Tea growing near Pu Mat National Park at Con Cuong, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Con Cuong (Pu Mat National Park), Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Ninh Binh, Vietnam.

Sunday, December 3, 2023

The largest weekend market in the world

Another beautiful day in Bangkok. The skies seemed a little clearer yesterday (Sunday), and still hot with a high of 33C (91F). Seems that's the temperature every day here in Bangkok... the forecast for the week ranges between 32C to 34C (90F to 93F), with occasional clouds, although they are saying there is a chance of showers this afternoon.

Ruth had read about the Chatuchak Weekend Market that looked interesting, and it's located right beside a big park that looked nice to wander around on a Sunday.

Although we are always up around 7:00am, we like to relax and take it easy in the morning. We sort through the photos, get this blog written, and do some onward travel planning. No problem wasting away four hours! And so it was 11:45am by the time we made it to the monorail station.

Ruth, waiting for the train.

The view towards downtown Bangkok was much clearer.

Bangkok is a huge city. Eleven million people, and it's spread out over an area about 30 kms by 50 kms. And it has a good mass transit system of monorails, trains, and subways... but it still takes a lot of time to get around. 

We had to take the monorail and then transfer to a train to get to the park. It took an hour in total, and although the route was towards downtown, the park is still 10 kms (6 miles) from the center of downtown.

The monorail is free until December 18th, but when we went to transfer to the train, I couldn't get the ticket machine to accept my card so I went to the customer service booth and they said it was free as well and handed us two tickets. We haven't quite got that figured out because we saw other people paying. But, we'll take it!

Into Chatuchak Park.

We decided to head straight for the market and find some lunch. Once we entered the market, we saw the tourists! Our apartment is not located in a tourist area, and really, we have seen very few western tourists since we left the airport. Well, it turns out the weekend Chatuchak Market is popular with both locals and tourists.

We found a little lunch stall...

You know you're in a touristy area when the menu is in English as well as Thai.
50 baht is $1.94 CAD, $1.44 USD.

Ruth had the Phat Thai (Pad Thai).

And I had the minced pork in omelet with rice.

Total cost for lunch was 110 baht ($4.25 CAD, $3.15 USD) for the two of us. We had our own water, so didn't need a drink.

Then we went and wandered around the market. Lots of tourist trinket shops (fridge magnet, anyone?) and clothing shops. Over 8,000 stalls apparently, and the largest weekend market in the world.

Funny shoes.

Not surprisingly, prices seemed higher than the local market we had been to on Saturday closer to our apartment. I was looking for a container of mixed fruit, something ready to eat. but they wanted 80 baht which is more than lunch cost! Now, we're still getting used to pricing here, and maybe fruit is more expensive that I think it is. Time will tell.

We wandered around a bit more, but then headed back to the park.

We sat on a bench and relaxed with this view for a while.

A fairly big turtle sunning itself on the opposite shore.

Not many people in this beautiful park.

Ruth, enjoying the flowers.

We saw that there was a butterfly exhibit and "insectarium". So we wandered over to find out the cost and were surprised that it was free. So we went in and looked at the butterflies.

Pretty butterflies!

It was almost 3:30pm by the time we got back on the train towards the apartment. And almost 4:30pm by the time we walked in the door. We decided to take advantage of the swimming pool at the apartment to cool off!

There is a nice air conditioned exercise room here as well.

Ruth in the pool!

I have to be awfully warm to jump into cold water! 
Proof that I did so!

It did feel good to cool off, that's for sure.

Later in the evening, we walked back over to the little hole in the wall restaurant that we had been to the first night. The ladies there are so nice and friendly, and they obviously don't get many foreigners. We really like being in a local area with no other tourists. 

Rather than looking at the menu, we just asked through Google Translate if they could make a chicken stir fry with rice and lots of vegetables. There was another local customer nearby who could speak English, and he volunteered to help. We still didn't get exactly what we were looking for, and he insisted that we should have one with seafood, and a scrambled egg to share. Apparently this is the way they do things!

Anyhow, it was really good. Still not as many veggies as we were looking for, but good!

The chicken meal.

And the seafood meal.

And of course the plate with the scrambled egg, but I'm pretty sure you know what that looks like!

With a bottle of water, the bill was 185 baht ($5.30 USD, $7.15 CAD) for the two of us.

And, we did some onward travel planning. There is a national park we want to visit about 150 kms from here, but for many of the trails you need to hire a guide. And of course we need somewhere to stay, and we don't have a vehicle. I found a great place with high reviews, and I contacted them but the earliest they can take us for a 4 night stay is December 13th. So we also need somewhere from December 8th to the 13th. 

We decided on the historic city of Ayutthaya, (founded in 1350), about 75 kms (47 miles) north of us. Five nights there is probably a night or two too long, but we always manage to find things to do. We will be heading there on Friday.


And in Canada...

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