February 12th, 2013

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Beginning our Asian trip - Chao Phraya River in Thailand

We've been back a few days from our trip to Bangkok and various places in Cambodia and Myanmar.  It was a fabulous trip.  We saw more temples, pagodas, stupas, and monasteries than you can count ranging in bad to pristine condition. I have a few hundred videos and over 9,000 pictures (my camera can take pictures in burst mode so that accounts for some of them) and the job of sifting through them to choose a few that are worth posting is huge. 

On the first day there we stayed in a very nice hotel (Riva Surya) on the Chao Phraya river. The river is the main portion of a river system - it runs about 230 miles and Bangkok is near the end where it runs into the Gulf of Thailand. At Bangkok it is tidal so the height varies as does the direction of flow. There is lots of river traffic - small ferries, freight boats, worker's boats of varying types and  decor, and debris - naturaly and man-made.

Our hotel was right next to a ferry dock and we took the ferry down a bunch of stops to the main stop where we caught the BTS sky train (an elevated metro - there are two intersecting lines + a Metro which we never got around to taking) to go to a market.

You can see Wat Arun, an elaborate complex that we didn't get to visit on one side and the Grand Palace, an even more elaborate complex that we visited several days later. In addition to these structures and some fancy hotels there are warehouses and what looks like some pretty rundown housing on the side of the river.  One of the bridges is the suspension type like the Leonard Zakim bridge in Boston.

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Hippo

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Because our first day was a saturday we were able to go to the Chatuchak Weekend Market. This market has over 5,000 stalls and it occupies ~35 acres.  We wandered through to see what it was like.  It is indoors with narrow aisles and all kinds of things were sold there.  Clothes, cosmetics, jewelry, food, food to eat, plants, pet equipment, tools - you name it and it probably can be found there. Many shops were specialized - e.g. there would be a shoe stall that only sold flip flops or a clothing stall that just sold t-shirts. I bought one of the miniature sewing machines that looked so cool - I haven't tried it out. There was a map depicting the various regions but it was easy to get lost - pity the poor person who want to return to a stall they visited a few minutes before. It is mostly indoors - must be an interesting ghost town during the week. There was a map depicting the various regions but it was easy to get lost. Here is an interactive map.

This gorilla was seen from the train on the way:


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