City Tour - Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha, Gems....

Trip Start May 30, 2012
Trip End Jun 12, 2012

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Monday, June 11, 2012

We start the day off with a Half Day City Palace Tour arranged by Asoke Residence, courtesy of our stay with them. A kind couple take us to the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Keow). We purchase the tickets (450 baht per person) and enter. The lady guides us around the Palace and the temple which were decked out with exquisite gems and shone bright in the morning sun. We were told that the present King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family have moved from the Grand Palace to a New Palace (which was equally magnificent) and this Palace was designated for State Dinners and similar occasions. The armoury was also pretty neat.

We then drove through the city and reached a Gems factory where we were taken through a walk tour of the polishing and setting of precious and semi-precious stones in jewellery. A lovely showroom was also part of the mini-tour where several tourists were seen buying jewellery.

Post the half-day tour, the travel guide couple dropped us off at MBK Mall (shopping !) which turned out to be a pricey joint. The International Food Court however was fantastic. We walked post-lunch to the next block wherein a huge Tesco was situated. Shopped a bit and stepped out to find that rain had invaded the evening. Cabs vanished and those that we hailed down refused to take us to that part of the town citing traffic, which was true. I could not sympathize with them since we were getting drenched by the rain by the minute.

A Tuk-Tuk (this gets interesting for us) stopped and offered to take us to the hotel. We quote, haggle, agree and hop into the Tuk-Tuk. This one's fitted out with LED lights and sparkles. The guys starts the motor and revs off into the traffic and motorways with relative ease. The way he speeds through is really scary since the three of us are seated in a three-wheeler with the driver in the front. The difference between the tuk-tuk in India and the one here is that the Thai version is really long axled and has a tendency to do a wheelie while speeding. The sides were fully open meaning u could get scraped or hurt badly. So a hair-raising 30 minute ride is enough for the day and the trip.

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