So, as per usual, this is coming a bit late - I'm not even in Bangkok anymore, but our last day there was so awesome that I just HAVE to write about it!
We got up bright'n'early, had breaky and then went to book our hostel on Koh Pha Ngan island, where the largest full moon party takes place in southern Thailand on the east coast. Turns out the entire freaking island was already booked solid for the entire weekend. No joke.
Le sad trombone.
We decided to book a place on Koh Samui (where I am currently sitting on a beach recooping from the full moon party last night) and just ferry over for ze party.
Lesson learned: about 10,000 people go to the full moon party and there's only about 3,000 rooms on the island. Book ahead of time, people!!
Anywho, after we sorted that out and stashed our bags with our hotel, we took off walking towards the Grand Palace. As I did the day before, we got completely lost and ended up wandering into a Wat (temple) that had a bunch of people celebrating.
We asked a monk what was going on and he told us (in very good English, I might add) that it was Maha Buha, the Buddhist holiday where about 1,500 monks come together 'without the cellphones' and hold candles and walk up the golden mountain to celebrate the 1st Buddha that was born and died on the same day, February 13.
We went into a nearby temple and met another really nice man, supposedly the head of security for the Wat (but you never know with these things) who told us 'in Thailand be careful 3 things - mosquito, spicy food, and counterfeit jewelry, it's not real'. He then told us to walk up the Golden Mountain '344 steps up, 314 down'.
It was beautiful. The view of Bangkok was awesome, and there were all of these bells and gongs to ring as you go up. A Thai lady told us to only bang the gong 3 times in a row - she was very proud of us when we did it properly ;)
The statues inside were covered in gold flakes - people buy little gold squares and stick them on the statues. I ended up seeing this in a lot of the temples we went into.
As we were leaving the Golden Mountain, we saw our security guard man again and he told us we should go on a boat tour of the 'floating market'. He helped us get a cheap tuktuk and off we went.
As my step dad would say, it is the biggest scam going: we paid way too much, 900 baht ($30) each, and the boat just swung by the big and beautiful Wat Arun from the old kingdom on the other side of the river, and then went through the canal.
I mean, don't get me wrong, the canals were very cool to see. There were houses half on stilts along the waters edge, some more rugged and made from flimsy wood, and others were more modern mansions. There were many Wats along the way as well, some we could only see from afar and others had dock areas onto the water.
We then went by the 'floating market', which was about 4 boats that would take turns coming up to our boat and yelling 'FLOATING MARKET!' with a huge smile on their faces. Pretty hilarious.
If you ever go to Bangkok and want to take a boat trip, I would recommend doing the 150 baht taxi boats that starts at the south end of the canal at central station, and then you can get on and off at different stations.
We got dropped off near the Grand Palace after an hour-long cruise around the canals. After two days of setting out to find it, we were finally there!
...except it was about 4:30pm so we weren't allowed inside. Le fail.
We kept walking along the street, feeling a bit dejected, and stumbled upon Wat Pho.