I checked into Hotel Hilton, Sukumvit at about 12:30 PM. This is in spite of having landed in Bangkok at 5:30 AM. The reason for the delay were many folds. First, it took me a lot of time to get the visa on arrival. Then I took a taxi to Hotel Rama Gardens which I had booked over the Internet. It took more than 2 hours to reach Hotel Rama Gardens from the Airport due to excessive traffic on the way. The Taxi took 550 Bahts for the ride.
Hotel Rama Gardens is a huge hotel. However, they told me that they are a totally non-smoking hotel. My booking clearly stated that they would provide me a Smoking Room at High Floor with King Size Bed. So, Hotel Rama Gardens refunded all the money I had paid them.
From Hotel Rama Gardens, I called Hilton. They told me that they will provide me a Smoking Room. So, I completed the booking over Telephone. Then I told the Concierge at Hotel Rama Gardens to get me a Taxi. He obliged. The Taxi started for Hilton Sukumvit at about 10 AM. Again we encountered heavy traffic. By the time, we reached Hilton Sukumvit, it was 12:15 PM. The Taxi ride cost 250 Bahts.
After checking in, I took a hot water bath. I felt fresh though I had hardly slept the previous night and had gone through all the traffic since coming into Bangkok. Anyway, I decided to eat something outside and then see a bit of Bangkok. As I had lived in Bangkok between 1996 and 1999, I knew a bit of Bangkok. I decided to go to Grand Palace. However, it was already 1:30 PM. I knew that Grand Palace closes quite early.
I took a map of Bangkok from the Hotel. I came out of the Hotel and walked to Sukumvit Road. I found a Metro Station right at the crossing – Phrom Phong. I bought a sandwich from 7Eleven and a bottle of milk. I ate it at 7Eleven itself after paying for it. Then I climbed up the stairs to the Metro Station.
I went to the counter and asked for a ticket to Siam Station. I gave the counter lady 50 Bahts. In return, she gave me 5 10 Baht coins and asked me to buy the ticket myself from the vending machine. I asked her for how much was he ticket for. She did not answer and looked away. Luckily, there was an European Gentleman at the counter. He took me to the vending machine and checked the map and told me that the ticket would cost 33 Baht. So, I pressed the button for 33 Bahts and then inserted 4 10 Baht coins. The machine gave me a ticket and also 7 Baht change.
I got into the Station and asked a Thai Gentleman as to which side train I should take to reach Siam Station. He guided me and I got into the train when it arrived. I kept following the announcements in the train. In the train, they announce the next station in Thai language and English language. So, I could get down at Siam Station.
I came out of Siam Station and again went to the Ticket Counter. This time I asked for a ticket to Saphan Taksin. The boy at the counter took 50 Bahts and gave me back 13 Bahts and gave me a ticket. Again, I asked a Thai Gentleman for the direction of the train to Saphan Taksin. He told me to follow him. I got into the train and again followed the announcements. I soon reached Saphan Taksin.
The moment I got down from the Metro Station, I could see the Pier. I walked down to the Pier to discover that it was called Sathorn Pier.
At the pier, a lady welcomed me and asked where I wanted to go. I told her that I wanted to go to Grand Palace. So, she told me to buy the Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket and I could see all the spots on the way. I bought a Hop-On Hop-Off ticket for 180 Bahts. The Hop-On Hop-Off Ticket is valid for the day and the boats ply till 6:00 PM. So, I had 3 hours with me.
I had to wait for the boat to arrive. There is a nice seating area with lots of chairs. I kept watching the other boats.
The boat arrived after about 10 minutes. I boarded the boat.
The boat was fairly filled when we started. Soon, we were cruising on the Chao Phraya River.
I asked the Guide whether the Grand Palace would be open. He informed me that Grand Palace closes at 3:30 PM. I had passed through 10 Piers by this time. The 11 Pier is Wat Arun. So, I decided to get down at Wat Arun.
Wat Arun means the Temple of the Rising Sun.
Wat Arun is open till 5:00 PM.
I bought a ticket for 50 Bahts to enter Wat Arun.
There is a strict dress code to enter Wat Arun and the Grand Palace.
I had to for about 15 minutes before the Hop On Hop Off boat arrived. Again I was in the boat cruising on Chao Phraya.
Next stop after Wat Arun is Grand Palace. The Pier is called Maharaja Pier.
There is one more Pier after Maharaja Pier. Then we reached the last Pier.
Here I had to get off the Boat. It was 4:00 PM. I was told that the next Boat will come at 4:30 PM. I was very hungry at this time. There was a Hotel right next to the Pier. So, I went inside and asked what I could get. They gave me the menu. I decided to play safe and ordered Khao Pat Kai – Chicken Fried Rice. Khao means Rice in Thai and Kai means Chicken.
I finished eating by 4:25 PM. I asked for the bill in Thai saying “Keptan Khap“. The Waitress gave a big smile and got the same. I paid 235 Bahts and said “Khap Khun Khap” (Thank you).
The Boat arrived exactly at 4:30 PM. I boarded the boat and started towards Sathorn.
I got down at Sathorn Pier. Outside I found a Girl playing a musical instrument to raise money for education. On the way back to my Hotel, I found many such students.
I went to the Saphan Taksin Metro Station and bought a ticket for Siam Station.