After landing, we made our way through security, found my bag, hit the ATM for some Bhat and purchased a SIM card for our unlocked iPhone. All of these steps went smoothly and took about 30 minutes. We got a metered taxi (recommended in numerous guidebooks instead of other, more shady options) and made our way to the Smile Society Boutique Hostel in Silom. It was about 2:30am local time when we arrived. I was very impressed that the doorman had our key and the room was all ready for us. The beds were soft, everything was clean, and the AC was glorious. Time for some sleep!
The next morning, we did some walking around after the hostel breakfast (included in the 900 BHT/night price if you book online at their website http://www.smilesocietyhostel.com). Ms. Bee, the owner of the Smile Society suggested that we visit the Chatuchak weekend market. We were able to get there quickly with the incredible Sky Train transportation.
The following day, we decided to explore the city a bit more. Our initial plan was to take the MRT to the river and catch the Chao Phraya Tourist Boat up to the Grand Palace. We would then stop at Wat Arun, Wat Pho, the Flower Market and China Town on the way back down the river.
Everything went awesome getting up to Tha Maharaj. We began making our way to the Grand Palace, but stopped for a minute to check the map. During this 30 second period, we were approached by a man claiming to be security. He pulled out his map and proposed that we wait until later on in the day to tour the palace because it was getting so hot. This is where we should have known better and said our goodbyes to this dude. Instead, we ended up getting ushered into a tuk-tuk (auto rickshaw for my Midwest peeps) and taken on a seemingly innocuous journey to some other temples. The first stop on this journey was Wat Indharaviharn (Standing Buddha), which was very nice and serene.
Then things got weird. We were escorted to a tailor shop, were numerous high pressure salespeople converged on us with bolts of fabric, tape measures, and drawings of suits and prom dresses. You probably don’t know this about me, but I’m not good at extricating myself from things like this (timeshare disasters anyone?), and my husband was having an introvert panic moment. We both ended up with tailored shirts in a vain effort to get ourselves out of there with little to no damage to our budget. We shuffled out to our tuk-tuk and attempted to convince our driver to take us back to the palace. NOPE. Here is a little taste of the terrifying ride:
With all that being said, I’m sure this is an experience everyone should have at least once. YOLO.
After a forced gem shop experience (oh good, right?), some more terrifying motorized street/sidewalk navigation, and some pleading with the driver, we were finally back to the palace. We threw in the towel and went for lunch and beers at the flower market!! Whew.