I took a 1-day guided tour to get a glimpse of the tourist attractions in and around Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. Before proceeding to the tourist hotspots like Pattaya and Phuket, it is worthwhile to spend a couple of days in Bangkok if you are on sojourn, for there is plenty to see in the City of Angles or Krung Thep as known in the Thai language. If you are a business traveler, reserve Saturday or Sunday for the outing. There are many travel and tour agents, possibly you can see one such at the hotel where you are put up, who provide such guided tours. I paid USD30 for the 2-meal-included diurnal trip which started at around 8 a.m., with the pick up from the hotel.
Maha Mariamman temple in Bangkok:
Our first stop was Damnoen Saduak floating market, the famous floating market in Bangkok, which worked from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Monday to Saturday. In a floating market, goods are sold from boats. Before all those road and rail networks came into existence, extensive waterways of canals and rivers were the main transport networks in Thailand, and a floating trade flourished as a natural outcome of this traditional transport mode. Nowadays, floating markets serve as attractions for local as well as international tourists to experience riverside shopping, besides, being the living souvenirs of the history. I saw similar floating markets in Vietnam.
One has to take a boat from the vehicle drop-off point to reach the floating market. I remember that it took around 20 minutes to reach the market.
Waterway to the floating market — what a way!
Most of the goods sold were fresh farm produce. The following pictures illustrate further:
When it came to souvenirs and non-food stuff, the tour guide told us to bargain as prices mostly started 3 to 4 times higher.
In addition to the floating shops-on-boats, many shops were also set up on the concrete dykes in and around the water-marketplace. There is dedicated canoe service to take tourists around the market.
After spending couple of hours at the market, we left for the next destination, the Elephant Village, a place to do elephant safari. One has to pay separately for this.
There are white elephants in Thailand, I remember that our tour guide told, which are owned only by the Kings.
The time spent at the next attraction, Samphran Elephant Ground & Zoo, was thrilling. There were enthralling shows by the elephants:
Elephant Trapping: Simulation of guiding an elephant out of an elephant trap.
Football game by the elephants:
A few other shows:
Elephantry was an unavoidable part of the militaries of kings and emperors. A simulation of the battle by elephant-mounted troops:
One side is getting ready for the battle!
The other side:
The battle rages:
The Winner and the vanquished.
My bit with elephants:
The visit to a wood carving center gave an exposure to the making of traditional handicrafts of Thailand.
A wooden robot:
We moved on with our journey, and the last two stops threw up adventurous games. Crocodile and cobra shows.
Crocodile show: Two young guys playing and tussling with crocodiles! One of them even went to the extent of keeping his head in the mouth of an alligator.
Cobra show: I paid USD 6.50 for the show, but the thrill, curiosity and awesome fear that the show gifted to the spectators were priceless.
Catching a jumping cobra:
Collecting venom from a large snake:
It was a show where the animals were trained to not harm each other. So there was no murder.
Catching three snakes at a time. A man catches three sankes – two with his hands and one with mouth!
It was a.day spent well. I had a good time in Bangkok.