Songkran in a canal

Today, with my former Chulalongkorn University English Club members a.k.a. EC-gangs, I had a plan to set out on a journey to fulfill the travel destination stated on the so-called Bangkok Fest Mileage Card under the Bangkok Fest & Fun Project of Tourism Authority of Thailand. we called it a "passport" as there are numerous places of interest depicted in the card with numbers for you to collect a "stamp" once you visit the place – it’s like a kind of game to collect at least 15 stamps and send the card in for the lucky-draw. The route and places of interest in the passport are recommended as an interesting and fun way to travel around a hectic city of Bangkok. According to the plan, we decided to explore the small canal on the western side of the Chao-Phraya river starting from Wat Rakangkhosittaram (literally translated as Temple of the bells.) As we followed the route guided in the "passport," we headed next to the National Museum of Royal Barges. Unfortunately, it was closed due to Songkran holiday. So, we went to the next destination – the Bangkoknoi train station where there is virtually nothing of interest except a few trains running to the western part of Thailand including Kanchanaburi where the Japanese used to transport their army during the second World War. I started to doubt the credibility of the "passport" that it is not designed to fit for the tourists as it’s very difficult to follow the route. However, we had to stick to the plan and headed next to Taling-Chan Floating Market which marked the highlight of the trip today. We bought a ticket for a 2-hour boat trip in Bangkoknoi canal and beyond to the orchid garden. Unexpectedly, as it’s the last day of the Songkran festival, the trip turned out to be a uniquely enjoyable Songkran experience. We are told to be prepared to get wet, soaking wet, as the people who lives beside the canal and other tourist boats like us were all having fun creating a small war of throwing and splashing water. This is totally different from Songkran on the land as you had unlimited supply of water from the canal and you couldn’t run and hide anywhere. This is one of the Songkran day I would never forget as I was soaking wet with water from the canal, well at least I was told that the water was clean enough for people to use it in everyday life. We’ll see if I develop any kind of skin rash afterwards. In the afternoon, after having a late lunch and chatting in the pier by the canal, we headed to Wat Suthatthepwararam (Suthat Temple) and Sao Chingcha (the Giant Swing) near Bangkok City Hall. In fact, we decided to enjoy some snacks at the popular Mon’s Fresh Milk parlor. Unfortunately, it was closed on holiday. So, my journey today ended up as we walked to Sanam-Luang to collect some more stamps but almost all places of interest were closed after 5 to 6 PM.

All in all, I was having a very good and unexpectedly enjoyable time in Bangkok for Songkran holiday this year. Although the "passport" thing was a little bit disappointed, it opened an opportunity for me to experience Bangkok and Songkran in the way I never imagine before. Thanks P’Art for a free 9-baht worth of this "passport." You may check out some of the pictures I took today below or at my photo album. Enjoy Bangkok!
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