There are a lot of stories out there about travelers being ripped off by tuk tuk drivers. Hell, there are a lot of stories about travelers being ripped off period. So, when a tuk tuk driver approached me and over to take me to a couple of sights in Bangkok, I was suspicious.
10 Baht. That was the offer. For 10 Baht her would take me to the Golden Mount and 2 other sights in Bangkok and bring me right back to where we were standing. Throughout our conversation I would repeat the price and the fact that he would bring me right back to where we started. He assured me that would be the case. I took a leap and decided to do it.
There is no graceful way to climb into a tuk tuk in Bangkok. I looked like an idiot and I kept banging my head on the roof of the tuk tuk.
Our first stop was a place called Lucky Buddha, which I’m pretty sure is just some random temple in Bangkok that he picked off his head. The temple wasn’t huge, but it was still beautiful. The agreement before we left on the tour was that I’d have as much time as I wanted in each area and my tuk tuk driver would wait for me. I was doubtful that that would happen and I was pretty sure that he would dump me in Central Bangkok and I’d have to find my way back. Surprisingly, he didn’t.
Also known as the ‘Marble Temple’, Wat Benchamabopit is beautiful. Decorated with reds and golds, the wat gleams. The sounds of Buddhist prayers filled the grounds as I walked around with my camera and soaking in my environment. There is something peaceful and delightful about wandering through the grounds of a temple. I’m always amazed at how peaceful they can be when they’re in the middle of a city.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when we arrived at the Golden Mount. It had started to rain a bit and as I couldn’t see a wat (I know, how blind and dumb could I be) I decided to follow the crowd. Eventually I was standing at the bottom of some stairs (man, the people in Asia love their tiny stairs). Climbing the stairs was an exercise in endurance. My thighs were burning, but the views form the top made the climb worth it.
As with a lot of tours in Asia, after each sight I was taken to a shop. It can be annoying, but when you’re only paying 10 Baht (35 cents Canadian) for the tour, you can overlook the annoying shop stops. All in all the tour was definitely worth the price I paid. Traffic wasn’t bad, but inhaling the exhaust from buses was definitely sickening at times. But pollution aside, Bangkok is a fabulous city. The people are super friendly, the street food is amazing.
My time in Bangkok is short on this run, but I’ll be back next month for 3-ish weeks, which should give me lots of time to explore Bangkok some more.