Bangkok, Thailand (Temple of Dawn & a Wild Tuk-Tuk Chase)

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We woke up at 11.30am. Oops. Good job breakfast is served until 2pm in peak season, eh? After cramming our faces with avocado and salmon, we headed to the pool for half hour for intense burnage.

Then we caught a taxi to the pier and hopped on a blue boat to The Grand Palace. 40 baht for a single trip. Because we were sooo slooow getting ready (blame the jetlag), we got there at 3.25pm and were convinced (by someone who looked like a Palace official) that we wouldn’t be allowed in wearing the outfits we were in (which, we’ve later realised, was BULL). He then planned a “special tour” of the unknown temples and he hailed us a tuk-tuk and agreed the whole magical adventure for 60 baht…

Yes, we should have known better.

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We did kind of realise we were getting screwed but we figured it would be a quirky way of seeing the city for next to nothing. It’s absolutely ridiculous how they do (or don’t do) business. One after another, sets of tourists arrive in these backstreet shops; each tourist is told by their tuk-tuk guide to pretend to want to buy something and spend five minutes “performing” accordingly – ‘oooh that’s a nice man’s suit’, etc. That way, the tuk-tuk drivers get their commission. But it seems like an absolute pointless activity because nobody bloody buys anything. We went all around the city and spent about an hour and a half on the tuk-tuk in question. In that time, we saw a shit temple and a shitload of shops.

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He finally dropped us off at an unknown pier, not marked on the map, for a temple and floating markets tour – which, of course, the tuk-tuks and their bosses arrange out of the goodness of their hearts. We kept up the act so he didn’t drop us off in the middle of nowhere / a ditch and then did a runner, much to their dismay. We’re surprised they didn’t chase us down the street in their tuk-tuks. It might have looked a bit suspicious to the rest of the tourists who, for one reason or another, didn’t realise they’d been conned.

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Once we had successfully fled, it was time for the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun). 50 baht to get in and 20 baht to hire a longer skirt (plus a 100 baht deposit which you get back).

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Wat Arun is absolutely stunning. The detail is incredible; a work of art in its own right. Climbing the steep steps is a bit of a ‘hairy’ experience but the views at the top are well worth the near-death.

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We had a late lunch / early dinner at this unnamed street food cafe on the Wat Pho side of the river (east), in the midst of various street food stalls.

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I ordered chili chicken and rice and Victor ordered Pad Thai. Again. Each dish cost 90 baht for a large portion (less than £2) and we had some Chang to wash it down. The waitress held out her hand for a tip, which was a bit off-putting. She pocketed it instead of popping it into the tips jar. Got to admire the nerve of her! Oh and she also showed us a box containing a cockroach just as we were about to take that first mouth-watering bite. Thanks, love.

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After that, we caught the orange boat back to central pier (15 baht so don’t ever bother with the blue tourist boat because that’s 40 baht and runs less frequently… and you can’t really understand the commentary anyway). The orange boat doesn’t announce the stops so you need to know where you’re going / getting off.

Then we caught the Sky Train to Siam square and enjoyed a Chang and a cocktail as we watched live music in the outside quarter of the shopping centre.

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Then we wandered around the markets, nearly bought some fake Ray Bans, and had a cocktail / glass of wine at the Hard Rock Cafe… and watched another really cool live band.

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You can get a tuk-tuk from Siam Square to Salom for 100 baht. They’ll ask for 200 but you can get them down. They don’t take too kindly to haggling so our tuk-tuk man nearly killed us on the journey back to prove a point. We, however, were too merry to really care so we just laughed every time the contraption swerved a little too close to a car!

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