During our trip to Bangkok, we stayed at my friend's house. Her mother was the most helpful person I have ever met. She went out of her way to help us find information about the places that we wanted to visit on the internet. She printed out piles of information from online. Then, she called for taxi for us and arranged for us to go on a tour to the floating market. We felt so indebted to her.
On Day 2 Bangkok trip, we woke up super early--6am--to get ready to take the taxi to go to a hotel an hour away to board the tour van that would take us to the famous floating market. The taxi ride only cost about RM20 or USD6. The tour cost RM70 or USD25 per person.
The floating market is open daily from about 8am to 11am. These boat vendors were mostly farmers who after their harvest, came to the market to sell the goods. They did it on their boat. Some boats were engine boat while others are traditional boats. Leighton and I rented a boat that would take us down the river to the stores on water. There were many boats on the tiny river. Many tourists came to experience this "Venice in Thailand." It was a memorable experience. I bought some bookmarks and pens for my students. I was totally ripped off though, since I was terrible at bargaining.
We also ordered some Thai spring rolls and coconut juice from the sellers on the boats we rowed past. It felt like living in a city flooded by water. The only thing i worried about was the boat might capsized due to the traffic jam on the water.
After the floating market, we went to see the elephants. According to the tour guide, the elephants were used as royal transportation for the royalties of Thailand in the pass. In modern day though, we, commoners, can ride on the elephants for Rm60 or USD20 for half an hour. It was an experience worth attaining. Sitting so high up on the elephant and felt your body sway from side to side on top of it and worrying that you might fall and be crushed to sand under its feet was a pretty interesting feeling and experience. It was totally worth being so close up to the largest animal on land and pet it.
Then, we went to see the wood carving. I was really impressed by the art of wood-carving. It seemed really difficult to carve a piece of art out of a block of wood, but the wood-carvers made it look really easy. Check out some of their creations:
On the side note, Thai taxi drivers all drive nice Toyoto Corollas and there are heaps of them EVERYWHERE!