We board an orange-flagged ferry with no fixed plans. We are just heading upstream until we feel like getting off. It’s 15 baht (60 cents) per ticket regardless of your destination so this gives us the flexibility to decide while on board. And stay on board we did. The wind blew through our hair and cooled our sweaty bodies as we made our way upstream. We passed old rotting buildings and new condos. Bridges passed by overhead, some boring and others elaborate. Large fish jump alongside the boat. We reach Nonthaburi and are told the ferry terminates here. I guess this is where we are going today. People feed bread to the fish near the jetty and the fish are swarming. There are thousands of them fighting for a feed. We had seen Thai fishermen baiting hooks with bread earlier in our trip and wondered whether they caught anything that way. Now we know they probably do.
We walk up the street and notice a large market up near the ferry stop. There’s a whole block filled with lanes and alleys crammed full of stalls selling everything from vegetables and fruits to fish, meat and skinned frogs. You can buy clothes, phone covers and even pet rabbits. Voices ebb and flow across the air as my nose is assaulted by lots of smells (not all delicious). Cats hang out at the market, some with collars and others looking more like strays. The stall holders pat the cats, talk to them, laugh at them as they hide in boxes or shoo them away, depending on what the cat is doing.
There is a small museum in an old colonial style building along the river. It tells the story on Nonthaburi’s past as a major supplier of durian fruit. Personally, I can’t stand the smell of the fruits and hate the taste but it seems they are a delicacy with people speculating on next season’s first crop before they are even ripe. Naturally, we also do some wat hunting while we are here.
A short cross-river ferry takes us to another temple complex. As always it’s stunning. There are no other tourists and the locals look at us strangely as we walk around. We buy some fish food and feed the fish. Again they are swarming and well fed.
There’s a large park next to the temple with walking paths and a pagoda in the middle of a lake. There are many people walking around the paths and a group of women are preparing to do aerobics in the carpark. It looks like a fantastic place to end a busy work day in hectic Bangkok. But we can’t stay much longer because we don’t want to miss the last ferry back into the city.
So, as the sun sets on our final day in Bangkok, we stand crammed into a ferry pressed against the side rails with a fantastic view of the city and the people stepping on and off across the gap between ferry and jetty. Tomorrow we leave Bangkok for the last time. I will miss this crazy capital.