Just a short walk from Khao San via Thamasatt Is the Grand Palace which is also part of the Emerald Buddha Temple attraction. 2 for the price of 1 then, except that the price of a ticket to see these is £8.60! Don't blame them either, since it's quite a major attraction according to all the guide books and tourist information offices. Armed guards stationed at the gate, so there must be something worth protecting here, I mean this is serious, doesn't looked staged at all. A strict dress code is enforced, especially where females are concerned.
From the outside I can see those tall gold encrusted spires glinting in the sunshine, that typifies all of these temples and religious complexes. Somewhere in that lot is a green Buddha but I'm not going to see it today. 2 reasons - 9 quid to see much the same architecture, just more of it in a bigger complex, no thanks, and the place shuts at 3.30pm, it's now 2.45. I have to admit that missing out on this Emerald Buddha deal is a little disappointing as it sounded something a bit different, but at least the effort getting there was minimal. The Palace actually is vacant, I could move in anytime soon! Seriously though, it's another historical site and long since gone are the kings and Queens. The gardens are nicely kept though, giving the thousands of tourists flocking here I nice easy lead into the ticket booth and the ticket price!
Dazzling and grandeur - the terms used by guide books and tourist websites. Maybe so, but I'm dazzled and grandeured quite enough. Tourists though are flocking in, despite the early afternoon closing time. Koreans and Japanese mostly, and of course the Lonely Planet following. Surprisingly I seem to have spent about an hour wandering around the free part, taking snaps here and there, with some interesting architecture visible through gates. Time to make a retreat though, nearly 3.45. Just outside the gate, a collection of touts and sellers - post cards, gifts and tuk tuks all available at a price of course! Hundreds of tourist coaches are lined up around the edge of the complex, quite a site actually and nice to know someone is making vast amounts of money.
Back to Thammasat to catch last orders. It's the pumpkin again, this time with sweet chilli sauce, perfect.