Not so grand?
With Ava's shopping all done, I felt we should see at least a couple of the main tourist sights in Bangkok, although I've done them by myself in the past. We entered Wat Pho by mistake (thinking it was the more famous Wat Phra Kaew) but liked the enormous resting Buddha there [see photo above, right]. By the time we got to the neighbouring, correct Wat, they had shut the gates there for a long lunch.
Ava decided to use the time to have a Thai massage [see photo, right] at a fraction of the cost of one in Kunming, apparently, while I researched river boat tours in my guidebook. In the afternoon we got to Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace [see top photo, left] though with some parts being repaired under scaffold and others cordoned off for services it wasn't as impressive as I remembered. Also, Ava took umbridge at being forced to hire and wear a gaudy cape to cover up a tiny section of shoulder flesh! To me it's an oddly insecure "god" who gets upset at the sight of a T-shirt or toes pointed in his vague direction (as another tourist got told off for). But I guess as tourists allowed to wander around snapping photos in a "sacred" place we have to play by their rules.
The one thing I had failed to do on my previous visits was to have a river and canal boat trip. So I persuaded Ava to hire a boat and go exploring with me. With a bit of bargaining we managed to get a "long-tailed boat" to ourselves for the same price as a boat shared with a tour group (though our "hour" was more like 40 minutes, and the promised "floating market" was more like a couple of moored boats selling trinkets). Still, it was nice to see another side of Bangkok and exchange smiles and waves with local kids playing in the (very dirty) water.
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Paul Hider lives and works in Kunming (SW China) and regularly updates this blog about his life there.
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