Today's port of destination is Laem Chabang, an industrial port more than 100 kilometers south of Bangkok. The ship's management informed the travelers in good time that the Millennium was being rerouted. We dock at Sri Ratcha first, and the Millennium will sail to Laem Chabang during the day. Both ports are barren and unattractive.
To Bangkok on your own
Towers of the Wat Pho temple
Due to the rerouting, not everything is going optimally. The entry formalities take a long time and are very complicated. We are ashore after 45 minutes.
It's also not that easy to find a taxi that will just drive us to Bangkok and then bring us back to the ship after a decent stay. The taxi companies have agreed and almost only sell guided private tours to Bangkok. We ended up finding a taxi to Bangkok for $ 200. For this we determine the route, the individual destinations and the time. At least that's very practical. Due to the many delays, we are only on the road at 10:30am
Our taxi driver is very enterprising
As usual with our shore excursions, we have planned the process for Bangkok in advance. Our first destination is the Grand Palace, formerly the residence of the kings of Thailand. However, our driver Moo drops us off at the Chao Phraya River near the Peninsula Hotel.
Boats on the Chao Phraya River
She would like to arrange a private boat trip to the temple Wat Arun for us. This trip should then take about an hour and a half and cost an additional US $ 30 per person. We make it clear again how we imagine the course of the day and it goes on. We drive through the lively Chinatown, past the Chinatown Gate and Wat Traimit, the temple of the Golden Buddha.
The Grand Palace - landmark of Bangkok
Then Moo drops us off at the Grand Palace. The site covers more than 200.000 square meters. We agree on a time of three hours so that we can also visit the sights nearby. At the entrance area we are horrified by the crowds pouring into the palace. However, the facility is beautiful. Very well kept gardens and the buildings are in perfect condition. Only the many people disturb the postcard idyll.
The great palace
At the checkout to the inner area of the complex, in which the Wat Phra Khaeo, the Temple of the Emerald Budddha, and the throne halls are, we experience a nasty surprise. The entrance fee of 500 Thai Baht (around 13 EUR) per person must be paid in cash. During our research we had read that credit card payments were also possible. Our cash in baht is not enough for entry and foreign currencies are not accepted either. So we have to limit the tour of the Grand Palace to the outside area.
Bangkok's beautiful temples
Our next destination is Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. It is across from the Grand Palace on the other side of the Chao Phraya. We cross the river on a small ferry and dock below the temple. Wat Arun is covered with colored porcelain tiles and shells and is beautiful. I can't describe it very well, so the photos have to speak for me.
With the small ferry, which incidentally costs 4 baht (about 15 cents) per person, we drive back over the Chao Phraya. At the ferry terminal there is one of the typical Bangkok markets where you can buy everything. There are also cookshops, cafes and the like there. So when you are hungry and thirsty, here is your chance to eat and drink.
Just opposite is Wat Pho, the temple of the resting Buddha. The entrance fee is relatively low, 100 baht per person. Here lies the famous golden Buddha, which is 45 meters long and has a temple all to itself.
The reclining Buddha in Wat Pho temple
That is very impressive. Just like the entire temple complex is worth seeing. Our three hours are almost up. We go to the agreed meeting point with our taxi driver. Moo is already waiting. She is very reliable.
Giant red swing and 360 degree view over Bangkok
Our next stops are Sao Ching Cha, a giant red swing more than 200 years old, and Wat Saket, the Temple of the Golden Mount. It's all not far away, but the traffic in Bangkok is heavy. The place where the big swing stands is currently being restored. Much of Bangkok is currently “under construction”. This affects the flow of traffic even more, as far as one can speak of flowing traffic in Bangkok.
The Wat Saket turns out to be a little gem. The complex is well signposted, you pay 50 baht entry. Then there are 344 steps around the hill up to the temple. From above you have a 360 degree view over the whole of Bangkok. It is already twilight and a light haze is over the city. There aren't too many people up here either, so it's a good place to end a day in Bangkok.
My conclusion on Bangkok
At six o'clock in the evening it is already quite dark and we are on our way home. The traffic chaos in Bangkok is indescribable. It is 120 kilometers to Laem Chabang. We drive almost three hours and get back to the ship late. The Millennium moved to Laem Chabang during the day.
Conclusion of our shore excursion to Bangkok: We didn't do the cheapest or best tour, but we saw a lot. Moo drove us safely. In any case, a trip from Laem Chabang to Bangkok can be optimized. We would either book a private tour via the Internet or an organized boat tour or arrange to meet other travelers on a joint trip in good time.
We spend the rest of the evening on the terrace of the buffet restaurant with a cold beer and some goodies. We will stay in Laem Chabang overnight.
Valentine's Day on the Millennium
Our second day in Laem Chabang. It's Valentine's Day. Everywhere we find extraordinary decorations, especially at the buffet. Every special day is actually celebrated on a cruise ship.
Oceanview Buffet Restaurant - Valentine's Day Sweets
In the port of Laem Chabang there is neither a cruise center nor a handling terminal, nor is there a shuttle bus to the port exit about three kilometers away. Some taxis and stalls are available. And on foot you are only allowed to move near the ship. Passengers who want to leave the port on their own need a taxi. We actually want to see Pattaya today. That is about 25 kilometers south of Laem Chabang. However, the taxi prices are still high, and we find 100 US dollars for a trip to Pattaya too expensive.
In the port of Laem Chabang
So we spend a day on board. That is very pleasant. Few people are there and the ship is practically ours.
Celebrity Millennium leaves Thailand at six in the evening.
Continue reading: Days 12 and 13 - At sea