Staying off the beaten path

Bangkok might have been frustrating for most tourists the last month.   Thousands of demonstrators took over government buildings and caused massive traffic jams.  Some tourists may have curbed their exploration due to unanswerable questions: Would pro and anti-government groups clash?  When would the army step in? Would the violence and killing of previous demonstrations be repeated?

During our stay in Bangkok during the demonstrations, we worked around potential problems and saw a bit of Bangkok not on most tourists’ lists of “Important Places To See.”

During our last week, we stayed in a neighborhood far from the protestors. Focal Local, a small B&B, served breakfasts that were delicious and always visually appealing.

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One morning, yells, banging of drums, and loud clashing of cymbals interrupted our breakfast.  Were these the protestors right on the other side of our wall?  No, just a neighborhood Chinese group as they paraded through the streets celebrating a lunar festival.

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Late in the day we walked about 15 minutes through a little park under an elevated highway. A small ferryboat waited for us at the water’s edge.  All through the day those little boats make repeated runs across the Chao Phraya River to the main riverboat station.  The ferry ride cost: ten cents (U.S.).  We hopped on and enjoyed the 5-minute ride. 

We connected to the larger river taxi boat, used mostly by locals to go up and down the river.  Our destination that day was Wat Devaraj Kunchorn.  Tucked into a neighborhood, the wat is very old (15th century) but obviously is well used and cared for by the monks.

A little resident wat cat came over to warmly greet us and to pose for a photo.

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This was a wat like none we had previously seen with stunning colors and decoration.  Mural paintings wrapped around the walls, and the ceiling and upper walls’ decoration looked like fine Japanese wrapping paper.

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We snapped the last photo of the day, a flower, that we didn’t remember seeing before.  Do you know what it is?  These little mysteries keep us searching to understand just a little better what we’ve seen on our trip.

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NOTE: if you’re going to visit the wat, you can take a riverboat on the Chao Praya River to the Tha Thewet stop (#15).  Walk down the lane until you see a bridge on your left going across the canal.  You’ll need to go to the right and then circle back to the left along the Si Ayutthaya Road.    If you make it, you might want to stop at the very nearby and popular restaurant, Steve’s, with waterfront dining.

December 2013

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, Thailand and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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