Day 2 Bangkok
I was asleep by 8.30 pm last night after very little sleep the night before due to the 2am arrival. I barely had the energy to hunt dinner but went for a short stroll and was easily pressured into a tray of veg spring rolls by an elderly couple setting up their stall in the evening markets that extend down each side of the main road and every side street.
How nice to open the bar fridge in my room this morning to find coconut cakes, banana fritters, sticky rice with banana and plenty of fruit left over from yesterdays’ acquisitions. My usual early first breakfast was taken care of consumed while doing an hour of two of work before hitting the streets. No point going out too early as nothing is open and no cooked food ready.
Leaving the hotel around 9.30am the plan was to find the Little India of Bangkok which was supposedly within walking distance. I rounded the first corner behind the hotel and was sitting down to breakfast number two within a minute of leaving home. That wasn’t planned but why pass a good food stall? I never pass a food stall without checking what’s on offer and the steady takeaway trade to workers on motorcycles meant this one was a worth a stop. I perched at one of the two tables on the footpath and tucked into rice, two veg dishes and omelette for 40 Baht. Reckon this will become another regular stop!
I pottered around the lanes and markets sampling more treats, stashing the leftovers for
later, and headed roughly in the direction of Little India. I can’t believe how crammed in everything is here. Roads are taken over with pedestrians and stalls, motorbikes tear through markets where really only pedestrians should be and the manual unloading and carting of goods in amongst the throng must try the patience of those lifting the heavy loads. I find myself constantly stepping aside to let people through while others just push on past. Still I’m in no hurry and perhaps they are!
After a couple of hours my bag was getting heavy, water getting low and it was time for a loo break. I still hadn’t found the area of Little India so headed back to the hotel for a cuppa and another look at the map. Polished off a few more snacks with coffee, worked out how to get to my destination and went back out on the street again towards the canal.
The online guides mention Little India is true to its name – “little” and they aren’t wrong. Just one side of one alley really and the Indian shops at the head of the lane soon morph back into Thai run stalls again. But the markets and laneways continue as did I.
Coming out on to a proper main road it was time to turn around and start the slow journey home. A fascinating flower market with only a few stalls operating, makes me want to look up some details of when its peak trading time is for a re-visit. Then I realise it is next door to a massive temple, or wat, and many of the flowers are threaded for temple offerings. Quite a magnificent complex of buildings but I wasn’t in the mood for an extended temple tour so took a few photos through the gate and continued.
Turning a corner into more pavement food carts I stopped to watch a woman grilling small discs that looked like mini pappadums on a charcoal stove and went away with a bagful of the most delicious and crispy sweet coconut and sesame wafers. Who knows what other snacks had accumulated in my backpack by this time of day. I forget what I’ve bought sometimes and get a nice surprise when I unpack back at the hotel!
Now back at the canal I walked up one side all serene and clean and free from traffic, then back down the other full of human activity, building works, and chaos. Amazing how two sides of a narrow canal can be so different! Ducking down a side street and on to another main road I found myself in spice territory where sack upon sack of star anise, fennel, cinnamon sticks and many other unrecognisable whole and ground spices were piled high in warehouses and on footpaths. There are plenty of well fed cats and dogs amongst the warehouses and I stop to pat a few. Many of the dogs wear muzzles so perhaps they get a bit cranky sometimes but seemed to lap up any attention from me.
The afternoon heat was building up and even a warm weather lover like me was ready for a dose of air-con and put the weary feet for a while. Time to take refuge back at the hotel and unpack the coconut wafers, the spinach pakoras, the extra fish cakes, oh and another whole meal of three veg curries and rice I’d forgotten about! Might not need to gather dinner tonight.
I reckon I’ve got the feel for my local area now so time to do some research on the MRT train system and pick a spot on the map for tomorrow’s exploring.