Celebrity Solstice Postcard #7 – Laem Chabang, Thailand

As Civitavecchia is classed the port of Rome and Le Havre similarly as Paris and despite being a good distance between port and city, Laem Chabang is classed as Bangkok. Because the ship was overnighting here we decided to do a tour and see Thailand’s capital city with a group from Cruise Critic.

This morning we arrived at Laem Chabang just before 9:00 and with more time at our disposal it allowed us to take breakfast in a more leisurely manner. All the rushing around could wait until later in the day.
We were off the ship by 9:30 and located our guide and fellow tour mates very quickly. Our group consisted of 6 of us plus guide and driver and we set off fairly quickly to destination of Bangkok in our very comfortable and air-conditioned 9 seater minibus (Luxury-Mini-Bus Jim ????)

Our LMB otherwise known as Luxury Mini Bus

 

It took approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes to reach our first stop.
The Royal Grand Palace which is said to be one of the most beautiful samples of an ancient
Siamese court. It used to be the residence of the Kings of Thailand. Here we were shown several palaces which were used for different occasions: The Funeral Palace, the Reception Palace, the
Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Royal Guest House, and the beautiful Emerald Buddha
Temple. It was very busy and we had to rely on a voice alone narrative from our guide who was heavily accented so I missed 85% of what he was saying. It was still impressive to see even if I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking at.

The Emerald Buddha




Lunch was supposed to have been served in a very good riverside restaurant but they didn’t manage to secure a table for us and we ended up somewhere else. This turned into a bit of a farce too because we had made it known when we booked that Nicole was vegan. Our guide ordered for us and for some reason he made the decision to order vegan for everyone despite telling Nicole that she had something different to the rest of us. It doesn’t matter to me but it didn’t go down well with the other four and I can’t blame them either.

After lunch, we were driven to Wat Pho, The Temple of the Reclining Buddha which was quite an impressive sight, it’s 46 metres long, covered in gold leaf and fills the temple it’s in.

 



Now the next bit of our day involved a tour around the canals of Thonburi on a long-tailed boat and I’m not convinced we started from where we were supposed to. Our guide spent several minutes on his phone before we set off on foot for a ten minute walk to a nearby pier. Looking out across the river, the current was extremely strong and I did wonder what we were getting ourselves into at this point as there wasn’t a canal in sight.

First though, we had to get into the boat which quickly became like an assault course, possibly because the pier was designed for bigger boats, there was a good 3 foot drop to get from the pier just to the side of the boat which was bobbing around like a cork because of the current. Nicole went first and despite having two men assisting her managed to get her foot wedged between a tyre and the boat. Luckily it was only for a brief moment of time but still very concerning. I went next and was able to jump but with my forward momentum I almost went out the other side because there was very little to grab on to. So after everyone managed to free dive into the boat, we set off up the river. We were instructed to wear the lifejackets that were laying on the seats but mine must have been for a child because I couldn’t get it on properly and get it done up. I must have been mad!
As I said previously the current was strong and very choppy and our little boat started catching large waves side on and both the guy in front and me took a full hit from one of these waves, I got soaked including the camera and at that point totally lost interest with what we were doing. I wasn’t happy sitting in this little boat bobbing up and down in the middle of the fast flowing Chao Phraya River. If there was one consolation, it was very hot and I did start to dry off, the tour around the canals became a bit of a blur and it seemed to take forever although in reality it was nearer 30 minutes. According to the literature for the tour, I missed passing by venerable temples among lush greenery, wooden houses built on stilts, coconut groves, garlanded shrines and spirit houses and vendors offering goods on their boats. Bangkok was given the name the “Venice of the East”. What I did remember seeing were lots of decrepit empty wooden buildings falling into the water interspersed with modern brick buildings, some with swimming pools.



All the way around Nicole was in fits of laughter which didn’t help. I didn’t realise at the time but Doug, the guy in front of me had taken a direct hit in his crotch and looked even worse than I did when we eventually got off the boat. Just to add insult to injury, there was a nice set of steps for disembarking.
Trying to put all that behind us we found that we had arrived at our next temple, Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) where we stayed for around 20 minutes.


We then took a more civilised method back to the other side of the river using the local ferry, and met up with our driver who was waiting to take us back to the ship.

We had one final photo stop on the way back and we were all relieved that we didn’t have to go in. It had been a long and eventful day and one more temple might just have finished me off.



We arrived safely back at the ship at 8:50 after also getting lost in the port. Once onboard we enquired about getting into the MDR and were welcomed in despite being 20 minutes late. After several glasses of wine and a few plates of food we were both ready for bed.

2 thoughts on “Celebrity Solstice Postcard #7 – Laem Chabang, Thailand”

  1. I don’t think would have been happy, it just shows that a good tour guide is all down to the luck of the draw sometimes. That boat ride would have worried me, especially if the life jacket didn’t fit. Hope you have better luck tomorrow.

  2. Whew! I am tired just reading this. First, you have to call it a “luxury mini motor coach.” (Never a bus—that’s what people go to school in.)
    Second, I need to gloat here. We were on Azamara when we did SE Asia and her ships (with only 635 people) could go all the way up the river and moor right downtown. I remember our drive from the ship to the palace was less than 15 minutes. I took most of the same pictures you did, but the one thing I am so sorry you missed was the train and floating markets. They were amazing. There’s still time tomorrow ????.
    We did the long boat as well but nothing like your adventure. That sounds like something that would have happened to me…or that television character you compared me to…can’t remember his name.
    Well, at least you made it back to the ship.
    Only once have you mentioned the weather so far. That was the dominant thing I think I wrote about during our SE Asia trip. The humidity just about killed us. You sound like you are handling it pretty well.

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