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Bangkok, Thailand...and the salty dilemma (part five)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

On one of the many river stops that I decided to explore, I encountered an unusual spot to say the least. There were many people crowded around a small inside "Market" that was built next to the pier. After we jumped off of the river boat, I immediately walked inside the market area to discover tables of homemade breads and crackers. Vendors sat on small benches and sold their selection in plastic bags.

Chao Phraya River in Bangkok...heading towards the pier from the river boat

It didn't take long for me to notice a scurrying of sound in the water. It was actually quite loud and since I heard people laughing and behaving in a shocked manner, I decided to walk back over and see what all the fuss was about. As I was walking back over to the scene, a Thai lady tossed a piece of bread (I'm assuming stale) over her shoulder as she was filling bags full of bake goods. She didn't look in that direction as if she had done this a million times. I ran over to the small railing and found myself a space to lean up against and look down into the water. After I pulled my camera in front of me...THIS is what I saw... (you can click on the higher resolution option for shocking detail and clarity..LOL)

The next video is a little bit close to the water.

The funny part is that in my desire to capture some of the over zealous catfish eating bread...I had river and slimly fish water splashed into my mouth. Yes...disgusting. Imagine the combination of salt, fish, dirt, pollution, weeds and other secret ingredients becoming a flavor in a matter of seconds....time to process the information...spit...grimace...panic. Okay, not that I'm a wimp or anything, but the Chao Phraya river is not exactly the cleanest thing on earth. You can bet that I spent the next 24 hours wondering if I was going to come down with some sort of horrid parasite infection or at the very least, a terrible stomach ache. However, I managed to make it through without a hitch. Maybe I was worried for nothing? So, I guess the moral here, is that if you stop by the bread shop and see a mob of people watching catfish in the water...DON'T get too close.

To Be Continued....

Koh Samui, Thailand and the wet waterfall experience (part two)

Friday, January 29, 2010

As the adventurous ride continued, I held onto the back of the truck and took shots of the passing buildings and people in the small "towns" that we rode through. The sky was still grey, but it added to the tropical feel of this place. There were motorbikes that came up close to the back of the truck, so they became victim to my camera (albeit a blurry and tilted attempt). I have to admit, those of us in the back of the truck were slightly skeptical as to what we had gotten ourselves into. Where was this man in an old pickup going to take us? 

Koh Samui, Thailand. I was riding in the back of a pickup truck and wanted something to photograph.

Our two Australian friends were characters, the man, described as the closest thing to a Frat brother in the truck and the wife being the adventurous and beautiful mate. Our Hong Kong friends mainly sat quiet as the man pointed his video camera at both the nature out the back and the occupants inside. "Mom" with the tattoos and short grey hair, from Canada (who's husband was in the front of the truck, navigating and negotiating) was every bit as energetic and interesting as you would want in a tour companion. We all laughed and talked about the possibility of being sold into slavery or perhaps being robbed of every last dime before we were allowed to go home. However, deep down when knew it was fine and that the journey would be fun.

Heading into the jungle in Koh Samui, Thailand

A quick turn off of the main road began taking us up a hill into the jungle area. Green trees dripping with moisture wizzed past us. I heard the familiar sound of the walkie-Talky buzzing as Canadian husband told us that our first negotiated stop was to take us to the waterfall. THAT sounded like fun and an ideal first thing to do on an island. After ridding along for a short bit, we began driving up the somewhat steep hill. The truck puttered and sputtered as it shifted into low gear and worked extra hard to climb. We all stared in silence as we watched the hill behind us grown longer with each struggling foot.

Walking to the waterfall in Koh Samui, Thailand

Finally, we pulled into a small clearing. It was beautiful. There were puddles of water, a little mud and only one other vehicle there. We jumped out of the back of the truck and that's when I saw the Elephant standing off to the side. There was a riding seat strapped over it's back and a handler next to it. I love elephants and wanted to run over there, but my fellow travelers were headed off on the jungle path.

Elephant and handler at the waterfall in Koh Samui, Thailand (poor elephant)

I ran after them and was instantly surprised at the thick mist and moisture that hung in the in. Jungle trees hung over the path and little light got through. There were a few booths set up for refreshments, etc...but we blazed right past.

A vender at the waterfall on Koh Samui, Thailand

It didn't take long before we heard the sound of falling water. A few more paces and there it was. My first waterfall since the beginning of this trip. Granted, it wasn't huge or spectacular, but I was happy. It seemed the rest of our group was to.

The waterfall on Koh Samui in Thailand. Use the high resolution option so that it won't be so blurry.

One by one, we cautiously climbed down on the rocks and stared up at the falling water. You could feel drop after drop hitting your skin.

Waterfall on Koh Samui, Thailand

I was so glad that I had worn swimming trunks and an old T-Shirt. Getting wet and dirty became a non-issue for me, so I just enjoyed the experience.

At the waterfall on Koh Samui, Thailand

We each took turns taking photos and laughing at the constant threat of sliding off a rock and hitting our heads. I suppose we all just wanted to live a little. I later learned that it is nearly impossible to capture a proper photo of this waterfall. It was simply too hard to do it justice. You will have to trust me that it was wonderful. I saw a man and his wife on an elephant down the stream. I tried to capture them, but the photo came out a bit blurry.

Koh Samui,Thailand

Even though the intense humidity in a place like this can be overwhelming, I must say that your breathing is so wonderful due to all the moisture in the lungs. It makes you feel so healthy and alive.

At the waterfall on Koh Samui, Thailand

After getting our fill of the falling waters, we walked back through the short jungle path and to the small truck. I was surprised that our driver (who knew very little english) did not bother us at all about the time. I was a little impressed and I can say that as a group, we began to loose our trepidation about this experience. We all jumped back into the bed of the truck and exclaimed our happiness for this stop. I wiped my hand through my now wet and jungle-kissed hair and flung the excess water out the back of the truck. We began to drive rapidly back down the hill and onto a paved road, while headed to our next stop.

Just a short clip of us riding out of the waterfall area. Use the higher resolution option.
There are more photos of Koh Samui, Thailand that you can access HERE. 

Too Be Continued....

Flowers around the world - Hong Kong

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One of the things I always seem to photograph when I travel, is flowers. I guess the combination of colors and nature get my attention, so I capture them whenever I can. So, I thought I would just post a photo or two here and there of different flowers from around the world for those who might be interested.

Casesalpinia Pulcherrima, photo taken in Hong Kong 2009

I took this particular photo in Hong Kong in 2009 and I was informed by a friendly lady on Flickr that it is called a "Casesalpinia Pulcherrima".

Koh Samui, Thailand...8 strangers and an Idea (Part One)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sailing to Koh Samui was such a spectacular experience. I remember looking down at the ocean water that surrounded the island and being amazed at how aqua colored and pure it seemed. We never had ocean water so clean in California. There were many storm clouds in the sky, but I had gotten used to this over the weeks of traveling in the tropics. It actually was kind of nice at times, to block out the searing sun that usually burnt me to a crisp. I tried to reach down and touch the water as we approached the dock in our small boat. Only a rope and a few feet were separating me and the perfect water.

Early morning, arriving by boat onto Koh Samui, Thailand

We stepped off the boat and you could see the amazement on everyone's faces. Mountains covered with mist in the background, along with a warm tropical breeze was all the greeting we needed. However, a number of local Thai people ran down the long pier in order to greet us, and of course, offer us various services on the island.

Early morning approaching the pier in Koh Samui, Thailand

As my buddy and I walked down the long pier into town, we decided to play it by ear. Where we went and what we were doing for the day was simply up to chance. It never hurt that I also say a small prayer before stepping foot into another country, simply for basic protection and hopefully an extra jolt of fun. It didn't take long before we saw the multiple cabs lined up along the small parking lot next to the pier. Drivers quickly rushed over to us and began offering tours around the island. Okay, I'll bite.."How much?", I asked. "$100" (U.S.) the driver said, (...LOL...I don't think so). This was one of those classic you have got to be kidding me moments. We walked away and headed for the shops that lined the street. The cab driver followed us quickly and knocked it down to $80 for the both of us. No way. You have to know that $100 or even $80 to be driven around on semi-small island in Thailand is WAY too much money. This was confirmed also by the other tourist who had just gotten off the boat and were trying to negotiate with the cab drivers. It was clear that a few of them had been here before and knew the drill.

At the end of the pier as we walked into the small town on Koh Samui, Thailand

There were a small group of use who began gathering next to a tourist shop which had flyers on the window. It was clear that most things they offered were elaborate trips to other islands, plane rides, etc.. I just wanted to simply ride around the island, see the waterfalls and so forth. Mr. Cab driver was still trying to talk us all into a ride, but no one was biting. I suggested to our small group of strangers, that we should get together and try to hire one of the vans for the day, it might be cheaper per person. We all looked at each other in agreement. I counted eight of us. A gentleman from Canada decided to take the initiative and go ask some of the non-cab drivers. To make a long story short, he ended up negotiating a deal with a man who was driving a small pickup truck, covered with a top and open windows.

A local in the small little town by the pier

Hmmm....we all looked at each other. There would be no air conditioning, no comfortable seats and what was the truck normally used for?? I was waiting to hear the over-the-top price that our friend from Canada had gotten for us....but I was shocked to hear that it was only $8 per person. Now THAT was a good deal, especially since it included a four hour trip around the island, along with stops. Okay, I have to admit, $8 seemed too cheap and I almost felt guilty, but heh, the driver seemed excited to get the business. Where it get's weird though is the driver had us sneak in the back, and wouldn't open the tarp windows until we were around the corner and away from the other drivers.

The only photo I have of our truck (which I took later during the day).

As I said, there were eight of us. The older Canadian man and his wife, The 30-something Australian man and his wife, the 30-something Hong Kong man and his wife and my buddy and I. Our Canadian friend quickly became our leader and decided to ride up front with the driver. His guidance and negotiating skills were quite helpful, especially since Mr. driver was trying to raise the price after we took off. The Canadian man's wife (sorry, forgot everyone's name) was in back with us and had a walky-talky to communicate with her husband. This couple was great, very bohemian. In fact, even though our little group was extremely diverse, it was clear that we were all going to get along well. Within moments of the truck taking off with us loaded in the back, we all began laughing as we realized that we were being bumped up and down harshly on the truck's metal seats. There was no tailgate, so it wouldn't take much for any number of us to be tossed out the back. However, I loved setting there and having a free view to the islands roadway as we bumped along at breakneck speeds. Oh, and the only sign we found inside the back of the truck was for a shooting range. P.S.: Don't be discouraged by the initial dim photos...this island is amazing! I will post more soon. Also, remember to use my "Search Google Maps" link at the top of my blog if you need help with figuring out where a country or place is that I talk about.

This is me trying to hold on with the video camera in the back of our pickup truck. No Tailgate, so I had to stop recording and grab the side.

To Be Continued.....

Bagnkok, Thailand. The never-ending, for sure!! (Part Four)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Each stop along the river became more interesting than the next. What began to take over, was the unfailing continuation of hunger pains. We are in Thailand, so it's time to eat as the Thai's do!! I began strolling down some side streets and along shops, trying to find a good place to eat. I have eaten Thai food many times in the states, but I wanted to experience the real thing, in Thailand. After about ten minutes of searching, I found exactly what I was looking for. An older, thin and weathered looking "Grandma" type was leaning over her somewhat overused Wok. The front of the small cafe was all open and a few rustic and cheap plastic table/chair sets were scattered about. There were a couple of local customers sitting and eating, but they stopped as they watched the two Americans approach the Wok station. The burner and Wok were almost out on the sidewalk, but elevated a bit by a makeshift counter. There was a hand written sign in Thai, which listed available dishes. I believe there were five.
Note: unfortunately, I didn't take photos of the cafe, so I just added some shots of the area to this post.

The Street where we looked for our cafe

Obviously, I couldn't read anything on the menu, and our little old lady of the cafe, didn't know English. However, all was not lost. I knew the magical words that all Thai food loving people know.."Pad Thai". Yes, my favorite dish of the Thai genre. I said these words out-loud and simply pointed to something on the posted menu, trying to look like an old pro. I could have been pointing at squid brains and pig's toes, but nonetheless, our friendly matron repeated those familiar words and pointed us to a selection of seating. She managed a slight smile as she began to rustle around in plastic bins and boxes. We managed to point to a bottled water and were served promptly. The locals continued to sip their noodle soup and looked at us every chance they get, without seeming obvious. I smiled and nodded.

The street where we looked for our Cafe

I only wish that I had taken photos of our eating place, but I think it would have been awkward under the circumstances. After all, we were really in a tourist area and I didn't know if it would be rude or not. So, after clicking and clanging on the Wok, the older woman brought over two wonderful, hot and steaming plates of Pad Thai. For those of you who don't know, Pad Thai is generally Noodles stir-fried in a Wok with oils, egg, seasonings and generally garnished with peanuts, green onions and bean sprouts. However, there are many types of Pad Thai and the recipe can change dramatically. So, as she sat the plate down in front of me, I took my fork and picked through it to make sure the recipe hadn't changed since I last ate it. Believe it or not, there was squid...but the kind I like.

Locals shopping on the street

This dish was amazing, I we ate our meals completely and quickly. We were still sweating from the constant heat and humidity that poured in from the open cafe, but the bottled water helped. I got up to pay and our friend wrote down a total bill of about $2 U.S. for two people with bottled water. Can't beat that can you? So, I gave her about five dollars worth of Thai money and she began trying to make change, but instead I bowed with a "Wai" (prayer formation which shows respect and thanks) and we left with a smile. See, I'm not so cheap all the time. LOL

Walking back to the pier after lunch

It took us a short while to catch the next boat at the pier. Finally it came and we rode up the river, but waited until another interesting stop, in fact, what caught our eye was a small cafe that sat over the water and people were digging into their meals as we pulled up and jumped onto the pier.

Cafe off of the next pier stop

"I'm hungry" I said to Billy, who immediately decided he was hungry too. Feeling like a piggish American, it had only been about 15 minutes since our last meal. However, Pad Thai was like mana from the heavens and in great abundance everywhere we went. We rushed in and sat down at an empty table. The warm sun was shining in through the open windows, but not uncomfortable. This time, our waitress was also an older woman. She wasn't in too good of a mood. I think it was family run, since there seemed to be a couple of daughters and one older female cook. She took our order of...Pad Thai...quickly and slunked off. I swear she rolled her eyes, but it didn't take long to figure out why.

Literally, right behind us, sat four blond valley whatever. Yes, they were loud, probably on their break from college and spending daddies money. Okay, I don't know for sure that it was daddies money, but they were drunk. "Another beer here!!" one of them yelled across the cafe to the waitress. Yes, it was definitely an eye roll this time. "I'll have one too!", another giggling girl yelled. Pad Thai and drunk Sorority girl was exactly why I came to Thailand (heavy sarcasm). Finally, the meal came and we ate and ate with joy. The food only seems to get better each time.

Another street in Bangkok

After finishing our meal, we sat at the table and watched as one of the girls got up to go to the bathroom. The bathroom was a small door which opened from inside the dining area. Valley girl #1 looks inside and says "ICK!!...I think I'll wait..till, like..we get back to the hotel". So Valley girl #2 rushes over and looks also..."OMG...that nasty". Our waitress was not pleased and tried hard to ignore the insults. Billy, decides he's going to get up and use the restroom at this point, regardless of what was in there. He looks, closes the door and comes out a few minutes later. Valley girl #3 is now standing outside of the bathroom door and has to go potty. Too many beers to wait until she get's back to the Ritz. So, Billy proceeds to open the door again and shows her the small hole in the floor. In addition to the hole, there is a small wooden basin off water on the floor that has a hose trickling into it and a ladle for dipping. It was simple...squat, pee, ladle and leave. Apparently willing and able to follow these instructions, VG#3 rushes in and closes the door behind her. Billy and I paid our bill, walked out and began walking down the small street. "I'm hungry, are you?".

To Be Continued...

Ships, Boats and Barges of the worlld

Friday, January 22, 2010

For those of you who might be interested. I have uploaded part of my library of various Ships, Boats and Barges from around the world. I have also added Industrial sites, Cranes..etc..

I do not know what type of vessels all of these are, but there seems to be a great interest in these types of pictures. If you want to see my photo library on Flickr, you can click HERE. Thanks!

Free Wallpaper of Hong Kong "Red Sail Junk" boat

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I have a few photos that I took in Hong Kong of a "Red Sail Junk" boat and I thought I would offer them as a free download for desktop wallpaper. There are 7 versions of the wallpaper on my Flickr site. Once you get to the photo, click on the "All Sizes" button on top of the photo and it will take you to the window where you can download a high resolution version. If you decide to link these photos to another website, then please let me know. You can access the photos HERE. Thanks!

A taste of Mykonos, Greece

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I thought that I would take a break from my Asia trip for the moment to write a bit on Greece. I love Greece. There is nothing like the combination of the warm mediterranean sun and the unique terrain, culture and food of Greece. Having been to Mykonos a number of times over the years, I wanted to take a moment to share a little information and a few photos.

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos, is a Greek island that lies about 2.5  hours by boat or  a short plane ride from Athens. Those times can vary, depending on the type of Ferry/boat you take. I have always taken a boat to the island. Athens is actually inland from the sea, so you have to take the train out to the Pireaus port to board the Ferry's. This link HERE, will take you to a travel guide for additional information. Many people actually fly into Mykonos from the states, but you must transfer in Athens.

Mykonos, Greece

I first became interested in Mykonos after seeing it in the famous and wonderful movie by the name of
"Shirley Valentine". If you haven't seen it, then you should, it's amazing. Unless of course, you're one of those dudes who can't stand anything less than three kills per film. This one is light-hearted and funny...and a little romance (so just warning you!).

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos is about 41 square miles, so it's not huge. However, it's big enough that you can get away if you need a change of scenery. Now, keep in mind that this is not one of those tropical, palm tree lined places. It has a rock terrain and hardly any trees to speak of....but that's what makes it unique.

Super Paradise Beach on Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos does have multiple sand beaches and they are great. People arrive in the main town of Mykonos and that is where you will need to find your transportation to the beaches or other areas.

Mykonos, Greece

Mykonos has various methods of getting around. Most people rent the scooters for the week or day. They are reasonable to rent and pretty much don't take more than a simple signature and handshake with the rental shop owner. There are places on the internet to rent, but trust me, it's much cheaper if you do it while you're there. I think I paid about $15 U.S. for the day (but it's much cheaper by the week). The shop owner will generally ask you if you've driven one before, etc...they don't want to loose their bikes. A word of warning though: If you're at all timid or a nervous driver, then don't rent one. The island roads and hills can be tedious due to cars passing by quickly and the steepness of some areas. If you don't want to rent a scooter, then you can easily just take the bus from town, which runs frequently. There is also a small ferry service that you can take, but you will get a little wet since you have to get out of the boat into the water. Oh, as far as renting a car, I wouldn't. Most of them are stick shift and it's just simply not necessary to have a car.

Super Paradise Beach on Mykonos, Greece

As I said, there is more than one beach, so you have your choice. One of the most popular is "Super Paradise Beach". Yes, it's a strange name, but that's it. I drove my scooter there, and it took a while and was on some pretty steep hills, not to mention the cars whipping by at breakneck speeds. Also, it's a little tricky knowing all of the streets, so take a map.

Mykonos, Greece

Super Paradise does have a clothing option section (as do many Greek Beaches), so you can't be too shy or uptight to enjoy Mykonos. Mykonos is known as a party island, but don't let that scare you. It's not the Spring Break, rowdy, obnoxious crowd. All ages go there and are welcome, but there is a great nightlight in the main town with multiple bars and dance clubs. It's very, very safe on Mykonos and many families enjoy long stays there.

Mykonos, Greece

The town is very charming and unique. Most buildings you see are painted white, and many have blue domes on top. There is a stone path that runs through the town, which adds to the character.

Mykonos, Greece traditional sidewalk

As many times as I've been there, I have gotten lost over and over in the town. This is not a problem, since it's safe and the town is not that big. Getting lost is fun and easy though because of the many small paths that make their way through shops and cafes up and down the hill. It is akin to being in a maze, but again, it adds to it's charm.

Mykonos, Greece

The Greeks are nice and generally helpful, but it's a two way street. So remember to be respectful to their culture and town and they will go out of their way to help you. Food and shopping in Mykonos can be a little more expensive than normal, but not horrible. Everything is in Euros and ATMs are readily accessible. I would say a meal can be anything from a $8-10 sandwich to upscale fare. If you go to a restaurant by the water (and it's touristy) you will pay much more than if you go to a small cafe in a different part of town. Of course, seafood is in abundance.

Mykonos, Greece Storks 

There are tons of gift shops and Greek art available. Obviously, be smart when you shop though, because you can get ripped off anywhere in the world. However, it's not a general problem in Mykonos.

Mykonos, Greece, Traditional Church Tower

Mykonos does have a season, so make sure you don't go there during the off-season because most everything will be closed. Hotels and shops generally open around Easter time and run to about October. July and August are the craziest months and you would be wise to book in advance. The best months to go are May, June and September. As far as hotels go, there are all price ranges and most people can find something affordable.

Mykonos, Greece home entrance

Everywhere you turn in Mykonos is a photo opportunity. It's absolutely beautiful. Take your camera video camera if you have one. Take PLENTY of sunblock since the sun is constant and the prices for sunblock on the island are ridiculous.

Mykonos, Greece "Venice" area

In addition to the many things you can do on Mykonos, there are also day trips and overnight trips you can take to other sites. HERE is a generic website that will give you some idea of what's available, but there is a tour office by the waterfront in the main town, and I would recommend waiting until  you get there to book anything. Delos is the most popular destination off of the island, due to it's ancient ruins.

Mykonos, Greece

Overall, Mykonos is an amazing destination and I would highly recommend it. If you like diversity in your fellow guests, cultures and food, then this is the place to go.

Mykonos, Greece windmills

There are a few photo galleries of Mykonos in my Flickr album which can be accessed by clicking
HERE. The Mykonos sets are towards the bottom of the group.

Bangkok, Thailand Part Three...River houses and the Pak Klong Flower Market

Sunday, January 17, 2010

As we started up the river, I began to notice this strange contrast between 5 Star hotels and run-down homes that lined the sides. I am always fascinated by living conditions in other parts of the world. It seemed that every inch of the waterfront was taken up by some type of real estate.

Home along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

Rotting posts seemed to barely keep some of the homes from falling into the water, while hanging laundry was the obvious similarity between neighbors. Now, before I go on...I want to make it clear that I really, really love the Thai people. There is such a warmth, openness and politeness that is comforting when visiting Thailand. One of the common gestures is that the Thai people place their hands in a praying position next to their chest in order to express thanks, appreciation or as a warm greeting. You will notice this most times when you are a store, restaurant or meeting. I would say it's equivalent to hand shaking, but it seems much kinder than that.

The Thai people are soft-natured, well mannered and always willing to help. As always, there are a few exceptions to every rule, but for the most part, these people make us (Americans) seem brash.  Thai people love to laugh and smile, so it's not difficult to make friends and connect with these gentle souls.

Homes along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

I'm not trying to make you feel sorry for these people living in these homes along the river. I honestly don't think it's out of the ordinary. These homes are probably just weathered and worn over the years and may not constitute poverty by Thailand standards. I just find them fascinating to see and photograph.

Homes along the Chao Phraya River

In the next photo here, you can see that most people have satellite dishes attached to the sides apartments (In hot Pink, of course). A small cafe sits at the bottom of this photo.

Homes along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok

Okay, so let's talk about some of the stops you can experience along the way. We actually got on and off at many different places and I will try to show you some photos of a few. I have to say though, that if someone has a very difficult time walking (maybe with a cane or something) then this tour boat might not be the best idea. Whenever the boat pulls up to each stop, it bumps against the edge a bit and kind of bounces up and down due to the waves. At times, you have to jump a little to get your balance on shore. It's not a problem for regular footed people, but it might be for someone who has walking problems.

Anyway,  even though many of the neighborhood stops you get off on might look a bit run down, it's quite safe. You probably wouldn't want to roam around everywhere after dark, but during the day, there should never be a problem. These stops started to show me the Bangkok I expected to see. Not the upscale modern version I first saw. I'm not going to be able to remember the names of these stops, so you might have to explore on your own to find them.

Temple at the Memorial Bridge Pier

One of the places I liked a lot was the Pak Kong Flower Market. When you first get off at this pier, you will see a tree linked street that you can access by walking to your right and then shortly turning left up the street. You should be able to see the temple tower (in photo above) to know you're going in the right direction. I am taking you this way so that you can see the Temple before you go to the Flower Mart.
This Temple is next to impossible to photograph, due to the trees, gates and everything else that gets in the way. It's important to know that you can't just walk into a Temple wearing shorts or tank tops. You have to have on long pants and be dress appropriately. This is strictly enforced at every temple and the palace.

Temple at the Memorial Bridge Pier

Once you see the Temple, you can walk to your left and see the street entrance to the Flower Market. The entire street is lined with stores. Be careful when crossing the streets to get there. Like Vietnam, you're kind of at your own risk. There are crosswalks, but people just don't like to stop their cars or motorcycles, so if this scares you, then try to walk next to a local right when they cross...they'll understand.

Vendor at the Pak Kong Flower Market in Bangkok

There are literally thousands of flowers along this street with many different vendors that even stretch into the alleys.

Vendors at the Pak Kong Flower Market in Bangkok

I didn't get a great set of pictures of flowers, but you have to trust me that there are lots of them everywhere. There are also a few produce stands too.

Produce at the Pak Kong Flower Market in Bangkok

The street is pretty busy with lots of vendors, buyers and delivery people walking around.

Vendors at the Pak Kong Flower Market in Bangkok

This yellow flower was in abundance on this particular day and being made into a wreath of sorts to be worn. From what I understand, it had to do with a Buddhist "Holiday" that was approaching and many people bought them for this purpose.

Yellow flowers for Buddhist Holiday

The area is safe, as there were all kinds of tourist and police around keeping watch. There are also some small cafes on the sides streets to eat at if you're hungry, but I'll talk about them in another post.

Thai Police on regular patrol

I would say that you could spend an hour here just looking around because of the many blocks of vendors. The river trip is generally something you want to do each day, since you could spend hours along the various stops. And as always, there are many more pictures of Bangkok in my Flickr photo album, which can be accessed HERE.

To Be Continued....
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