We finally decided to visit some temples as we’ve lived in Bangkok for 2 months already. It’s not something you’d normally do if you live and work here, as you have other things to do. We don’t consider ourselves tourists anymore (phew!), however, with a lovely day to spare we thought we’d start with Wat Arun early in the morning and then decide where we go next.
We left early. It was still dark when we got off the BTS in Siam, but then a few moments later it was already sunny. The fun started when we walked to the pier in Saphan Taxin and after glancing at the sign showing the tourist boat at the pier on the left took a split second decision to jump on the ferry which had just arrived at the pier on the right. All excited we realised the 20-or-so minute boat ride to Wat Arun felt suspiciously quick. So after a very smooth and quick boat ride we ended up all the way… across the river.
Yep. We jumped on a 3-baht ferry to the other side of the river. After walking around for a couple of minutes with no sight of the usual coloured flag boats we decided to get back on the ferry and come back to the pier on the other side. Except this time when we jumped on, the driver tried to show us to get off. He was pointing to the shore on this side where we just got in from, and we were pointing to the other side of the river trying to show him that’s where we need to go. It was funny when he also tried to tell the young Thai woman to get off and she pointed to the other side of the river as well. As the woman refused to get off and just stayed in her seat waiting, we did the same. You know how the saying goes – when in Rome… And about 10min later we started moving and came back to our starting point. This time we waited quite a while, but finally hopped on the boat going along the river towards Wat Arun.
I love the boats on Chaophraya. For 15 baht you can travel the whole route (which is an insane distance!), along the way enjoying the view of temples, bridges, and locals living on the banks of the
river. With the morning sun on my face and the breeze so chilly, for a moment I felt just like by the seaside in Lithuania. We were enjoying the ride and couldn’t decide where it’s best to get off. When we saw Wat Arun on the other side of the river, and the distance to the closest bridge, we decided we’ll visit it some other time…:) So we just stayed on the boat, gazing at the shores and a few stops later we got off near a random bridge thinking it would lead us somewhere towards the city.
We got really cold on the boat with all the wind, so we were super excited when we found a big 7/11 with proper coffee and a bakery! We didn’t really know where we were, but we had nice coffee and
something warm to eat. There was a gentle breeze as we were strolling across the bridge and we could feel the warmth of the sun. I had actually forgotten what it’s like to be missing the sun!
We looked at google maps and saw a park quite close to where we were – so we decided to make it our destination. Because that’s what we often do in life: just look at where we are, and where we
can get to 😀 The streets were incredibly quiet and surprisingly tidy. We kept walking, turn after turn, taking pictures, and then… we reached a palace. We wanted to just come closer, take a couple of
pictures and keep walking, but something caught my eye. There was a small toy truck, slightly (editor’s note: more than slightly) burnt, but so cute, just left alone by the road. We took a few pictures with the truck and it was just so cute that we decided to keep it. Then, when we looked at the map again, we realised we ended up near the Dusit Zoo!
If you’re a relatively savvy couple, what’s the first thing you do? Look at the price list! At least that’s what we did. We have our own system of saving while having fun and concepts of what’s value for
money and what’s not. Paying loads to see animals in cages didn’t feel like an investment, but it wasn’t steep at all, so we gave it a go.
The first thing we saw when we walked in was the huge beautiful lake. We can’t say it was a pond, because I don’t think ponds have pedal boats for rent. Using a confusing zoo map we made our way
to the first exhibit – monkeys. They looked very cute and energetic while jumping and swinging all over their cages. Some were reaching their long arms out through the fence and looking at you, as if saying ‘give me my food’. Further on there were vendors selling big loaves of bread for fish feeding. I thought why would they sell loaves this big to feed small fishies, until we saw the giant predators enjoying the carb feast!
The highlight of the zoo was the Meercats. As cute as kittens. And what happens when a girl sees a bunch of cute little kittens? I checked all possible things on Facebook, Line, Instagram, etc, yet she
was still taking photos of them.
It was fun visiting the zoo for the first time since I was 6 years old. However, there is a big BUT.
Seeing all these wild animals locked in cages felt really depressing and I can’t find a nicer word to describe it. There was a sad hippo rubbing his head against the wall with another hippo separated on the other side. You could go up to an observation platform where the giraffes come close to say hello. They don’t actually say hello, duh, they just come very close so you can touch them! There were two hungry hippos in a drained-pool type of area with kids throwing long-beans and other foods into their mouths. There were beautiful exotic birds locked in tiniest cages, tropical cold-blooded creatures isolated in the smallest imitations of their natural habitats. There was a Malaysian Black bear going crazy and rocking back and forth in one circle because of the Thai pop music playing just outside its cage.
On a side note: we spent over 4 hours at the zoo, walked around town for ages, couldn’t find vegetarian food anywhere (surprise surprise), took the BTS towards home, and we ended up eating
McDonald’s fries in the car park outside Tesco with a persistently friendly cockroach trying to join our company!