Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bangkok Chinatown

Day 3 (Sunday, 8 May 2016), Afternoon

Yesterday, I checked into White Lodge hostel for a night only. The receptionist was a young and very friendly guy, and quite talkative. So was the one whom I assumed was his boss, unlike the unfriendly woman who was relieving the receptionist on the day I checked out this hostel. I had decided to extend my stay for another two days but I forgot to inform the receptionist about it this morning.

After exploring Pratunam Market early this morning, I was back at the hostel at about 10:00 a.m. I extended my stay, went back to my room and rested for a while before going to the BTS National Stadium station to take the Silom Line Skytrain to BTS Saphan Taksin. From there, I would catch an express boat to Rachawongse Pier, the gateway to Chinatown/ Yaowarat Road or more specifically, Soi Wanit 1. My original plan was to go to Khao San Road, and then to Chinatown but it was already 10:50 a.m. and I had run out of time to go to Khao San Road. It had to wait for another time in future.

From BTS Saphan Taksin station, I followed the crowd and the direction signs to Sathorn Pier which was just next to the BTS station.

When you are at Sathorn Pier, do not queue up at the ticket counter if you wish to save money. This counter sells tickets for the Chao Phraya Express tourist boats. The ticket price was THB40 whereas, in my case, the Orange Flag boat was THB14 only.

Rachawongse Pier leads straight to Rachawongse Road. As I walked along Rachawongse Road northwards to Yaowarat Street, I began to see more and more stalls and people on the street and in a narrow alley on my right, it was cramped with vendors and visitors. I walked into this alley and promptly got myself lost.

The stuff that looked like Lor Bak was not one actually

By about 1:30 p.m., I had enough of Chinatown. I was hopelessly lost. My gps with torn button covers was difficult to use. I could not zoom in and out to look at the direction to Rachawongse Pier. Switching it to off-road mode and to zoom out to look at the straight line to the pier without fully functional buttons was a hopeless effort. With the on-road mode on, I followed the direction on the screen but it kept switching back and forth to show new routes. This was the first time that my Garmin gps unit behaved like this. Normally, the screen would just show the route forward instead of switching to another route. It was so frustrating. In the end, I just followed whatever was on the screen and managed to find the pier, after a long loop from the intersection of Soi Wanit 1/ Khlong (canal) Rop Krung, through Yaowarat Road, Maha Chai Road, Charoen Krung Road, Sua Pa Road before entering Rachawongse Road to the pier.

Intersection of Soi Wanit 1 and Rop Krung Canal

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