The “other” Chatuchak markets.

While most visitors to Bangkok have at least heard of Chatuchak market (or Jatujak, or J.J. market ) and perhaps ventured out to brave the hordes of around 200,000  people that go there on the weekend, did you know that there are two other markets held there ?

Allegedly the biggest weekend market on the planet, with between 8,000 and 15,000 stalls (depending on who you believe) you can buy just about anything there, although thankfully the animal market is reduced to mainly puppies, kittens and fish nowadays. Chatuchak market is not really that cheap, you can buy identical items at the same price or less at many of Bangkok’s markets but it does have the advantage of having a huge variety of goods in the one place.

But if you want cheaper prices, and want to buy several of the same item the wholesale market on Fridays can get you discounts of around 50% depending on the item and how many you want to buy. Not all the stores are open of course, some are strictly for the weekend shoppers.

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Of more interest to me was the plant market held there on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We are still months away from moving upcountry, even more months till we build our house but I am already thinking about the garden ! With 1600sq.m. of  blank canvas to start with, and no council or Homeowners Association rules to worry about, I don’t think I’m going to be bored.

So, while my girlfriend was away recently I went out to the plant market to get some ideas …..and came back with a handful of orchids.

The girl at the stall said these were oncidiums, but they certainly are not. They look more like the Brassia orchids I used to grow in Australia but with smaller flowers so I suspect they are Brassidiums ( Brassia x oncidium). Two other plants which are just starting to bloom now have bigger flowers and more of them, and look like normal Brassia blooms.

Back in Australia I had nearly 100 orchids so one thing that is definitely going into the garden is a shadehouse, a nice large one. Why not when you can buy orchids at ridiculously cheap prices …. 3 for 100 baht (approx $3US or just over $4AU)

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The (relatively) uncommon and unusual orchids that I bought cost me an “exorbitant” 100-150 baht each, but still ridiculously cheap compared to what I paid for similar plants back home.

You cannot have a tropical garden without Hibiscus, can you ?

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Or a pond full of water lilies or lotus ….

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I think I’ll give the bonsai a miss…..they are in the too hard basket.

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They also sell full size trees next to the bonsai, just in case you want to buy an instant 5 metre tall tree ?

From memory, I paid about 5 times that price for a smaller Nepenthes pitcher plant back home.

Also in the plan are lots of exotic gingers like these Beehive gingers, Heliconias, plenty of Bromeliads for the shadier spots, Bouganvillia along the back fence, and of course some bamboo ….”Buddha Belly” (Bambusa Vulgaris) for a feature and something like B.Multiplex Alphonse Karr for an endless supply of stakes to use in the vegie garden…..have to remember to leave somewhere for the GF to grow her chilli, lemongrass, etc !

If you are a resident looking for a houseplant or two, or a tourist looking to spend an hour or two somewhere different, the plant market is open Wednesday and Thursdays. The opening hours are flexible but for the best choice go fairly early on wed. morning. I arrived at around 9.00am and nearly every stall was open. Some of the info on the internet says that the market is also open tuesday night as people set up their stalls but the stall-owner I spoke to said that is only a few people nowadays.

Apart from the plant sellers there are a few homeware stalls open, and plenty of food is available of course.

The Mor Chit BTS Skytrain station is approx 200m from the market entrance (the closer, weekend entrance is closed) or if using the MRT subway get off at the Kamphang Phet station, it is closer than the Chatuchak station.

PS. the nearby JJ Green Night Market is due to close at the end of this month (August 2018) so don’t go out there !

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More Muay Thai

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I’ve been very lazy with this blog, and life in general, lately but a few days ago I went downtown to watch the Muay Thai at the MBK shopping centre. Held on the last Wednesday of each month, the fights may not be the same quality as at Lumphini or Ratchadamnoen stadiums but they are serious contests, unlike some of the Thai boxing “shows” you might see in tourist areas. I certainly would not pick an argument with any of the female fighters :

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Many of the fighters are foreigners studying Muay Thai, so they are serious enough about it to spend plenty of time and money to travel to thailand and fight, and none of the Thai fighters want to lose to a foreigner !

 (as usual, click to see the full sized image)

The honours were split pretty evenly between the Thais and foreigners this month.

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Fighters perform the traditional wai kruu before their fights, honouring their trainers.

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The fights are held every last Wednesday of the month, starting at 6pm, on the undercover forecourt of MBK shopping centre, close to the National Stadium BTS station.

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Muay Thai action.

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HaHa, you missed.

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But I will not !

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Bangkok Motor Show 2018

 

I’ve coped perfectly well without a car while living in Bangkok, but when we move upcountry to Ubon it will be a different matter, so last week I went out to the Motor Show at Impact Arena to check out some of the pickups, especially the Toyota Hilux. Unfortunately I was n’t aware that the day I went was to be a public holiday, so the place was packed, with people queued up to see the most popular vehicles. And none of the staff seemed interested in talking to the farang , so the trip was a bit of a waste of time.

The only stands where you could actually see the cars were the luxury brands, but a Rolls is out of my league. Don’t think I would be able to get it serviced in an Issaan village either 😦

There were a number of electric vehicles there :

And these cool electric bikes, complete with fake engine casings :

Honestly, I did go to look at the cars, but as usual there were plenty of “pretties” to decorate the stands, although most were not displaying as much silicon enhanced cleavage as usual.

So I thought, I may as well join the crowd of photographers :

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And then out the back of the exhibition hall was the car audio show:
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Complete with 4-wheeled ghetto blasters and coyotes :


The “music” was about 100 decibels too loud for me so I soon retreated back inside 🙂

So, not a very productive trip in terms of car research, but the entry fee was only 100baht so at least it was a cheap day out.

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Something fishy…

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Time to bore you all with some underwater photos from the live-aboard snorkelling trip to the Similan Islands 🙂

(as always, clicking on the small photo will give you a larger picture)

For the technically curious, all photos were taken with a Canon G7X Mk2, in a Fantasea housing, using shutter priority program usually set at 1/250sec.

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This is 4th or 5th time I’ve done the trip with Similan Tours, I’ve lost count 🙂

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This was the biggest Giant Moray I’ve ever seen.

It’s a 3 day/2 night trip on their converted fishing boat, not as luxurious as most of the dive boats but comfortable enough and also a lot cheaper !

We saw this turtle from the top deck while having breakfast but then it swam away into the distance. A little later I was just about to slide into the water when I looked down and saw it right underneath me. Everybody quickly kitted up to get a better look and it obliged by swimming laps around the boat until it got bored with us and sped away …..for something that looks so slow and clumsy turtles can really move when they want to !

That will probably be my last snorkelling trip for a couple of years as my girlfriend and I are planning on building a house later this year, if the Aussie dollar does n’t sink any more…… That will keep us busy next dry season, we will not be able to go away and leave the builders unsupervised. Well, we could but the builders might not follow the plans and we end up with something like this …. upsidedownhouse

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Review: Poseidon Bungalows, Khao Lak

As I mentioned in my last post I have been down south to Khao Lak and out to the Similan Islands, so here’s just a quick review of where I stayed before and after the boat trip. This was actually the 4th or 5th time that I have stayed at Poseidon so you can guess that this is going to be a positive report ?poseidon_review-4

The bungalows about 6kms from the main town and resort of Khao Lak, located rather nicely on a small river and next to a secluded beach.

The bungalows are a mix of old style wooden ones for 2 people, and newer concrete places for 2-4 people. I prefer the wooden ones, much better view :

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All have a western style bathroom with hot and cold water, a fan and plenty of electrical sockets. All in all, very comfortable for a few days stay.

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Prices range from 950 baht up to 1750 for the biggest (as at March 2018).
One downside for some people, those who need 24/7 connectivity, such as my girlfriend for her Facebook addiction, might be disappointed the free wifi is only available in the restaurant area 😦

Speaking about the restaurant, the food is really good, much better than most bungalow food …the Massaman Chicken is aroi maak (really good). The menu range is not huge, but has a mix of enough Thai and western food for most people.

Similan Tours also operates their snorkelling trips out to the islands from here so it is convenient for the 7am start for the boat trip 🙂

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If you do want a change from their restaurant, there is a rather nice place down on the beach for sunset cocktails and dinner, best to take a torch with you though as the steps are dark and steep …especially after a few too many cocktails !

where are they ? https://www.google.com/maps/@8.6010274,98.2422969,18z/data=!3m1!1e3

I fly to Phuket and then get a taxi to Khao Lak (1200 baht, book through Poseidon) but you could also get a bus there….not the most convenient if you have a lot of luggage, or kids tagging along. There is a map and directions on their website at http://www.similantour.com/gethere.html.

 

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