Khlongs and Schlongs

Khlongs and schlongs appropriately describes my second day of sightseeing in Bangkok, if you’ll pardon the expression (I couldn’t resist using it for the title). Unfortunately, neither really met my expectations.

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My long-tail boat operator and his assistant

Khlongs are the canals that run from the Chao Phraya River. I wanted to do a boat tour around them, as I’d read that there are some interesting homes and sights off the beaten track. I headed to one of the piers on the river and explained my wishes to a boat tour booking agent. I was told that I could rent one of the long-tail  boats for one hour and that it would take me up river and into the khlongs.

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A woman tries to sell items from her boat
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Decorated bow of a long-tail boat
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Another trader with his laden boat
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one of the homes on the canal (khlong)
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Boat house on the canal
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Heading back down the river on the long-tail boat

It turned out that the most of the boat ride was on the Chao Phraya itself, along a stretch that I’d ridden the day before on a much cheaper ferry. The boat did turn onto one of the khlongs for a short distance, before turning around and taking me back to the pier where the tour started. Not worth the money for the boat ride, unfortunately.

With the boat tour done, it was time for lunch. Another meal for under $2, this time in a department store food court. I’ve been very happy with the local food in Bangkok.

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Thai soup with noodles and beef – less than $2

Schlongs were the next on my list – or more accurately, the Shrine of the Goddess Tubtim. Tubtim is a female fertility spirit and women seeking fertility visit the shrine and leave offerings of jasmine and lotus. If their wishes are fulfilled, they return to the shrine to leave a phallus. The photo and information posted online suggested that there were a large number of phalluses, so the shrine offered an opportunity to get some interesting photos.

After a taxi ride to the location of the shrine, in the grounds of the Swissotel Nai Lert Hotel, I was disappointed to see that there were only a few phalluses at the shrine, significantly diminishing the opportunity for a good photo. Nevertheless, I took a few pics and then headed to my hotel for an afternoon nap (still trying to catch up on sleep).

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A line-up of phalluses at the Tubtim Shrine
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They come in all sizes
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And a few more
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And some in a tree
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Small shrine for offerings

For evening entertainment, I haven’t moved far from the hotel. There are several bars around the corner on Soi 4, so I’ve gone there and enjoyed a few Singha beers whilst watching the activities on the street.

The Majestic Suites Hotel was recommended to me by my friend Kevin, who stays there regularly. It is a small hotel that provides good value. It is conveniently located for the bars on Soi 4 and is close to the Nana SkyTrain station, making access to the rest of the city, and the airport, easy.

I’ve enjoyed a nice couple of days in Bangkok. Next up is Hanoi.

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