Our second day in Bangkok found us “kids” on our own. Barbara left early in the morning to head to her sailing adventure. With a plan to visit the Grand Palace, Mady and I went in search of pants to wear. It was a bit of a challenge as most of the street vendors had not yet opened. Armed with our new purchases, we met the boys for breakfast. After changing into our “respectful” outfits we grabbed a tuk-tuk and headed to the Palace. Walking towards the Palace we were stopped by a Thai man who informed us that it was a holiday and the Palace would not be open to tourists until later in the day. He then mapped out a route for us to take to visit Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Having done that the day before, we thanked him and walked down the street to regroup. Not being the most decisive group, it took us a few minutes to agree to head to the weekend market before coming back to the Palace. Passing a tuk-tuk we asked if he could take us to the Chatuchak market. He said yes and we piled into the small vehicle. It wasn’t until he turned down a shady looking alley that we realized things were not going to plan. A man walked up to the tuk-tuk and tried to sell us a long boat tour. We told him we had asked to go to the market and we were not interested. After some negotiating we were able to get the price down and decided to go for it. Crossing the Chao Phraya we entered a canal and headed for a floating market. Bangkok is often referred to as the “Venice of the East” due to the river and canals running through the city. It wasn’t until we started seeing other boats with tourists that we calmed down a bit having been swindled into the excursion. We soon arrived at the Taling Chan Floating Market. It is smaller compared to the famous Damnoen Saduak market but is a fun afternoon nonetheless.
After wandering around for an hour we returned to our boat and headed back. We were dropped off at a dock close to the Grand Palace. Under the intense sun, it felt like we walked for ages. Arriving at the Palace we discovered that we had 30 minutes until it was going to close. It was just enough time to do a walkthrough. The buildings almost look fake they are so extravagant. Construction of the palace began in 1782 when King Phutthayotfa Chulalok (Rama I) moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok. It was during the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) [whom you might remember as the prince in The King and I or Anna and the King] that the palace was expanded and modernized.
Exiting the Palace we went in search of somewhere to eat. After briefly considering Subway, we returned to our hotel for lunch. Mady and I ordered “American Burgers” aka a bacon cheeseburger while the boys stuck with Thai food. The burgers had a distinct Thai flavor and were a bit disappointing. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing by the pool. We decided to return to the street where we had eaten the previous night to find a restaurant. After walking the street we settled on Green House. The holiday that limited our entrance to the Grand Palace also prohibited the sale of alcohol. After dinner, we walked around the street for a bit before heading back to the hotel to call it a night.