After roaming around Bangok for a day, it was time to see a floating market and Ayutthaya National Park. This was not really a tour per say, but actually just a driver and vehicle arranged with the hotel, Park Plaza Sukhumvit. The price was very reasonable, 3500 baht, or $100 US dollars approximately, for an entire day, about 12 hours. The vehicle was a Toyota Innova, the same one used for tours I took in India.
The first stop was the floating market, about one hour from Bangkok. Upon arrival, like basically everywhere else in Thailand, there was a price given, and then another price that was reached after testy negotiations. The price was too high in my opinion, $40 US per person, but at this point there wasn’t really an option as I was stuck here.
What I thought this would be and what it actually was are two different things. Riding in the boat itself is an interesting experience. There are some local houses on the sides and even a temple. However, for the most part, it is a shopping trap. There are many shops and you end up stopping at the majority of them. The prices are higher than in Bangkok, and to buy anything takes bartering before a price is agreed on. This may be fun for some, but becomes a tiresome exercise after some time.
After the shopping is finally over, there is an elephant ride. This was one of the saddest experiences I have ever taken part in on any vacation. I am ashamed that I even took part in it. The elephants look depressed. I wish that I could free all of them and send them to a natural habitat. It is obvious that they are abused. Beyond this, elephants are not built to be ridden on. This practice should be outlawed worldwide. One can only hope that the Thai government puts a stop to this as it did to a tiger den earlier this year.
After this was a long ride to Ayutthaya. The floating market is south of Bangkok and Ayutthaya is north, so several hours were spent in the vehicle.
This was a much better experience than the floating market.
For one, entrance is free at the moment due to the passing of the King. This lasts until January, and is a big savings because the entrance fee is not cheap.
Ayutthaya has several temple complexes, and the driver took me to three. The temple structures are impressive to look at, especially the Buddha ones such as the sleeping Buddha and the Buddha in the tree.
The only unfortunate part is by the time we arrived it was only one hour until closing so everything was rushed. I would recommend go here first and honestly forget the floating market altogether.
After this it was a long ride back to Bangkok. The night ended once again with a wonderful meal at the Terminal 21 mall. The next day’s itinerary was wide open, as it was the last day of this Japan/Thailand vacation.