Once you end up in Thailand during winter holidays, you just want to stay away from the beach and crowds, and we were thinking – where should we go? Chiang Mai is always a good option, but traveling there for a couple of days is just too long, so we chose an adventure of living in Khlong Bangluang, a small neighbourhood in the outskirts of Bangkok.
Khlong in Thai means a canal or a small river. The khlongs in Bangkok were made by man for transportation and floating markets, and, some say, even sewage disposal. They are connected to the Chaophraya river and if you go on a long boat tour, you are very likely to end up in Khlong Bangluang, taking pictures of the locals and selfies with the boat driver.
We did not do our research and simply booked a place which looked nice. Here we are, sitting on our terrace by the river in the evening, and watching magical fish jumping around in the water. Suddenly, a man selling noodles is passing by on a boat, some more men are laughing and drinking beer on a terrace next door, and we dive into one of those Bangkok evenings, feeling as local as never before.
Waking up to the light shining on the rolled up mosquito net, I feel like there is a big sun on top of me, and I go to see the terrace from the front door. The neighbourhood of Khlong Bangluang is wide awake, I can hear the boats passing by and, as a result the water splashing around on the other side of the house. A neighbour next door is coughing, someone is selling something loudly, our landlord is painting chairs and we come out to check the surroundings. Here we find travel magazines and the map of the neighbourhood in Thai, and among all those, Many things Jingle bell. Merry Christmas!
The day begins with breakfast at our host’s house – the local grandma who seems to be running the whole village has pots as lamps, Chinese plates and squeeky floors, and she offers us – American breakfast! (next day we asked for Thai and it was much better)
Her house looks like a tiny magic box full of the signs of the past and notes of mindfulness – the water boiler is covered with crochet cloth, the rice is served in a beautiful rice bowl, there are statues of Chinese goddesses and photos of the king, and audio cassettes from the last century are also displayed here as decorations.
Spending a day in the area, we stroll the streets and eat local snacks, we find a cactus farm, a pink and green tree house, many buddhist temples, and an Artist House which hosts a puppet show every day at 2 PM. We simply observe, soak in the atmosphere and enjoy the laid back day of doing nothing in Khlong Bangluang.
People are feeing fish which to me resemble the elephants of this river, they jump out of the water and stack themselves in layers on top of one another to reach out for food.
We pas by an artist painting Guanyin, a Buddist mother godess, and we end up having a coffee and chatting for a whole day. Time here stretches out like a big bubble gum and you never feel in a rush. This is a place to be, to enjoy and to soak in the slow rhythm of the countryside living.
Next to our house we find a magazine, which supports our idea of spending Christmas here, it says “Many things Jingle Bell”, and lists out everything we can do in Khlong Bangluang.
Many things jingle bell to you too!