To start off day 2 of our honeymoon trip (see our entire itinerary here) we scheduled the Rattanakosin Story Walking Tour with Expique. The tour began at Tha Maharaj which was on the opposite side of the city from our Airbnb.
To get there, we hopped on the BTS skytrain to Saphan Taksin and then took the local ferry to Tha Chang and walked the rest of the way. Don’t stand too close to the sides of the ferry. You WILL get splashed. And I’m not sure how sanitary that water is.
We met our guide at Starbucks at Tha Maharaj where he gave us a quick overview of what to expect for the next few hours of our tour.
These are Thai amulets. They are for sale on practically every corner. The amulet is a type of blessed item used for raising funds to support the temples. They are said to enhance luck or good fortune in marriage, wealth, health and love. They come in different shapes, sizes and materials and can also picture various monks or Buddha himself. Not all are amulets are fake but unless you are an expert, it’s very hard to know which are real. Real amulets have been properly blessed by a monk, which could take anywhere from 1 week to 3 years.
Our first stop was Thammasat University. Here, our guide, Esso, is explaining the massacre that occurred on October 6th, 1976 on Thammasat’s campus. In a nutshell, Thai state forces and right-wing paramilitaries attacked student protesters who were demonstrating against the return of former military dictator, Thanom Kittikachorn. Over 100 students were said to have been killed that day.
We also learned that all students, elementary to university, wear school uniforms.
Have you ever tried pop rocks? Well this snack was a bit like that without the “pop”. Mango slices which you dipped into a mixture sugar, salt and chili pepper. It was delicious!
Sanam Luang & Lak Mueang
Our tour continued to Sanam Luang, a large outdoor space used for royal cremations located in front of the Grand Palace. We then continued to Lak Mueang (above). This temple houses the city pillars which were raised in 1782 when King Rama I established Bangkok as the capital of Thailand. This was the beginning of the Rattanakosin Empire (hence the name of the tour).
We walked past the Ministry of Defense and then to the Royal Cemetery, Wat Ratchabophit. This was almost more of an enjoyable experience than visiting the Grand Palace due to the fact that it was completely empty! No one was rushing us, no selfie sticks were being stuck in our faces, and we could take our time to admire the exquisite details of the various buildings.
This fresh pomegranate juice couldn’t have come at a better time! We were exhausted from all of the walking and it was so refreshing.
Esso joked that the bike lanes may have been the safest place to walk in Bangkok because they were so rarely used!
Overview of Rattanakosin Story Walking Tour
Our tour guide, Esso, really made this tour for us. He explained the history of the Rattanakosin period without it feeling like an actual history lesson and it gave us a great basis for the rest of our time in Bangkok. If you decide to take this tour, make sure you wear comfy shoes!
As we parted ways, Esso recommended a fabulous restaurant located right on the river called Sala Rattanakosin. It’s ranked in the top 50 restaurants in Bangkok which isn’t bad out of over 8,000 eateries!
Our next stop was the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
If you’d like to read more about our honeymoon trip through Thailand, Australia & New Zealand, check out the full itinerary here.
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