We rode through the back streets of Bangkok this morning and saw nothing famous and it was absolutely wonderful.
Sixteen kilometres of tiny lanes and canal-sides gave us an entirely different view of Bangkok. Some of the lanes we so small we couldn’t identify where the lane edge lay and the tiny shacks that border them started. Less than a metre wide the lanes were bordered by people’s’ kitchens and living rooms and we were basically riding through their houses. People were surprisingly friendly about the whole thing; they were mostly older and seemed quite pleased to see us, or at least some kids, riding through. (The younger men we saw seemed at least as taken with the young Swiss women who accompanied us.) Often we were brushing through people’s laundry hanging out to dry in the Sun.
At one point we visited a bronze foundry behind a house. The whole area we were in was once known for bronze-work. It was all done by hand with a couple of people hunched over white-hot forges. The heat was oppressive but the results were absolutely beautiful and part of an unbroken tradition running back many hundreds of years.
At another point we rode through a series of small local markets, lowering our heads to dodge the canopies. Fresh vegetables, fish, small bits of hardware,
We caught a local ferry over the canal and dodged more serious traffic. Callum had an altercation with the front end of a tuk-tuk.
We visited an three-hundred year-old temple, that is now barely functioning and saw tortoises at another old temple. We dodged monks in the street, and marvelled at a large reptile that had recently eaten, well, something.
We didn’t see anything famous to speak of, but we got an insight into how the real people live in Bangkok and had a fabulous day.