Since this was our anniversary trip, I couldn’t help but be annoyingly cheesy in writing the prologue of every blog post. I’ve gotten the “#goals” comments and just wanted to tell people that even though we’ve hashed out most of our differences, we still have a long way to go to be anyone’s relationship goal. Our first time traveling abroad together was to visit Singapore for my birthday. We were there for a week – and there wasn’t a day where we didn’t engage in a squabble. You have no idea how irritating someone could be once you’ve spent every single minute of the day with them and their adorable little quirks start being annoying items on the quickly growing list of why you would ever plan to strangle them in their sleep. I love him and I would never do it, but damn, was it tempting. We’ve fortunately hashed out the kinks by this time and can cohabitate peacefully, but there really are times where that peace is tested. We’re not that zen yet.
Our last full day in Bangkok was for visiting at least one temple. We enjoy touristy spots, but it was just so hot and it being a tourist spot was an assurance that it would be crowded. While my solo traveler self would normally not care and spend the entire day temple hopping, I knew this was not something that would fly with C. He hates walking under the scorching sun and would be prissy the entire time if I subject him to it, so we compromised by visiting The Grand Palace after having a big breakfast.
We boarded the train from National Stadium station which was a good idea since it was the first station and the train was barely occupied. I was smiling inside because we were off to a good start for the day. We got to sit while on the train and relax until we get off at the port.
What I did forget was how much C avoided boat ride-induced headaches. While we both have no problems riding crazy roller coasters, being on a boat causes tiffs to his tummy. While you can most definitely reach the Grand Palace via a car or a taxi, it would be cheaper and more convenient to ride the boat as it’s quicker and an experience in itself. However, if you do have the time, extra money, and are not fond of boats, you can very well take a taxi/Uber/car to the temples.
It’s pretty easy to find out which port you’re supposed to get off because one of the boat operators (or staff? I’m not sure how to call them) announces it, and a lot of the tourists you are in the boat with are going to get off the boat too. The port you get off to is obviously used to tourists because most stalls have English signs on them. I’m not sure if the prices were jacked up though because the snacks were still pretty cheap. There were so many aromas – of other people’s sweat, of the heat, emanating from the ground, freshly peeled fruits for 100 baht per small pile, food in sticks frying in large vats of oil – and sounds coming from all over that the short walk through it was an assault on the senses. I didn’t know where to look first or what to try first and my indecision about it has gotten the crowd to carry me to the exit.
We went on a weekday instead of a weekend because experience has taught us that weekends are days where tourist spots are more packed. However, I don’t know if June or Wednesdays are peak season for The Grand Palace, but the crowd was huge. Prior to entering, a guard will advise you whether you’re not wearing appropriate clothes so do wear something that covers your shoulders and your legs. You can buy colorful pieces of fabrics to use as drapes before you enter, or buy the plain black one at the establishment at the gate itself. I can’t quite remember how much it was but it ranges from 200-300 baht? Not quite expensive but utterly useless unless you plan on turning it into something else or don’t have appropriate clothes to use for the rest of your temple visits. I didn’t learn anything about The Grand Palace because the place was too jam-packed to be able to mingle with a tour crowd and listen to their guide, and you basically just walk the entirety of it and we didn’t really find any signs that stood out explaining what this structure meant or why it’s there. Add the heat on top of all the walking – and you have in your hands a grumpy Chicken Boy. His mood, in turn, soured mine, and we were uninterested in learning more as we were both cranky before we even finished. When I eventually find myself back in Bangkok, I would definitely get myself a private walking tour so that I catch up on whatever I missed out on that day and visit all the temples in the itinerary I made.
It was a testament to how stressed we found ourselves inside the crowd that I was looking forward to exiting The Grand Palace. It did live up to its name as it is grand, beautiful, and architecturally interesting. We just detest walking under the heat and big crowds. During the course of this trip, I started getting upper abdominal pain infrequently while we were there. It must be all the spicy food or all the tea I have willingly consumed, but it was an uncomfortable feeling. This tummy pain decided to act up while we were trying to find our way out too, overall, adding up to the list of things that could go wrong within that day. We decided to simply hail a taxi to go back to the hotel, price and traffic be damned. While waiting, I bought bottled orange juice. I’m a huge fan of orange juice and Bangkok has an abundance of fresh fruit juice squeezed right in the stall and sold in this bottle for 20-35 baht (for some reason, the prices varied within that range). I also bought a bag of ripe mangoes for 100 baht and while it tasted nice, nothing beats the sweetness (and texture) of Philippine mangoes. I also bought grilled skewered meat. They had a variety of meat available such as chicken, chicken gizzard and pork, of which I bought two pieces of all three. Chicken Boy was wary but after getting a bite, I handed him the rest of the grilled chicken and it was gone in minutes. Haha!
When we got back to the hotel, I immediately headed to the room to try and relieve myself from the pain by lying in bed in a fetal position and praying to all the deities to be kind to me. I went and took a shower to freshen up while C went to Miss Siam Restaurant and ordered meals for the both of us. We were fortunate to pick items with a serving that wasn’t as big as our previous orders, but still tasty, nonetheless. I was actively avoiding anything spicy at this point, for fear that it was what triggered my tummy pains. My fried rice did not look and taste spicy at all.. until I bit into one of the mini green chilis hidden within it. 😦
After having our late lunch, C & I relaxed in the room while I pray the pain away some more. I’m not even religious – and that was how much it bothered me. During our staycation in Tagaytay, C was watching a documentary about the lady boy business in Bangkok. One particular former lady boy realized that more often than not, performers have to retire early but a lot of them end up with no retirement plans/savings, or they do not have enough education to go into another career after. Hence, she decided to go into management of the cabaret she worked at and helped provide better work conditions for the lady boys, and gave them education on managing their finances and possible career options for when the time came that they retire. C and I can’t find the documentary again, but we decided then that when we head to Bangkok, we’ll take the time to watch a lady boy show. We did decide on going to the cabaret shows instead of the type of sex shows you can never be able to unsee. No, thank you. So off to a cabaret show we go.
We headed to Asiatique, a night market where the Calypso Cabaret Show was located. Asiatique was filled with stalls of local products, and we found that there were more unique items on the affordable range here rather than in the other markets in Bangkok. However, knowing me, I got lured in by stores that were definitely not on the affordable side and I was left wanting the winning lottery numbers so I could go on a shopping spree. There were two stores that really caught my eye. One was a boutique called Magnifique Et Moi, a shop filled with racks of clothes that cost 2500++ baht (at the cheapest), and 90% of those clothes I would absolutely love to wear (but couldn’t afford to buy at the moment). They even have flower crown veils that were perfect for boho brides to be. The other trap was both Perfect Combination leather stores. One had more serious audience with classic shoe and bag designs, while the Leather Art Jewelry one had the whimsical ones that made my head turn. It was so overwhelming trying to take a pick on which one I’d like to take home with me.
It suddenly rained which prevented us from exploring the rest of the place as every exit we turned, we were met by the rain. We ended up eating in one of the restaurants within the building we were currently in, Why97 Pub and Restaurant. They had a massive menu that would give Gordon Ramsay an aneurysm on Kitchen Nightmares and dishes varying so many cuisines that we already knew we should lower our expectations. It was great that we did too because honestly, the food was bland and just forgettable. All C could say was “this is probably where the Why on their name came from”.
We bought our tickets via KLOOK, a discount website I’ve been using to book discounted entrance fees to activities within Asia. You can sign up with KLOOK via their website. (DISCLAIMER: This is an invite link where you get free credits to use when you book an activity, and I get credits too!) You can also book online via their website. Just make sure to book at least a day before you decide to go because their online booking price is 900 baht, while the full door price is 1,200 baht. We arrived early and got seats near the stage. They did get to fill the seats, which was surprising as it was a week night. The show was a lot of fun, although there were a few down moments, overall a good experience.
Heading back to the hotel, we decided not to ride a taxi from the taxi stand. We passed by it and there were men who were managing the taxis telling tourists the ‘minimum’ fare was a hundred baht (I didn’t hear very clearly how much it was). So if ever you plan on going, just cross the street and take a metered taxi from there. The abdominal pain unfortunately acted up again while I was in the tub when we got back to the hotel, and kept me up during our last night in Bangkok. Ugh!
Anyone else who got sick while on vacation? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂