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Saturday 5 Aug
Bangkok, Thailand

Day 350 Exploring Ko Ratanakosin, Bangkok – the oldest and holies

Fred's the proud owner of a new t-shirt this morning. Not to be outdone by all the Thai's wearing their "I love the King" yellow t-shirts, we met a lovely deaf & mute stall holder. He tapped in the price on his calculator and I smiled and shook my head. Instantly he turned over the calculator and on the reverse in English there was a hand written note saying "What price will you offer me, bargain with me". So we duly did, tapping figures in and handing the calculator back and forth. He even used the calculator to try and get me to buy two! It was great fun and when we agreed the price I showed him Fred - and he insisted on putting the new t-shirt on. Check out the photos!

After shopping this morning we hopped on the skytrain, once we had organised another parcel home we headed for the Mae Nam Chao Phraya (or Chao Phraya River). We found the local boat that went along the river and paid the 13B each for the 30 mins journey (well eventually when I tapped the ticket collector lady and she gave us an extra 10B change… and we saw her short change lots of people too). We got off to see Wat Arun, a temple is covered in a mosaic of tiles covering the huge central spire. Apparently the tiles were left behind by Chinese merchant ships no longer needing them as ballast.

A short boat trip across the river and we walked to Wat Pho. It's the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok and houses Thailand's largest reclining Buddha. And boy is it huge… a whopping 46m long and 15m high. We walked round to Wat Phra Kaew (or temple of the Emerald Buddha) and walked through the grounds of the Royal Grand Palace - very different from Buck House!
The Royal family are held in huge esteem here - you can not even lick the stamps as it has the head of the king on them (wonder what Liz thinks of us licking her head each day!) and Thai people also love their King & Queen. The current King (His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej) has been on the throne for 60 years - the longest reigning current monarch in the world - and there are shrines and flags everywhere celebrating the 60th jubilee. As with other monarchs, he wasn't in - but instead he is actually quite ill in his other residence in the country.

We decided to get a tuk tuk to the Democracy Monument, we have taken tuk tuks in other countries but never in Asia! It turned out to be a rather slow form of transport so glad we did, but will probably not choose to do it again! Then we walked to the canal pier and caught a water taxi service. This was much faster than by road - which are constantly jammed (if London had a congestion problem, then its 10 times worse here). It would have been a good 60 min walk from the canal to our hostel and we were running really behind as we had a train to catch. We decided to grab a motorbike taxi (just to add to the many forms of transport we had experienced that day!) and the guys rode the 10 mins to our hostel. Fab!

There we showered, repacked our freshly dried clean washing and headed for the skytrain and metro to the mainline train station. With just 7 mins to spare, we jumped aboard and settled into our comfy seat/beds for our night train.
Shaz made up some sandwiches and we enjoyed the journey, meeting locals and foreigners alike onboard before getting down to a good night's sleep.

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Kathy and Sharon... round the world!

Travel blog by ksrtw

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Cold but blinding salt - it was fab!

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