Bangkok 22nd – 25th November

Bangkok seems to be a “marmite” city – you either love it or you hate it. I have to say I’m more towards the latter. I don’t hate the city but I definitely wasn’t a huge fan of the city itself, not helped by the heat and pollution which felt much worse than anywhere else I’ve been so far. I also felt like it was rather unwelcoming, but I appreciate how this could be due to some desperation of the people. There were so many people trying to sell me useless items on the street who would not take no for an answer, several times following me as I tried to get away until I walked past another tourist and they would go to badger them. It didn’t make me feel particularly at ease when walking around which is a shame as I love just ambling around new cities.

I spent the majority of my first day trying to finish planning the rest of this trip. Endlessly trying to find transport and hostels is beginning to annoy me so I wanted to get it all over with. I managed to, with a few small exceptions but at least all of that is over and done with and I don’t have to worry about it any more!

The following day, I headed to the weekend markets with two other people from the hostel. One of them had mentioned that there were 8000 stalls but I’ve just researched it to make sure the facts are correct and have found there are more than 15,000! We were walking around all morning and definitely still hadn’t seen it all. The other thing I liked about this market is that, unlike many other markets, the stalls were almost always selling different things. Often they would be the same sort of things but I don’t think (from the memory I have of the very many stalls!) any of them were replicas of one another.

Just a small section of the weekend markets. When you are in them at a crossroad, you can look in all four directions and not see the exits. It made it quite hard to orientate yourself sometimes!

We eventually grew tired of wandering around the maze that is the market and got some lunch. I ordered a vegetable pad thai after confirming that vegetable meant no meat or fish only to be greeted with a dish that had a whole load of shrimp in it…

We then headed back to the hostel before I attempted to head out to the Grand Palace with a fellow solo traveler in my dorm room. However, as we were trying to get a tuk tuk, the driver told us that it closed at 3:30 which meant we were just going to miss it. So instead, I decided to walk around the area and explore a bit. I was feeling really tired so I thought I’d sit in a park and relax for a bit. However, just after sitting down, yet another bird pooped on my foot… I was quite near the hostel so thought I’d quickly go back and wash it off before continuing but then as I got up, another did the same thing on my arm! Argh! It felt like a little bit of a sign from the universe to go back to the hostel and rest/finish booking the last few things so that’s what I did.

View of the river as seen from near my bird mishap…

In the evening, to celebrate someones 21st, we went out to a rooftop bar to watch the sunset which was really nice. It was such a nice temperature at that time of day as well.

Off to the right, there aren’t any tall buildings as in the area, nothing is allowed to tower over the Grand Palace.

My final full day in Bangkok I finally made it to the Grand Palace and it did not disappoint! Everything within the complex was immaculate and a lot of it was sparkling in the sunlight. I really enjoyed wandering around, looking at all the immense opulence. In the first bit of the complex is the temple of the Emerald Buddha. I initially walked into the temple and essentially just saw a giant pile of gold before realising that right at the very top was a small green thing which was the Buddha. Given that it’s not actually emerald, the Buddha itself was a little underwhelming but the mountain of gold it sat upon wasn’t!

I then walked through into the actual palace part of the complex. This was just as grand but in a very different way. Everything was pristine and looked new… if that’s not a weird way to try and describe a few buildings!

After the Grand Palace, I headed to the Reclining Buddha. I’d heard it was big… but my word! It’s huge! No picture will ever do it justice. I initially walked into the complex and saw a slightly run down building on the right with open windows and glanced in to see something gold and a little bit pointy, not at all sure what it was. I then walked on and realised it was the reclining buddha temple so headed in. Immediately I was awestruck with how big it really was! As I walked down through the temple, I realised that the slightly pointy thing I’d seen in the window was a nipple! At the other end, by the feet, I was amused to see that the width of the toes was about the size of peoples heads if that helps anyone reading this to grasp how big it is!

On the way back to the hostel, just to be reminded about things I’m not a fan of the city’s charactor, I got a tuk tuk and my driver was persistently trying to get me to buy food from street stalls. I eventually made a move to get out of the vehicle as yet again, “no” no matter how firmly it is said means nothing. At that point he finally stop pestering. Another shame as I usually really enjoy the tuk tuk rides but this one was really just annoying me!