Today is a day of transportation varieties. Flagged down a taxi and got a ride to the National Museum. It is not where we wanted to go but the taxi and tuk tuk drivers are not real familiar with the tourist sites of the city and it is where he thought we meant when we first got in. Our goal is the Royal Barge Museum and it is not far from where we got dropped, so we decided to not try and explain and just to get out and walk the rest of the way.
Walking gives us a chance to walk a bridge over the river and again see the city from another perspective. It real hot again but the walk is only about ½ an hour. It is amazingly easy to find the route, not the usual case in a place where signage is often non-existent, and when it does exist it is often not in English. The destination was somewhat disappointing. The Royal Barges are being refurbished and the exhibit is closed until January 1. It seems that this is a well-guarded secret. As we are on our way out, a bicycle tour is on the way in, I try to tell them the museum is closed but they pay no attention and continue on their way.
After we cross the bridge back to the Bangkok side and walk along the riverside walk to the ferry dock we board a very crowded orange flag public ferry. We do our touring by river boat today. We are definitely moving with the tourists again. The ferry is a local ferry but it is cheap and an easy way to get from site of interest to site of interest. A good number of the people on board are tourists.
Our next stop is Wat Arun, one of Bangkok’s most impressive and famous landmarks. It is the only wat we visited in Bangkok that is climbable, it provides a panorama view of the city and helps to orient our previous walking routes.
In search of a restaurant we did not find yesterday we take our next ferry to the Memorial Bridge dock and set out on foot along the road we think the place is on. Yesterday we walked the north ½ of Maha Chai Road and could not find the restaurant, so today we tread the south end and come up empty handed again. This searching is putting our lunch timing out a great deal and we do not find another place to eat until 2:30. We wander through the edge of Chinatown and finally spot the Shangri-La Restaurant, how can we turn it down. Chinese food for lunch, here we are in Thailand and we have only eaten at one Thai restaurant. We will try again to find one tonight.
Just as we get back on the river the ferry driver guns the motor to get around a larger barge type boat. The barge blocks the vision to the right and as we pass all of the passengers on the right side of the boat (starboard is the proper term I believe) gasp and duck. A long tail boat with an equally long nose is full throttle right towards us. The driver of the long tail hits reverse hard and misses us by a foot. I’m not really prepared of a swim in the river so I’m kind of glad he missed but it makes for a good story. Our river expedition ends at the intersection of the river and the skytrain. We get out of the boat, climb the stair and board the train. Off to the hotel for a needed rest.
The next mode of transport is the local bus. We hear there is a night bazaar near the Memorial Bridge and have been told bus number 73, which we catch across from the Lub D, goes right there. We climb aboard and immediately the ticket seller is down the bus aisle making sure everyone pays. I am impressed with her efficiency as she knows exactly who got on the bus at our stop and collects a mere 11 Baht bus fare from each person. The lady is dressed in a navy blue shirt, white shirt and navy suit jacket. She has heels on and her hair is done up nicely. She has a long metal tubular hand held money holder and ticket dispenser. Very efficient!
We wander the night bazaar and realize we are too early. The vendors are just setting up for the night. We head back into Chinatown the shopping stalls have shut it down for the evening. So it is time to go back to Siam Square near our hotel.
The final mode of transport for the day is a tuk tuk. We manage to hail one after getting turned down by a number of taxis. Murray haggles, all in fun, with the tuk tuk driver and they settle on a price. Off we go like a bat out of hell. Tuk tuks are much faster than cabs because they drive in and out of the traffic, take short cuts and sometimes even zoom down the wrong side of the street.
We have had a day of walking, boats, train, a taxi, a bus and a tuk tuk. Sorry, no helicopters or airplanes. I think we will get our fill of planes over the next day or so, as we are heading home. See you on the other side.