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GJ BLOG

A personal adventure travel blog

Grand Palace closed (yes, really)

Christian Anderson

In Bangkok, when a tuk tuk driver tells you the Grand Palace is closed, you don't believe him - even the dumbest farang knows that's the cold open to a scam of one sort or another. But, if you get to the Grand Palace and a Thai Army Officer tells you it's closed, you go with it. I tuned out the reason he gave - something to do with a ceremony involving important people sitting next to other important people for an important amount of time - but there were lots and LOTS of military types keeping us away from the fenced off bits.

Must admit to being not entirely disappointed - give me modern art museum over walled-courtyard-of-really-old-stuff any time. Large parts of the temple complex were still open though, and the entrance fee had been reduced to a very attractive zero baht, so in I went.

Had the whole thing been open, I would have been tempted to hire a guide, otherwise you're just walking around looking at stuff. Glad I came though - some of the smaller demon and monkey figures looked impressive. An interesting semi-excursion - all very ornate, exquisitely produced and very impressive in its own way, but I don't think nordic minimalism ever really had a chance on the Thai interior design scene...

It was only a few hundred metres from the riverboat pier to Hualamphong Station for my sleeper train, so decided to walk it rather than get annoyed by sitting in a cab in Bangkok's awesome, Olympic-standard traffic. Big mistake - program not responding, blue screen of death category - listening to the mischevious imp on my shoulder telling me not to bother looking at the map took me and my duffel on an unnecessary elongated loop back up to Chinatown.

Finally at the station and hot and bothered for the first time in Bangkok, the sight of what I thought was yet another tout on collision course with me at warp 9 was not what I wanted. But, lesson for you here Christian - don't judge a book by its orange polo shirt, cause this young lady was a very helpful government information / tourism authority worker bee whose sole purpose in life was to confirm that my internet ticket was valid (something of a surprise for me), write down the platform number and show me to an elevated terrace to await my carriage in the company of, you've guessed it, second-best buddy Singha.