I have heard so much about Bangkok; from the “lady boys”, Thai massages, drawing elephants, home of Tony Jaa and the “Ong Bak” movies, it being a predominantly Buddhist country and of course what the media and movies portray of Bangkok. What I didn’t know is that Thailand is a monarchy and Bangkok is home to over 8 million inhabitants. The city is now a major regional force in finance and business and is an international hub for transport and affordable health care to the point that many travel from all over the world for Thai health care.
At the time that I visited, there was political unrest to the point of violence and loss of life. My colleagues and I were cautioned about the situation and were encouraged to limit our travel and site-seeing and were even restricted to travel to certain areas in and around Bangkok but… I’M A REBEL!… and I went sightseeing anyway… of course… in the places we were allowed to go see… **HeeHeeHee!**
My flight was a red-eye flight so I was quite tired and did not feel like doing too much “explalking” (explore walking). So, the boat ride down the Chao Phraya River sounded do-able. A Lebanese colleague and I took a Tuk Tuk (local taxi) down to the river for the boat ride.
The ride down the river was great because I got to sit and relax while also taking pictures of the sights. Chao Phraya River is lined with modern hotels, apartments/condos, malls and restaurants and also with traditional temples, local buildings and the homes of locals. The contrasts are quite fascinating! Then there are local boats transporting people and goods up & down the river.
The boat took us to an offshoot of the river. This canal was lined with only local homes so we were able to see how many of the locals live along the river. A lot of what I saw had me doing a lot of thinking, but I’ll share that in another blog post.
We went back to Chao Phraya River and continued north. Our next and last stop was at a Buddhist temple called Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan or just Wat Arun which means “Temple of Dawn”. I have never seen temples or building of worship that are so detailed in their structure and adornment anywhere else than in the East! They are remarkable structures but I don’t do temples so I only take pictures from the outside.
After our temple stop we took the boat back south on the river. We did not return to our hotel right away but took some time to walk around to take pictures of the area we were in and the locals going about their everyday errands and activities.