22nd – 24th November 2016.
Our third and final time in Bangkok surprisingly went smoothly.
After our previous mistake on our first visit to Bangkok regarding hotels, we decided to stay centrally, just off of Koh San Road. This road is very much the central hub for those wanting cheap bars and food, and therefore completely overrun by tourists – making it a very different experience compared to our first visit.
The food was cheap, but due to many of the bars being right on the street it meant that street sellers, in their masses, would constantly approach tables in an attempt to make money. Whilst eating our meals we were offered an array of items, which varied from scorpions on sticks to tasers that could, apparently very handily, double as a torch.
In total we had just under two days to explore and see what we were previously unable to because of the kings unfortunate death.
So, one day was spent exploring the many stalls and bars around Koh San Road, and on our final day we headed to the grand palace.
Although we managed to successfully find our way to the palace, whilst on route we experienced first hand the lengths locals will go to in order to make money.
A ‘friendly’ tuk tuk driver informed us that the palace would not be open for several hours, and strongly suggested that he would drive us to other tourist destinations for a price that could not buy you a pint in the UK.
This offer seemed too good to be true – and it most definitely was.
Back at our hotel, there were multiple warning posters cautioning travellers against this behaviour/scam. But it got better. The driver, rather obliviously, was stood right in front of a sign that clearly stated that the grand palace was indeed open. Therefore, slightly baffled, we declined his ridiculous proposal and continued to the – very much open – grand palace.
The palace was as its title describes, very grand. We spent about two hours exploring and photographing the many buildings before both the humidity and the heat made us want to collapse.
The streets that surrounded the palace were closed to traffic and were instead lined with hundreds, if not thousands, of Thai individuals who had been queued for many hours in order to see the body of the deceased King.
Considering how disgustingly sweaty we were ourselves, we could not even begin to imagine how hot they must have been standing patiently, dressed in black underneath the rays of the sun. However, the intensity of the heat was put into perspective, after we saw the multiple tents giving out free water, and even wheelchairs for those in extreme need.
Although our final stop in Bangkok was short we managed to see what we previously had missed. Plus, after six weeks in Asia we were both extremely glad to be heading somewhere new.
South East Asia despite its many challenges was an eye opening experience for us both, where we explored a place many worlds away from what were used to back at home.
Oh, the lessons we have learnt – next stop Australia!