Today, we intended to go to the death railway at Kanchanaburi. Unfortunately, after the tedious train, boat and foot journey, we realised that we missed the train which left the place at 7.40am. Our plans disrupted, next on our list of things to do involved buying our bus ticket to Pattaya the next day.
However, as we boarded the riverboat heading in the opposite direction, we ended travelling a significant distance of the Chao Phraya River. It was fairly interesting to see how luxurious villas, complete with beautifully manicured gardens and private jetties simply situated themselves side by side with rundown wooden houses whereby access to the river is a very basic wooden staircase, utilised with joy by little kids simply jumping off the stairs and straight into the river.
Teaching Banglumphu an hour later, we purchased tickets on a minivan heading towards Pattaya, before settling down for a lunch of curry and orange shake for me.
Given that we were within the area of the city’s main sights, i.e. the Grand Palace, Wat Po, etc. we decided to make the best of our current location, and visit the National Museum.
The National Museum is set in a very ornate building which was formerly a palace. It does indeed warrant its reputation as being the largest museum in Southeast Asia, as after spending a good hour in the Thai history gallery (where Wanting and I wished we had paid more attention to Mrs. Lum when she was teaching Thai history back in secondary school), we realised that there were around 10 more galleries. Therefore, we decided to simply stop there. It was fairly interesting as it traces Thai (or perhaps, more appropriately, proto-Thai) history from beginning to present.
With some time left on our hands, we decided to try and get to Wat Po. However, along the way, we got accosted by some guy claiming to be a teacher in the university, offering advice on how to spend our time in Bangkok. My undisguised scepticism was justified, as after introducing us to sights like the smiling Buddha and the lucky Buddha, he suggested that we take his tuk-tuk in addition to visiting a gem factory. (yes, gem factory = tourist trap alert) Fortunately we managed to side-step that.
Ornate roof of Thai National Museum
Public bus in Bangkok