My holiday to Thailand started in the metropolitan city of Bangkok. During my visits to Bangkok in 2009 and 2011 I stayed in the KhaoSan Road area, the backpacker-hub from Asia. Bangkok is more than tourist-madness on the streets, buckets of booze and touts shouting. So this time I decided to book a hotel at the Chao Phraya Riverside.
One of the reasons for me to stay at the riverside was the Co van Kessel bicycle-boat tour departed from the River City Shopping Center. Many times other travelers advised me to do this bicycle tour in Bangkok. Budget, time and location had been my excuses to skip the tour before. But now I wanted to be sure not to miss out on this one.
I booked the tour for the afternoon and I was a little bit worried when the pouring rain started just a little before lunchtime. We had to start the tour wearing ponchos… The first two hours we cycled through Chinatown, taking narrow alleyways and crossing several markets. Since it was a Sunday it was relatively quiet on the streets, but the smell of the food and flowers was all around. Thai people start cooking the food early morning and the smell of grilled fish (and others) at breakfast time is common here.
After visiting some of the many temple sites a longtail boat took us (and the bikes) further into rural Bangkok (Thonburi). Our prayers at one of the temple-sites probably helped us because it stopped raining. I really enjoyed watching the canal lifestyle of the Thai, the wooden stilt houses and the people fishing for food. What a contrast with the hectic city-life just a few kilometers away!
We got off the boat and cycled through some residential communities in the country-side before we enjoyed a proper Thai meal. Filled up by the delicious food we continued our biking tour through the green and humid fields. We boarded the longtail boat again to take us back to Chinatown and end this ‘off-the-beaten-track’-tour through Bangkok.
This was a great way to spend my Sunday afternoon. Bangkok deserves to be designated as the “Venice of the East” for sure!
Tomorrow I will continue this journey by flying to the south-west and visit Khao Lak, a beachtown located at the Andaman sea. Hopefully I don’t have to visit many temple-sites overthere to pray for sunshine!