On my second day in Bangkok I thought that I would do some sight-seeing and headed on foot towards The Grand Palace and then over to the Reclining Buddha. After getting lost about nine times, ending up in some back alleys and nearly being run over by a car I finally found it and then I fell foul to a classic scam. We are in the queue to the entrance when we are approached by a Thai man…
Man: You want a tour of the palace I am very knowledgeable
Me: No thanks
Man: 200Baht include entry fee, tour, skip queue and I supply your appropriate clothing!
Now this sounded like a great deal 200Baht is not a lot of money, and it would be nice to know what it was I was looking at.
I immediately regretted my decision “Wait here” he runs around a corner and re-appears with some Hawaiian shirts and a pair of crazy trousers. I tried to ask for something less…umm… bright but he could not understand my concern of looking ridiculous. I just went with it because once in the outfit, I realised that my boyfriend’s outfit was way worse, nobody would be looking at me whilst I was standing next to him!
Aside from the clothes our guide kept to his word, entry fee paid queue skipped and a very informative tour of The Grand Palace, people were pointing and sniggering but at least I left well informed.
The guides at the entrance are usually opportunists and slightly over priced however to be fair – aside from the outfit I was quite happy with my tour and it saved me the hassle of booking a tour group and felt more personal. I would suggest getting a guide, if you can haggle down to a price you are happy with, however word of advice…when visiting the Palace or any temple in Thailand wear a skirt or trousers below the knee, a T-shirt that covers your arms or bring a shawl, this applies to both men and women.
The Palace and the surrounding temples and pagodas are very impressive and decadent with everything encrusted in gold, well worth a visit…however I preferred the walk I had there and back, strolling around the streets of Bangkok was the true unforgettable experience.