I try to avoid the really touristy places of Bangkok because I know that with how frequently I go there, I’ll end up visiting one of them anyway. In 2017, I visited the Grand Palace. I was left in awe when I went there and while it had other temples within the complex, we had to go afterwards because I was starting to get heat rash (that’s what going to the temple at noon serves you).
Staying in Bang Na for this year’s trip, we were far from the main city. There is no BTS line near the temples but there are plenty of instructions on how to get there and we opted to go do the ferry route.
Since we were in the Sukhumvit line, we got off at BTS Siam to the Silom line and got off at BTS Saphan Taksin. When you get off the station, the ferry is just downstairs so you will not get lost. We found the ferry going to the Wat Pho temple and paid THB 100 for it. It was in that moment that I realized it was probably a tourist kind of ferry and not the huge regular commuter kind that I was expecting. At the point it didn’t really matter, we didn’t know which ferry to ride anyway. Also, it was a bit of an experience anyway and we weren’t the only ones who had to pay.
It was hard to get in the boat and I was getting flashbacks of the time we went to Laos via boat in Chiang Rai. It was the same kind of experience but that was easier to get on and off than this one. In the middle of the boat ride, the driver stops and kept asking us to sit in the middle to “balance” the boat. Of course my mind immediately thinks about the boat turning over and me needing to swim all the way to safety. For the rest of the ride, everytime the boat comes to a slow I just keep thinking that uh oh, we’re about to sink! But we didn’t and we got to Wat Pho really safely. My mind was on high alert the whole time and up until we got off and started walking. I’m not a very adventurous person so needless to say, that ferry ride is a one time thing that I will never try again. I was really freaked out, and it was no one’s fault but mine for putting thoughts inside my own head.
It was a little too early and I wanted to eat first but The Sixth doesn’t open until 10:30, so we just walked around until it opened.
It was almost noon when we got into Wat Pho. We had to pay an entrance fee of THB 200 and it comes with a free bottle of water.
I am really amazed at the details of Thai temples. It’s always so colorful and has such intricate detailing. The Wat Pho compound is similar in look as the Grand Palace just smaller in size.
While the two places are nearby each other, I wouldn’t recommend going to both on the same day. If you’re not so much appreciative of temples and their architectural designs, you’ll probably get “temple overload” and you’ll just feel tired and cranky with all the heat and walking.
We ended the trip with a tuktuk ride to BTS National Stadium amounting to THB 300. Two years ago it was THB 250, so the THB 50 addition is just the inflation. Our tuktuk driver was a good and calm driver, my previous tuktuk experience kept on wanting to go towards cars opposite from him and he kept saying “fast and furious”. This one got us in one piece very safely, and we also got to pass through Chulalongkorn University.
I’ve read that tuktuks can be scammy, and at THB 300, it is pretty expensive. But it’s an experience worth trying out. I enjoy riding tuktuks a lot but I wouldn’t always shell out that much for transportation unless it’s a far ride. I would always recommend getting a tuktuk after the Grand Palace/Wat Pho area because they’re right by outside. The speedy tuktuk ride will also help dry out all the sweat you got from going around the temples.
If you find the entrance fee to the Grand Palace a bit steep, then visiting the Wat Pho is a good alternative. I personally don’t see the merit of visiting both in one go because I’m not a very temple person and eventually they all look the same, except that the Wat Pho has a reclining Buddha, additionally it’s really hot and filled with a lot of tourists, solo and tour groups. Keep in mind that these places are important places to Thais and we should be respectful and mindful when in the area.
How to go to Wat Pho (via Ferry):
1. Get on the Silom line, if coming from Sukhumvit area, get off at BTS Siam and transfer to the Silom line.
2. Get off at BTS Saphan Taksin, take the exit on the left and the ferries will be there.
3. There is a separate signage for ferries that will take you to the different temples. Tell the person in the counter which temple you’re going to.
4. You will be dropped off at the Ferry station which also consists of a market. To go to the Grand Palace, once you leave the market just keep walking north. To go to the Wat Pho, go to the right.