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Bangkok Island and the Flood Gates

I thought I'd explore Bangkok 'Island', a loop of land that has been cut off by a man-made canal. (The locals call it 'pigs stomach' because of the shape.) As with my Monkeys Boats Guns day trip, the plan is to start from the south end of the BTS Skytrain system, cross the river by boat and see what I can find. I started from Bang Na station, one of the new stations added at the south end.

A short tuk tuk ride away, Bang Na pier with a temple next door awaits. Now is a good opportunity to pray for those whose lives were cut short recently, so that is first on the agenda.

Crossing the river is cheap, only 6 baht, there's a lot of piers along the river and it's quite easy to find a place to cross. I use the small boat, the bigger public boat goes to a different pier. Ten minutes later, I'm across. There's a floating market here, but only on weekends, and the sign on the other side mentions a night-time fireflies tour, I'll do that tonight! Already I have two new things to see, but not right now. Now I'm going to see bridge "Bhumibol", named in honour of our King, it's a two part bridge, Bhumibol 1 Bridge & Bhumibol 2 Bridge, only a road bridge, no walkway which is a pity, the view from there must be spectacular.

I also found Homestay here, small family run hotels, see my travel blog for details of the Homestay Bangkok.

That bridge is incredible, the sheer size of it with all the lanes spirally off it to the ground. I wish they're make a tourist attraction of it, I'd love to go up the support and see the view from the top.

I took a bicycle taxi tour of the area, it's very nice there, small canals everywhere, lots of old stilt houses standing on canals. With places to feed birds and fish and just sit in the shade.

Sandbags along the roads mean they're expecting floods, the canal gates were open, and navy ships were tied up in the canal, engines at full but not moving, acting as make-shift pumps to drive water through the canal as quickly as possible. They used the nearby bridge supports as anchors to hold them in place while their engines run. The flood waters are heading down the river and expected to hit Bangkok in the next couple of days, and already the water is nearly at up to the base of the gates.

The canal is part of Bangkok flood controls, a large gate opens on the north side and drains water quickly out to sea when the river floods. This loop of land is a lush green area in the center of Bangkok, with limits on what can be built here. Low-rise only, mostly old makeshift houses. You can see the canal on Google maps, next to Bhumibol bridge:


View Larger Map

I crossed back over the river, to find a skytrain stop and head home. If you have Google Earth, a track of my trip is here: Bangkok Island.

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