Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Walk in Bangkok

My first feeling was that of astonishment. For an airport that was besieged by tens of thousands of protestors, the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport looked pristine. Even the city and streets looked much cleaner than from my last visit, apart from the occasional mysterious “BNE was here” posters (I wonder what it is!).

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It looked business as usual – with no signs of political instability anywhere or even concern about it. In summary things looked too normal including the infamous Bangkok Traffic!

P2060145Erawan Shrine

One of two evenings I was there, I went for a couple of hour long walk. I started walking with no specific route in mind  – from Erawan shrine next to Ratchadamri BTS sky train, closer to where I was staying, and in the direction of Chao Pharaya river.

The streets and footpaths in Bangkok are not pedestrian friendly. Footpaths are full of potholes and most surfaces are uneven. In many places you have to use some sky bridges to cross the road which makes walking even short distances tiring. The traffic is also very chaotic and even walking on the footpaths in some cases are risky. However that is the end of all the negatives.

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Looking at the bustling street life and a variety of experiences on the streets - vendors selling street food, hundreds of discount stores, nice street side temples and even nicer Thai people, one tends to forget about all the negatives. Every minute of the walk is enjoyable and very memorable. Though Bangkok is full of tourists most seems to skip the streets in favour of Tuk Tuk and Taxis.  They don’t know what they are missing!

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Tuk Tuk's

Finally I reached one of the tributaries of the Chao Phraya river. It looked like a quiet stretch. If not as much as Amsterdam or Venice, the canals forms a major lifeline in Bangkok with boats and river side houses. Just imagine getting in front of your hours on a boat every day – how cool is that! However the water looks stagnant and sort of greenish.

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River side living

Walking along the river tributary I reached the Bangkok Railway station. For the first time I also realized there is an underground railway network in Bangkok as one of the underground stations is near to the main railway station.

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Bangkok Railway Station

The gold lined Bangkok Railway station is a spectacle by itself. Thriving with hundreds, even thousands of passengers the high domed train station has to be seen to experience its uniqueness.

As it was getting darker by the minute I went for a quick stroll near the river, climbed up a bridge that crosses the river to have a good view.

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Chao Phraya river

As always street markets, notably selling food was all over the place in and around the river. Finally I got on to the Sky Train at Taksin station and got back to the city centre.

I also wanted to walk in the Lumpini Park – but that has to wait for the next visit.

For some strange reason my Nokia N95 GPS did not work during the day of this walk. However next day it all seems to be fine. I am puzzled!

4 comments:

dr_iqmal said...

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Jason said...

That was a really nice walk. I loved your photos. I felt like I was there myself!

Manoj Sugathan said...

Thank you!

putra said...

thanks, nice informtaion, i like it.