Temple hopping and city shopping

Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
Trip End Dec 16, 2010

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Our second and third days in Bangkok went much better than the first.

On Tuesday we got up in the morning for our free breakfast, which was toast, eggs and frankfurter - by far the best free breakfast we've had on our trip! We then headed out to the Grand Palace, THE temple to see in Bangkok. Fortunately the first person to speak to us was a little old lady, clearly doing her shopping so I wasn't too suspicious. She was well chuffed to have correctly guessed where we were going - "I know because you wear long clothes to sleeves and trousers" (you have to cover to the elbows and feet to visit the temples).

After that, several people tried to tell us the palace was closed, for various reasons, but we ploughed on through this and the cries of "Tuk Tuk!" "Taxi!" to arrive safely in one piece. The Grand Palace complex houses various Wats (temples) including one with the emerald buddha, as well as the palace itself. So much shiny shiny!! I was really impressed. We couldn't take photos inside the temples which were the best bits, but you can get a good sense of how grand it all was from the outside photos.

After we headed to the Wat with the famous reclining Buddha, which is around 46m long - again really impressive!! That left us mostly templed out so we headed for a shopping mall the other side of town, managing to pick up a taxi driver who only spoke a little English but had great fun trying to teach us Thai. I got a new phone to replace my old handset - just an old Nokia model but rather than being second hand as we'd expected for the price it's brand new - so we're connected to the world again.

In the evening we managed to get a good meal in an Indian and then there was a huge thunderstorm - thunder and lighting here is so much louder and brighter than at home!

The following day we headed to the Vimanek mansion, the largest teak mansion in Thailand apparently, built by Rama 5. We also went into a palace with an unpronouncable name there which housed examples of Thai art and craft commissioned by the Queen, most of which just left us speechless! Again we couldn't take photos inside, but it was like being in a royal palace with extra gold and silver and jewels everywhere, with huge intricate pieces of art displayed around the floors. Phew! 

Our next and final stop was Jim Thompson's house, the American who brought fame to Thai textiles and mysteriously disappeared in Malaysia. He built his house in traditional Thai style so it was quite an interesting stop. It also had one of the best English-speaking tour guides we've had so far!

We then revisited the Condoms&Cabbages restaurant that Keiron went to with Rach and her family 5 years ago (5 years!!) and had a look at Patpong market in the evening.

Having visited the train station and spoken to tour operators, we've decided to fly to Chaing Mai instead of getting the train/bus. There has been flooding between here and Chaing Mai (in the north) which means the trains aren't able to run direct so we'd have to get a bus in the middle, adding to an already long 12-hour journey, and as a result the buses are packed. Flying out on Saturday and back Tuesday of the following week. That gave us some more time in and around Bangkok, so the next stop is Kanchanaburi for a few days out of the city.

Sophie xxx

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Rachel on

Um, good use of condoms nd cabbages however I notice a distinct lack of Kao san road and ping pong balls. Keiron, if you are going to relive our experiences, do it properly! :-P! I expect to see comments about soph on stage...:P.xxx

keiron_sophie on

ahaha, yes sorry Rach we didn't really do Patpong justice! We did go to Kao San road on Day 1 in Bangkok which I've just updated and added a few pics to. In northern Thailand following your advice - we have been to the Reggae bar in Chaing Mai, chatted to a monk, etc! x

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