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Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho

Mourning Period in Bangkok

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We landed in Bangkok to a sombre mood. While we were in Indonesia the Thai King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, had sadly passed away.  He was much loved and a year’s mourning period had been declared.  We were arriving during the first 30-day period of this and the people were either wearing black or white in respect.  Not having much black or white clothing we did our best to co-operate, though later found that we could pin a black ribbon to our clothes to also show respect.

Bangkok was a four night stop over for us on our way to Laos.  We didn’t have much planned. The King family, who we had first met in Kuala Lumpur were just finishing a house sit and had decided to stay in the Orchid Hostel with us for a couple of nights to catch up.

After both families had checked in and met up we all went to the MBK shopping mall for dinner.  Our bad luck with Bangkok taxi drivers started here.  While the King’s driver kept going straight our driver did a U turn and headed in the opposite direction! Dad checked Google Maps and sure enough he wasn’t heading to the shopping mall.  Explaining he was going wrong and finally getting to the mall took us a while!

The next day took our taxi bad luck to another level.  Both families had decided to head towards the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.  We knew that the roads around the palace were closed and we would have to walk a little bit.  We showed our taxi driver where we wanted to go on a map.  This was met with confusion. He got out and went to the King’s taxi driver for directions.  The plan was that our driver would follow theirs.  That plan lasted less than a minute as the first red light split us up!  Our driver then overshot where we wanted to go and dropped us off a fair walk away.

Time for plan B.  We would get another taxi and explain where we wanted to go.  This one simply drove us further the wrong way. Unfortunately, he was reluctant to drive all the way back so dropped us off back near to where we had hailed him down.  By now we were ready to give up but Karen had been chatting to a local about a river trip.  We hailed a TukTuk down and passed the phone to him.  He was given directions and we finally met up with the King family near a little jetty.

The boat tour was a little on the expensive side and a bit of a tourist scam, but by now we just wanted to do something other than get lost in a taxi.  We all boarded and had a great little boat tour around the backwaters of Bangkok.  This gave us all an alternative view of the city.

After the trip, we all had some street food lunch.  It turned out that we were just around the corner from Wat Pho.  The afternoon was spent exploring the large grounds of the Wat.  The kids were a little restless in the heat but we saved the giant reclining Buddha until last.  They loved the sheer size of it.  A taxi back would have been the cheaper option, however we wanted a bit of fun and haggled a pair of TukTuks.  We then had fun racing through the streets of Bangkok taking photos of each other on the way back to the hostel.

With the King family at Orchid Hostel, Bangkok

The following day was all about the kids.  We headed by subway to Bounce, where the kids had a fantastic two hours of trampoline fun.  Afterwards we hailed a taxi to the Fat Cat Café Club, another cat café.  This time we got the driver to ring the owner so we didn’t get lost!!  The kids love a cat café and this was no different.  We spent the afternoon in the company of the Kings and cats before another successful taxi back to the hostel.  The King family were heading to Chiang Mai on the night train so we said our farewells and waved them off.

With one last day in Bangkok we decided to do nothing.  The last few days had been very busy and we used the opportunity to rest up before our onward flight to Vientiane, Laos.




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