We were getting to know Bangkok and were feeling more confident about navigating the city. So on day 3 of our visit, we opted to head for the most famous site of all – The Grand Palace. At over 150 years old, this Palace has been a former home to several of the Kings of Thailand, and is still the current site of the Royal Court and many government administrative buildings. It also houses the famous and most sacred treasure of all – Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha).
On entering the site, all visitors are checked to ensure that they are wearing the correct attire to enter one of Thailand’s most sacred sites. The dress code for women and men is very strict – no shorts or skirts above the ankle can be worn. Shoulders and upper arms need to be covered too. Luckily for those wearing clothing not adhering to this, there is a free clothes loan department at the gate, managed by the palace. You simply pay a 200 baht deposit (about £3.50) and you will be given returnable clothes to wear for the duration of your visit.
Entry to the palace cost 500 baht per person, although Rosie had free entry as she was deemed to be just under 120cm in height.
So the Palace itself – what a spectacle! We were lucky enough to visit on a very sunny day and the gold leaf on the mosaic tiles adorning much of the palace walls and surrounding temples, glittered and shone in the sunshine. The detailing in the decorations were amazing. There were huge murals along corridors, again, all decorated with gold leaf and rich paints, so despite being hundreds of years old, the detailing was still as intricate as ever.
Despite being surrounded by all this beauty and wonder, we were surprised to find that one of the main attractions in the palace that day, was no-one other than Miss Rosie Brooks herself! People kept approaching Rosie, touching her blonde hair and asking to take photos stood with her! By the end of our visit, poor Rosie was walking around with the hood of her jumper up, so no-one would pay attention to her or ask for further pictures.
To cheer Rosie up, on leaving the palace we grabbed our first ride in a Tuk-tuk! Ruben, the sensible member of our family, didn’t seem quite so sure about this new experience; and as the driver pulled away from the kerb at speed, our lad clung on tightly, as if his life depended on it…
Luckily, we arrived at the Kao San Road in one piece and enjoyed spending the rest of the afternoon walking amongst the famous ‘backpacker district’ and checking out the street market Stalls were selling everything from hand stitched suits (‘You like Armani?!’) to fake IDs… We stopped to enjoy a nice cold Thai beer in one of the many bars and bought a street vendor roti pancake with banana and carnation-milk (yummy!)
Two hours later, having listened to the gentle tones of the Bee-Gees all the way, in the cab of Bangkok’s best taxi driver, we were finally back at the hotel!