Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Wat Pho and a TukTuk Hero

Without much of plan, we set out this morning for What Pho, the temple that's the home of an enormous reclining Buddha statue, who's feet we're in front of. We thought we'd walk, it's really not far, but with our shoddy map it turned into an extremely hot half an hour or so. Just as we arrived, a very friendly (seems to be a theme here) Thai chap said hello, mentioned Picadilly, and then told us that the Temple was closed until 4pm.

He then threw us in a TukTuk, and pre neogotiated us a 20Baht fee (40p) to take us to a pier on the river where we could get a boat to the floating market and tour bits of the city. We had nowhere near enough cash on us, even with some serious haggling, cutting one guys asking price in half, it was still too much.

We left, and met another friendly passer by (another theme is everyone always has a pen...) who scribbled a few places to go on our map and then grabbed us a TukTuk to take us on our way, this time taking us on a route via a couple of temples and on his recommendation, a tax free shopping centre, again keen to get us married asap. The TukTuk driver was young, and clearly deferred to this older guy, making the trip 40 Baht in total.

We set off and saw the temple of the black Buddha, so called because apparently the statue was originally black, and has since become gold thanks to locals coming and putting gold leaf on the statue. There, our third good Samaritan of the day suggested a place to go to book trips and tours where the commission was much less than the touristy spots, so we added that to our TukTuk chum's route, and decided not to go shopping!

We stopped at the travel centre to book Christmas, and came away with a prettty good deal for a week on Koh Phangan in a beach bungalow, from the 21st to the 27th, including night buses from Bangkok, and on from Koh Phangan to Georgetown in Malaysia. Christmas on the beach. Perfect!

We've yet to find a quality suit maker, and when Mr. TukTuk asked if he could take us to a tailor where he'd get a free petrol coupon for bringing us there, we were happy to oblige, especially as he'd wanted outside the travel agent for half an hour. We had a look around, asked about prices and measurements, and generally waffled ourselves away from the hard selling tailor, and headed back to our grateful partner in crime.

He then drove us back across the city to Wat Pho, and asked us for 40Baht - having been driving us for about two and a half hours we thought he deserved a bit of a tip.

Wat Pho is amazing and beautiful temple, with the added bonus of the biggest Buddha you have ever seen. Words can't really do it justice, so have a look at the photos - just click the slideshow!

We're just off for some dinner...


  1. Dig the hat Louis - Graham Green meets 21st century! You two currently winning prize for trendiest looking backpackers - early days yet tho! Glad the locals treating you well - many blessings on them ..x

  2. Annick says that the "closed" sites are all part of the local scams - there's always a friendly tuk tuk to take you somewhere else... the sites are not usually actually closed at all - if you persist!
    Looking forward to the next post and wonder if Picasa will cope after 6 months if 2 days gives 96 pics!

  3. Photos look amazing! Annie xx