Photos can be very deceptive, and this ‘memorable moment’ snapshot at The Grand Palace, Bangkok is significant for what it doesn’t show. It’s what you can’t see that we will all remember forever.
Dateline: 1 January 2016
I often joke that my ‘travel super-power’ is taking photos of places to make it look like we were the only people there. I focus on small details, or take an angle that chops out other visitors.
You look at the photo above of The Grand Palace in Bangkok and you are dazzled by the brilliance of the gold tiles, or are impressed by the intricate, colourful mosaic designs on the walls. I look at the photo above and I see the body-pressing crowds we were caught in, and remember how we shuffled with the crowd through the complex.
We had planned to visit The Grand Palace the day after we first arrived in Bangkok, but were waylaid when we got caught up in a classic tuk-tuk scam situation (which will be the subject of a whole other post), so the day we finally got there was New Year’s Day. That was probably not the best decision. The New Year holidays are one of the busiest times in Bangkok, and it seemed many, many other tourists and locals had the same idea.
The entrance to the Grand Palace complex was narrow, and once inside, the crowds just swept us through the Wat Phra Kaew. At no point did we even see the ticket booths, so I have no idea whether we didn’t make it to the ‘paid section’ or we were just taken right past? The queue to see the Emerald Buddha stretched several-persons-deep right around the ordination hall, so we gave that a miss, and shuffled our way around the rest of the courtyards, admiring the bits we could see.
I’d read many reports about the crowds at the Grand Palace being huge, but I had under-estimated exactly how intense they would be. The only two experiences I’ve had before that come close were being on the streets of District One in Saigon on New Years’ Eve, and walking along Swanston Street during the White Night Festival in Melbourne in 2014.
Eventually, the crowd swelled around us to form a single slowly-moving mass which was headed towards a very narrow exit. With our arms pinned to our sides, and the mass of bodies pressed up against us, we edged along and ended up back out out on the street.
Being caught in such a crowd was an experience we’ll remember forever.
Have you ever been caught in a huge crowd?
Creating memorable moments is no accident. If you would like to know my method for doing it, download your free copy of my e-guide: Memorable Moments: How to pack your travel itinerary full of opportunities to create those memories.