Wednesday we had a leisurely start to the day, with breakfast up the road at a street stall with nice muesli and yoghurt and fruit. We set off again to walk to the Grand Palace. Like the day before we were offered information on it being closed for the morning and had we seen the Giant Buddha etc. We just kept on. In the park before the Grand Palace they were setting up for what looked like a graduation ceremony. Even across the road from the Palace we were being told it was closed to non-Thais – yet we could see non-Thais heading to the entrance.
The story seemed to be about the King’s sister having died. It turned out that part of the whole complex was off-limits but most of it was open and as busy as. We saw the Emerald Buddha which is actually jade and lots of other impressive stuff as well. It was hot and crammed and we were happy to get back to the shop at the entrance for water and ice creams.
We wanted to get to the railway station to book tickets north. We’d changed our minds about going north to Chang Mai and Chang Rai. There had been rains and flooding there and Sukothai where we wanted to visit on the way was still flooding. There is news of rains in the north and tropical storms in the east. We decided to train to Nong Khai on the Laos border to cross to Vientianne – skipping the boat trip down the Meekong.
All we needed were tickets and for that all we needed was a taxi to take us to the station. That was harder than we thought. The ceremony over the road was finished and taxis were in short supply. It is typical – when you don’t want one they are all over you and when you do want one you cannot get it. A bit like banks and insurance companies? It turned out there wasn’t even a train seat for Thursday night and only railcar seats for Friday night. We settled for a couple of them, a seat is a seat and there would be more room than on a bus. We taxied back to our guesthouse who said they were unable to extend our stay by one night. We decided a change of suburb was in order and booked a guesthouse over near the shopping centres at Siam Square.
We went for another explore of our area, including a walk along Khao San Road which is the main backpacker street. It was full of street stalls and food vendors and bars and flashing signs. It was frantic and fun but we were pleased we’d found our peaceful guesthouse where we retreated for the evening.