Day 18 – Bangkok

With the official tour over we had to act a bit like adults and organise ourselves. We managed to find breakfast in a place where the food was OK but the service was abysmal. We (the 7 of the group of 11) then headed on foot toward the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha, with the standard Bangkok touts telling us that the Palace was closed because of a religious holiday and that we could go instead to a ‘free’ temple nearby. Yeah right. Upon arriving at the palace it was totally open and ready to take our money – with Niamh and Jen having to buy a T shirt because the scarf they had taken to cover their shoulders apparently wasn’t conservative enough.

The temples within the complex are simply stunning. Words and even phots can not do it justice. I’d warned the others who hadn’t been here before that they were in for a surprise when they saw the size of the Emerald Buddha – the most revered Buddha in Thailand. They were. It is only about 45cm high!

After leaving the Grand Palace we headed back to the hotel (by cab – it’s getting hot!) for a swim. Dad then had a massage, we took a walk to the river and met the rest of the group for drinks at Cha’s Bar, right opposite the hotel. The bar was the most down to earth place you could imagine, with Cha being a comedy act and entertainer as well as a barman with the coldest beers in Thailand. We then wandered the local streets and found Mr Lok’s restaurant – another great local find – best food we’ve had in Thailand and cheaper than anything we’ve seen. After dinner we headed back to Cha’s for a few more drinks before saying goodbye to Peter, Jen and Carmen, and Joe. Breakfast tomorrow will be down to the last 3 of us, before we jet off in the afternoon toward home.

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