One of the tricky bits about taking the night train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok was that we arrived at Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station at 7am. Since our hotel didn’t allow early check in we needed to figure out how to tackle the day. Luckily Hua Lamphong offers left luggage services for a reasonable price so we were able to leave our heavy bags (minus any valuables which we lugged around town ourselves). Mike and I are familiar with the area around Hua Lamphong, having stayed right on the Chao Praya river before, so we opted to walk through China Town for some morning sight seeing on our way to Wat Pho.
One of the best ways to get around Bangkok is to take the many public boats that chug up and down the rivers. We always find it a bit difficult to figure out where to get the public boat launches as opposed to the private ones that vie for your tourist dollar. Touts are always out to hustle us at the docks which I find SO off-putting. I hate the hustle. One lady got down right rude to us when I told her we didn’t want the tourist boat, we wanted the public boat. But of course, as always, we found helpful strangers who have not been jaded by the tourists industry who are more than willing to help our smiling family.
The public boats are a great way to see life on the river in Bangkok and are worth any trouble it takes to get to them. The cost of the ride up river was 30 baht for our family (about a dollar). Many of Bangkok’s most famous sites are located along the river and the boat drops people off right in front of them. On this day we were opting to see Wat Pho, one of Thailand’s most famous Wats and the home of a massive reclining Buddha.
The entrance fee to Wat Pho was 100 baht per adult (children free). Having to pay to enter into a Wat kind of bugs me. We have seen so many beautiful Wats around South East Asia and almost none of them have an entrance fee. With thousands of tourists visiting the Wat a day they are making mucho moola but I suppose such grandeur comes at a price.
Tips for visiting Wat Pho:
- It’s hot. Freaking hot. Be prepared.
- Dress appropriately. As always when visiting a Wat show some respect and cover your knees and shoulders.
- Come early to avoid the tour buses.
- The Grand Palace is literally across the street so plan on a day between these two places!
- Take the river boat to get here, it is way more cool than a taxi!
- Don’t listen to any touts who tell you it is closed for the day. They are trying to scam you into taking a ride with them.
- Be prepared for crowds. This is one of the top attractions in Bangkok.