We started our 2nd day on a very good note, we’ve had a terrific breakfast at Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel and Towers where we’re staying. After what happened to us the night before, we decided that we’re not leaving the comforts of this hotel but then changed our minds quickly when we saw the travel desk on our way to Sambal restaurant. They were booking Chao Phraya River Cruise tours and the photos somehow convinced us to book it that same day. It is our first and last full day in Bangkok anyway so might as well do something worthwhile. We decided to take the cruise which will stop at Wat Arun Temple or The Temple of Dawn for an hour, the price for the cruise alone was THB1000 and THB1500 if you wish to have an hour stop at Wat Arun. It wasn’t that bad but I know for sure that the price of that cruise was too much. I had no intentions though to haggle this time. It’s tiring and I really don’t have the energy anymore to haggle as that’s what all we’ve done the previous night. So on that day, I decided to be generous and have a little faith on the travel rep that they’re not trying to loot us.
Before we went to the dock where our boat will meet us, I asked the rep if I should change to jeans as I was wearing shorts that day. He told me that there’s no need since shorts are allowed in Wat Arun Temple. I was skeptical because as far as I know you’re not allowed to wear shorts inside the temples but he was very persistent that it’s fine, don’t worry and that we must go because the boat is already waiting for us. Well who am I to question that? He’s a local and on top of that, a travel rep so he must know what he’s saying.
The cruise itself was something that I won’t really recommend specially if you’re staying at the riverside. Yes you will see how the locals live their daily lives from the river itself but other than that, nothing really fascinating. There were big boats passing through the river which creates big waves, I was somehow worried because the boat that we’re in was quite small and it seems to me like the waves created by the big boats can overturn our tiny one. The water of course was a shade of brown, it’s not really rocket science to figure how dirty the water is.
After a few minutes, we saw the temple from afar and I got really excited because it looks so majestic from the river. That’s probably the best view of this temple, from the river itself and the only reason why you should take the Chao Phraya River Cruise I must say. I couldn’t contain my excitement as our boat docked, I immediately took photos of the temple grounds. I bought our entrance tickets (not yet included on the cruise price) and proceeded to the entrance then I was stopped by the guard as he pointed at my shorts. Now this was the part where all hell broke loose.
I told the guard kindly that we were informed that shorts are actually allowed inside this temple but he insisted that I must pay THB20.00 for the wrap-around skirt plus THB100 as a deposit. I didn’t want to pay not because I’m a cheapskate but because I was standing firm on my grounds that we were advised that shorts are allowed. What if the guard just wants to get ahold of our THB20? I know it’s not a lot but it’s not about the money, if you know what I mean. The guard didn’t change his mind though in fact, he started mocking me in a sort of how-stupid-can-you-be-you-little-idiot kind of way. At that point, I was getting really mad so I told the boyfriend to go ahead without me. The boyfriend of course did not allow me to do so and insisted that I come along with him. He paid for the wrap-around skirt which was probably used by a handful of tourists and was never washed. Needless to say, I was not in the mood anymore to be all excited about the fantastic architectural design of the temple. Well, I should say though that even with the not-so-pleasant mood that I was in – the temple still amazed me somehow.
I was feeling grumpy the whole time and I realized at some point that I’m just ruining the day for the boyfriend as well so I decided to just sit somewhere and wait for him to return as he explored the temple. When he came back, we immediately boarded our boat to continue our cruise and I made sure that he got the THB100 deposit back for the wrap-around skirt. We passed by a residential area and I saw a man approaching us, the boat that he was in was filled with snacks, softdrinks and beer and I immediately felt like we were about to be looted once again. Our boatman slowed down when we were approached by this man, of course he
asked insisted that we buy something from his floating grocery store. I think we’ve said NO a dozen of times before the man realized that we’re really not interested in anything that he had. This man was smart though, he then insisted that we buy something for our boatman. A beer perhaps? Now how can you decline this? I mean what if our boatman was indeed thirsty or hungry and we didn’t want to buy something for him? The boyfriend was firm though that we’re not going to buy anything for anyone and if the boatman wanted something then he can buy it himself. I started feeling bad at this point which was somehow a good thing because I was not feeling grumpy anymore. So we continued our cruise and as we did, we passed by a bridge and because our boat was running too fast we almost hit the walls of it. ALMOST I say but that doesn’t mean we were lucky because we created a huge wave and the dirty, muddy, brown water of the river splashed all over us. The boyfriend got most of it and I just have to tell you one thing about him, he’s an OC. A big time OC. The kind who washes his hands a million times a day and who won’t even sit on his couch with the clothes that he was wearing outside of the house. So just imagine how furious he got when he was splashed all over with dirty water. It was his time to get grumpy and I was the one comforting him and trying to lighten up his mood. For a clean freak like he is, nothing will ever change his mood so we didn’t finish the cruise and advised our boatman to turn around immediately and go back to the hotel. He was feeling so dirty that he wanted to burn the clothes that he was wearing as soon as we arrived at the hotel, I’m not even joking.
Once we were at the hotel, we went straight to the travel desk and found the lady already packing her stuff. We stopped her and the boyfriend told her about what happened. The lady then called the guy to whom we booked the tour and gave the phone to the boyfriend. I was just standing there listening to them when in the course of their conversation I realized that the guy knew that shorts were not allowed inside the temple but chose to tell us the opposite for reasons I don’t really understand. So I told the boyfriend that I want to speak to the guy and it was then my turn to be all furious. LOL. When the travel rep realized that he can’t hide the fact that he deliberately lied to us he said casually: OHHHHHH!!!!!! YOU WANTED TO GO INSIDE THE TEMPLE? WELL INSIDE, SHORTS ARE NOT ALLOWED BUT OUTSIDE THE TEMPLE IT’S OK. What the ffffffff??????????????????????? Who pays THB500 more to stop at Wat Arun Temple without the intention of going inside it? The argument continued on and on but to make the long story short, I was able to get the THB500 back. I should’ve asked for a full refund.
This day was not really good and it justified my decision that I don’t like Bangkok anymore. This was not the first time that I’ve been to Bangkok in fact, I used to love this city. It used to be my favorite place in the whole of South East Asia. Sadly, the city has changed and it’s definitely not for the better. I felt like everyone is ganged up against the tourists now. You will never get a fair price if you’re a foreigner and it’s unfortunate for you if you don’t know how to haggle or if you’ve shown a slight hint of vulnerability. After this trip (I don’t mean just the cruise but the whole of the 3 days that we’ve stayed in Bangkok), I don’t think I will ever set foot again in this city.
Note: The travel desk inside the hotel is not a part of the hotel. I suppose they’re just a local tour operator with a desk inside the hotel.