The 400 Baht ticket to the Royal Palace includes a free entrance to the Vimanmek mansion which is about 10-mins away by taxi. The receptionist in the hostel said it's worth the trip so I went for it. It was just kinda hard to get a taxi who won't use their meter for the fare ( think my "Pay vimanmek" Thai wasn't that convincing, haha!!) and after about ten open and close of doors, I finally found a kind driver. :) There was just one problem, he couldn't understand me and he didn't know the place. Waaaaaahhh!!! :(( We had to stop for a while so that he could call his friends (who could understand English a bit but it was frustrating as they didn't know it too). He then tried something which sounds to me like a call center service for taxis and I tried to talk to the agent but to no avail. Finally, after one more call he finally knew it and off we drove to the place. :)
The Vimanmek mansion was built by King Rama V, this palace is the largest teak structure in the world featuring a unique blend of Victorian and delicate Thai architecture. It's just kind of frustrating that photos aren't allowed in the mansion and in the exhibit halls. Phhhbt! XP Moreover, you have to pay like 10 Baht for the locker service. And it will only get you green with envy as to how lavishly the royal family lived. :P The place houses artifacts and memorabilia like photos, porcelains, glassware, etc. I was just wondering when I entered the king's collection of wall clocks from different countries, I found some Louis Vuitton suitcases especially designed for King Rama. (Pano napasama yun dun?? King Rama V, ikaw na!! Hahaha!!!)
It's impressive that everything's still preserved in the mansion but I have to say there's nothing much to do in there (especially with the forbidden cameras) so after 30 minutes I left to make it to my last destination: the Wat Arun temple. Waw, it was very hard to get a taxi from Vimanmek to the boat station, I think it took me almost 15 minutes to find one. I had to walk away from the mansion and I found a zoo, a lovely street decorated with falling flowers and a cute albeit unkempt dog. :P
'Twas almost sunset when I reached the boat station. I had to pay 3 Baht to cross the river and finally see the Wat Arun up close!!!
Unbelievably, there are over 31200 Buddhist temples spread around Thailand. In Thai these are called wat. One of these, the Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn, is named after Aruna, the Indian God of Dawn. Sitting majestically on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River, the legendary Wat Arun is one of the most striking riverside landmarks of Thailand. Despite the name, the most spectacular view of the glittering monument can be seen from the east side of the river at sunset, when the spires of Wat Arun make an impressive silhouette against the skyline.
It may not be shiny, shimmering and splendid (haha!!) but I personally love the kitsch factor of this temple. If you look up close, it has some porcelain dishes and pottery by the facade. :P Not only that, if you're brave enough to climb up the steep steps, you'll be rewarded with an amazing view of the city. :)
No wonder, even devoid of the glitz factor, this place is ranked 5th in TripAdvisor, higher than the Royal Palace. :P
I truly recommend for you to visit this temple. And if you did, please look for this message in the banner. :)