On the second day in Bangkok, the plan was to see Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Grand Palace.
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn/Templul Rasaritului)
I thought I will see yet another temple, but Wat Arun is slightly different than any other that I’ve seen so far. The central tower is built in Khmer style and has pieces of colorful porcelain encrusted on its surface. It has very steep stairs and there are statues of monkeys and demons all around it.
To get to Wat Arun, we took the sky-train to Saphan Taksin (the Central pier) and from there the express boat to Tha Thien pier (40 Bahts/person), from where we took a ferry to cross Chao Phraya River (3 Baht/person).
Wat Pho (The Temple of the Reclining Buddha/Templul lui Buddha culcat)
Wat Pho is one of the largest and oldest temples in Bangkok and it hosts over 1000 images of Buddha and also the biggest Buddha statue in Thailand – a 43 m long Reclining Buddha (his position before entering Nirvana -the ultimate state of peace and happiness).
Around the temple there are 16 gates guarded by Chinese rock giants. Inside the courtyard there are many beautiful chedis containing the ashes of Buddha.
Shall we see Grand Palace?
At least this was the plan, but at the first gate the guard told us the site is closed until 2PM.
At the next gate few hundred meters further, a friendly man with guard badge and very official looking approached us and said the temple is closed for a few hours, but in the mean time we should take a tuk-tuk to see 3 other places around Bangkok and that we should not pay more than 40 Baht. He sounded very plausible so we fell for it.
Apparently, this is one of the biggest scams at Grand Place, in Bangkok, but I had no clue about it!!! They want to take you to different tailor shops to buy clothes and they get commission for it (they get much more if the clients that they bring in order suits or dresses).
Only in the tuk-tuk I realized something is not right and the scam was confirmed when one of the sites we “visited” was a tailor shop and the driver asked us to go in and have a look. Of course we did not buy any suit or dress, so we went to the third site, The Golden Mount, where our tuk-tuk driver abandoned us (we didn’t even pay him before he left). Luckily it wasn’t far from Grand Palace, so we walked, having the chance to see more parts of Bangkok.
So, the Grand Palace is NOT closed during day for monks to pray, nor for god know what ceremony! Don’t believe anything anyone is telling you! If you have to ask for direction or information, is better to ask another tourist.
At the Grand Palace it was very crowded, lots of Asians and noisy tourists. The first thing you see is that you have to wear long pants and cover your shoulders (but they lend you clothes to cover yourself if necessary). The entrance is 500 Baht.
Considering all that happened before (the scam) and the ridiculous price and rules to see just another temple, we decided that Grand Palace is not worth the visit.
And 3 more photos taken from the boat: