Thailand: Bangkok : Along a Klong

Welcome back to another series of travel musings and photos. This series follows a 28 day adventure I took in March /April this year with an Intrepid Tour group visiting cities, towns, villages, home stays and national parks in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia. We’ll be adding posts of my photos and trip notes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We hope you enjoy them.

So why this adventure from Bangkok to Bali?  I’ve been to most SE Asian capitals a couple of times, but only as a transit passenger.  I decided I needed to know something about the countryside I’d been flying over for decades.  On this adventure, I traveled by many means of transport: train, plane, push bike, kayak, mini-bus, trishaw, intercity coach and various types of boats including long-tails on the klongs of Bangkok. So let’s begin!

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After the group I was to travel with met together at the designated Bangkok hotel, we set off for our first exploration together… a ‘cruise’ along one of Bangkok’s canals or Klongs.

The last time I was on a klong was back in 1976 when the klongs were not a pleasant place to be. They were extremely dirty with all sorts of unmentionable things floating by including ….. I won’t even go there. This cruise, which lasted 90 minutes, was a much more pleasant experience.

The word ‘klong’, sometimes ‘khlong’ in Thai, is used to name smaller rivers as well as the canals of Bangkok.  Historically, Bangkok was a maze of klongs and the city was given the nickname of Venice of the East.  These klongs were very important for transportation, a place for floating markets and less invitingly as a place for sewerage disposal.  Many of the klongs have been filled in now.

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Many homes are built on stilts stretching over the klongs.

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Temples too, are built right on the klongs edge.

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The waterways are important thoroughfares.

This trader plies has wares from his long narrow boat

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Water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) is an attractive plant in itself but can become a huge weed problem under the right growing conditions.

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Colourfully decorated long-tail boats transport tourists around the klongs.

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Private jetties belonging to large homes and hotels jut into the water.

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Some homes are lavishly decorated.

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This long-boat couple sell hot soup from their craft.

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Some homes are not as well maintained.

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Rebuilding and repairs are still taking place after the devastating floods of 2011, (815 deaths were recorded with 3 missing).  Sixty-five of Thailand’s 77 provinces were declared disaster zones and 13.6 million people were affected.

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More repairs being undertaken.

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A typical wooden house built in the old Thai style.

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When you live on a klong, where else do you hang the washing to dry?

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More houses awaiting repairs.

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Not much playing space if you live on a klong.

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The clothes line.

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Colourfully decorated long-tail boat.

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Another similarly decorated boat.

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A larger boat on the Chao Phraya River.

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Our river cruise ended when we arrived at the Wat PhoTemple, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. More of that visit anon.

David

All photographs copyright © DY  of  jtdytravels

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