13.02.2016 - 13.02.2016
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.