Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bobbing along the klong

I've been wanting to take a tour around Bangkok's klongs (canals - Bangkok has been called the Venice of the East, you know) ever since Michael mentioned it back in November, so finally I get my chance! Kia and I took the river boat down to Tha Chang. 600 baht each later, we've hired ourselves a longtail boat for a two-hour klong tour to take in Wat Arun, the Royal Barge Museum, a catfish farm, the famous Taling Chan floating market and an orchid farm. Sounds good. And off we go: across the Chao Phraya river - as our driver waves vaguely to the left to indicate Wat Arun about half a kilometre downstream - and down a murky canal. And within minutes we've left the city behind and are puttering through the countryside with traditional Thai houses-on-stilts on either side of us - some pretty swanky; others little more than glorified treehouses.

A lady in a boat full of trinkets and an ice-box pulls up alongside us. "Flotting makket," our driver indicates. Was kind of expecting more than one boat's-worth of flotting makket, I have to say, but we buy pretty painted fabric fans from her, and then she 'suggests' we buy a beer for our driver "because is welly toohot".

And - yes! - we arrive at the orchid farm. Orchids are pretty. Chan chorp makmak. They're grown suspended from frames, with their long roots hanging down over irrigated troughs in the earth.

Isn't this an awesome picture? Even if I do say so myself.

And then we made our way back to base – stopping to feed the massive fat catfish on the way. They are ugly. But don't tell them that – Kia made some comment about their appearance, whereupon a huge fish jumped up and belly-flopped back in, splashing us both with klong-water. You don't wanna mess with these guys. There again, you don't wanna mess with Kia either – after that, she refused to give the fish any more bread. That showed 'em.

What became of our stop at the barge museum we never found out. We did pass a shed full of rowboats, which may have been the back entrance. Gotta love the blatant fabrications that tourist operators will tell you! If we didn't know what to expect from Thailand by now we might have been quite upset. We didn't care though - it was still a brilliant trip around the klongs, we got to admire a group of hot army boys in half a uniform (now that's what we call sightseeing!), and I finally got to see an orchid farm!


At 10:30 am, Blogger Mother said...

Exquisite orchids. Must have been a feast for the eyes to see them en masse. Do they have a perfume?

At 5:57 pm, Anonymous Dddy said...

You are taking some great pictures. Have you preserved them on disc/computer/laptop ? Dddy's gt a smart new laptop. Love the flotting makket. When you come back to Scotland you can write down how they talk. No jokes mmmy.


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