Bangkok: Public Transit for Newbs

We wake up and venture out into the street to rustle up breakfast and plan our day. Actually our “plan” usually means no plan and we go whichever way the wind blows.

The wind blew us to the Palladium and the Platinum shopping areas via the public transit canal boat. We look like total tourists when we board as we run to the back seats where we can pull out cameras and video the unfolding scenery. We gawk and point, our heads whip left and right, looking bedazzled by the ordinary. Yep, we are high-rollin easily entertained travellers!

Speaking of public transit…..Randy, our Navigator, thought we should attempt a Bus for the first time. Randy flagged down a bus, just like he would a taxi. With our coin collections in hand we were ready for the required fare, whatever it may be. We step aboard. Curious eyes studied us, people looked at each other…Thai grins ensued. We probably overwhelmed the non-English speaking bus driver trying to pay our fare but he didn’t appear to understand why we were flashing money at him and he resumed driving. Not sure what to do, we sat our bums down, still holding our hands out with fare money. Who should we pay? The bus suddenly turns an unexpected corner….omg no! We are on the wrong bus! Stop the bus!!!! We rang the bell frantically. Passengers appeared to be  smiling and asking among themselves if anyone knows how to speak English to us farangs. Unable to resolve the farang situation, the bus driver gives up and opens the front door so farangs can self-eject! Randy is still waving his 20 bhats around as we disembark. Honestly, I suspect they are still laughing at us….and we ride the bus for free (short a trip as it was)

We hailed a TukTuk instead to the subway, heads hung in failure…..

The subway was cram packed.  One lady recognized our farang-ness and through conversation we learned that she’s a Thai living in Florida. She knew what Ontario winters were like, so she understands why we are here. She was happy to hear about our love for Thailand and our cycling adventures. Just thinking about the snow back home reminded us how much we love being here!

Ben (Randy’s son) has arrived from Japan. He will visit for the remainder of our time in Bangkok. Being young and energetic, he was KhaoSan-curious so we introduced him to the late night Lunatic Madness of the district—then retired back to our lovely, peacefully quiet hotel letting Ben take on Khao San….

Morning came. We regrouped and went to the colossal & sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market with its 15,000 stalls and 11,505 vendors, divided into 27 sections. It’s the world’s largest and most diverse weekend market. We have been to many markets, but we opined that if you can only visit one market, this is the one. This has it all. Fine art, hand-made Japanese paper, clothing clothing clothing, bags & shoes, gems, singing bowls, sculptures, socks, home decor, electronics….absolutely endless. If you can’t find it here, you won’t find it anywhere. And much of it was roofed, so at least we weren’t broiling in the convection oven that the sun delivers by day.

After dinner we strolled the side streets near the canal. We discovered yet another charming little quiet neighbourhood with traditional architecture. We remarked how quiet, peaceful and serene it looked and felt. Bangkok at night isn’t always loud and crazy.

Bangkok is not singular in dimension. It’s a wildly imperfect convergence of decadence, beauty, and the whole array of human experience. It somehow all fits together like a chaotic but cohesive painting you just gotta love.

We are not wishing to hurry our return to Canada…if we could, we’d hit the rewind button and do it all again!

Video: The Phanpha Canal Boat, Bangkok

Posted in Thailand 2023, Uncategorized.


  1. I was surprised to learn that Ben is still working in Japan. How many years has it been?? Maybe that could be your next cycling adventure? The video of the canal boat ride and the Chatuchak market brought back many fond memories.

    • He’s made a good life for himself in Japan! And yes….maybe visiting Japan (again) will be our next destination. I think it’s been about 5 or 6 years now.

  2. It makes me soooo happy to hear how much you all love Thailand 🇹🇭 It truly is a non stop adventure!!
    Every post I read makes me miss it so but also so looking forward to making Thailand my home .
    Have been drowning in boredom since arriving back in Canada.
    Tired of wasting my life away here with winter the enormous cost of living and the restricted lifestyle brought on by government rules regulations and money grabbing.
    A simple life is in the future and I just dream of that every day

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