1/17/2015

Bangkok 2015 Day 2

Day 1 ended here and we started the day with a swim in the pool. The water is chilly but I loved it! Such a refreshing way to start the day! After a quick shower we went back to the hawkers but walked a little further and found more food! We had breakfast at a mixed rice stall; my fried noodle with vege (it looked deceptively mild but freaking spicy) and minced pork costs 60 THB. Then some fried banana fritters and ubi balls (the ubi paste is contained in dough balls) that costs 20 THB per packet. 
Breakfast!
Yummy banana fritters
Coffee bar
The wantans are delicious

After breakfast we went back to the hotel and got a cab to the pier; at this point I realized I did not bring my phone so I pau the photos from my friend's album :p I do not recall the name of the pier but it is before Asiatique and there were 2 options that end at Tha Tian Pier near the Grand Palace:

1) 1.5 hr down then thru Bangkok Yai to see some of the wats and homes along the river  - 600 THB
2) 1 hr up Chao Phraya into Bangkok Noi and out - 500 THB

We took option 1 but approx 40 min was due to waiting for the water gates to open, so option 2 might have been a more value-for-money choice. The sights along the river were interesting; different homes have different ways to access the river, we saw some monitor lizards basking in the warm afternoon sun and we passed by Wat Arun. We disembarked at Tha Tian and explored the food market there; the mango with sticky rice was heavenly! 

We then headed to the Grand Palace. The Palace practice strict dress code rules; however if you're inappropriately dressed, you can borrow proper attire at the information counter near the entrance (a deposit is required). The ticket fee is 500 THB for the Royal Decorations Museum, Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha temple (all within the same square). We dropped by the Royal Regalia museum; there is a vast collection of jewelry, crowns, regalia as well as an extensive display of Thai currency evolution. 

The Grand Palace is immense; covered with colored tiles and intricate design, it was a pleasure to roam around and appreciate the beautiful architecture. 
 
 
We left at about 4.30pm; the palace closes at 5pm so we hailed a cab back to the hotel. The cab driver agreed to 100 THB fare but requested us to look see at Gems Gallery as he gets a stamp (a collection of stamps gets him free fuel from the tourism authority). We agreed to hang around for 15 min. There was a wide array of precious stones set in various designs. The prices were fair but we didn't buy any. I did buy an aloe vera face gel and coconut hand and nail cream for my sisters at the souvenir shop there. We headed back to the hotel and rested for a bit, before hopping into the cab to the Asiatique Riverfront Mall. We wanted to watch the Calypso cabaret, a long running cabaret show which was highly recommended by many tourists. 

Tip: Book the show min 2 days in advance to get the tickets at 900 THB each instead of 1200 THB. 

Asiatique has many souvenir shops, a food court and boasts a riverside ambiance with bustling bars and pubs. We had dinner at Kamlangsib Chicken Rice in the food court; service was quick and friendly. 
Tom yum with coconut milk
Pork omelette
Tom yum kung with egg noodles
Stir fried pork with cashew nuts
Assorted condiments

We had gelato at Cafe Gelate; 450 THB for 3 scoops was not a bad price and the gelato was so smooth! 
So many flavors
Whee Calypso!
After gelato it was showtime! For 1200 THB, we get to pick our seats and a free drink (I ordered a gin and tonic). The show was approximately 1.5 hr long and the performers lip sync and dance to various songs (American, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin). The performances were energetic, the costumes were so elaborate and there were some cheeky moments onstage but nothing indecent. After the show, the performers queue up and you can hop in to snap a photo :)
We took a cab home and slept early for the next day's trip to Ayutthaya :)

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