Friday, 30-01-2015. Day 163.
Democracy, Groceries, and Gold.
We were approaching the halfway point of our trip, and we'd accumulated some stuff that we wanted to send back. Fortunately, we'd heard the Thailand Post was pretty reliable (we have yet to see if that's the case), so we decided to ship some things back from Bangkok. Fortunately, we were very near a post office, so we walked over there to check out the rates and get some supplies.
Democracy Monument & Kilometer Zero
On the way to the post office , we walked by the Democracy Monument, which was erected way back in 1939 after Thailand established itself as a constitutional monarchy. And then after we crossed the street in front of the monument, we saw the marker for Kilometer Zero, which is where (I think) all roads in Thailand originate.
Thailand Limits on Buying Beer
After we checked out the post office and bought some boxes to stuff our stuff into, we walked over to the grocery store to get a few supplies. As great as the Golden Mountain Hostel was, we and, even though they had a kitchen, there were no pots or pans or cups or anything. This was a little discouraging, but they did have a kettle to boil water and a refrigerator. So we got some instant coffee, instant noodles, cereal, and milk. I also tried to buy some beer, but you can only buy alcohol in Thailand between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. to midnight. As luck would have it, we were shopping at 4:00p.m., so we left with no beer.
We were staying right around the corner from Thip Samai, one of the best pad thai restaurants in Bangkok and possibly the world. It was a small restaurant, and the lines can very long. it opens at 5:00 p.m., and we arrived at 5:30 p.m. and were lucky to be seated right away. There are only like five or six different dishes on the menu, and the most expensive thing is a large bottle of orange juice. The chefs cook all the food right in front of the restaurant on propane-powered open flame burners. The food is served up quite quickly and it was some tasty pad thai. According to The Guardian, it’s some of the best fast food in the world.
Wat Saket (Golden Mount Temple)
After we finished dinner, we walked over to the Golden Mount Temple, also known as Wat Saket, a temple that was renovated by King Rama I (King Rama IX is currently sitting on the throne and has for 46 years) when Bangkok became the capital of Thailand.
We were looking for the place to pay the entrance fee, but one of the monks told us there was no charge to go up to the top after 5:30 p.m. So we started climbing the 300 plus steps of the large circular staircase leading to the top of the temple. There are a few places along the way to stop and ring bells. You can hear these rings all the way down at street level.
As we got to the top, we there was an announcement over the loudspeaker saying, "Don't take off your shoes" on a loop.
Twilight was settling in when we got to the top of the temple. We walked around the giant golden tower at top of the temple took in full 360° views as watched the sun slip below the horizon. It was really cool to see the lights of the city winked on as darkness claimed the city. Just down the street we could see the window to our room in the hostel, which we thought was sort of neat..
After we walked back down the steps, ringing some bells along the way, we ran into our friend the scammy tuk tuk driver from the night before. He still wanted to know where we were staying and let us know we could still have a tour from him for a special price. Yeah, no thanks pal. Carry on.
- Varieties of pad thai eaten: 3
- Monks seen: 14
- Honeypot scam maps seen in the wild: 1
- Bells run: at least 21