Our first Sunday in Bangkok, we decided to pay the king a visit. From our hostel in Silom, we rode a cab (hailed through Uber), and went to The Grand Palace. The cab driver dropped us off near the entrance of Wat Po because the road circumnavigating the palace is one way only and some parts are closed. We saw many people wearing black, many Chinese people, and many Koreans dressed to the nines. When we got to the entrance, we didn’t expect to join a mob to enter the palace.
It was a bad day to be a tourist. We “lined up” 30 minutes at the gate and then got pushed by everyone else to enter the gate. I overheard someone saying, “This is the time we die in an herd,” and another one saying, “Welcome to Thailand.” No, it’s not normally like that in Thailand and I would have to say that that mob was because of non-Thai tourists. Also, I learned that it was a long weekend in Thailand because of Mothers’ Day and the Queen’s birthday and many people came to pay respects to the king, which, I think, took many of the tourist guards away from their post. Anyway, we entered the Grand Palace but didn’t buy the tickets anymore.
Entrance Fee to Grand Palace: 500baht (P768 or $15)
How to go to the Grand Palace: The easiest, and probably cheapest way, would be through the Chao Phraya river. Ride the train to the Saphan Taksin train station, take one of the river boats to the Maharaj Pier. The Grand Palace is just a short walk from the pier.
After 30 minutes or so inside the grounds of the palace, we decided to go out. I suggested we go to the other Royal Palace. We got lost because we went to the other direction, where all roads were closed. So we went back to the Grand Palace entrance, asked a few questions, and took a tuk-tuk to the Dusit Zoo. We paid the tuk-tuk driver 200baht.
Our first order of business at the zoo was to eat. We are also animals. Haha. Thankfully, they have a cafeteria that did not sell offensively priced food. In fact, I think the zoo is not popular to many foreigners (maybe because it’s a small zoo) that we were the only foreigners there. The cafeteria has a coupon system. You buy coupons near the entrance. I believe you would only need about 62 baht worth of coupons for meal (50 baht) and drinks (12 baht). After a fulfilling meal and an icy drink (they fill your glasses with ice here), we took paid 25 baht for the hop on, hop off tram to tour the whole zoo.
Points of interest for me at the zoo were (1) the elephant, (2) the penguin show, (3) the tigers, (4) the albino deers, and the (5) Asian bear (who was sleeping). You can use your tram ticket for 2 rounds.
Entrance fee to Dusit Zoo: 100 baht (P153 or $3) + 25baht tram
How go to to Dusit Zoo: by tuktuk (see above note) or by train. The nearest train station is the Victory Monument. Then ride any public transportation from there.
After the zoo, we went to the neighbouring grounds to check out the other royal palace — the Dusit Palace. Most of the buildings inside the Dusit Palace were closed for renovation so we were only able to see the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall (the European-inspired building) grounds. We did not go inside the throne hall because the line of tourists was too long and we didn’t want a repeat of the Grand Palace mob on the same day. I believe you can use your Grand Palace ticket to visit the Dusit Palace buildings.
It didn’t help that that day was very hot and there were no trees at the palaces. I wanted to lie down beside the bear underneath the tree. We decided to call it a day and hailed a taxi back to our hostel.