A Travellerspoint blog

March 2009

Goodbye Bangkok

sunny 33 °C

Today is our last day in south east Asia and we would like to introduce you to many of the wonderful sights and people we have met here but simply haven't had time to tell you about.
Here is a common sight - unloading fish onto the fish dock.
All life here revolves around water; the sea, the rivers and most importantly the flooded rice paddies.
Here is a coracle rower from a floating village on the South China Sea.
Salt is also important because of the constant heat. This broadly-smiling salt seller in Hoi Anh posed coyly for this picture. 'How sweet,' we thought. But as soon as the picture was taken her face turned sour and she demanded money - not so sweet after all.
Here are some boatman on the Perfumed River in Hue, Vietnam. We spent three days dodging heavy showers in this ancient city.
This is a part of the massive citadel that stands sentinel over the river and was once the capital of Vietnam.
We have visited dozens, maybe hundreds, of fortresses, citadels, wats, shrines and temples. Some we have shown you, but others, like the fabulous, 12th. century, Cham Empire temple at My Son, never made it to the blog. Here is just one of the numerous shrines at this site.
Shrines of all religions vie with each other for attention. This is one of the more ornate.
Throughout our trip we have tried to capture the essence of life here, both in words and pictures, and have tried to bring you images that differ from run-of-the-milll holiday snaps. Here are a couple of photos from a group we call, "South East Asia in Close-up."

So, farewell to Bangkok and to South East Asia. We hope you've enjoyed coming along for the ride, and we hope that you will stay with us for a few more weeks while we bring you some of the off-the-beaten-track sights of England and France.

Posted by Hawkson 19:32 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Trains, Planes and Automobiles.

sunny 35 °C

The first leg of our long jpourney home has brought us back to Bangkok, the enigmatic city of ivory towers soaring out of the teeming slums, where our Asian experience began.
We arrived by Air Asia, our favourite local airline whose motto is "Now Everyone Can Fly." This was our fourteenth flight since leaving home, and we still have five to go.
Travel here is as enigmatic as everything else - clapped out buses, rusted river boats and ancient tuk-tuks ply the highways and waterways alongside luxury limousines, superfast hydrofoils and VIP coaches. But, old or new, they all run more or less to schedule. Yesterday's nine hour trip from our resort in Koh Samui to Bangkok by mini-bus, ferry, bus, plane and taxi, went like clockwork and, with one or two exceptions, was a reflection of our entire journey.
Numerous boats have played a key role in ferrying us from place to place, (we lost count after fifty), and now we are back in Bangkok for our last few days we will be taking many more.
This is one of the famed 'Long-tails', the 'Gondolas' of Bangkok. But the 'Gondoliers' of these stinking, snorting monsters can never be heard singing, "O Solo Mio." These craft are powered by monstrous engines culled from ancient buses and trucks and, as they churn up the waters of the Chao Phraya river at breakneck speed, they pump out evil fumes and raucus pop music.
We do not take the 'Long-tails'. We prefer the 'Vaporetti' - the sleek river buses that zip us from one end of the city to the other away from the madness of the roads.
But, hopefully, things are changing. In an effort to go green, the city now provides free bicycles to anyone brave, (or foolish), enough to ride one. Just pick up a green bike at one of the many racks like this one ...
... and ride it through the city on the miles of specially marked cycleways like this one...
Oh-Oh! Spot the problem? Yes - everyone, including the green bike delivery man, uses the designated bike lanes as free parking. Never mind - it's the thought that counts.

Posted by Hawkson 19:18 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

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