Thailand Diaries: Bangkok and the King’s Birthday

The King’s birthday is on 5th December each year, and it is a massive deal in Thailand. As far as we could tell, everybody loves the King – one tuk tuk driver told us he would die for his King (a tuk tuk is a three wheel passenger carrying moped – the best way to travel in Bangkok). We started our King’s birthday with some Thai massages (a must – slightly painful, but totally worth it in the end), before heading out to explore.

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A tuk tuk

On this special day, the standing Buddha is apparently open for free to all tourists. We suspect that a guy told us that just so we would go in his pal’s tuk tuk, and that it’s free all the time – the tourist information place was giving free gas to tuk tuk drivers who brought tourists in, just for the King’s birthday. We were happy to oblige, we went in and asked for a free map (they had run out), the guy got his free gas and we saw the standing Buddha – win win win!

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Standing Buddha

In the evening, we just followed the crowds. Everyone was heading to the local park, Sanam Luang, where a stage was set up with some Thai Dancers. We didn’t really watch for long, because we were so distracted by all the lanterns in the sky! Everyone was letting them off – there was at least three a second going up in the immediate vicinity, and probably ten times as many or more all around the park; the sky was full of them all floating off, it was so beautiful.

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The King’s Birthday

The next day, we ventured into Siam – we got a boat and a sky train, so we saw some great sights along the river. It was so ridiculously mental when we got there – it made London look tame. You could hardly walk in the streets, and there are mile upon mile of back streets with stalls that would be great to haggle in. Unfortunately, because of our travel budget and backpacks, we’re not able to buy too much. There’s not much good food in Siam either – it was a great experience, but just the one afternoon was enough. Oh, and there were lots of Christmas decorations going up. Being used to a Scottish Christmas, it was odd to see Christmas trees and lights while we were dripping with sweat from the heat!

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Unimpressed in Siam

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