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Bangkok Gold

sunny 36 °C

It never takes much persuasion to get us back to Bangkok for a few days and it was a convenient stopping off place between Sri Lanka and Southwest China for a little R&R at our favourite riverside hotel.
Things have changed a lot since our last visit just a few years ago. The old city is fast disappearing under soaring skyscrapers, multi-lane highways and elevated light railways. However, some things haven't changed – especially on the wide Chao Phraya river that meanders sluggishly through the city. There are still a few of the ramshackle stilt houses squeezed in between pricey riverside mansions and fancy hotels...
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The heavily laden river buses still race from pier to pier and will take you as far as you want to go for just 50 cents....
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And the gaily painted longtail boats, with their engines culled from 50 ton trucks, still spew clouds of smoke as they leave everyone in their wake.
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However, the legions of stinking two-stroke tuk-tuks have all but vanished from the city's streets. Gone too are the miles of carefully painted bike lanes that we saw on our last visit – no great loss as few cyclists brave the roads in Bangkok and they were mainly used as car parks and taxi stands. But the kerbside vendors are still here offering all manner of street food...
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Perhaps the biggest change is that the last King of Siam has died. King Bhumidol the Great ascended the throne in 1946, two years before some of the exoticism was taken out of Siam by changing its name to Thailand. The old King of Siam died in October and will lie in state for a year to give all of his loyal subjects a chance to pay their respects. Huge signs proclaiming the King's passing can be seen everywhere and mourners, wearing black, arrive from all over the world and travel to the palace on the river buses...
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Religion plays a very large part in the lives of most Thais and no one goes to the temple without an offering of flowers – usually golden flowers...
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Marigolds are sold by the sackful in the Pak Khlong Talat market and hundreds of stallholders spend their days weaving fresh flowers into elaborate temple gifts...
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Fruits and vegetables pour into the market by the boatload from far and wide and we spend hours marvelling at all the exotic produce and the industriousness of the workers. This young woman spends her days slicing ginger roots with a razor sharp blade...
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The market used to be a waterside jungle of broken down stalls and rotting vegetation that was frequently overwhelmed by floods, but now it is housed in a bright modern building with all mod cons behind a flood barrier. It is clean, fresh and good for the workers, and just another sign that Bangkok is rapidly moving into the 21st century...
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Posted by Hawkson 16:07 Archived in Thailand

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Comments

so many lovely bright flowers..I would love to see some here. Lots of purple.The cold weather hear just wont go away. My Daughter Avryl just came back from New Zealand, where we both lived in the 1970's. Lots of changes there too. thanks for all the great pics Love Jean

by Jean McLaren

Leaving Luang Prabang this morning for Krabi, stopping to change planes in Bangkok. Enjoy reading your adventures. Travel safe.

by Samchow58

Fascinating adaptation of truck motor to that boat. If the long black thing sticking out the back is the drive shaft, tail-gating must be a real hazard. Can't be sure from the picture but hope the fellow is wearing some kind of hearing protector.

by R and B

Enjoying all the colours of the vegetables and flowers. Good for the soul. Snowdrops springing up everywhere. The sea wall down from my street is blocked off. They are making it safer. Scaffolding going down as well. Soon a roof regained.

by Sue Fitzwilson

very hard working and industrious people.

by Janet

Those orchids! So beautiful,

by olivia english

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