On Sunday I took part in the 2nd Bangkok Car Free Sunday event. The purpose, as before, was to promote the use of the bicycle as an alternative mode of transport in Bangkok. I must say I was very nervous about cycling in Bangkok the first time. However, I am now used to it and I would recommend it to anyone. It is a great way to get around to explore the city. You don’t get stuck in traffic jams, you can go down one way streets the wrong way and, best of all, you can stop and park your bicycle almost anywhere you like. That makes it so easy to take pictures. The following are some of the more interesting places that we stopped at during the bicycle tour on Sunday morning.
This is the Maen Si Waterworks. On July 13th 1909, King Rama V ordered for the Sanitary Department to use a water system to bring water to Bangkok by taking water from Khlong Chiang Rak in Pathum Thani to Khlong Samsen. A pumping station was built and the water went through a filter process so that it became germ-free. The waterworks at Maen Si was officially opened by King Rama VI on November 14th 1914. It remained in operation for many years. In 1990, the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority moved its headquarters to Bangkhen District and Maen Si now stands derelict.
The King Prajadhipok Museum is the first museum of its kind in Thailand when it was officially opened in 1980. The original building was built in the reign of King Rama V. Mr. Frederic John Samson was the designer of what was meant to be a tailor’s shop. Later it served as offices of the Department of Public Works. The building was renovated by the King Prajadhipok Institute and turned into a museum to diplay the personal belongings of the king.
The Monk’s Bowl Community is more than 200 years old. In Thai it is known as “Ban Bat”. The origin of this community is still not certain but some say that it was the home to people who moved here after the fall of Ayutthaya. The handmade bowls of this community are correctly made according to the Buddhist disciplinary rules that the alms bowl must be made from steel. In the mid 20th Century, almost every family in this community made alms bowls. Today, only five families still carry on the trade, mainly because the bowls are now mass produced in factories.
This final picture is of a street-side tailor who is making alterations to some clothes. This kind of thing is a common sight in Bangkok where not everyone has a shop or even a shelter. Many people, like this man, just set up shop wherever there is a vacant space. I was cycling by when I spotted him. I had my camera handy and just paused briefly to take a picture before moving on. I had a great time on my bike and will certainly go again for their next bike rally. Visit Thailand Photo Maps for maps of the route we took.