I checked into the New Siam Palace Ville Hotel last night which I chose mainly for its swimming pool and its excellent location not too far from the Royal Palace and from Koh San Road.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with the place but it strikes me as somewhat cold. Maybe it’s the architecture or the design or the reception. I don’t know. I guess it’s good value for money.
So I got up this morning early and looked around the neighborhood which I liked very much.
When I first arrived in Bangkok, the neighborhood was not very interesting but this neighborhood is much more enticing with lots of little shops and restaurants along pedestrian streets.
My goal is to visit the Royal Palace which was closed on my last visit. My first choice would have been to visit the national museum but unfortunately it was closed today. At least I did get to see the room containing the golden chariots used to transport the urn containing the King’s ashes.
So reception told me I could actually walk to the Royal Palace which turned out to be more or less true. Actually it was kind of a long hot walk and it was not at all clear where the entrance to the Palace was.
I finally found the entrance because there were millions of people swarming around the palace and waiting to get in. I knew that this was not going to be a good experience and it wasn’t. I got an audio guide to help explain matters but as it turned out, it was so noisy inside that I could hardly even hear what the audio guide was saying. It’s really funny that they go on and on about covering shoulders and covering knees and so forth but the Chinese tour guides are screaming at the top of their lungs and the whole thing is just bedlam inside. Not to mention that it was confusing to figure out where everything was. It was really tourism at its worst.
It was just overwhelmingly awful even though certainly the temples inside and the emerald Buddha were impressive.
Actually the most impressive part was the incredible mural depicting the story of the Ramayana.
Somehow I managed to take about 3 hours to get through it all and I was just pretty much finished after that. There wasn’t any question of trying to see the other famous temple in the region. I was touristed out. So I went back to the hotel, cooled off and did some shopping along Khao San Road. It was also pleasant to stroll the neighborhood again in the late afternoon.
As the sun set, I headed back to the hotel and took a refreshing swim in the pool. I changed and grabbed a Pad Thai in the neighborhood. I had arranged for a minivan transfer to the airport which was much cheaper than the taxi I took on my arrival.