We started our day with a pre-breakfast walk around the neighbourhood We were staying at the New Siam 3 on Soi Rambutri which is about 500m from Khaosan road. It’s our go- to hotel in Bangkok.
Christmas is not celebrated here. You do see decorations, Santas and holiday displays but the kids all go to school and everyone still goes to work.
There is a shortcut through the fence which brings you to a 200 year old tree from there we continued on to Wat Chana Songkhram (an 18th century royal temple) the monks were praying and people were stopping by for a quick prayer on their way to work. There is a school across the street and the kids were rushing in. Kids at schools in Thailand all wear uniforms so they are easy to spot.
We continued on to the White Fort and the small park beside it.
Breakfast was fruit shakes, eggs and toast. Most places offer Asian or Western food for breakfast. I love Thai food but not for breakfast. We drink a lot of fruit shakes in Asia. A fruit shake is fruit, ice and sugar and in some cases sweetened condensed milk blended together. Very refreshing in the heat. When we returned home from this trip I replaced our blender and tried to make my own. They are not quite as good because the fruit is not as fresh but they are not bad if you add enough sugar syrup.
After breakfast we took the Chao Phraya Express Boat to Chinatown and Wat Traimit (stop #5) . we walked through Chinatown to the Wat. Lots of shops selling just one very specific item: a pipe shop, a rice shop, a shop full of water taps, stores with huge barrels of spices and a few with piles of boxes of cheap plastic toys. The cheap plastic toys really made us think about the environmental impact of making, shipping and selling things that are basically unnecessary.
There were delivery people moving large boxes by hand.
We arrived at Wat Traimit home of the famous Golden Buddha. It is the world’s largest solid-gold Buddha, over 3m tall weighing 5 ½ tons. It was cast in the 13th century and covered in stucco when it was transported to Bangkok to keep it safe from thieves. It was so well concealed that, until 1955 when it was chipped during transport to it’s current location, no one knew it was gold underneath the stucco. It’s a very popular tourist attraction and the area around it was jammed with minivans full of tourists trying to get around each other.
It’s 40 Bht to get in to see the Buddha and 140 Bht if you want to see the museum as well. We skipped the museum and visited the Buddha and the surrounding temples which are worth a stop.
We walked back toward the boat and came across another Wat which was interesting but there are so many in the city this one did not make our guide.
It was hot so we went looking for fruit shake #2 of the day. We walked up Ratchawong road which is full of small shops selling the novelty items you see sold in tourist sites in bulk. We went into Pahural Market which is a cross between a street market and a shopping mall. Small stores some of which are quite modern connected by a series of alleys jam packed full of people on foot with the occasional scooter or delivery cart thrown in. You literally have to move with the crowd.
Christmas dinner was beers and curry back on the new extension of Khasan Road. The only sign of Christmas was the vendors selling Santa hats, the girls in very skimpy Santa costumes with money stuffed between their boobs and the Jonny Walker statue in a Santa Suit.