Day 30 - Grand Palace and Wat Pho

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Bangkok,
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After a leisurely and delicious breakfast at our hotel, Lamphu Tree Hotel, we headed out for some close but touristy Bangkok sights.

There was a double take however. Walking down the street to get a tuk tuk, Tess turned back, to check on the boys in a turn of good will and had a turn of bad luck (some say good, but Tess would'nt) and a big pigeon offloaded, possibly a world record, bird poo - all over her.
So after a trip back to the hotel to get sorted out we were, haggling and defending ourselves from the tuk tuk drivers to get a ride to the grand palace.
We went through four tuk tuks before we found one at a reasonable price that didn't want to take us to a number of places we didn't want to go, before dropping us a the palace.
A real squash (4 in a tuk tuk) we had great fun on our trip to the palace and it was a great Thai experience.

The Grand Palace was incredible. Of all the wonderful places we have seen so far, the grand palace is the most colourful and vibrant. It is so beautifully done and kept, it is really something special and different. The palace was the residence of the Thai king, although these days it is used as a tourist attraction, Buddhist temple and on special occasions.
It was built is the early 1800's (I stand to be corrected), and is designed with beautiful coloured mosaques on many of the buildings. There are 6 warrior statues which guard the entrances around the palace and stand many metres tall.

A feature of the palace is the Emerald Buddha, a very much revered Buddha, housed in a magnificent temple on the palace grounds. Many Buddhists come to see and pray at this Buddha and you really get a special feeling being in the temple. One of the practices is to be low in a temple or when talking to monks and therefore most people are sitting while they are in the temple to show their respect.

Wandering around the stunning buildings and grounds, we visited a display of historical Thai weaponry, the throne rooms, a museum of the palace and lastly a textile/fashion museum started and sponsored by the queen. This last museum was fascinating and humbling. It firstly showed Thai dress and many of the queens historical dresses, and secondly portrayed very heartwarmingly the relationship and development of the King and Queen toward building their country. It was really inspiring to see leaders being involved and taking action to help their people and develop their country. Very special. It gave a good understand why the Thai people revere their King and Queen so much.

Having had to put on long pants to show respect around he palace, and with the day being a scorcher, we were really very fried physically and mentally. We however made the long trip around the massive block to the temple Wat Pho, the residence of the largest indoor Buddha.
Again the temple was stunning and so well cared for. The Buddha was enormous and we were all in awe walking around the impressive mass. An interesting tradition is that people drop arms (donations) into tin bowls, which adds a wonderful background sound to the temple of dropping coins.
The grounds were beautiful and although there was more to visit we decided is was too hot and we needed lunch. We caught a taxi to Khao San rd for a wonderful lunch at a restaurant called Macaroni, which actually server the best Thai food. John had the best massaman curry ever.

With our last few hours in Bangkok we headed o do some shopping along Khao San rd - this took a little longer than expected as we got into a little bit a buying zone and ended with a few more things than planned. It was certainly worthwhile, and was a great experience to bargain with the shop keepers.

Running a little over time we raced back to the hotel and caught a taxi to the train station to catch our overnight train to Chang Mai. We are all very excited to see where Tess lived for 2 years.
Initially separated we have managed to get a segment of four beds together and are just about to fall asleep after some great banter, cards and some Chang beers.

Johns travel advice is drink more Chang beer.
Lynne's advice
Tess's advice is to watch out for birds when doing a good deed.
Lynne's advice
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