We kept the last full day in Thailand to meet Siriporn- a lovely Thai woman we met at the meditation course on Ko Samui. JIt was a perfect way of saying goodbye to the country of thousand smiles.
THE UNCONVENTIONAL MUSEUM
Siriporn told us she had a surprise for us and surprise it was. She took us to a rather mysteriously sounding Golden Teak Museum. We were probably the first foreign tourist to visit it, judging by the reactions of the staff.
There were a couple of temples standing side by side (some of them brand new, some of them quite old) and a few colonial-style buildings clustered around the museum. We headed straight to a lovely wooden building which bore traits of both Thai and colonial architecture. This was the bizarre and quite exotic Golden Teak museum.
It was hard to figure out what was the museum really about. The ground floor had lots of detailed information about teak tree (which was the material the house was made of). The second floor held a couple of Ayutthaya period Buddha statues and, quite surprisingly, rows of wax figures of famous Thai Buddhist monks. Among them, there was Buddhadasa Bhikku – the same man whose teachings we learned at the meditation course on Ko Samui and a holder of UNESCO great personality title. The house itself was remodelled recently using hundreds years old teak wood from an original house somewhere else in Thailand.
HISTORICAL TEMPLE AWAY FROM THE CROWDS
We then moved to see the adjacent temple with beautiful 17th century paintings. It was a great feeling to have the whole temple just for ourselves (apart from a monk vacuuming a red carpet).
THE GRAND FEAST
We finished with a gorgeous meal at a riverside restaurant, watching the local people feeding fish. As Siriporn explained , it was a Buddhist way of getting the merit. That evening was a perfect goodbye to Bangkok.
Next day we left for Don Muang airport very early. Weirdly enough, both luxurious limo buses and public express A4 buses were running from 7 am which forced us to take a regular 59 bus from Democracy Monument. It cost us just 23 Baht but took almost 2 hours to reach the airport. It actually stopped on the highway across the airport from where we took an overbridge, following the crowd. We ended up exactly where we wanted to be: at the international terminal.
It took only one hour to fly to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The flight wasn’t my preferred mode of transport but was necessary due to Thai visa requirements. We read on numerous blogs that Thais sometimes don’t accept bus tickets as a valid proof of exit and we didn’t want to take risks.
Prices [in Thai baht as of June 2018]
500 THB entrance to the Grand Palace
365 THB a large A/C room with shared bathroom, free breakfast (toast, jam and coffee)
150 THB Thai fishermen pants
100 THB sleeveless male top from Chatuchak market.
50 THB express public bus from Don Muang airport to Banglampoo
33 THB normal local bus from Don Muang airport to Democracy Monument
30 THB meal at the cheapest eatery in Banglampoo
8 THB cheapest, ordinary public bus fare