Walking to Wat Pho Temple – Bangkok
Walking Street Bangkok is about seeing the real Bangkok. If you want see Bangkok, try walking to see some of the sights. The Riverside area is a great place to stay. This area has many attractions visitors want to see here. There are also lots of good restaurants, nice hotels and transportation alternatives. Walking to see Bangkok is hard to beat. You notice more of the little things, the details you miss when you ride around. By walking its a different city and when you get tired, duck into a cafe, or grab a taxi or tuk tuk back to your hotel. Sometimes I even go inside a 7 Eleven to cool off or buy a cold cloth in the 7 Eleven cooler.
This is a pictorial article for the traveler that wants to tour Bangkok and for Arm Chair Travelers.
Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho – Riverside Bangkok
Here in (BKK) Bangkok taking a step out the door can awaken your sense of adventure pretty fast. For todays walk, it’s my morning walk combined with a tour of Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok. I wanted to combine an attraction and my morning walking to see one of the most famous and well known temples in BKK and where you find The Reclining Buddha. Wat Pho Reclining Buddha should be on your Bangkok itinerary. The Reclining Buddha takes up an entire building, and its very impressive!!
Riverside Bangkok: James Bond
The first two JB (James Bond) movie actors were tall and most Thai people are about 1 foot (0.3 meters). That makes many of us foreigners who are about 6 ft. tall seem like JB. Add in a look alike hat from one of the movies shot in Asia and Viol’a, your automatically thought of as JB. I’m a good foot taller than many people here and they seem to remember the Bond movie made in Thailand with Roger Moore. I’ve been referred to as the Bond visitor by a few. I know, not even close, but its funny, where’s my Aston Martin DB 8, must have left it in England at my flat?
This walk is also to the Royal Grand Palace…Link to another pictorial article at the bottom
Where to Eat on your Riverside Bangkok Walk
This morning I skipped breakfast for a fast start. No stopping in my usual 7- Eleven for coffee. What I didn’t know was there are a lot 7- Eleven’s but today, I ended up at another 7-Eleven and I bought my coffee and headed out with my phone, water, camera and sipped my coffee as I wandered down the street. I had my new JB hat! No, I didn’t buy it to look like James Bond but since buying it a few weeks ago it has gained a lot of attention (later on it got wet, no more straw hat).
The Heat in Bangkok
Today I wanted to walk to Wat Po to photograph another of the many temples in Thailand. Must be almost as many temples as there are 7/Elevens here, well it seems like it sometimes. It’s nice to start out early before it gets hot, and it gets very hot here, not just because of the temperature which is normally a high of 91 degree F this time of year, but Thailand’s sun is intense because of the close proximity of the equator. It’s funny how the heat and sun can be different when you hear what the temperature is, but it is. Phoenix is a dryer heat and Florida is a damper heat, both different, both can get hot, but they both feel different and so does Thailand from those places.
Walking to See Bangkok: Wat Pho Temple
The walk to Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok which lies in the Old Town area is an experience because its very different from anywhere I’ve been, at least so far. It’s called Old Town for a reason. Cracks and holes in the sidewalks, electrical wires framing the building facades and traffic everywhere. It’s not just the cracks but there are tall curbs everywhere.
Walking down a block you are bound to find an alley where you have a large step down and a large step up along with a few holes and cracks to dodge all the while making sure there is no vehicles about to rush upon you. Then there are the dark areas of the cement (most everywhere) where the sidewalks are saturated with rain during the rainy season and the cement begins to turn black from the mildew. Most of the time there isn’t a problem walking, but when it gets wet, it can get slick, and even when its not raining there are a few drains that create puddles in your way, but only here and there.
Typical Scenes in Bangkok – Old Town
The best part is everything is new and different here to me. I like walking by all the cafes and street vendors looking at all the different foods cooking and the people that are on the street until you get to the temple. You see a lot of backpackers but on these walks I see mostly Thai locals. There are men in suits, military personnel (there is some kind of base here next to the river), school children and people that attend the colleges close by. There’s a hustle here, the Thai people are busy. You can see they are hard workers as they set up their businesses for the day or out making deliveries.
I can’t say enough about how clean most things are here. I wouldn’t litter in American and certainly not here, but is seems like there is less trash here on the sidewalks and streets then in some American cities. Even though there is a language barrier, they know a little English and you find a way to communicate most of the time. If they don’t speak English there is usually a Thai around that knows some English.
Watching How You Walk
When you’re walking you realize you don’t have the entire sidewalk to yourself, you have to share it with the street vendors selling their retail goods off of their carts, street food carts, and other people of all walks of life, There’s also the occasional motorcycle that decides to take a short cut from the traffic. It’s a busy place and you have to watch your every step. I use all my senses to get around here, especially my eyes and ears and not depending on any one sense, but all I can muster, including a sixth sense you develop here, peripheral vision included.
A Word of Caution
My friend Cindy warned me to keep an eye out behind me, and I do. I sneak a look around me as I walk all the time. Turning my head to see who is behind me and even step to the side to rest and see who is behind me, but I have never had one problem, but I still am careful. What is great traveling in SE Asia is you feel safe. Seems like there not much crime here. Vendors leave their money out in the open, its usually change, but its still in the open for many street vendors. In every big city there is always someone behind you, and traveler still need to be careful.
Breakfast in Bangkok – Street Food
This morning it was a little cooler thanks to my early start, and I decided I was going to stop and pick up something on the way. Coconut was on my mind again after having it for breakfast the last few day. About a mile after walking on my journey there was a lady set up just off the street selling fruits and other foods. She picked a coconut up from a big vat of ice and opened it for me with a clever; I had a seat and drank the clear cold liquid with a straw. It was refreshing as I could feel the heat of the day begin to build, and the cold juice hit the back of my throat.
There were locals there too, eating breakfast as they snuck looks at the tall foreigner with the hat sitting a few feet away. One of them was already eating a bowl with Pai Thai in it and a few kinds of hot spices sitting right next to their food. You see people eat a much heavier breakfast then I would expect; fried chicken, pork, rice with vegetables and chicken are some of the meals served by street food vendors.
The King of Thailand
Time to get going after my 10 minute break. I walked about 15 more minutes as I came upon a large framed mural of their beloved King. He is loved here because of they kind of man he is, a generous king that loves his people, and his people loving him back.
It’s a good feeling until you find out he is sick in the hospital, and everyone wishes that he has a speedy recovery. I’m not sure, but along my three mile walk to Wat Po I must have seen five or six large photos of the king. Every time there is a picture you can see people stopping out of respect to gaze at him.
Update on the King of Thailand
The King of Thailand passed away on Oct 13, 2016 after a long illness. The people of Thailand loves the King and he will be missed greatly.
Street Vendors in Bangkok
Its difficult not to see tons of street food carts or wares for sale everywhere around BKK. Sometimes you find an entire block with vendors and people walking slowly down the crowded sidewalk looking closely at the goods. It can get hard to move along the crowd, but you squeeze through and time passes as you look at the many of the things for sale. Spices, coins, leather purses and billfolds, hats, watches, you name it, it’s here, new or used, real and fake.
If you get hungry there is always food or ice cold beverages. Its hard not to get hungry, and I find myself stopping for snacks about every other block. This morning it was the coconut, then toasted bread dipped in sugar, then I had to stop at a small cafe and have french toast. I felt guilty at every stop, but its fun to try everything, well, as much as you can without becoming uncomfortable. Everywhere you look you see Thai people eating, it’s a natural thing here to eat small and frequent meals, anywhere they can, standing, walking, sitting in chairs, or the curb.
Morning Great for Photography
Finally after squeezing through crowded sidewalks at 8 A.M. in the morning, I arrive at Wat Po about 9 o’clock and begin to do my photography, the suns at a good angle for me. I like it somewhat low, there’s a contrast between some of the unique architectural buildings and shapes that I see everywhere I see. I love the shadows and saturated colors…
Wat Pho Seen From the Street
Transportation in Bangkok
There are of course all kinds of ways to get around here, but walking is my favorite because it slows down everything and taking taxis are not as easy as you think. You have to find one and then say meter meter or they try to over charge you. In the past I have asked up to six taxis before finding one that will use the meter. Most of the ones parked want to over charge you in BKK so I flag one down and most of those will use the meter. If they don’t use the meter they want 2 to 3 times the price it should cost.
There are also the Tuk Tuk that can take you around, but they do the same thing as Taxis. They are a must to take if you have not taken one, but they are not as comfortable as a taxi and if you are tall, its difficult to see anything because the top has an awning and since I am 6 feet tall, I can’t see much.
Now that you have seen all the food I ate on this venture, you can understand why you want to walk. I have lost a few pounds, and even after eating all those seconds and thirds.
Read About the Royal Grand Palace
© Travel Food & Health – 2014 – © Thomas Levine