I’ve spent the last 3 days trying to write this post and nothing seems right, I keep going back and changing it. So here is the finalised version….
I think the most prominent feeling I have whilst walking around Bangkok is of being overwhelmed. I am not sure what I expected to see when I got here, but this definitely wasn’t it. As I said the Gethin, I thought it would be more advanced than it is. Naive, yes very much so. I have read the guide books but I hadn’t also factored into account that we were not staying in the “centre”. We are on the river in the Chinese district and slightly off the tourist path. I also think there is a big battle of East v West, with the small houses and temples trying to stand their ground over the increasing number of high rise buildings making their mark in the city.
So my first thoughts are, a) it’s bloody humid b) the traffic is mental (it makes London rush hour look sedate!!) and c) did I mention it was humid!.
Our good friends Venus & Michael (they used to run the best Thai restaurant in West London) picked us up from the airport and they are trying to show us as much of their city as they can do in 4 days. We’ve ridden túk túks, the water ferry and the river taxis, we’ve seen 5 temples in 3 days, we’ve been to the floating market in South Bangkok of which the best way to see everything is by boat, and we’ve seen a very large solid gold Buddah.
The hotel is in the grounds of a temple but it also overlooks the river. Sitting on the decking in the hotel watching the river (especially during the day) isn’t a quiet or tranquil affair. The river itself is very murky and is awash with what I think are water plants, but it’s more the amount of boat traffic going buy. The water taxi’s are loud (motor wise) and their main aim (as Gethin says) is to try and make as much noise as possible. There are also water ferries and tour boats occupying the same space. With the latter all you can hear are the Thai guides voices blaring over the PA system. Then in the evening the ferry & taxi’s get replaced with really really tacky tourist “party/cruise” boats going past with neon outsides and crap music playing inside. Though not all of the “cruise” boats that go past have the loud music, but most of them do, to be fair have some form of neon on their outside.
One final thing I have learnt over the past 24 hours is, rain doesn’t get rid of humidity, it may reduce the air temp a little bit but it’s still bloody humid.
We have 1 more day in Bangkok before we have to decide our next move. North is the way we would like to go but there has been an awful lot of flooding in the places we currently want to go to, so Venus is checking with family and friends who live up that way to see how bad things are, if it’s a no go then we go South and head to Cambodia instead.
Link to the flickr photo page https://flic.kr/s/aHsk39WhAD