Riding the 53 Circle Around Town
I've been riding buses in Bangkok for many years and despite the arrival of BTS, MRT, and other new forms of transport continue doing so.
Of course not as much as I used to, but still, from time to time I even hop on the old non-airconditioned red buses!
Recently there was a tweet by Richard Barrow about the Bangkok Tourism Division releasing a map of Bus no. 53 (see further down) as it passes a few well-known tourist attractions in the old city.
As I had taken that particular bus several times in the past it seemed like a fun thing to do again as a photo topic for my blog.
Therefore yesterday I walked to the bus' starting place near Sanam Luang, which as you can see is a very basic affair.
I was just in time to board the classic red Isuzu bus 53, found a window seat, and paid for my ticket.
The sign in Thai reads สนามหลวง รอบเมือง (Sanam Luang - Circle Around Town)
The bus' interior looked familiar, not much had changed, only a monitor screen behind the driver was new, although it was switched off (or broken down?) for the entire ride.
Normally it shows the next bus stop plus some news about the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (*).
We drove slowly around the travesty of present-day Sanam Luang (**)...
Yup, those buses still have the good old wooden floors!
Passengers getting on and off at Maha Rat Road.
Passing the Grand Palace.
At first, the bus was still pretty empty, but that would later change.
And there was Wat Pho!
Riding these buses can be a bit of shake rattle & roll, but that's all part of the fun!
Modern bus stop near Wat Pho.
Of course, almost everybody wore masks despite the open windows...
I changed places a few times to get different viewpoints.
Waiting for the lights to turn green...
Charoen Krung Road traffic usually gets a bit chaotic, but what else is new?!
Gas delivery is in progress...
Dragon attack in Chinatown...
More passengers are getting on board.
The driver has the biggest fan just above him, not a luxury!
Passing intersections, junctions, and bridges...
A classic bicycle vendor along the way.
Taking a clear shot of the clickety-clack ticket-selling lady was difficult...
Almost done the full round, here we cruise through Thewet.
The beginning of Samsen Road has become heavily congested due to the construction of another underground train extension.
I got off just before the end at Phra Sumen Road as I had an appointment on Tanao Road.
And the last photo turned up a surprise as the sign at the back clearly reads Circle Around Thewet instead of Town!
All that for 8 baht, amazing indeed!
The official map looks quite nice but is a bit misleading!
As you can see here there is a bit of a difference between the clockwise (blue) and the anti-clockwise (red) routings!
I did the red version and consequently missed out on the flower market, Pahurat, Sampeng Lane, and Hualamphong Railway Station, oh well...
An unmasked selfie, blasphemy!
Luckily the ticket seller didn't start screaming at me 'mask! mask!!!!!!'
(**) Sanam Luang used to be a wonderful field where people went for picnics and kite-flying, but nowadays it's strictly forbidden for ordinary mortals to use the little remaining grass fields as it is only used for official affairs and the other part has become a concrete parking place...