I had decided after an Iced Latte this morning with some pastries from 7/11 to wander over to the ferry pier and catch a smaller ferry that goes up and down the river to one of the stops today, hop off and go exploring. So I got to the ferry and asked one of the operators for the boat that would take me to the Memorial Bridge ferry station. The boat was just leaving so off we went. It was a fun ride with some Japanese tourists yelling as the water splashed out and about. In about 15 minutes of riding, they let me know we had arrived at my stop. I was the only one departing so off I crawled and started walking the city. The Memorial Bridge is cool and has some beautiful artwork and I just happen to love bridges so of coursse this became a highlight for me.
Then I decided to walk over to Old Siam Center and the Mega Plaza. Old Siam is a conglomerate mall with lots of fashionable stores so I spent just a bit of time cruising around. I was more interested in finding Mega Plaza because of its reputation as a digital toy haven.
I saw a few different temples today but the one that struck me the most was the beautiful, ornate, and very peaceful Wat Suthat. It is, I guess, off the beaten tourist track so I did not see any other tourists there but for a few. The monks were out strolling and I basically had the run of the place. This has to be one of my favorite temples due to the quiet and peaceful nature there.
Off the Beaten Track Means On the Right Tack
I think that this brings up a good point in seeing places. Here in Bangkok but in so many other places I’ve been, a few steps away from the main tourist zones like the Palace and the shopping streets can yield an appreciable difference. I had looked at the map this morning when i decided to catch the ferry service and saw this basic path I wanted to walk. I wanted to see not everything but a bit of this area which seemed to have a variety of things like shopping malls, temples, and smaller markets and less tourists. This overall is what happened today for me. I saw very few tourists out and about so I think if you have the time, try taking Google Maps and looking at places which might be interesting and that you can reach using some kind of transit system. Here in Bangkok, the surface streets are forever crowded so walking, taking the BTS, or riding the cheap water ferry system works wonders. You can get a ferry boat for just small amounts and tell the operators where you want to go and they will get you on the right ferry and then get you off where your stop is. Its a lot more fun to ride the river ferry system and there are no crowded streets, red lights, motorbikes, cars, buses, etc.
If you get to the less traveled ferry stops you can reach the areas on Google Maps easily. If you take BTS you can design a day trip to the less traveled spots and use the system as your personal transit system to get around. This Friday I will get myself a day pass on the transit and spend the day wandering the BTS system since there are two of them.
My main goals with the last week and change here is to feel I gave it a good shot walking the city, seeing the areas I can reach, and even taking a tuk tuk now and then when it makes sense.
Try the trick with Google Maps though to click on the transit options. It works very well here in Bangkok to go from a known spot to a place you may want to spend time exploring.