When I envisioned my first trip to Thailand, I dreamed of all the exciting cultural things I wanted to do and experience. What came to mind? Images of longtail boats, lively outdoor markets and the great Buddha. To me, these images are representative of Thailand. Pulling together these ideas and images for the perfect day exploring Bangkok, I carefully crafted the itinerary to experience it all and do just that — boats, Buddhas and markets. Here’s a step by step guide on planning a fun day exploring some of Bangkok’s highlights all in one day.
First, start out with the longtail boat ride. You can catch one of the boats at the easy accessible piers and ride through the residential part of Bangkok. You will pass houses and locals living right on the riverside, gaining a close-up look at life in Bangkok. Ask the driver to stop and feed the catfish. If planned correctly, using the Chao Phraya Pier guide, you can stop at the Pier coordinating with the famous Bangkok site or neighborhood you wish to see. I took my longtail boat to go see one of the city’s most famous sites – the reclining Buddha (discussed in detail below). Oh and wait, I almost forgot! Want to take your boat ride to the next lady level? Grab a Thai Beer for only one dollar from any street market and take it for the ride to keep you cool in the Bangkok heat.
Ladyhattan’s Longtail Boat Ride Guide:
- Central Pier (Tha Sathorn) – for Saphan Taksin Skytrain station
- N1 (Tha Oriental) – for Oriental Hotel and O.P. Place Shopping
- N2 (Tha Wat Muang Kae) – for Old Customs House and GPO building
- N3 (Tha Si Phraya) – for Portuguese Embassy
- N4 (Tha Harbour Department) – for River city shopping, Holy Rosary Church and Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel
- N5 (Tha Rachavongse) – for Chinatown
- N6 (Tha Memorial Bridge) – for Phra Poklao Bridge and Chinatown
- N7 (Tha Rajinee) – for Chinatown vegetable market and cross-river ferry to Santa Cruz Church and the old Portuguese Quarter
- N8 (Tha Tien) – for Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha) and cross-river ferry to Temple of Dawn
- N9 (Tha Chang) – for Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha
- N10 (Tha Wang Lang) – for Siriraj Hospital
- N11 (Tha Railway Station) – for Bangkok Noi (Thonburi) train station
- N12 (Tha Phra Pinklao) – for Klong Bangkok Noi and National Museum of Royal Barges
- N13 (Tha Phra Athit/Banglamphu) – for Ratanakosin Island (old Bangkok) and popular backpacker areas including Khao San Road
- N14 (Tha Rama 8 Bridge) – for Rama VIII Bridge
- N15 (Tha Thewes) – for Thewes plant and flower market
Wandering around Wat Pho
From Khao San Road and Phra Athit, you can catch the Chao Phraya express boat coming from your right at Tha Phra Athit (pier N13) and get off at Tha Chang pier (pier N9) where you will reach Wat Pho.
Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha), or Wat Phra Chetuphon, is located behind the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and a must-do for any first-time visitor in Bangkok. It’s one of the largest temple complexes in the city and famed for its giant reclining Buddha that measures 46 meters long and is covered in gold leaf – one of the largest single Buddha image in the world. This complex also boasts more images of the Buddha than any other attraction in the nation of Thailand – home to more than one thousand! Need a Buddha fix? You won’t be disappointed here.
The chapel and the reclining Buddha were built by Rama III in 1832. The image of the reclining Buddha represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana and the end of all reincarnations. The posture of the image is referred to as sihasaiyas, the posture of a sleeping or reclining lion. It’s a bit funny to actually see in-person, because it looks like the Buddha is just lounging around casually at the beach – the unique state of relaxation and casual attitude is quite unique. The right arm of the Buddha supports the head with tight curls, which rests on two box-pillows richly encrusted with glass mosaics. A selfie by this grandiose gold figure is a must, as you will appear like a tiny tourist in front of the grandiose gold Buddha – so don’t forget your selfie stick, lady!
A Flower for Every Lady
When I researched various tours and travel forums on the most authentic “cultural” experience within the city of Bangkok, I was intrigued by Pak Klong Talad – the Bangkok Flower Market.
Located just south of Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) with easy access to a river pier, this market makes for a great one-time trip when combined with other historical attractions in the Old City. Our tour guide, through Mr.Chob’s company, seamlessly guided us by boat from the Reclining Buddha directly to the streets of the bustling Flower Market. We didn’t waste a moment of time.
Open 24 hours a day, the Bangkok Flower Market is the biggest wholesale and retail fresh flower market in Bangkok. The market has all kinds of popular flowers and flora-related items… Flowers range from local species (jasmine, chrysanthemum, gerbera, orchids, lilies, roses) to imported species such as tulips, snapdragons, iris, lisianthus, delphinium and more. Props and accessories for flower arrangements are also plentiful, whether vases, flower pots, floral foam, ribbons, florist wire, twigs or all kinds of decorative leaves imaginable. Many vendors offer flower arranging services – these arrangements are sold in packs of 50 or 100 flowers per package, and prices are amazingly cheap. I wish I could have shopped for my wedding flowers at this extravagant and convenient market, I surely would have saved an arm and an a leg if you know what I mean. Bouquets of fresh and dazzling flowers can be purchased for less than 50 cents in American currency. With the flower arrangements being so beautiful (and affordable), I purchased a few items to give as offerings to the local temples and freshen up our hotel room.
Every flower lover will be satisfied with the bountiful selection available. But aside from shopping, just the experience of watching vendors in action at one of thebusiest markets in the world is delightful. One of the exciting attractions of visiting the market, is watching the process in which intricate floral arrangements, wreaths, and bouquets are carefully crafted together by the hands of local florists. Enjoy some personal glimpses of the vibrant colors and feel the energy of the lively flower market through my photographs below. For more information on featured travel tips or experiences, contact Ladyhattan@gmail.com. Until the next sweet escape, my lady friends.