Sunday, May 3, 2015
My first morning at the Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market was incredible, so after a brief respite in my air-conditioned bedroom, I was ready to hit the streets of Bangkok!
My first goal was to buy my train ticket to Chiang Mai (I wanted to leave tomorrow, Monday the 4th). Feeling fully prepared with all the information I could find from the “Man in Seat 61” I set off, with my new German friend, Jessica, to Hua Lamphong Railway Station. Trying to save money, and wanting to see the sights, we decided to walk there, it was only ~3 miles. Well, about 10 minutes into our walk, as we were waiting to cross a major road, we were stopped by a nice gentleman who said,
You don’t want to walk that way, there are protests going on
Hmmm….what should we do….
He then asked where we were going, and once I said “the train station” he said,
It is a holiday, the train station is closed
Hmmm…what should we do…
The man with all the answers then said,
(Pointing to a map) You need to go to this tourist office to buy ticket
Sweet. Awesome. This nice man just helped me avoid protests AND walking 3 miles to a “closed” train station. He even helped us get a tuk tuk!
Sitting in the tuk tuk, smart Arianna starts thinking, “hmmm something smells fishy”. My thoughts were only confirmed when we pulled up to the “Tourist Office”. Sure, it was a “Tourist Office” but there was nothing official about it. Sitting down with one of the agents he proceeded to tell me:
- It is a Holiday weekend.
- The train is sold out.
- The train station is close.
- He can only help me buy a train ticket if I book a hostel with him as well.
*DING* DING* DING* (Imagine fire alarms going off in my head screaming “SCAM SCAM SCAM SCAM”) My friend and I quickly leave, and head back to our tuk tuk driver. Not believing that the train station is closed, I told the tuk tuk driver that I wanted to go to the train station, and he said,
No No No, the train station is closed. I take you to government official tourist office
Well, that seems legit. And the guy is SO nice, how could you not believe him.
Note to self: Even if he smiles and is super nice he will still try to scam you.
Our tuk tuk driver just took us to another “Tourist Office” where the travel agent said essentially the same thing as the first guy:
- It is a Holiday weekend.
- The train is sold out
- She can only help me buy a train ticket if I book as hostel with her as well.
However, the agent did confirm my thoughts that the train station was in fact open 🙂 Once again, we left quickly. I was still on a mission to buy my ticket, so I decided we needed to take a cab. Well here is the thing about cab drivers…sometimes they don’t understand you….
I showed him EXACTLY where I wanted to go on my map, and yet he still couldn’t figure out where I wanted to go. Eventually, I said something that made him perk up and act like he knew exactly where I wanted to go, so I sat back and waited to arrive at the train station. Thank goodness I have SOME sense of direction because 10 minutes in I knew we weren’t going in the right direction. I kept trying to show him the map, and he still didn’t seem to understand me. Lucky me. I find the one cab driver who can’t read a map. After an excess of frustration, he pulls over and we ask a friendly bystander to help translate. Success.
YAY. I AM FINALLY GOING TO THE TRAIN STATION.
It only took…
2 tourist offices
2 tuk tuk rides
and 1 miserable cab ride
Once at the station I followed all the notes from the “Man in Seat 61” and bought my train ticket to Chiang Mai.
So to recap:
- Yes, in fact, it was a Holiday Weekend.
- The train station was, in fact, OPEN.
- The train was absolutely NOT sold out.
Leaving the train station I wanted to forget about that entire experience, so Jessica and I headed to a nearby temple, Wat Traimit, featuring the The Golden Buddha (The world’s largest solid gold Buddha). Jessica had just gotten in that morning and hadn’t had a chance to eat, so our first objective was FOOD. Luckily there was a food stall outside the temple where she could get a bowl of noodles and chicken.
The temple was nice, but we were cheap and didn’t pay to go in the main building. We did see a large buddha, but I am not sure if it was “The Golden Buddha”. Oops. Leaving the temple, we decided to explore Chinatown. The overall goal was to eventually make it back to the hostel so we got on Yaowarat Road and just kept walking 🙂
Eventually we find ourself by Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha.
We left the temple hot, sweaty, and exhausted. But instead of getting a cab or a tuk tuk, we decided to keep walking. I think we were a little scarred from earlier. Once we were passing the Grand Palace (which was closed for the Holiday weekend) we actually had to stop walking in order to pay respect to whatever Royalty was entering the palace. I didn’t get any pictures because it is considered disrespectful to take pictures of the Royal Family. But there was definitely an awesome Rolls Royce and about 30 identical red cars.
The last thing we passed was Sanam Luang Park where there were a ton of people flying kites.
By the time we got back to our road it was my turn to be starving, so we stopped at Khao San Road to get some spring rolls and Pad Thai (made fresh to order).
What a day! I…
- went to a floating market
- bought my train ticket to Chiang Mai
- Vist Wat Traimit
- Explored Chinatown
- Visited Wat Pho
- Overall, walked about 5.6 km *WOW* Check out the map below 🙂
This is my favorite photo of the day:
What is your favorite?
Love always, Arianna the Wandering Pipette