Taken from a walking overpass looking at the train support over head, in Bangkok
I set off with my partner in crime and began walking down the busy city streets. Hot pink taxis whipped by us with devilish speed while heading to their next pickup. There were two things different here in Bangkok. Number One, taxi drivers (whether on foot or in car) did not stop to bother us. Ever. I wasn't sure how to react to this after weeks of driving propositions. I had the instinct to say "No Thanks" every time a cab drove by in it's pink splendor. Number Two, pink splendor. Yes, the pinkest, most florescent cabs I have ever seen are filling the streets of Bangkok. Okay, I have to admit...I LOVED them. The question was sooo simple.."Why have yellow cabs...when you can have hot pink???". I was so torn...I mean, is it wrong to love a pink cab?? After weeks of turning them down, now I WANT to ride in one just to say I did. As you can see from this photo though, there were also, Green, Blue, Yellow and Red ones. I just didn't notice them until now.
Anyway (at least that's over with). At the moment, I felt that I was walking down just another modern city street that could be anywhere in downtown California. The only thing that gave it away were the occasional advertisements in Thai that laid against large malls, shopping centers and bus stops. The area that we stayed in was the newer part of Bangkok. The part that you don't see in tourism ads. None the less, it was attractive and interesting.
Bangkok Bus Stop
As we kept walking we finally found a train stop that was where we wanted to get on for our next destination. I wanted to get out of the confinements of this concrete jungle and see the real bangkok and the famous river than runs through it. The train system in Bangkok is built overhead, but is not a monorail. There are multiple entries to the train along the streets, but the train does not go all over Bangkok, in fact, it's sort of limited as far as the whole city area goes. We walked up a long flight up stairs and found our ticket station. It was a little confusing at first. You have to buy coins to get your ticket through a computer system, and only the employees at the booths give change. You then have to pick your zones etc..and you finally end up with a ticket. The tickets are scanned when you enter and when you leave, so you can't loose them.
Bangkok City Train
We ended up picking the train and line that goes all the way to the start of the river on the bottom of the city map (Saphin Taksin). It was not a long distance, about 15 minutes and cost around $3.50 for one way. The trains are well air conditioned and very clean...but of course, crowded. As we exited, we were not sure where we ended up, but we saw the river as we walked down from the platform. There was a small crowd of people waiting on a covered platform and a ticket booth selling various type of boat tickets. We ended up buying a one day pass on the "Chao Phraya Tourist Boat", it was about $5, which was very cheap and allows you to hop on and off at the stop as you wish. The boat runs up the large river and has many, many stops along the way. You could ultimately spend the entire day going for many miles. It seemed like the fun thing to do and a way to see other parts of the city.
Bangkok River Stop
The picture above is one of the many stops that you can get off and explore. Unfortunately, Bangkok is a bit polluted and the streets are usually dirty. The skies can be grey and smoggy and the water in the river is brown/green. So, it's best to realize that you might get a little dirty when running around the city all day. Most of my photos had a grey tinge to them, but this is life.
Temple along the Bangkok River
As you can see in the above photo, just going up the river a short ways will start to reveal some amazing temples. The river boats that you use have colored flags on them to show you which makes local stops and which is express. The boat moves pretty quickly and has an inside area to get out of the sun, but most people like to stick their heads out of the open windows or stand on the back platform.
The River Tourist Boat
To Be continued...