Backstreets of Bangkok

After two days of meetings it was time to explore Bangkok. Its been 13 years since I last visited this city and quite a bit has changed. You no longer have to wheeze through the clouds of fumes from the old style polluting tuk-tuks and there is a super highway that whizzes you from the airport to town in less than 30 minutes. However the city of sin still lives up to its reputation. Girls tout themselves in the sleazy bars lining the main street. And old, crusty men that are long past their sell by date latch onto pretty girls that are young enough to be their grand-daughters. It’s enough to put you off your green Thai curry.

I left organising any kind of tour a bit late and didn’t want to queue up for hours with the rest of the tourists to see Buddha’s in various poses. So I found a bike tour company who promised to show you the real way Bangkokians live, smell the cooking spices and experience the life of the locals.  It was brilliant. A small group of us followed Tob, from the aptly named Follow Me Bike Tours, round the backstreets. ImageWe did a circuit along the banks of the Chao Phraya river, stopping off at various historical sites; navigating the 90 degree blind corners, skimming along the side of inland water ways and squeezing over to let the mopeds pass.

I was overwhelmed by the different sights and smells; pungent aromas of lemon grass, ladies sat grating huge baskets of ginger, piles of glowing chillies in sunset shades. And we got a peak into the secret life of the locals; market traders taking a quick nap on the packing crates, lazy dogs lolled out on the pavements, skinny cats scrabbling for scraps, groups of old men squatting round a game board using bottle tops for pieces and shyly smiling school kids meandering their way back home.

Did get to see the odd temple and even ring the heaviest bell in Thailand. Finished off with my favourite dish, Pad Thai, and a toe curling fish foot spa. A great way to spend my last day in Bangkok.

Bike tour complete