Friday, March 10, 2017

Exploring Bangkok's Chatuchak Weekend Market and Park

Bangkok has lots of markets, small and large, old and modern.  One of the largest is the Chatuchak Weekend Market, with around 15,000 separate stalls and 200,000 visitors each weekend day.  My first full day in Bangkok is a Saturday and I hop on the BTS Skytrain and head over to the Chatuchak Weekend Market early.  As I'm riding the train, I feel a tap-tap-tap on my shoulder and turn to see what's up.  A young woman is showing me that there is an empty seat on the train and I take it (I'm used to this in Asia - in  China, young people will get up and offer me their seat.  Ah, the benefits of some gray hair!).

 Approaching the market

I don't know how many pictures of market stalls I can show before I completely bore us all, but I'll fit a few in here.  It is fun to weave through the narrow aisles of the market and see everything that is for sale.

 Market stalls

And, of course, places to eat.

 Food stalls

 And, a whole section devoted to small galleries and art sales.

Art stalls

As I wander through the alleyways and streets, I repeat to myself, "keep to the left, look to the right." Thailand and Singapore both drive on the left side of the road (UK style) and one needs to be very careful crossing the street.  Also, outside the tourist area, people walk on the left side of the sidewalk and subway entrances/exits and, if I stick to the right side, there is potential for confusion and collision.

After an hour or so of weaving through the market, I emerge and cross the street to Chatuchak Park, one of the oldest public parks in Bangkok, roughly 1/3 square km (.1 square mile).  I wander through the park and admire the great plantings, lakes, and wide paths for walking.

 Lakes and walking paths

 Sculpture scattered through the park

 And, beautiful gardens

The park is a great contrast to the busy craziness of the weekend market across the street and provides lots of new finds and beautiful sites as I explore.  But, eventually, it's time to head back to the hotel (while keeping to the left) and think about plans for the afternoon.

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