"How to explore deeply to the old town ? I tried by car, tuk tuk taxi, cycling...but I found out that the best way to explore this hidden old town is by walk...then we walk"
Weekend again and we finding some day trip again. My friend Leslie who know everything about Bangkok "in my opinion" suggest me try to walk from River City Pier to China Town (Yaowarat). Are you crazy ? that was my first question when he throw this idea to me.
He explains that we can start walking from River City pier along the small street deep in to the old community of Thai Chinese. And it might take around 2-3 hours walking till we reach to China Town and I will see something difference from my trip to this area by cycling.
I shared this idea to my friends and there are 5 friends buy this idea and we agreed the date to be last Saturday of August.
They are coming from difference part of Bangkok but we agreed to start this tour from River City at 7.00am so we all have to be there at that time.
And Leslie can not deny me then he come to join this trip as our personal tour guide (as I said he knows everything in Bangkok so we call him our tour guide today).
I carry my tumbler as always as I'm trying not to use plastic either plastic glass, straw, and also save the water because every times we order drink at the restaurant we always left some water in the bottle and the restaurant just poor it on the ground. Now I use tumbler and I always ask the restaurant to put ice in my tumbler and I always drink from it. Then at least I reduce 2-3 plastic glass with plastic straw everyday and save the water. I'm happy to do this.
After introduce all my friend to know each other then we start walking on the small street to Talad Noi. And the first place which he took us in is the beautiful catholic church which located not far from the pier. The name is "Kalawar Church" and founded by the Roman Catholic Portuguese moved from Ayudhaya province.
This church remind me to the very beautiful church in Chanthaburi which I visit last June. And I was surprise when Leslie say that this is same architect.
After that we continue to visit the first bank in Thailand "Siam Kammajol Bank" or well know in new name as Siam Commercial Bank. The building of this bank look old but stay still with complete architecture since they built this building and they keep refurbish to keep the building still look beautiful.
Leslie told us that the first owner of this bank got inspiration from the Bodhi Tree next to the building and in the past the logo is full Bodhi Tree but after years now the logo become only Bodhi Tree leaf.
Then we continue walking and we stop at an old house which looking like long building but it is just one house. Leslie explains that in the pass the accommodation tax calculated by the wide of the front side of the house.
So, the people do not want to pay high tax then they build narrow house but very deep as same as this house. They are very smart.
We keep walking along the small street, passing the Thai Chinese's architecture style. And we stop at an old warehouse with nice graffiti on the wall.
Notice that along the street are lots of graffiti which painted by local people.
I like their idea, at least when you walking along you have nice view.
We continue walking and one more thing that I noticed is there are lots of cats. I think almost every house have cat as their pet. Mo, a guy in this group love cat so he is very happy this time.
We walked pass an old warehouse with the closed blue entrance. He said that this place is the restaurant which the owner turned the warehouse to be restaurant but still keep outside the same. The name is "Baan Rim Nam" serve menu chef to table.
So, they have limited space and we have to reserve in advance to get the table.However, this restaurant got good river view because another side is next to the Chaophraya River.
We continue walking and stop again in front of and old house which clearly shown the Chinese architecture at the entrance.
Leslie said that this house is hundreds year old house. They open and welcome tourist from time to time and if you buy drink at their small coffee shop then you can go up and sit on the second floor of the house. But today we arrived too early so they are not ready yet so I got some shots only from outside in the front.
And around 5 minutes away from this house. We found the antique mini car. We can imagine how long they parked this car. And this is the check in point for many tourist to take photo with this old car and the old building behind.
Just few meters walk from that old car then we reach to the house which look new with old style architecture. Leslie said that this is the tea shop and also airbnb but they normally open around 10.30am. We are too early again.
Next to that airbnb house is a shrine. Leslie explain to us to see the skin color for the god statue inside the shrine in black.
There is 2 stories about this god. One is because he is doctor who keep research and tried lots of herb to treat the patients then he got effect from some herb and changed his skin to be black. And another one story is there are some people want to proof that his is god. They smoke-dried him but he still alive just his skin changed to be black from smoke. However, there are only stories which no one can proof.
For me I like architecture inside the shrine.
We still keep walking along the street. Meet and smile to people we met on the way. And then we walk till we reach to the temple name "Wat Pathum Kongka" One of the important temple in Bangkok. I did not listen to Leslie explain about this temple but what I saw is here are no tourist. Just some Thai people come to the temple for pray.
We walked pass the temple to the main road. Leslie said that we close to China Town but he won't take us direct to China Town. He will take us do another direction to see something amazing.
Actually, we start hungry because we started this tour early morning and all of us did not have breakfast yet. But Leslie tried to convince us to hold it till his recommended restaurant "Duck noodle". So, we continue walking then I notice that there is nice graffiti on the wall. Then I got nice shot for group photo.
We step into another road which more busy with people, shops, traffic.
There are many old buildings on this road and every buildings with only 2 floors. The architecture style still showing from the roof, front, windows etc.,
Leslie took us turn right the smaller street heading the duck noodle shop which he is proud to present. Unfortunately, we reach to early.The restaurant open at 11.00am. But we do not have problem about food anymore because along the way are lots of food stall and we each picked some grilled chicken, fried fish ball already.
After disappoint with the duck noodle. Then we continue walking till we stop again in front of a building which still closed.
Leslie said that this place is amazing. It is a house inside a building.
The owner is architect and he has this old building from his parent. He bought small Thai house and rebuilt it inside the building.
This place turn to be coffee shop where we can sit and relax with watching movie from ipad, or reading some book while enjoy drinking coffee with Thai snack name "Sommanas means happiness".
Lucky us that the staff came early and she so kind to open shop before time and welcome us to get inside.
This is one of the highlight of the tour today for me. I like their decoration style. No wonder because he is architect.
You can see that there are variety of chairs and sofa mix and match in the living corner where the light come down and make shadow for some furniture then this corner look like bright up by the nature spotlight.
There is stairs go up high, but Leslie said this stair is just decoration there are no bedroom or any room at the end of stair.
I clam up on the stair to see more clear the bright corner and I got nice shot.
I like this shop, the name is "FV" stand fore Fruit and Vegetable. Very simple but very clear concept. I will come direct to this place again when I have time.
Before we left, staff invited us to tried the signature snack here "Sommanas (happiness". It is meringue but they put bake coconut to make the taste and the smell become Thai. I like it, not too sweet but good texture and smell.
After a piece of meringue we continue walking and heading to China Town. Leslie keep explain about the history of China Town and people who living in this area. But I got a pork ball from the food stall. Yummy!!!
We reached to China Town road. I saw the area not too much crowded like evening time which I came before for dinner with friends.
Now is 11.30am, there are shops, cafe,supermarket open while some restaurant already open but some closed. Leslie said normally people come to China town for dinner so there are lots of food stall open after 5pm.
But even still some restaurant close but Leslie took us a nice cafe name "Lhong Tou". Here they serve DimSum, coffee,tea,drinks and Chinese snacks.
I think the highlight of this cafe is not the food. I think it is the interior design and layout of the table.
But we all agreed to take table on the ground. The menu here not too many but good to try and the prices are normal tourist prices. And this is China Town.
We started order some menu to share. All menu are recommended by Leslie but all of us enjoy a lot.
The first menu is crispy wanton wrap with shrimp inside.
Second one is shrimp wrap with yellow noodle.
The third menu is deep fried bun with salted egg inside.
The taste of the bun is good. But I don't like salted egg inside so my friends took it.
The most I like is the shrimp wrap with yellow noodle.
Besides of snacks and DimSum which we ordered. We have to order drink, I normally do not drink coffee but as they have signature coffee of this cafe then I tried one the name is "Lhong Tou coffee".
Frankly, I don't like it but please do not refer to my comment about coffee because I am not coffee lover then for me only one taste of coffee is "bitter". However, I love to try signature drink of every restaurant or cafe which I visit.
Leslie want to take us to another area of Bangkok where there are many good menu for our lunch. Then we got on the bus and heading to "Giant Swing" area.
The bus did not go direct to the Giant Swing. So, we got off opposite side of Wat Mahanapharam" Leslie said that this is the first school in Thailand.
In the pass, people built the temple for the monk and for people come to pray, meditation etc., and then they built school inside or next to the temple because Buddhist believe that if they keep the children stay close to the temple and monks they will grow up with good mind.
After we got of from the bus then Leslie took us walk back to the Tiger Shrine. He explain us about the name of this shrine. The Tiger Shrine did not mean the name of the god inside the shrine but since there are some story about human and tiger. And the way people pronounce for that story make people understand that is the name of temple.
From in front of the shrine, we turn left and walk along the road to the "Michelin star shop" which serve chicken stew with rice or with noodle.
The shop is not big and there are only 5 tables inside. Lucky us the there are some available table. Then we take a seat and start order food.
I order shrimp wanton with pork in red sauce and friends order rice, noodle as they like.
The price of the food here is not too expensive. Start with THB 50/dish.
The taste is good but as normally I always each spicy food so this kind of food is not my type.
After finished food then we walk again to another road where Leslie said that there are more Michelin shop either Thai dessert or ice-cream.
I think I love this walk tour because I love street food and enjoy trying them.
Another shop which we stop is "Bualoy Khai Whan" Bualoy is a powder which cut to be small size like sweet corn. She put it in the hot water which already put sugar and coconut milk. Then she put egg in to the coconut milk on the stove. After that pick it and served to us in a bowl.
We shared this item with 6 peoples. Lucky that I come with them, because I love to try but can not finish every food by myself so it good to order only one and share then we can try more dish.
Leslie still take us walk along the road to another Michelin shop. This time is coconut milk ice-cream. No any question, we all order one each.
Mine is coconut milk ice-cream topping with sweet corn, yellow bean.
We took ice-cream and then continue walking. Now Leslie taking us the beautiful temple with fantastic story "Wat Rat Bophit". And before we reach to the temple we stop by in front of a beautiful building. See their balcony, the architecture look difference from other buildings we saw.
No one have idea about this building then we keep walking to the temple.
After we step in to the temple area. Leslie took us see some information about this temple.
And show us the beautiful of the small chedi located before the second entrance.
He did not explain much about the small chedi outside. He said that the highlight are inside.
When we reach to inside the temple. There are some renovation at the main chedi in the middle of temple.
But we all say wow for the beautiful wall of chedi, the doors, windows etc.,
Leslie show us see the beautiful ceiling architecture and painting inside. Out side are Thai style art while inside is Gothic art like Catholic church.
For me this is one of the most beautiful temple I have seen in Bangkok.
We spent time around 20 minutes to enjoy art and architecture of this temple.
There are some area not allow us to walk in as they are renovating.
This temple is not crowed with tourist like other temples in Bangkok. Thai people and monk still have privacy to do Buddhism activities. If you come this area I recommend to visit this temple. One thing that you should aware when visit temples in Thailand is you should wearing long pants and sleeve shirt to pay respect to the temple. And the do not allow sleeveless shirt and short pants or mini skirt.
Another temple which Leslie proud to take us visit is Wat Suthat located next to Giant Swing.
Thai people call this temple as the middle of the universe.
We get inside the sanctuary where there is a main Buddha image in gold. We pray as same as other Buddhist there.
I notice that the wall painting here is so beautiful and almost complete. Just some area was tear down with the time. Leslie said that there are long story about this temple but he suggest us find from the wiki.
We left the last temple of today. But still keep walking along this road to find something important. It is restaurant or any shop which we can have lunch as now it is already 2pm.
Leslie said that he wants to take us to the most popular "Padthai" shop in this area and in Bangkok.
"Tip Samai" is the name of that Padthai restaurant but we are too early to arrive they still not open yet. Then we still keep walking and finding other options.
I saw this restaurant look nice but Leslie have another idea. There is Pad thai shop which the chef used to be a chef at Tip Samai and the taste is not bad. Then we decided to try.
"Uncle Pa" or "Loon Pa" is the name of this shop. The location is just one minute away from Tip Samai.
We are the first customer for them today. We got table and I saw this menu board. OMG!! they opened this shop since 1975 (around 44 years ago). And at that time Pad Thai price is THB 8 while now is THB 50. They should be famous for long time.
I order this one but again that I can not finish it by myself then we order one dish for me share with another friend.
Leslie ordered difference menu and he said this is his favorite menu.
For all Pad thai shop they always serve lemon, been sprout and Chinese chives. Some people do not like smell of Chinese chives while some people don't eat been sprout but we eat all.
Finished Pad Thai then we continue walking. Suddenly i saw a food stall selling grilled chicken.
Nut is one of my friend who always help me by sharing whatever I order. So, I bough one stick of chicken and share with him. The taste is not bad.
Leslie took us to the pier for public boat. He said at this time there are traffic Jam because we all want to end this tour at Siam Square. Then Leslie suggest us take public long tail boat to Hua Chang pier.
We sit on the same row, Leslie was so quick to pay for the fare.
Along the canal I saw there are some guesthouses and many tourists there. We talk to each other that some day we will try to stay a night in this kind of guest house to get new experience.
We took around 20 minutes then speed long tail boat took us reach to the pier. I think the time that we get in and get off the boat is the most excise because the boat cannot stop still like car. The wave on the canal make the boat moving all the time. But we are professional then it not too difficult.
All above are finished in 8 hours but we do not feel tired. We enjoy everything along the road, keep walking to seeing more and more. We are Thai but I still think that we still need to explore to see, to know and listen to the local people telling our history. I never get bore when listen about history even I can not remember all but always love to listen.
We say good bye to each other at Siam Square. This is the first time that we did not discuss about next trip. May be because my next trip is travel alone to Phuket.
So, we might think again for next trip. Keep walking, keep traveling because I am "tipontheroad"