This amazing collection of buildings is the Grand Palace, built by the first king of the Chakri dynasty Rama I, and where I spent the morning and early afternoon of my second day in Bangkok. There was so much to see, from the Wat Phra Kaew (temple) with the most sacred of all Buddhist sculptures, the Jade Buddha, to the eight-story tall gold covered Stupas, to the hundreds of frescoes detailing the epic Thai story of Ramakien. I took so long, wondering around all this fantastic architecture, I completely forgot about lunch.
Although I was immensely hungry, and it was very hot at this point in this time, I was told that a similarly impressive sight was just around the corner. With my stomach protesting, I made my out into the baking sun, and walked a few blocks to the gigantic reclining Buddha statue in the Wat Pho temple. I did say it was gigantic right? Well it is. It’s longer than one and a half blue whales, and taller than 4 double decker buses. Each one of its toes are 2 feet wide (confusingly). And it’s covered in so much gold it would make Mr T blush. In summary, it’s quite big.
In the evening I met up with my friends from the day before, and we headed for Kaosan Road. In the afternoon, its a bustling cosmopolitan market selling everything from cockroaches on sticks to Jane Austen novels (not sure which is worse). At night it turns into a massive Ibiza-style club strip. Obviously, I cant tell you anything more about the appearance or atmosphere of KaosSan Road, as I got immensely drunk and remembered nothing of the rest of the night.
Next morning I was feeling curiously OK for someone with my blood alcohol levels, but was still feeling a little delicate, so decided to go on a relaxing boat taxi ride up and down stream, which someone had told me was nice. It was. However, as people who have been reading these blogs know, my ability to get on the correct mode of transportation at the right time has not fully developed yet, and as such, the first boat I got on did not head upsteam like I intended. Instead, it made a prompt 30 second drift across the river to the other side. For this, I was granted the privilege of paying about one pound, and had to walk back across the bridge. Successfully boarding the other jetty, I got on the correct boat and headed in the right direction.
Lots of sights passed me by – The Rama VIII bridge, dozens of exuberant temples, and millions of docile catfish swimming in the waters below. Not sure what they were doing there, I haven’t seen catfish on the menu anywhere, and I hear they’re pretty inedible at the best of times. Anyway, got to the end of the line, had lunch at a local restaurant (no catfish here either), went back to the jetty, boarded the wrong boat, got off, boarded the right boat and went back.
There wasnt much time left in the day to go see any more sights, as I had a night train booked for Nong Khai, in the east of Thailand. From there, I would be able to get another train journey across the border, and enter Laos for the first time.