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Old 30th June 2017, 11:43 AM   #31
yflyer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kapitan View Post
I will be doing Ban Krachao next month on my bicycle.... well, that's the plan anyway...

As I will stay very near to Bhumibol 1 Bridge, and I am told there are boats crossing under the bridge... that's where I plan to start the ride.
Biking seems very popular on Bang Krachao! Let me know how it goes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyo View Post
This TR is simply superb, sorry for my short reply, I'm busy moving house for the next 36 hours!
Thanks for guest starring in this TR, Kyo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaywell View Post
Awesome TR as usual yflyer. The W looks really nice, will definitely consider that as an option when I visit BKK. Curious to know how your run went...
Thanks, jaywell! Yes, I was very impressed with the W. No shortage of excellent hotels in Bangkok, but the W has a very unique vibe. As for the run, that's coming up next...
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Old 1st July 2017, 04:46 PM   #32
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Continuing with the TR...

I headed out of the W for a run through Bangkok…



This was a Saturday afternoon, so the usual weekday traffic snarls weren’t there, and it was actually fairly pleasant to jog along the street.



From the W, I headed to the elevated road crossing at the junction of Sathorn Road and Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Road.



This is just an open space built over the junction to facilitate pedestrians, but for whatever reason, it seemed to be a very popular spot for photo shoots, whether wedding couples, or fashion shoots.

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Old 1st July 2017, 04:47 PM   #33
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From there, it was a southward trek along the somewhat shady pavement towards the Chao Phraya.



This part of the city, just south of Silom, was fairly quiet at the time.

I jogged past various shops and eateries. Many were quite basic establishments, little more than roadside stalls, although whatever was cooking behind the counter always looked quite delicious. And then out of nowhere a really high-end restaurant would loom up.

A really wide range of eating (And drinking) options along the route. And there was more than one pushcart with very inviting snacks being prepared.



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Old 1st July 2017, 04:48 PM   #34
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I jogged past a car left abandoned by the pavement…despite it being stripped of its parts, the yellow chassis was unmistakeable…an ignominous end for this thoroughbred.



Speaking of high-end cars, there were really fancy sports cars parked at the driveway of the W when I was there. And some of them had Singapore license plates! Do auto enthusiasts really drive all the way up from Singapore?
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Old 1st July 2017, 04:59 PM   #35
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Just a few kilometers south of bustling Silom, as I approached the Chao Phraya, the setting become much more rural and industrial.



According to Google Maps, a pier (And presumably a boat or a ferry) was at the end of this road…



…however it ended in a maze of makeshift homes, with the river nowhere in sight.

The homes were neat and tidy. In the doorways, a few elderly gentlemen sat and watched the world go by.

A young Thai man standing by the road had seen me go by and looked surprised to see me.

He smiled and asked “Where are you going?”

“I want to cross the river to the other side, is there a boat?”, I replied.

“Yes, but not this way, you have to go that way…”

He led me to a narrow alley and pointed down the pathway...



That way? There looked to be hardly enough space for anyone to get through.

I jogged slowly down the alley way…feeling a little like an uninvited guest…but not being able to resist looking left and right into the pristine, tidy homes that lined the alley.

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Old 1st July 2017, 05:01 PM   #36
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Eventually I reached the banks of the Chao Phraya.



This stretch of the Chao Phraya river was rural and industrial, a far cry from the glitzy, touristy section of the river, lined with 5 star hotels, that the river cruises bring you along…

And just across the waters of the Chao Phraya, there was Bang Krachao, an oasis of green…so near and yet so far…



And there was a pier with boats moored…




…but this looked to be a private pier.

Nearby, small makeshift eatery, with an elderly woman sitting at the counter. The pier was behind a locked gate. Perhaps I could have asked around to see if someone would take me across. If I had asked the lady, or any of the others nearby, perhaps a boat ride would have been possible.

But all this would take time to negotiate – and time was in short supply. And once across, how sure was I that there would be another boat to bring me back later?
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Old 1st July 2017, 05:06 PM   #37
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I decided to continue further eastwards…perhaps there was another pier there….

I entered a trailer park, this was a logistics and goods transportation company…no boats or ferries here….a few of the local dogs began to bark and come my way…I retreated swiftly back to the road and proceeded eastwards.

These were in fact the first dogs that paid me any attention, probably because I was encroaching on their territory. In the villages, and outside homes, the dogs looked up and just ignored me. Other stray dogs along the route paid me no attention either. As long as you aren’t seen as an intruder, most stray dogs are nothing a runner needs to fear…

The area had become surprisingly rural, trees, shrubs and a railway line, and a seemingly endless road covered in dust and sand. I jogged slowly onwards…

As I jogged along the hot and dusty road, at around the 6km mark, a passing car slowed down to match my pace, and the tinted window was wound down…

The driver was a tough looking man, and a lady was in the passenger seat. To my surprise, out of the car window he offered me a bottle of mineral water. At that point, it was about 2.30pm with the sun bearing down hard. I declined the water (Where would I put the bottle?) but thanked them profusely! Such warmth and hospitality from the locals!

And around me, just green shrubbery, a railway track alongside, and a dusty road that just went on and on….where was I?

Should I double back or press on ahead? A touch of anxiety, maybe even panic, began to set in.

I still had Google Maps on my phone, and a decent charge remaining on my cellphone battery, but Google Maps had been wrong before on this run…what other surprises or dead ends were ahead?

Eventually I reached more makeshift buildings along the road. I paused at an outdoor refreshment stand to ask for directions…once again the folks there pointed eastwards…the way across the river was always a little further on.

At this rate, I would eventually reach Klong Toey Port, where I was sure there was a ferry, but that was a few kilometers down the road…

But I was now out of time. It was time to divert to the alternate. Rather than try to get to a pier and then a boat to the “Green Lung”, I would now head to Lumpini Park, as a consolation prize, then back to the W.

Last edited by yflyer; 5th July 2017 at 01:40 AM..
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Old 1st July 2017, 05:07 PM   #38
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Further down the road, the traffic got busier, with heavy vehicles transporting cargo towards the port area. Good, it was starting to look less rural. I would soon find myself on proper roads.

Finally I turned turned left at the junction towards Chuea Phloeng Road, and found myself once again in busy Bangkok traffic.

It was a relief to finally be back on the grid….

From there, I jogged along the street to Rama IV road and eventually found myself at Lumpini Park…



This is a large and beautiful park…



It was a warm day, but the locals were out in force, some on bikes, others on foot. A group of very fit young men were working out on the exercise equipment in the park.



I imagine this park would be very pleasant in the mornings or evenings, when it is cooler. But even in the early afternoon, there was enough shade for a pleasant outing or picnic.





As I was already approaching the 10km mark on this run, rather than do a loop of the park, I just ventured in for a quick look around, before returning to the W via Sathon Road…



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Old 1st July 2017, 05:09 PM   #39
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Total distance run that day was just under 12 km. A decent enough workout.



I didn’t make it to Bang Krachao that day, but I still saw a lot on the run, including Lumpini Park, and a side of rural Bangkok life I would never have come across on the regular tourist trail.

It also struck me that with the Chao Phraya running right through the heart of Bangkok, a network of parks and trails along the river would have made for a really scenic route. But alas, much of the Chao Phraya riverbank is not accessible, as hotels and buildings go right up to the edge, and other sections of the river are simply undeveloped or used for commercial purposes, without much thought given to riverside parks or trails and walks.

Which makes the presence of Bang Krachao, an island of green in the river, quite remarkable. In the middle of Bangkok, where real estate is at a premium, there is a huge patch of greenery, criss crossed with walking and biking trails. It is a little inaccessible, which might be why it is still largely untouched and natural. This is a treasure of an island.

By now my interest in Bang Krachao was probably bordering on obsession…I resolved to head back there on a future trip, even if I had to plan a short getaway holiday just to go to Bang Krachao for a run. And the next time, I would plan for half a day, or even a full day, for the excursion there.

Last edited by yflyer; 2nd July 2017 at 12:25 PM..
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Old 1st July 2017, 05:11 PM   #40
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Back in the W, I headed immediately to Woobar next to the lobby for a post run refreshment: yet another Pak *** cocktail…



“Did you go swimming?” one of the friendly staff at the bar asked, as I stood at the bar counter completely and utterly soaked in perspiration.

“No! I just went for a run!” I replied.

“Look like you are in the rain”…she said…

I headed up to my room for a cold shower, and checked out of the W just after 3pm, well before my late checkout deadline of 4pm.

Last edited by yflyer; 1st July 2017 at 06:24 PM..
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Old 1st July 2017, 05:19 PM   #41
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I caught a taxi from the W to Suvarnabhumi airport...



The airport itself is massive, with many Thai cultural art pieces, sculptures and floral displays placed throughout the terminal, which served to soften the very austere industrial architectural design of the terminal itself.



The SQ check-in area…




There were queues at security and immigration, but these were not long that day, or at least not as long as my previous visit to BKK.



The airside area had loads of shopping, but I skipped all of that in favour of checking out the new SQ lounge…

The way to SQ’s new lounge was well sign posted…




Last edited by yflyer; 1st July 2017 at 05:25 PM..
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Old 1st July 2017, 05:27 PM   #42
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The lounge entrance…



Small display of gifts and Kris Shop items as you walked into the lounge…



A spacious, airy lounge with the new “home away from home” themed décor…



First impressions were very positive. The ambience was very pleasant…



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Old 1st July 2017, 05:29 PM   #43
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A quick tour…

There is a full bar…



Sofa seating and work pods…





SQ’s signature tall seats…



…note the fresh whole coconut beverage, available from a minifridge in the dining area…these were very popular…

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Old 1st July 2017, 05:30 PM   #44
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A wide range of liquor and cocktails are offered, and mixed to order…



I asked for a Singapore Sling...this tasted great...better than the onboard version...



Red and white wines…





Beer on tap…



Fruit smoothies also available…


Last edited by yflyer; 2nd July 2017 at 01:03 AM..
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Old 1st July 2017, 05:33 PM   #45
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There is dedicated seating in the dining area…





A very good buffet selection…



Laksa was available that day as the signature Singapore dish.

This tasted good, rather than great (Maybe I am being overly harsh, but I live in the East, near Katong, and my benchmark is 328 Katong Laksa...). The bowls were tiny, but of course nothing to prevent you from helping yourself to more than one bowl…

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