Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thailand - Day Tour (Morning) - Floating Market / Elephant Village & Cobra Show

When family visited me in Bangkok many moons back, we availed the 1 day tour package being offered at the tour desk of our hotel lobby.

The guy at the tour desk, upon learning that we were Filipinos gave us huge discount. From 1,200 THB each he lowered it to 1,000 THB due to the fact that his child's English teacher was a Filipino according to him. Moreover, since we were four in our group the discount was also justified. However, he cautioned us not to tell the other Caucasian tourists about the discount. It could be a marketing ploy or what but for 4,000 THB for our group of four, inclusive of buffet lunch and transportation, I think the tour rate was competitive especially after I read from the net that some tourists were ripped-off when they use local transport such as taxis.

The following day, we were picked up from our hotel lobby by a 15 seaters Toyota Commuter Van at 6 am. Likewise, several tourists from nearby hotels were also picked-up by our van.

In no time at all, we were cruising outside Bangkok City. Our first stop was the Damnoen Saduak Foating Market. The place is located 110 km outside Bangkok City. Actually, there are several floating markets that you can visit but this is the most famous and frequented by tourists.

on our way to main market

We stopped in a small jetty where several long boats were waiting for tourists. This place is the starting point of Floating Market tour. There were 8 of us in one boat, navigator not included. 1 Caucasian couple, 2 Korean ladies and four of us.

Our motorized boat sailed for half hour until we reached the main market. We passed along quiet residential areas and it seemed that we were simply plying along some canal since the water was murky. Fortunately, there were less trashes floating on the water. It was a memorable experience for my family (minus the eldest) since it was their first time to ride a banca or boat. They were all smiles and enjoying the trip while I was anxious because nobody from my family knows how to swim. I just prayed that the canal wasn't deep.


The main market is at the intersection of several canals. There were shops lining both banks. We enjoyed the 25 THB coconut ice cream and bought two small floating vendor wooden replica for 50 THB each. To our surprise, the main market was just a big canal since at the edge of the market was the main road where even a bus can pass; in fact you can arrive at the main market by using land transportation. The place itself was creatively converted into a tourist area but it was basically a series of water canals, nothing more. Anyhow, we enjoyed the view and lively atmosphere.

At 10:30 am, our entire group converged at the meeting point. Upon confirming all of us has come back, our tour guide herded us to a nearby parking area where our commuter van was waiting.

Our next stop was the Royal Thai handicraft Center. The place was teeming with wooden furniture and carvings. The workmanship was great and they offer shipping services as well. It didn't surprise me anymore to note the inflated prices. Nonetheless, I have seen several superb furniture wrapped and to be delivered to some Middle East countries.

Some may consider this place a tourist trap but actually there wasn't any pressure from the staff for us to buy any items. In our case, since the show room was air conditioned, we roamed around and had some photo-ops. We opted to buy cheaper souvenir items at Chatuchak Weekend Market.


From here we proceeded to Elephant Village where for 500 THB you can have a quick ride on some domesticated elephants around the bush and small pond. Or, if you are in a budget, you can feed those elephants with bananas for 100 THB.

We just took some pics of the sorry looking elephants since the tour desk guy told us that it would be cheaper to ride an elephant at Samphran Elephant Ground which was included in our afternoon itinerary. Anyhow, we were amazed to be near with these gentle giants with attached improvised bench on their backs used in ferrying passengers. It was just a pity seeing those elephants being guided by trainers carrying sharp sickle.

Shortly afterwards we went to "The Cobra Show" where the finale was the fight between a Mongoose and a Cobra. We preferred to stay outside and enjoy the place. Besides, the 200 THB entrance was a bit expensive for four of us considering that we were all afraid of snakes.

The Cobra Show was the last in our morning itinerary. From here we proceeded to Samphran for our complimentary buffet lunch.

For our afternoon tour, see: Samphran Elephants, Crocodiles & Cultural Shows

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