Grand Palace closed! (yes, really)

Bangkok Travel Blog

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The lovely Sansem San staff
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.
Canal traffic


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.
Actually quite liked these
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.

15 hours on a second-class AC sleeper doesn't sound fun, but turned out to be a smooth ride. Knackered by this point, I went with the flow on board - overpriced separate farang menu (nice spicy soup, D- cashew chicken), super-overpriced Chang - "What did you say, 120 baht for 660ml of 6.
Grand palace courtyard
4% silky smooth heaven!? - I think I'm in shock - bring me two" and the icing on the cake, toilets with a view - straight down to the track beneath... Opposite me were Brian and the lovely Sabena from Hamburg and, when most of the carriage settled down for the night at 7.30pm, it was off to the open windowed restaurant car for some serious Northern European drinking (rule number one - always order the next beer before the first is finished). Even that kicked us out abruptly at 10pm sharp, which was probably a good move considering how bad I would feel the next day (dehydration plus alcohol - the winning formula).

Returning to our seats, they had miraculously disappeared and been transformed into bunks covered with clean sheets and pillows, with blankets still individually sealed in laundry packaging.
Going all the way...
I could just about lie flat on a slight diagaonal, and the liquid sleeping pills I'd taken kicked in and I was away with the fairies until Surat Thani at 5am, where it was goodbye to my train buddies. An 820km train journey arriving bang on time, with a comfortable and clean air-conditioned bunk, for £15 - wonder if I can get a State Railways of Thailand T shirt on the Khaosan??
borneonikieta says:
Hey, I stayed in Samsensam when I was Bangkok some 2 weeks ago, what a cute place! And the people who ran that place was nice.
Posted on: Dec 27, 2009
bashmentbabe says:
hey great pics
Posted on: Nov 29, 2009
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The lovely Sansem San staff
The lovely Sansem San staff
Canal traffic
Canal traffic
Actually quite liked these
Actually quite liked these
Grand palace courtyard
Grand palace courtyard
Going all the way...
Going all the way...
Waterfront property
Waterfront property
About the only thing in there with…
About the only thing in there wit…
Ultimate barbecue patience
Ultimate barbecue patience
Train station
Train station
Train 83
Train 83
My home for 15 hours
My home for 15 hours
On the go
On the go
Dining car
Dining car
Bed!
Bed!
Brian and Sabena
Brian and Sabena
Bangkok
photo by: Deats