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Ancient and Modern Distractions

The Grand Palace n Siam Complexes

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After the normal holiday breakfast we kitted up and headed out to the Wat Phra Kaew and Grand Palace, an amazing array of assorted buildings, including palaces, reception rooms, pergodas, mauselums to mention a few. Of course one has to be suitably attired, both gentlemen and ladies with shoulders and knees covered, no hats sunglasses etc. This thus ensures an amazing industry of cheap trousers, shawls etc to clad the partially naked tourists and Mark. He decided to rent his trousers and for 50 baht wandered around with hundreds of similarly attired gentleman in their elephant pants!Mark dresses for Respect

Mark dresses for Respect

Prior to our arrival, the tuk tuk driver (who did try the cousin's shop on the way) warned us of the common con job that we would experience. As you get dropped off a reasonable way from the palace, you are greeted by a gent who informs you the Palace is closed for an hour because (put in here a reason commensurate with the time - lunch, changing of the monks etc) and would you like to, while you wait, go for a quick hour's ride around the city etc? Of course being primed up for this con we dutifully, and of course forcibly, said no and continued on till we reached the entrance. Of course a quick change and we, along with 40 thousand other tourists and mourners, entered the hallowed grounds. As the King died last year, mourners are still presenting to see him and, in the most uncomfortable heat, they very silently wandered around the Palace corriders all packed like sardines. We were in awe of their stoicism as we guzzled water and crowded up under the rather sparsely placed trees within the compound. Guardian of Temple

Guardian of Temple

Phra Si Ratana Chedi

Phra Si Ratana Chedi

Guardians in Detail

Guardians in Detail

Within this huge complex is the most hallowed of Lord Buddah - the Emerald Buddah which is not permitted to be photographed. This statue is only 66cm tall and completely engulfed within delicate gold carvings and very flashy architecture. With shoes and head gear off, we found abit of relief from the heat, but the sheer volume of people passing through meant, for all the effort taken, it may have been wiser to stay under that only tree! Chapel of the Emerald Buddah or Phra Ubosoth

Chapel of the Emerald Buddah or Phra Ubosoth

A couple of sun burnt hours later we called it quits, completely visioned - out but overawed by the most intricate, highly decorative art that makes this place an amazing wonder.
Desperately in need of sustenance, we then hire a tuk tuk, driven by a young adrenaline -charged maniac, who zoomed down through the peak hour traffic, charging down the wrong side of the street, up on pavements and duelling with any motor bike who was crazy enough to take the challenge. We made it in record time, tipped him for the entertainment value, and ascended onto the pavement to enter one of four, over the top, humongous, need your Google Maps app, Siam Centre Shopping Complex. We decided on lunch and made it to a floor where we sat with a computer ordered food from several restaurants, paid for it and then met a human being who brought part of the order from one of the restaurants. A non - human experience

A non - human experience

The Sky Train

The Sky Train

After that wonderful experience we wandered the various centres finding one which had about three floors of eateries! Another one of three connected centres which house in excess of 500 shops, 100 eateries and who knows how many WCs! It's no wonder that Bangkok has a reputation of being a " full - on dose of urban urban sophistication, megawatt energy and ceaseless chaos."
After wandering around all these shops, realising we didn't need anything and wouldn't pay the prices asked, we found our way out into peak hour traffic. Another tuk tuk and we ended up at the tailor. Mark's suit was fitted and adjusted, and after a couple of beers we headed back to the hotel to meet up with our fellow G - Adventure travellers. There are a dozen of us hailing from UK, USA, NZ and Aus with us the oldest and a couple of 20 somethings; all good company. We finished off the day having dinner with our new group out on a pavement of a cafe chatting away as we took in the lovely fuel aromas of the passing traffic. We're a weird mob!

Posted by Toot'speak 10:21 Archived in Thailand Tagged shopping palaces centres

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