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March 11th 2008
Published: March 13th 2008
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Bangkok Railway StationBangkok Railway StationBangkok Railway Station

The crowded Hualamphong Station
Wake at about 6am ready for the day - breakfast and we are out of the hotel and off to the Laos Embassey to obtain our Visa's. Not a problem 200Bht extra for a 1 hour turnaround. 1230Bht ($41) each for the Visa.

The deal is done - we are going to Laos.

Next stop Hualamphong Station to get our sleepers for Chiang Mai - 1st class booked out for Thursday so 2nd class sleeper is the go. Very cheep at 1612Bht ($53), we depart at 19:35 and arrive the next day at 09:45. Looking forward to the train trip with it being a first for Ian to sleep on a train, but most of all it allows us to see the country with the train only reaching a average speed of 57klm/h.

All our necessary business completed it is time to see the city!

A tuk tuk down to the pier at River City then a ferry to Tha Rot Fai - walked through the market - got rained on - went the wrong way and got totally lost but in doing so found a place that is not on the tourist maps - Wat Rachang.
House on Thomburi Khlong House on Thomburi Khlong House on Thomburi Khlong

One of the older homes disappearing from Bangkok
An area that sells tropical fish, but on the river front a place where fish are fed and not harmed. We witnessed people putting fish into the river and feeding them. HUGE CATFISH! WOW! Who would have thought that a river this polluted could maintain fish of this size.

An other walk and we finally get to our desired destination - The Royal Barge Museum. It has taken Ian some 4 trips and 25 years to finally get here. The Barges are just amazing! Some going back hundreds of years. The barges are decorated with brilliant designs of gold and cut glass that makes them loook like jewels. The bows of the boats are carved into a combination of Buddhist and Hindu images, Nagas, Garuda etc. Well worth the effort of getting too.

We walked here from the pier along the main road which was not particularly interesting or attractive let alone easy but when we turned into the maze of lanes off it a different world opened up for us. A side of Bangkok that has not changed in hundreds of years but is fast being eaten up by skyscrapers and expressways. A world of narrow lanes
Thomburi KhlongThomburi KhlongThomburi Khlong

Thomburi Khlong
that twist and turn like a scene in a M.C. Escher drawing, but quiet and calm with old teak houses built over the Khlong's. Just wonderful. But be aware if you do come here this way that there are touts that will try to charge you for showing you a signposted walk. As Nancy Reagan once said "just say no".

Pleased with ourselves for finding this little treasure we headed back to the peir to catch the ferry back to the Oriental Hotel Pier and walked back to the hotel to have a shower and get ready to have some dinner. Lucky for us we did not bring much cash or credit with us as the area around the Oriental has some great antique shops and galleries which could very easily have blown our entire trip budget in 10 minutes flat or faster if we could speak Thai.

We decided to have dinner at what turned out to be a truely uninspiring little restaurant with small and bland servings. Dinner over we went for a stroll through Patpong Market, where nothing ever seems to change, cheap souveniers, knock off clothing and spruikers trying to get anyone and everyone
The BirdsThe BirdsThe Birds

Feeding the birds on the steps behind Wat Rachang
into the seedy bars that line the street.The whole street is tacky, expensive but always good fun for a few hours { and no we did not indulge in the bars, we still have a shred of dignity left lol }.

Time to go back to the hotel and go to bed.




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Fish FrenzyFish Frenzy
Fish Frenzy

The fish in the river in Bangkok - People come to feed them and release young fish into the river. Just behind Wat Rachang


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