Saturday, December 11, 2010
I didn't have a lot of time in Bangkok this past week, but I did get to do a little exploring. My friends and I took the Skytrain from Siam down to Saphan Taksin on the Silom line. Our original plan was to take the express boat from there up the Chao Phraya River to Wat Po. Unfortunately, it appeared the regular boats had shut down early due to the holiday (the king's birthday). Luckily, help is never far in Bangkok, and it readily presented itself along with a price. The first guy wanted 600 Baht (about $20), which we all scoffed at. After a little wandering around, we talked to another guy who started off at 500 Baht. We asked for 400, and ended up meeting in middle at 450.
That kind of negotiation is pretty much standard on taxis, trinkets, and boats. It can be frustrating to approach every situation as a used-car-style negotiation, but there are a few things to keep in mind: 1) they really are trying to make ends meet, 2) they're expecting to be talked down, 3) there's another guy selling the exact same thing just a few steps away, and 4) the stakes are pretty low since you're usually talking just a few dollars difference.
In any case, the ride up the Chao Phraya river was so worth the 450 Baht. If you don't have much time in Bangkok, I recommend it as a way to get out of the bussel and see the city from a different perspective. Here are a few of my shots from the river and around the Grand Palace and Wat Po.