Along the Khlong

17 Aug

Along with the nickname the Big Mango (a moniker I find quite entertaining) Bangkok is sometimes referred to as the “Venice of the East” because of the many canals crisscrossing the city. Khlong is the Thai word for a canal or a small, natural stream. Bangkok used to be absolutely riddled with khlongs, and these were a main source of transportation around the city. Many of the old khlongs have been filled in, but some are still used as waterways, and many of these have vibrant communities along their banks.

There are still a number of khlongs out in the ‘burb of Minburi where we live. Most of them have raised walkways alongside for pedestrian, bicycle, and even motorbike traffic. Those of us who run routinely have taken to running along the khlongs as part of our jogging routes. Our runs usually include startled and amused looks, and multiple shouts of “Hello! Hello!” from small children who are entertained by the sight of a large pack of sweaty white women running by. These runs also involve artfully dodging bikes and keeping a close watch for motorbikes and monitor lizards, as well as making a strong effort to not bite it and fall in. Khlong water is not a substance I want to get up close and personal with, although we have seen kids swimming in them. These khlong runs have become a thing, so much so that we had t-shirts made with the slogan farang on the khlong (farang = Western foreigner).

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Whole communities exist along the raised walkways, including houses, stores, schools, temples, and mosques. The route we run most frequently stretches between our neighborhood on 164 and another neighborhood, Sammakorn, where several teachers live. The spot where we enter the khlong on 164 is in the middle of a gated community called Perfect Place. I always find the juxtaposition between the huge Perfect Place houses and the little houses along the khlong to be particularly striking. Going down to the khlong is like entering another world.

This morning I finally had the opportunity to photograph the khlong and its surroundings. Several teachers met up and took a Sunday morning walk to Sammakorn, enjoying the khlong atmosphere and scenery along the way. I tried to snap pictures of everything I’ve seen or found interesting in the last two years of running this route. Check out my handiwork below! Side note, I got a little sidetracked with the floral photography towards the end there. 🙂

P.S. For those who have been puzzled, if you click on the first photo below, it will start a slideshow you can scroll through and see the pics at standard size.

 

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2 Responses to “Along the Khlong”

  1. Jeff Bell September 23, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    Do you know how to access this from Sammakorn? We live in Sammakorn and my wife works in Min Buri and I’ve heard of this route but never quite figured out how to find it!

    • thejacksonstakethailand September 30, 2016 at 11:54 am #

      Yup! I suggested a weekend Lord of Coffee and khlong walking date to her sometime soon. 🙂

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