Hiking around Bangkok. Day 3.
More bad cabbies. Everybody speaks English, until you want someone to speak English. Then, they look at you like you’re stupid. It can be aggravating.
I knew this was coming today, so I emotionally armored myself before walking out of the hotel. As I was standing in front of the hotel waiting to flag down a cab and get raped for a ride north to the Harley dealership, I had a though. Maybe, since I just spent a quarter of my days spending money on sunscreen I should have bought a week ago, maybe I would go adventuring instead. So I turned toward the metro station and an adventure was what I received.
I walked down to the metro and bought a ticket to the National Stadium exit, which is the terminal end of the green line. From the station I walked north and found the Saphan Hua Chang Pier to catch the water taxi. I road the water taxi East several miles to the Charn Issara Pier. From here I walked out to the road and caught a cab the rest of the way to the Harley shop. It took my phone god and to more cabbies before my cabbie could drive the 15 blocks over to the shop he couldn’t find.
The Harley dealer was shockingly overpriced, but I had made the journey for a reason so I bought a t-shirt and shoved it in my bag. The shirt cost me the rest of my day’s spending money. Running on a couple hundred Bahd leftover from the last couple days, it was time to make my way back.
So far the trip over had cost me 30B for metro, 13B for water taxi, and 53B for a cab. All of this to buy a 1300B t-Shirt.
I waited outside for 5 minutes or so until an empty cab came along. Of course, he spoke no English. He had no idea where the Pier was. He didn’t understand the google maps image of Bangkok. He didn’t get any of my money or exasperation.
Now, in a great feet of under-thinking, I said screw it and decided to walk. It seemed like a good idea at the moment. I headed back the way I had come, and made it 80% of the way there before I could go no farther. So I ended up walking west to walk east, down the side of the street which had no sidewalk and no real street edge. DO NOT DO THIS! IT IS UNWISE!
As I stopped, trying to figure out where I was (I was not in the good part of town and shouldn’t have been stopping to check such things!) I realized I was right next to another Pier, so I went there and grabbed another water taxi west. 15B for a ticket back to where I had come.
Hopping off at the Saphan Hua Chang Pier, I pulled out the phone and gps’d my way over to the Jim Thomson House museum. For a 150B entry fee with included tour, I definitely recommend this one. It is a very nice tour of the house and gardens, and then time to wander and take pictures. The guide’s English is good and the tour is enjoyable. Fortunately for me, there was also maybe 20 minutes of cool down time before it started. I was starting to overheat. I sweat so much, I had sweat all the screen back out of my skin. It was kinda nasty, and is now wiped all over my pant legs.
Catching the metro back to the hotel, I drank all the bottled water in the room. Now cooling down, while watching the FC Dallas v Philadelphia soccer match, and writing this.
All of that to save about 800B in cab fairs. (400B each way) oh well, I wanted an adventure and I found one. I have just about enough money left for some food and maybe one beer. I’m thinking its a chill out day.
You don’t really notice it from the photos, but the river taxi is not necessarily the best thing ever. The river is polluted and marred with floating trash. The taxi boats are all super loud, and basically exhaust-free. They are long, thin vessels, so the bob up and down at speed end encountering any amount of wake.
That being said, the are cheap! They are also easy to use. Just locate the Pier and climb on a boat heading the way you want to head. You literally have to hop on and hop off, as the boats don’t completely stop moving when they come in to the Pier/Dock. Watch getting on and off. Once on, a young and industrious deckhand will make his way down the side of the boat and sell you a ticket. Just tell him what Pier you’re headed to and he will charge you accordingly. I paid 13B going out, and 15B coming back. From what I understand, about 20B is the max ticket price. If you’re headed east-west, it worth the time to take the water taxi. All of the people on it are working Thai people, coming and going. It gives an interesting view of daily life you don’t get by other travel means.
Get out there. Do stuff!