A Travellerspoint blog

Taxi Shenanigans

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After a couple of early mornings, our final day in Bangkok allowed for a sleep in before a late breakfast. I went for an early morning walk and was fortunate enough to come across a morning monk chanting session at a nearby temple. I was only person their to watch so this was truly a privilege.

We had no real plans for the day but after some research decided on the biggest wet market in Bangkok. We decided to catch a Taxi but for some reason our driver did not know where he was going and instead dropped us off at the Flower market. We hopped into another cab but after 10 minutes of driving we realised he too was heading in the wrong direction. We bailed out of the cab and faced a longish walk back to old town Bangkok. We gave up on the market plan and instead settled on some street food for lunch. A lazy afternoon ahead before the flight home tonight. See you all soon.

Monks chanting

Monks chanting

Bangkok traffic

Bangkok traffic


Wat Po statue

Wat Po statue

Posted by adtamo 22:24 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The monk and the missing lens

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Today was our earliest start yet meeting our guide Em at 6:00am for the 1 hour drive to Bang-Pa and Ayutthaya. Breakfast was shared with some school children at a local village. Fried chicken, pork mince with snake beans, sticky rice and a thick Thai hot chocolate. It was actually very tasty or maybe I was just hungry. I enjoyed watching the schoolchildren arrive - 4 on a motorcycle, piled into the back of a converted ute acting as a school bus or by small boats across the nearby river. All eyes were on BJ & myself, obviously not many westerners join the locals for breakfast :)

Once done we rode a 'gondola' across the river to the local monastery. The temple was Christian architecture complete with spire and stained glass fused wth Buddhist symbolism. We enjoyed watching the young monks sweep the leaves off the grass. BJ would have fitted right in here as a young budding monk.

Next was a visit to the royal palace Bang-Pa In. It was here that I noticed my expensive wide angle lens missing. Fear set in as I thought of the consequences back home. I had left it in the grounds back at the monastery. Back we went and to my dismay I could not find the lens where I thought I had left it. Em spoke to a monk who much to my relief he had found the lens and put it away safe for us when we realised it was missing. After a generous donation, and many waits it was back to Bang-Pa palace. We were now behind schedule so it was a quick walk through the manicured grounds before making our way to Ayutthaya, the 2nd capital of ancient Siam.

Ayutthaya is not as famous as its cousin in Cambodia, Angkor Wat but it is almost as impressive. Unlike Angkor Wat there is very little restoration at Ayutthaya but this did not detract from the grandeur of the place. It continues to amaze me how pre-industrial revolution cultures constructed these amazing buildings. All we seem to build now is skyscrapers world wide, from Bangkok to Sydney to New York. You could distinguish between ancient cultures by their building practices from the Egyptians to the Romans, Mayans, Aztecs, Nabetians, Chinese, Khmer etc. You get the idea.

Back to Bangkok BJ rested whilst I walked the streets in the hot humid afternoon heat. I spotted a monk using an umbrella for some shade, a sensible way to create some shade. Later on we made our way to the Giant swing for some twilight pics then back to the same restaurant we had lunch yesterday for dinner, a green curry for me. We shared our table with a Chinese mother and son, who was fascinated by Australian spiders/snakes/bees and a French couple.

Finally we took a Taxi to Bayioke tower no. 2, the tallest building in Bangkok. The 83rd floor is an open air revolving deck. The view was spectacular, well it was for me BJ was a bit freaked by the sheer heights.

Ayutthaya 2

Ayutthaya 2

Ayutthaya 1

Ayutthaya 1

River scene

River scene

Local man

Local man

Church floor

Church floor


Colourful monk

Colourful monk


Monk with umbrella

Monk with umbrella

Giant swing and Wat Sunhat post sunset

Giant swing and Wat Sunhat post sunset

A tangle of roads from Bayioke tower

A tangle of roads from Bayioke tower

Posted by adtamo 15:33 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

The devil green chilli at the floating market

Feeling hot, hot, hot

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Out early this morning for the 1 hour drive to the floating markets. Last time I was in Thailand we visited a floating market frequented by western tourists and touts in boats. This time I asked for an authentic market experience and wow what a contrast. Boats filled with colourful produce oared by women whilst their husbands tended to the fields. No outboard motors allowed, so the quiet was perfect for the mood. We were out too early for breakfast at our accomodation so we had breakfast at the floating market.

Now those who know me would know that I do not like cooked breakfasts but I had little choice. The first course, yes we had courses, was sweet carrot, bean shoots & tofu cooked in a tamarind spice all enveloped in an omelette casing. My taste buds were in heaven. The second course was more challenging for the time of day. Fried pork and liver in a chilli broth. The flavours were great though I did struggle with this early in the morning. I was nearing the end when a nuclear explosion occurred in my mouth. My throat was burning, my complexion a beetroot red as sweat beads formed on my forehead. I had just ate the devil green chilli. It took quite a few minutes before I could compose myself. Phew that was an experience.

Back in Bangkok for lunch then a lazy afternoon at the hotel to escape the stifling Bangkok heat. The evening saw us back at Thip Simai for another serve of their delicious Pad Thai. Sated it was then back at Wat Pho to watch the evening monk chanting followed by some night photography of the illuminated cheri's. Finally we ended our day walking through the hustle and bustle of the flower market.

Floating market

Floating market

Colours of the floating market

Colours of the floating market

Floating market boat

Floating market boat

Lanterns

Lanterns

Traditional dress

Traditional dress


Anyone for bugs

Anyone for bugs


Wat Pho at night

Wat Pho at night

Posted by adtamo 00:08 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Trains, long boats & Tuk Tuks

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The morning started with a ride on an old diesel train to one of the poorer neighbourhoods in Bangkok. Safety in Bangkok is an individual choice, during the train ride we stuck our heads out the window to observe life near the rail tracks. Just don't forget to watch out for the upcoming concrete pillar!! Tin shanties were built impossibly close to the tracks, people having breakfast cooked on portable burners filled by propane gas cylinders. An illegal cockfight was already underway. Piles of garbage perfumed the air.

At our station we disembarked straight into a small local wet market. Half skinned still twitching toads, slithering snakehead fish, gelatinous half formed yet to be laid eggs still inside the now dead and splayed chicken, bugs, offal need I go on. Mm, Mm, Mmm such a pity I already had eaten breakfast. From the market we walked along a now disused freight tracks into one of the sum neighbourhoods. A lady was arriving home after her nightshift had ended at one of Bangkok's 5 star hotels. A nearby billboard advertised new high rise developments, the rich mocking the poor. We spent some time playing with family of kids, always one of my most sort after and memorable experiences when travelling.

Afterwards we took the driverless Metro to the canals where be boarded an old long boat back to old town Bangkok. Bangkok was one dubbed the Venice of the East but many of the old canals are being lost, being filled in with concrete to make more roads for even more cars! From your stop we made our way by foot climbing up 300+ stairs to the Golden Mount and its bell shaped Chida, Wat Saket. Next up was Ban Bat, a small neighbourhood where the alms bowls used by monks are still handmade using the traditional techniques.

Lunch was at one of the Top 100 restaurants in the Asia Pacific, though if you judged the book by the cover you would just walk on by without a second thought. The meal was delicious comprising of a yellow curry, stir fried pork mince in a chilli sauce and a make your own entree which is too hard to describe but was a treat on the taste buds. After lunch we visited Wat Suhat and its giant Buddha before taking a Tuk Tuk back to our accomodation. I think our Tuk Tuk driver was straight from the Tuk Tuk grand prix world circuit. What a hoot!

Emerging again in the late afternoon, we rode another Tuk Tuk to Wat Trait and its solid gold Buddha statue. No shit this statue is large and solid gold. Incredible! I then headed across the road, not an easy task in itself, and accessing a local high rise car park I set up on the top floor to take some pics of cars driving the roundabout at the China Gate monument, the entrance to Chinatown. Photos done, we walked through the crushing masses of Chinatown looking for dinner. We finally found a some street food that we recognised but after a 45 min wait in a non moving queue next to hot gas burners we decided to move on. Sadly we were hungry and beaten so took refuge in a Starbucks. Not my finest moment abroad to end a great day.

The Golden Mount

The Golden Mount

Wat Siket at Golden Mount

Wat Siket at Golden Mount

Slum kids

Slum kids

Grandmother

Grandmother

Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat

Buddha's at Wat Sunhat

Buddha's at Wat Sunhat

Solid gold Buddha at Wat Traimit

Solid gold Buddha at Wat Traimit

Chinatown gate at night

Chinatown gate at night

Posted by adtamo 14:52 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Wat a day in Bangkok

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After a long day transiting from Melbourne to Bangkok we were both happy when our heads finally hit the pillow for the evening.

At 6:00am we were both woken up by the morning's various classes in the park across the road, including Aerobics and Tai Chi. If I could understand Thai I would have started joining in from my room!

Out early to beat the crowds at the Grand Palace. I have been here before but was still awed by grandeur of the place. BJ's gob was well and truly smacked! It was nice to visit on a clear day, the last time I was in Bangkok the weather was crappy. Chedi's, Stuppa's, Wat's & Garuda's were in plentiful supply as we slowly made our way around the complex. Shoes off before entering a Wat then shoes back on when leaving, this pattern repeated many times over the next few hours.

After the Grand Palace we walked around to Wat Pho and its giant Reclining Buddha along the way stopping at a small local market to sample our first bit of street food. I was disappointed for BJ that the restoration work was being carried out on the Reclining Buddha's 'mother-of-pearl' feet but all gobsmacked out by now anyway. We made our way through the Wat Pho grounds passing rows and rows of Buddha's in various poses of the 7 states of Buddha.

After Wat Pho it was time for a late lunch, chicken in yellow curry for me, then back to the B&B for a short rest. We emerged later in the afternoon to walk to Thip Samai, reputedly the best Pad Thai in Bangkok. I cannot say it is the best Pad Thai in Bangkok without sampling some of the other options but I would be very impressed to find a better Pad Thai. We surely will have another dinner here before we leave Bangkok and the OJ was simply the best I have ever had! After dinner we walked to Aussie backpacker central, Kho Sanh road. As I expected, cheap, tacky souvenir stalls were aplenty whilst touts constantly hassled us wherever we walked. BJ got caught into a bargaining match with an old but wily woman but at the end she would not go down to his price so left very unhappy at BJ. A beer to finish the night then back to bed.

Temple of Emerald Buddha courtyard

Temple of Emerald Buddha courtyard

Yet another Wat

Yet another Wat

Reclining Buddha

Reclining Buddha

Wat Po Chedi's

Wat Po Chedi's

Wat roof lines

Wat roof lines

Row of Buddha's

Row of Buddha's

Chedi

Chedi

Buddha's for sale

Buddha's for sale

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

Neon lights

Neon lights

Posted by adtamo 07:07 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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