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If I'd been dumped on the infamous Khao San Road (elephant trousers, McDonalds, gap year students drinking out of buckets) by myself I'd have left Bangkok on the next bus anywhere. As it happens, Elaine who I was at Durham with and David, her boyfriend, have been living in the city since earlier this year and we had arranged to meet on the Saturday night.

In the meantime I visited the Royal Palace, still in use by the much loved king of Thailand and his wife, whose most well known outfits are on display in a lovely museum showcasing the sustainable Thai textiles that her foundation supports. As ever, the palace was overrun with Chinese and Korean tour groups but I fought through the crowds and saw the famed Emerald Buddha (actually made of jade), which has a different bling outfit for each of the seasons.

I met Elaine and David that evening to get the skytrain out to a vintage market complete with beer, snacks, retro cars, vinyl and creepy Seven Dwarves dolls. This is where hipster Thais come to hang out and it was great to see the non-tourist side of Bangkok.

After a considerable lie-in I spent Sunday visiting the Vimanmek Mansion and the museums in its grounds, the entrance for which was included with the ticket for the palace. The mansion is the largest teak building in the world and was constructed without a single nail. The highlight was the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall, which houses the Arts of the Kingdom exhibition and is itself fabulously decorated with no expense spared. Sadly cameras are banned in all of the buildings.

That evening Elaine and David took me to Soi 38, a streetfood night market. After satay skewers, noodles, pork and more I was introduced to the bizarre dessert of sarim, which is a surprisingly tasty bowl of shaved ice in coconut milk with neon green jelly vermicelli, candid coconut and some unidentified crispy pink thing.

Having been dubious about Bangkok's merits I now have huge affection for the place and I owe this almost entirely to Elaine and David for showing me that there is life beyond the Khao San Road and can't thank them enough for adopting me. However, it was time to venture north to Chiang Mai, from where I will enter Laos and use the Mekong River to slowly make my through the countryside.

Posted by arianemeena 08:51 Archived in Thailand

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Great that you got to see the non-touristy parts of BK,Elaine & David sound like good friends to have ;what an an interesting array of foods you have got a chance to try.Mx

by Jane Waran

Really enjoying your blog! However it is making me very envious, might have to start planning something similar for when I finish! I know mum is keeping up to date with your travels too, although I'm not sure she has figured out how to comment! All your photos are lovely! X

by Lola

Hi Ariane

Great that Elaine and David met up with you and were able to show you around Bangkok! I am amazed at the sheer number and diversity of places you are having time to visit?! I was glad to read that you were able to have a lie-in one day! It must be exhausting doing all that travelling!?

I am now out of hospital. quite a hairy adventure! I reacted badly to the op and to the copious amounts of morphine I needed to get through the night of Tuesday 15th oct ( as I said to Amy it was one way of celebrating her 28th birthday!) and was readmitted to the Obs and Gyny ward on Friday 18th as I was losing a lot of blood. I have been at Peter's in Poole since last sunday and am gently recuperating. He is back at work but is being very supportive and doing all the work/washing/shopping etc!
my latest development is a rather painful post-op infection on my stitches so am on anti-biotics. I hope I get a calmer week ahead!
Esther popped back to see me last Friday though I was hardly fun to see!? She is about to do a stint in Obs and Gyny so we had a lot to talk about!?

Sending love and luck. Hugs. Harriet xxxxxxx

by harriet Tillson

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