FLOATING FUN & FANTASIES -- floating markets, royal barges, and mythical beings

Something Fake, Something Real and Something Tall

Bangkok's Mae Klong Floating Market

Depart Bangkok around eight with your guide and private car and driver. (However, if you are willing to leave at seven you can make a stop Mae Kong Market, an outdoor fruit and vegetable emporium that is staged on the railroad tracks. When it is time for trains to pass, the market magically disappears until the train passes, then reappears).

Urban sprawl gives way to shimmering fields where salt is slowly extracted from seawater by the warm sun. If you are interested we can make a stop at the lovely King Rama II Parkin the Ampawa District of Samut Songkram for a stroll through its botanical gardens and view sculptures from Siamese mythology. There's also a traditional teak mansion houses a splendid collection of puppets and traditional musical instruments.

Later, visit Thailand's most famous floating market, where you will board a charming wooden boat for a cruise around this colorful bazaar from the center of the activity. Spoiler alert: This isn't the kind of market here locals come to buy fresh produce. It's, well, a piece of thourist theatre conjured up to boost the locala economy. As you are paddled along the waterway you can sample an enormous variety of fresh produce, tantalizing treats, and old fashioned sweets. Try your hand at bargaining for folk toys, traditional medicines, fresh honey, or the usual kitchy tourist junk that bus tourists buy for the folks back home.

The canal winds along coconut and banana plantations where you can watch natural brown sugar being coaxed from the sweet drippings of sugar palm flowers. Spry local villagers who row past you in a fascinating flotilla, dressed in hand-woven silk sarong and palm frond hats, make the market a charming experience and help keep the touristic excesses at bay. After your cruise, sit in the shade and eat your fill of fresh local cuisine.

Next stop is the tallest stupa in Thailand, rising from the center of Nakhon Pathom. It was here, as Thai tradition tells it, that Buddhism was first introduced to the region more than two thousand years ago.

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Includes:private car, driver and guide, market boat trip. Please provide lunch for your guide. No additional cost if you want to include Maeklong Market.

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