Our second full day in Bangkok was not very eventful. We stopped by MBK after breakfast before heading over to Central World for lunch at Din Tai Fung. Naima was excited for Martin to try the xiao long baos she fell in love with when she was in Singapore last year so we managed to tick that off the list. And yes, Martin enjoyed them!
Unfortunately, the mixture of jet lag, a late night, alcohol, and a light breakfast made Naima feel unwell so after lunch, she and Martin went back to the hotel to rest while Flo and I decided to treat ourselves to a delicious foot massage at a place called Smile Massage a stone’s throw away from Siam BTS Station.
So on Monday, when all of us felt right as rain once more, we decided to do some sight-seeing. Late morning, we were off to the Grand Palace.
Now, I’ve been here before a handful of times and this visit left me a little sad at how commercialised the place has become. It was crowded with tourists which I know is expected but what I didn’t expect were the hoards of people selling trousers and tops that were temple-appropriate. I totally understand the need for visitors to cover up and to have clothes being sold to cater to those who might not be dressed properly to enter the temple within the palace grounds, but it felt almost in your face.
Naima brought a long-sleeved cardigan to wear over her top and this lady insisted it wasn’t allowed and she had to buy a blouse. So since we planned to visit a few other places, Flo suggested we may as well buy rather than rent so that we could just don on the right clothes whenever we were visiting a temple. Good logic. The two boys got their long Thai elephant trousers, Naima bought a light linen blouse and sarong, and I, just a linen blouse – you’ll see us all dressed up in our newly bought items further below.
The price of each ticket has also gone up to 400 Baht! The last time I visited was about 10 years ago and it was half the price. I know, I know, demand has probably increased but still!!
I won’t deny that it was nice walking through the passages of the temple once more and reliving memories from when I last visited with my BFF Pearl. I remember the ground being so much less crowded and us being able to take in the sights without being blocked by hoards of people.
It is still a beautiful site to visit and for sure, if you’ve never been to the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha before, you should go.
Be sure to bring along some water because it gets really hot nearer noon and with lots of tour groups mulling around, it might feel even warmer.
We managed to ask a nice lady to help us take a picture of the four of us on our way out. This background is very popular with tour groups taking group photos. It was pretty amazing seeing that some of them came with a professional photographer too!
Anyway, this is us all dressed in our newly bought temple-approved clothes. 🙂
From the Grand Palace, we had a Tuk Tuk take us to this restaurant called Krua Apsorn which is popular amongst the locals too! It’s a very simple, no-frills place that serves really good Thai food at affordable prices. It’s located at 503 Samsen Road (near Samsen Soi 9) Wat Sam Phraya, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
By this time, I was craving a good plate of Som Tum having not had authentic Thai food since we landed. This papaya salad really hit the spot.
The dressing was perfectly balanced with punches of flavour from the dried shrimp, roasted peanuts, and sweet, juicy tomatoes. Even with less chilli on account of Naima and Martin, this salad was well done. I even enjoyed the raw beans and cabbage on the side simply soaked into the sauce and eaten.
We also had a Crab Omelette that was probably the crowd’s favourite.
It was full of chunky crab meat and the omelette was beautifully browned on the outside, yet so fluffy on the inside. This was highly addictive and so tempting to order another serving but while our hearts said yes, our stomachs said no.
I really wanted to try their Cowslip Flowers but sadly, they didn’t have them that day so for greens, we went for their stir-fried Chayote with Garlic. So good!
To finish, all four of us tried their Coconut Ice-Cream. We were served a scoop of what looks almost like sorbet instead of what we pictured as the usual scoop of creamy coconut ice-cream.
Surprisingly though, this was light on the palate, not too sweet, and had chunks of fresh coconut flesh embedded within. Goes to show that looks can be deceiving because this turned out to be quite a delightful way to end our meal.
We returned to our hotel to lounge around the pool a bit and wait for the sun to go down so that the heat would be less intense for when we went to the Golden Mount, or Wat Saket.
Despite living in Bangkok for two years when I was little, I’m ashamed to say that I never actually heard of the Golden Mount let alone visited it. It turned out to be one of my favourite places to see this trip.
Entrance fee was 20 Baht and we reached at around 5pm. I’m not sure what it’s like at other times of the day but when we went, there were only a few people around and it was really nice being able to take our time and not fight for space.
To get to the tippy top, we had to climb up the stairs. They’re quite broad and there are places to stop for a breather so for older people it’s not too bad a climb up. There’s even a small coffee cafe halfway up.
And lots of bells to ring along the way. If memory serves me right, if you ring all the bells it’ll bring you good luck.
So this is a sculpture of what the Golden Mount looks like. It’s a very peaceful place and right at the top is a small temple. They’re a little more relaxed about attire here as compared to other temples and also there’s no need to remove your shoes within.
Almost like a stairway to heaven…
There was also a huge gong at the end of the platform where all the bells were. Love the sound of the gong. I even love the sound of the word ‘gong’. Onomatopoeia. And I love this photo below of Flo and I photobombing Martin.
The view from the top was gorgeous. It was a small pity that we couldn’t take in the fullness of the sun setting because of the heavy clouds but it was still a sight to behold.
All of Bangkok laid out before us and it was such a beautiful, cool evening.
This was taken inside the temple. Most of the windows are open but I had to be the odd one out and take a picture through the window that only had one side open.
We got down around dusk when the temple was lit up. I think the whole experience of having gone to Golden Mount around sunset made it even more awesome. And I highly recommend that you go around that time too. Its grounds are certainly not as big as the Grand Palace but it is unassuming and serene and definitely a place to visit.
From Golden Mount, we went back to the hustle and bustle of the city to Roast at EmQuartier for dinner.
Flo and I went to the one at The Commons on our last visit when we met up with my friends Kong and Wiorn. This time, we went to the one at EmQuartier so that we could go for Bingsu after since that was another item Naima really wanted Martin to try.
Flo and Naima shared this Zucchini and Walnut Pesto Spaghetti dish along with…
Johnny’s Burger. I have no idea who Johnny is but the burger had Mushrooms, Cheddar, Bacon, Tomato with Ranch Dressing and House Made Fries.
Martin had a whole burger to himself while I opted for the Grilled Chipotle Prawns with Smoked Yoghurt, Mango Salsa and Basil Oil. YUM!
So the consensus post-dinner by the German folk was that they preferred to stick to Asian food while in Asia because they’ve had their fill of burgers and sausages and pasta back home. Interestingly for me, as much as I love Thai food, I just couldn’t have it at every meal and you’ll see, especially in Krabi, that I was hankering after a good ol’ salad after consecutive meals of Thai grub.
While unpictured, they did have their fill of bingsu after dinner and we made a quick stop at a Middle Eastern Restaurant where we had some shisha in a dingy room. I’m not sure about the regulations against shisha in Bangkok these days but last year, we could do it openly and this year, it seems like it’s all a little hush-hush. Flo and I googled it and it looks like shisha is now quite heavily regulated in Bangkok?
It was a really nice day we had together nonetheless, and a long one at that. One more day in Bangkok, so in essence, one more post, before we fly off to Krabi!!