Southeast Asia Thoughts: Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, the capital, is known by the locals as Krungthep. They claim it translates to City of Angels, I think it translates into “permanent traffic jam.” A 5 mile ride takes an hour, mostly jammed in with other cars intermixed with occasional short bursts of reckless speed. 

If driving were an Olympic sport, drivers from Bangkok would be banned for life. Motorbike drivers would be considered assassins. They make Boston rush hour drivers look like a 3 year-old on their first tricycle. Every road has six lanes, some marked, some just assumed by the driver’s mood at that moment.  

They may run all in the same direction, sometimes divided with little logic into opposite directions, or used as one sees an opportunity to gain ground toward their destination. Motorbikes do not follow rules. They seek their own path, weaving in and out of traffic, sometimes alongside of you , sometimes on either side in both directions. Sometimes using sidewalks and marketplaces as shortcuts.

Pedestrians are legal targets. Not only do they not have the right of way, they’re considered a nuisance, like a pothole, avoided if possible, run over when necessary.  Yielding to anything-oncoming traffic, ambulances, cops, or red lights-is a sign of weakness.

Bangkok is a huge city, 10 million people. They all seem to go to work at the same time. Our first day we wandered around on the sky train and subway (at rush hour which is an experience in itself) ending up a a huge open air market. Everything from vegetables, to freshly cut meat, to live fish and chickens waiting to die (which they do right in front of you assisted by cleaver-wielding Thai market vendors.) 

It was so interesting we went back for more pictures.

All in all an interesting experience.

Now on to Ayutthaya, the old Thai (Siam) capital and world heritage site 90 kilometers north on our Thailand tour.Next.jpg