I was planning on sharing details of my last day in Chiang Mai. However I took photos on my phone to show, and then my phone came out of my pocket in the tuk-tuk on the way to the airport. Thankfully the Chaing Mai White House called the tuk-tuk driver and he has returned it to them so I should have the photos to share eventually.
Meanwhile and uneventful flight to Bangkok and a pleasant afternoon sitting by the pool and drinking mango shakes. I was planning to head out to dinner but the thunderstorm which looked as though it had passed let rip just as I was planning to leave so a sudden change of plans and I ate here. I had stir-fried rice with seafood, but it was definitely de-spiced for the Western visitors.
Today after breakfast I decided to visit Wat Arun. I remember seeing this spectacular prang – a great spike which gleams in the sunshine – from the river when we first visited Bangkok in 2010. I walked down to the central Sathorn pier, and caught the local ‘express’ river boat. These are easy to recognise from their orange flag. There is a tourist boat with a blue flag which is even more express, because it stops at fewer points. However it costs a little more and you have to put up with a bad and loud commentary over the speakers.
The slightly disappointing thing is that Wat Arun is currently having it’s hair done. The top part of the spire was covered in scaffold so that it could be cleaned. Nevertheless it was interesting to get close-up to the surface which is painted white and inlaid with ceramic tiles. It is possible to climb up a couple of levels of the spire. The steps are impressively steep, especially when you remember that Thai people are generally short.
The first time we visited Bangkok our friends Dugan and Det took us to the end of the boat ride for lunch. As I was done at the Wat it seemed like a good thing to repeat. I continued up the river to the last stop at Nonthaburi. A 15 Baht fare (about 40p) gets you any distance. The tourist boat doesn’t go this far. Adjacent to the pier is a floating restaurant called Rimfang. I was the only customer for lunch. I had crispy fried catfish with basil leaves and it was not de-spiced, there were full-on slices of both red and green fresh chilli in there. Perfect with a portion of rice and a glass of iced lemon tea.
Another 15 Baht fare took me all the way back to the central pier. This really is a great way to get a feel for Bangkok. From there I caught the BTS Sky Train to Sala Deng and walked back to the hotel.