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Bangkok by night on bike

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Bangkok Post travel editor Pongpet Mekloy takes us on a night bicycle ride through a cool and scenic Bangkok – the perfect time of year to get out and about. 

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On your Bangkok night trip, bring a friend or two or three. Photo by Pongpet Mekloy

Here is an excerpt from Pongpet Mekloy's interesting biking column in the Bangkok Post. You can read the full story which includes advice on the type of bike to use, clothing, etc. here: http://bit.ly/uclUUp . Also visit his facebook page "Freewheel Bangkok" at http://on.fb.me/vUVQNb


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Bangkok by night on bike

Pongpet Mekloy

The weather is lovely. Night falls early and a number of Bangkok streets are now illuminated with decorative lights. Somehow, traffic after dusk tends to be lighter at this time of year. It is even more so during the weekend, when people flock to the mountains in the North and other parts of this tropical country to enjoy even lower temperatures.

Nice weather. No hot sun. The streets are more beautiful and less crowded. This is definitely the perfect time to do some night rides in the capital city!

I usually start from Siam Square, the popular shopping district, because it's easy for me to find a safe parking space for my van. For those who live near a BTS station, you can take your bicycle on the skytrain to Siam or the National Stadium and begin the ride there if you like. One great thing about the BTS is that it doesn't charge an extra fee for a bike. (The only requirement is that bicycles must board only at the front or back ends of the skytrain.)

From Siam, if you ride eastwards along Rama I Road to the adjacent Ratchadamri and Ratchaprasong areas you'll find some Christmas and New Year light decorations in front of hotels and department stores. But the real fun is waiting in the opposite direction.

Yes, head west and find your way to Ratchadamnoen Avenue. Throughout the final month of the year, from the royal birthday of HM the King on December 5 all the way to the New Year, the entire stretch of this thoroughfare is beautifully adorned with festive lights. So, too, are the important sites it passes, from the equestrian statue of King Rama V and the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall at the Royal Plaza on the avenue's northern end to the Phan Fa Bridge, King Rama III Memorial Park, Democracy Monument and Sanam Luang royal ground on the other end.

Of course, once you're at Sanam Luang, the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, both also majestically lit, are within sight. If you wander off both sides of the avenue you can also reach many interesting places, such as the Giant Swing, the Memorial Bridge, Pak Khlong Talat (flower market), Khao San district (the popular tourist area for backpackers), Santi Chai Prakarn Park by the Chao Phraya River, to name but a few.

As you can see from the accompanying map, from Siam there are many streets that can take you to Ratchadamnoen Avenue. The choice is totally up to you. Some of the roads are one-way, but that is not an issue since you can always ride your bike on the footpath, which is safer, too.

illuminated – lit up; bright ส่องสว่าง, ฉายแสง
decorative – decorated in a way that makes it attractive; intended to look attractive or pretty ซึ่งใช้ตกแต่งหรือประดับประดา, ซึ่งตกแต่งแล้ว
dusk – the time before night when it is not yet dark เวลาเย็นก่อนค่ำ
tend – to be likely to behave in a particular way or have a particular characteristic มักจะ
flock – to go someone in large numbers; to gather together in large numbers แห่กันไป
tropical – relating to the hottest area of the Earth, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn ในเขตร้อน
temperature – a measurement of how hot or how cold a place or object is อุณหภูมิ
crowded – packed; full of people or things แน่น
capital – the most important town or city of a country, usually where the central government operates from  เมืองหลวง
fee – an amount of money that you pay to be allowed to do something ค่าธรรมเนียม
requirement – something that you must have or do in order to do or get something else ข้อกำหนด, ข้อบังคับ
board – to get onto a ship, aircraft, train, or bus ขึ้น(เรือ  รถเมล์ รถไฟ เครื่องบิน)
adjacent - very near, next to, or touching ติดกัน
opposite – across from or facing someone or something ที่อยู่ตรงกันข้าม
direction – the way something is moving or coming from ทิศทาง
stretch – a straight part of a journey  
thoroughfare – a main road through a place  ถนนในเมือง (โดยเฉพาะสายหลักที่การจราจรคับคั่ง)
adorn – to make something/somebody look more attractive by decorating it or them with something ตกแต่ง, ประดับ
festive – connected with a festival or celebration รื่นเริง, เกี่ยวกับเทศกาล
site – a place where something is located  สถานที่
equestrian – connected with riding horses ที่เกี่ยวกับการขี่ม้า
statue – an image that is made of stone, wood, metal, etc. รูปปั้น
throne – a special chair used by a king or queen to sit on at ceremonies ราชบัลลังก์
majestically – in an impressive way because of size or beauty อย่างสง่าผ่าเผย
wander – roam; to travel from place to place without a particular direction or purpose เดินทางไปโดยไม่มีจุดหมายที่แน่นอน, ร่อนเร่
swing – a seat for swinging on, hung from above on ropes or chains ชิงช้า,  เก้าอี้ที่ห้อยแกว่งไปมา
backpacker – a person who travels on holiday/vacation carrying their equipment and clothes in a backpack (a large bag, often supported on a light metal frame, carried on the back) ผู้ใส่กระเป๋าสะพายหลัง
totally – completely โดยสิ้นเชิง, อย่างเต็มที่
issue – a problem that needs to be considered ประเด็น

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