Tim Foolery

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Bangkok: Sights

We worked with the concierge from the St. Regis while we were in Cambodia to plan a half day tour of Bangkok. I wanted to see the important sites of the City, but I also wanted to have some down time – some time to get a massage, sit by the pool or just sit and relax. The concierge team at the St. Regis was really great – we told them of our interest in history, architecture and food and they coordinated a tour with a private guide to try to combine all of these interests into a half day tour for us.  I don’t believe they put anything special together for us, I think they just coordinated a pre-planned half day trip with an outside tour group.  In any event, it worked out well for us.  The tour cost 4,500 THB per person and included transportation, bottles of water (as needed — and it was hot, so we needed a bunch), an English speaking tour guide and admission to all sites we were to visit.  This fee did not include gratuity or meals and alcoholic beverages (lunch).

Our tour guide picked us up in the lobby of our hotel at 08h30.  He was a bit confused on where to actually meet us – in the lobby or on the first floor main entrance.  We finally found our guide. He was a 6’5″+ man named Opal — but with his thick accent it sounded like this name was Opal — heavy accent on the O…when he pronounced it sounded like he was saying O’Paul (Irish).  He was very friendly but very robotic too.  He led us through the crowds very efficiently (read as he was good at pushing his and our way to the front of the venues and ensuring that we had the proper vantage point to take any photos we wanted).

The Golden Buddha Temple

Golden Buddha Temple

Golden Buddha Temple

The Golden Buddha himself

The Golden Buddha himself

Flower Market

Flower Market

Flower Market

Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Grand Palace and Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Us outside the Temple of the Reclining Buddha

Us outside the Grand Palace and the  Temple of the Reclining Buddha

It is almost impossible to get a good photo of the Reclining Buddha – the building is just big enough for the Buddha and there are just so many people around it makes it nearly impossible.  The Reclining Buddha is quiet amazing though.

The Reclining Buddha

The Reclining Buddha

After a morning of site seeing we went to a pretty crappy place for lunch. It looked like every tour guide who was taking Westerners out for private tours ended up here.  We specifically asked if we could go to a place that locals frequent and this is what they gave us.  I would not ever recommend visiting this place.

We ate at this bad cruise ship style restaurant on our tour. Disappointing.

We ate at this bad cruise ship style restaurant on our tour. Disappointing.

After a mediocre lunch our final item on our tour was to take a long boat ride on the Chao Phraya.  This wasn’t all that great of an experience.  Basically, we hopped in a narrow long boat that is diesel powered (smelly and pretty loud).  The river itself has quite a bit of traffic and was pretty rough when we were there.  Unlike a traditional river cruise or tour, there was no commentary while on the boat. Basically it was an alternate mode of transport for us.  The worst part — once we got to our destination we had to wait about 45 minutes for our original bus to come and get us since the driver and the guide had a major miscommunication and the drier had no idea where he was supposed to pick us up.  We ended up sitting in a hotel bar and having a cocktail while the driver made his way to us.  We left some gear in the tour bus – otherwise we’d have just cabbed it back to our hotel.

All in all, the I was pleased with the tour – it was far from perfect, but it met most of our goals for a quick half day tour of the City.  I must say, I don’t think I’d either recommend or not recommend this group. It was perfectly fine – no more no less.


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