Sat 14/01

Morning: Go to Saphan Taksin BTS station and take the Skytrain to:

Siam Station - then take a taxi to Jim Thompson House - Rama I Rd. Soi Kasem San 2 - Telephone: 02-2167368 - jimthompson.com

Then head, via taxi, to...

  • The small, rickety pier called Saphan Hua Chang. Board the next canal boat that comes barreling down towards the west (make sure the boat is heading left as we stand on the pier, from under the bridge) — but move quickly, because these boats don't wait for lingerers! Pay our fare (10 baht) and enjoy a view into the backyards of Bangkok. Some points of minor interest that we will pass along the way include:
    • Jim Thompson House, an attraction in itself and worth a visit if we have some spare energy later;
    • Bobae Market, one of Bangkok's largest and cheapest clothing markets (not many tourists around here!)
  • Disembark at the Phan Fa Lilat terminus near the Golden Mount. To our left, we'll see a small bridge with oncoming traffic, and a large bridge with multi-lane traffic. Cross the large bridge, pass the white Mahakan Fort and cross the street for Wat Ratchanaddaram, one of Bangkok's unappreciated temples. Entry is free, just take our shoes off and climb into the tower for a bird's-eye view of Rattanakosin.
  • Head back to the main street and hail a metered taxi (not a tuk-tuk) for a quick trip to Wat Pho; if we insist on the meter, this won't cost us more than 50 baht. Entry into Wat Pho will set us back another 50 baht. The world's largest Reclining Buddha is in the perennially busy building to our right as we enter from the northern entrance. For good luck, we can do as the Thais do and buy a bag of 25-satang coins to plink, plink, plink into the pots behind the Buddha. Explore the rest of the large complex, and if we feel like taking a break, pop into the famous massage school at the eastern side of the temple grounds.
  • Exit through the west gates (behind the Reclining Buddha) and look for signs pointing towards the pier of Tha Tien, which we will find half-hidden past a market alley full of stalls selling dried squid and such. We will see the white spires of Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) across the Chao Phraya river. Hop aboard the angular little ferry and pay 3 baht (each way) for the trip. Seeing Wat Arun closer from the gardens around it is free, although quite frankly, it looks better from a distance. We will be charged 50 baht ifwe want to climb up. Note how the decorations of the spires are in fact all made from millions of bits of smashed white porcelain painted with patterns!
  • Head back across the river on the ferry you came on and cross the pier to the Chao Phraya Express Boat dock, clearly identified with blue-and-white signs. Wave down the next southbound (downriver) express boat and ride down all the way to Oriental Pier (N1) for 13 baht. From there, get to the Mandarin Oriental, often judged as the best hotel in the world. Just walk down the alley leading from the dock and turn left. Reward ourseves with a drink at the famous Bamboo Bar, although (alas!) live jazz is played only in the evenings. It's expensive though: a beer will cost you a whopping 250 baht. we won't get in if you are wearing sandals either.
  • From the Oriental, head for the Saphan Taksin BTS station (S6) by either taking the express boat one more stop downriver to Sathorn Pier (Central).

Evening: BTS/MRT or Taxi to Siam Niramit Show - Gates open at 17:30 for access to restaurant and other attractions and facilities - we have booked for the Buffet dinner and have reserved Gold Seats for the show - Showtime 20:00 and runs for 80 minutes, without intermission. We're waiting on an email with our Booking Reference Number.

Other attractions and facilities include:
    • Village of the Four Regions
    • Traditional Thai Massage
    • Outdoor performances
    • Elephant rides
    • Souvenir shops