Day 6, April 30, 2013, Monday - Grand Sport outlet and Grand Palace
My family, especially my wife, had been walking a lot the day before so I decided to let them rest a bit more before we do Bangkok again. However, after breakfast the boys and I decided to go back to the Grand Sport outlet to buy our team's jersey. We took the Skytrain at Si Lom station and got down at National Stadium. Along the way we stopped at the stadium which was opened to take few photos.
Of course we ended up buying a lot more other stuff he he. One of them is a big Grand Sport traveling bag.
On the way back to the National Stadium station we saw a halal cafe just after the stadium. I straight away send a message to my wife asking for their orders. Thus lunch being taken care off for the day.
With lunch and prayers done we went out for the last time to explore Bangkok. Our target for the day was the area of the old city surrounding the Grand Palace area
We took the MRT down to Hua Lamphong before proceeding by Tut Tut to the Grand Palace area. That was our first tut-tut ride in Bangkok. Actually we did not straightaway took the tut-tut we explored Hua Lamphong again for few minutes.
These guys are really speed demon moving effortlessly around busy Bangkok’s streets and alleys. So in no time we reached in front of the Grand Palace. Initially I thought of taking my family into the Palace as I have been there when I was a secondary school students but I was stopped at the counter when I saw the price of around RM50 perhead. We turned around and started to walked along the street in front of the Palace entrance. We noticed there was some sort of carnival going on on a big field in front of the place but my family saw anything that was even more interesting to/for them. It was a NaRaYa outlet and the girls almost running towards it. There were a lot of tourist around that area and it was worse inside NaRaYa. Baqir and I walked out bought ourselves cold drinks and wait outside. While waiting I took out the map and started to plan our walk. Studying the maps that I have I got really confused as to where we were exactly. Their tourist map was really confusing. Even with the big Grand Palace in front of me.
After the girls finished with their shopping I decided to walk towards where we could see a lot of sellers selling their wares along the street. We walked further up to the pier and only then Baqir got it figured up. Only later I realised that the concept of map and mapping is not a Thai culture. As we reached the pier my children got excited as the place was basically a location where the Korean shot the Thai episode of the Running Man.
From my research earlier I know we were at Thai’s Amulet Market area and true to the name along the street sellers were selling amulets in all sort of forms and sizes. We walked on knowing on the other side of the building was Chao Phraya River. As far as the amulets concern, nothing interest us. Only the old buildings on both sides of the street intrigued me. Since historically Thailand was not colonised by any western country the buildings are really culturally nice. I took few shots of them as we strolled along. One of them was two old buildings with covered walkway creating a warm atmosphere for visitors at 57 Soi Phra Chan
Khwaeng Phra Borom Maha Ratch Rd.
As we came out from the Amulet Market in front of us was Thammasat University and we turned right at the corner to walk along Phra Chan Alley until the main road where across the Sanam Luang (The Royal Field). I look to my left and I saw the National Museum. We crossed the road to the field. There a lot of people gathered in various spots of the field and on the field there was some sort of traditional games competition going on. One of them is sepak raga played in a different way. The objective of this sepak raga is to either kick, head or shoulder the ball into the hoop hanged high above the ground. I was intrigued. At the same time a martial art competition was in progress nearby. So I sat there with my camera watching while my family, resting their feet, parked themselves at the park bench. Something I realised was the field and park was a place for joggers and local leisure riders with their bicycles.
I was enjoying myself watching the game going on when I was absorbed into a feeling that I could not explained. I was so relax and happy.
After awhile we started to walk again just following our instinct knowing that we were walking in circle around a big circle around the old city. We continued our walk along the perimeter of the field until we reached the edge in front of the National Museum. The Museum was closed so we crossed Na Phra That Alley to Rachini Alley where I stopped to decide on our option. I saw a road bridge crossing the Chao Phraya and another Rachini Alley going down to the river edge. I decided to take Rachini Alley with the intention of walking along Chao Phraya. That was what we did.
Again as we walked we came to lovely old buildings along the street making our walk bearable. It soothed our tired legs a bit. Then at a corner we saw an old fort like structure next to the river edge. Anticipating an interesting find we walked excitedly. It was Phra Sumen Fort and it was written on the signage,
‘Built in 1783 to defend against potential naval invasions and named for the mythical Mt Meru (Phra Sumen in Thai) of Hindu-Buddhist cosmology, the octagonal brick-and-stucco bunker was one of 14 city watchtowers that punctuated the old city wall alongside Khlong Rop Krung. Apart from Mahakan Fort, this is the only one still standing. Alongside the fort and fronting the river is a small, grassy park with an open-air pavilion, river views, cool breezes.’
After a bit of exploring and photo taking we moved on. A few blocks behind us we passed a mamak/indian restaurant and I sense we were actually close to a muslim community. As we walked a bit my intuition became a reality when we found a Halal stall stall along the street selling halal Thai’s food. We stopped immediately for drinks and the children could not resist having a go at their soups. They were nice.
As the evening was coming to a close I asked my family to finish their food quickly to continue our walk. My sense was even vindicated when we heard azan mgrahib coming from nearby indicating a mosque. But we could not stop to explore further and we have to get back to new city. Consciously we began to look for tut-tut and we needed two.
Naturally the best option is to walk to the main road and away from the river. As we were walking a tut-tut driver saw us from across the road and immediately maneuvered his tut-tut towards us. We had to get a Tut Tut back to Hua Lamphong. As I was negotiating for the price when he hurried us to board. All, the six of us in one tut tut. Apparent he could not stop there and a policeman was urging him to move on already. We boarded and cramped the tut tut in one adrenaline rush ride to Hua Lamphong for only 150 baht.
Once at Hua Lamphong we relaxed a bit. We went down to catch our MRT to Si Lom. Once there, knowing it was our last night in Bangkok, we delayed our walk back to the hotel.
My FB friends can view photos for Day 6 here