visiting wats

Old Jun 14th, 2008, 09:20 AM
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visiting wats

After reading some of the threads here are my questions...

While staying either at Sheraton Royal Orchid or Marriott Resort & Spa...

Which of the following wats / sights should we (or could we) easily do on our own using the BTS (skytrain) rather than a car (guide + driver)? We are not very detailed history oriented but always like to know what we are seeing.

Grand Palace & wat Phra Kaew (Jade Buddha)

Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha)

Wat Traimit (China town)large Gold Buddha

Wat Arun - Stupa

Wat Benchamabophit (marble temple)

Wat Saket (supposedly very close to Chochitr restaurant)

Erawan Shrine to Brahma

Wat with the tallest Buddha (don't know the name)

Jim Thompson museum

Vimanmek Palace (largest teakwood house)

Is there any logical sequence to see (all, some or few) of the above to minimize wasted travel time?

Are some of these not really worth what they are touted to be in guide books and can be skipped?

Which of the above are better to see using the River/canal boats? (easy transport)

How many days should we allocate for the above sights.

Asking these questions because of several postings with warnings of bad traffic, wasting more time on the road than visiting the Wats.

Also if this is in last week of January, would the weather be an issue to do it ourselves (worried about hot, muggy weather, we are all senior citizens)

Also any restaurant recommendations (near Royal orchid or marriott Resort)? Only requirement is good food, type or style does not matter.

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Old Jun 14th, 2008, 10:08 AM
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While taking public transportation is a good idea and a good experience, don't be afraid to take taxis as needed. In general, you'll avoid the worst of the traffic problems if you avoid taxis in the Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha/Wat Po areas and along Sukhumvit.

We always stay at the Royal Orchid Sheraton. If you stay at the Marriott Resort and Spa, add another 20 minutes on the shuttle boat, and figure taking taxis to/from the Marriot will take considerably more time.

If you stay along the river, you'll want to take the water taxis to Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Po, and Wat Arun. All are easy to do on your own. You can ask for an official guide at the Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha if you'd like.

Wat Ben is best visited early in the morning to watch and/or participate in merit-making. Early in the morning, taking a taxi there and back is no problem. It's perhaps 10-15 minutes by taxi to/from the ROS.

Wat Tramit is well worth a stop. We usually visit during a stroll in CHinatown. If you know where you are going, you can take the water taxi. CHinatown is rather confusing, and you could certainly take a taxi to/from CHinatown (having them drop you off at Wat Tramit, then wandering around and catching a taxi when you are ready to go back to your hotel. It's a short taxi ride from the ROS.

We typically take a taxi from the ROS to Wat Saket. It doesn't take more than 15 minutes. Then we are fresh and ready for our walk to Chote Chitr after visiting the Wat.

To visit the Erawan SHrine, take the Skytrain, and you can get to the Jim Thompson House (museum) via Skytrain as well.

All of those places are well worth a visit. I recommend you pace yourselves. We do most of our sightseeing early in the morning. We time ourselves to arrive when the sites open. We sightsee until noon or so, then go to lunch. In the afternoon, we do things that take us into airconditioned environments at least part of the time.

I just posted several restaurant recs near the ROS: Harmonique, Gallery Cafe, Tongue Thai. More "special" dining nearby would include the China House at the Oriental Hotel (for the famous Peking Duck), and the Thai restaurant in the ROS - really lovely and with excellent food. We usually eat our main meal of the day at mid-day, so are often away from the hotel.

I've never been that impressed with the Vimanmek Palace... it's worthwhile but not in the same league as the other places you mention.

The only people I remember writing about how they spent more time in traffic than in the wats was a couple who stayed at the Pen and hired the hotel car to take them to the Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha and Wat Po. The driver actually took 45 minutes driving them from the Grand Palace to Wat Po! This was totally silly as the two sites are one block apart.
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Old Jun 14th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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Thank you for the quick reply. You must have been at the computer.

very good input. Now it will be easy to plan our visits.

Which is the wat with a very tall Buddha figure?? I have only seen the photo of it. Have you been there?

How many of these places could we visit in half -a-day tour like you suggest, without over exerting?

Thanks for restaurant recommendations. will certainly given them a try.
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Old Jun 14th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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You know, I don't know which wat you are referring to with the tallest Buddha. Over the years, I've been to lots of wats in Bangkok, and I add one or two new wats each time I visit.

The Emerald Buddha/Grand Palace can be a full morning by itself, or if you are fast, you could go from there to Wat Po (if you have a lot of energy) or across the river to Wat Arun. You can also save Wat Arun to visit when you take a klong tour.

You can also opt for the Emerald Buddha/Grand Palace one morning and Wat Po another morning. It depends on your endurance and how well you tolerate the heat.

Visit Wat Tramit as part of a morning visit to Chinatown.

Wat Ben can be a pre-breakfast excursion from your hotel, then back to the hotel for breakfast and on to something else, such as the Jim Thompson House. Plan to have lunch at the cafe at the Jim Thompson House.

Make the Erawan Shrine a stop when you are in the Sukhumvit area for shopping.

If you can be flexible and do as much as you feel comfortable doing then go on to another activity, that works best.
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Old Jun 14th, 2008, 07:07 PM
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Hi Kathie, do you think the Marriott Resort and Spa is a little out of the way? Thanks, Bridey
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Old Jun 14th, 2008, 07:14 PM
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Bridey, it's all a matter of personal preference.

For me, it's a bit out of the way. Not only are the water taxis more convenient from the ROS, but taxis are easier, too. The Marriott is farther away by river (but some people find the Marriott water shuttle so pleasant they don't care), but for taxis, you have to cross one of the bridges, since the Marriott is on the other side of the river.

I like being able to walk to some restaurants (though Bangkok is really not a walking city), and I like being next door to River City which is the center for arts and antiques shops.

Some people like the sense of being more out of the city, which the Marriott has. Bob loves the Marriott, it's his home in Bangkok. I love the ROS, it's my home in Bangkok.
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