, topped with crunchy noodles (Yum!).
During lunch, I mentioned to Mod that I have started a travel blog and that I still had never tried the famous mango sticky rice dessert. She immediately made it our mission to find the best mango sticky rice in Thailand. We drove past shop after shop, some were closed for Songkran and some were only accessible by walking. She picked up some sticky rice from a famous vendor in Bangkok and drove all around, stopping at different spots so that I could take pictures and to a local market to buy fresh mangos. We saw the parliament building, Phra A-thit park, and Khao San Road. She told me about the Thai King and three pillars of Thai society: loyal, government, and religious. We finished our adventure at La Vita coffee shop where she assembled her own custom-made mango sticky rice especially for me. It was delicious and definitely worth the wait! Perfectly cooked sticky rice, just a tad of salt to balance the sweetness and the best okrung mangos I have ever tasted!
In the coffee shop, we met a local Thai man and spoke to him like old friends. It struck me how easily Thai people can strike up conversations with strangers. The people here are so friendly, always smiling and very polite. Bangkok has been nothing but kind to me. I will definitely be back! Thailand, you are something special.
Mod, if you are reading this, thank you very much for taking the time to show me around your city! I am so glad that we were able to accomplish so much in our short span of time. I was able to see everything on my list and more, and your kindness will not be forgotten! I still cannot figure out how I have been so lucky to have such great friends in my life. Thank you Nat for introducing us! Today has truly been a great day.