Or bumper boats
14.04.2011 34 °C
We had to get up early on Sunday; the bus to the floating market would pick us up at 7:30, so for one day, breakfast in the hostel was served at 7 for us, instead of 7:30.
It was very nice to have an air conditioned bus and the motorboat ride to the floating market was refreshing due to the wind and water. But when I say motorboat, don’t misunderstand. It’s a boat (rather long and narrow and riding low in the water) with a motor on a long stick (they steer by moving the stick from left to right), hence motor boat. They go with reasonable speed on the narrow canals, so the wake is significant and sometimes the boats jump over each other’s waves (which makes some Chinese tourist squeak in your ear *g*).
We took a peddle boat around the floating market. Not cheap, but sites is not what we want to save money on, besides, 150 Baht is still peanuts (1 euro = around 40 Baht). I’m glad we decided to take the boat, because – even though it was rather warm – the experience is not the same from the waterfront. The canals are lined with boats that sell stuff, from groceries to tourist crap (mostly tourist crap) and when you’re paddled past, they stick out their hook on a stick and pull you up next to their boat, so you can ‘peruse the wares’. Besides that, there are literal peddlers: smaller peddle boats from which the Thai sell hats, fruit and even wok a meal for you (as the guide said, you can eat on the boat, drink on the boat, but you cannot sleep on the boat). Now imagine the size of an already narrow channel halved by the boats lining it on both sides, full of tourist boats and add the dozens of salesboats and you can imagine that it’s full. We met several traffic jams on the water, at which point a game of ‘bumper boat’ ensues. The skippers gently bump their boats into that of the person next to them and keep peddling, pushing each other out of the way.
Link to You Tube.
Once back on shore, we tried kannom krok, a traditional Thai breakfast. It mostly tastes of coconut and is very sweet, but it really wasn’t bad. For my Dutch family and friends, they look like two ‘poffertjes’ stacked on top of each other with the flat side touching. They come filled with pumpkin, spring onion or corn (they like sweet corn here, KFC sells it in an ice cream, imagine a McSundae with corn instead of caramel, weird huh?).
After this experience, we got the chance to go to a snake farm, but since lonely planet warned that those are turned into circus spectacles where the keepers ‘fight’ with the snakes, we opted out and went back to Bangkok.
The long ride back to the city left us Hungry, so we grabbed a bite in Kaosan road. It was good, but nothing special, but since Kaoson is the backpacker’s street, it was rather expensive. By that I mean 120 Baht, instead of the 50 we paid the day before.
After lunch we climbed the Golden Mountain. Now that sounds impressive, but it’s really not much more than stairs with an attitude. It gave us a nice view over Bangkok however. Also the weird spectacle of a big assortment of laundry lines, full of money.
Wat Pho and Wat Arun came next. Wat Pho boasts the largest reclining Buddha in the country: 46 meters long and 16 meters high. It was large and it was a Buddha, that's about all you can say about it. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
At Wat Arun, we had a ‘Italian softdrink’, which turned out to be syrup (in our case kiwi flavoured) soda and a whole lot of ice. Ice, made from the local tap water. We decided to be brave (or stupid, but warm) and just drink it and hope for the best.
On the boat back to our side of town, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset.
After a very nice Japanese noodle soup with roasted pork and a stop at the 7/11 it was time to realize that it can’t be vacation forever: I did the laundry.
Time spent in Asia: 3 days
Number of sights seen: 7