Thailand Jan 2009:Bangkok (1 of 2)
Our first visit to Asia, Thailand, began and ended in Bangkok.
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We heard population estimates for Bangkok of anywhere from 6 to 16 million people. Whatever it is, there's plenty of people there, and a fantastic mixture of east and west in culture, architecture, food, and just about everything else.
Before roads were built, the Mae Nam Chao Phraya was the primary means of transport in and around Bangkok. There is still plenty of boat traffic of various kinds on the river and associated canals. Riding on the river is a great way to get a different angle on the city as well as enjoy a cool breeze.
Many interesting sights can be seen along the canals, and it still seems to be a desirable location for your residence. A bot of fresh air, a place to was your dishes and clothes, etc.
With so many people, transport is of course very important. We found the skytrain, shown here on two levels, was a great way to get around and get a good view of the city as well. It would actually be cheaper to take a taxi, but who wants to be down on the ground stuck in traffic?
Speaking of traffic, Bangkok has plenty of it, day and night. With millions of scooters zipping around the larger vehicles, it can be an exciting experience!
All around Bangkok, and everywhere else in Thailand, there are Wats, or Buddhist Temples. They tend to be beautifully decorated. Some, such as Wat Arun shown here, are hundreds of years old. An image of this Wat is found on reverse side of the Thai Coins. The King, of course, is on the front.
The canals, or khlongs, (those that have not been filled in to build roads) still provide an effective means of transport in some areas of the city. Note the taxi boats have canvas sides, which prevent the noxious water from splashing on the passengers.
Throught Bangkok, and everywhere else in Thailand, are shrines of various sizes that people stop by to light some incense, say a prayer, and perhaps leave an offering. Erawan Shrine, shown here, is probably the most elaborate and crowded of all the shrines we saw. It seemed to be packed day and night, and supported a small street economy of vendors selling offerings.