Best Thailand Travel Advice I Didn't Take (And the Consequences)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

floating market 2
Photo Credit: Jesslee Cuizon

Skip that floating market. It's going to be a waste of time.

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Not just one but 4 people gave me this advice. We were discussing whether I should go to the Damnoen Saduak floating market. They even told me to go to the more authentic Taling Chan floating market instead. But did I listen? Hell no!

If you knew me even remotely, part of Lois being Lois is to be bull-headed and see things for herself. So off I went even after friends cancelled on me. I took a cab from Khao San Road to get to the Southern Bus Terminal. From there, they had buses that went directly to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market for 42THB one way. My original plan was to just make a quick trip going there, take a few (hundred) photos and take the bus ride back. Simple right? It was more complicated than that.

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Punishment for Traveling Solo

After a 2 hour bus ride, I found out that duh, in order to get to a floating market, one had to ride a boat. Fair enough. So I asked the woman at the pier if I could get on the boat and how much it cost. There must have been some miscommunication but what I understood was that I couldn't get on the boat just by myself. I should have booked a group tour. But they can't expect me to go back to Bangkok defeated. So I asked how much to just book the entire boat?

3,000 baht.

Floating Market2That was close to half the budget I had planned to shell out for the entire trip. Heck, that was more than what I paid for a round trip ticket from Manila to Thailand! At this point, the girl was being very rude as she tried shooing me away after she realized there was no way I was paying that much. I lost my cool after that and left feeling very annoyed and helpless. A guy who saw everything that happened was kind enough to point me to the next pier. So I asked the same thing: could I rent a boat just by myself? (The price of traveling solo!) Good thing the owner was renting much smaller boats and agreed (after much haggling) to charge only 300THB for a 30 minute ride.

The Floating Market Tourist Trap

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Floating Market8As soon as I got on the boat, I already had a few things working against me. I got there at noon, past the golden hour so the light was very harsh and not suitable for photography. I was there by myself so I had blurry self portraits. I couldn't leave the boat to get to higher vantage point for fear of getting left behind. And the major blunder was that this was not the Floating Market of my Nikon DSLR commercial fantasy. The boatman stopped at regular intervals in front of souvenir shops I didn't care for. They sold ordinary fruits, mostly coconuts. Everyone there was either a tourist or a hawker.

There was nothing authentic about the whole experience.

To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. The only consolation I had was that it was over soon enough. I know. Even Ron and Monette of fliptravels knew how this would turn out. They say mistakes can cost you time or money. I'd say this time, it was both. But that's another thing I love about travel. Nothing ever goes as planned. Usually for the good but sometimes for the bad. So I took whatever dignity I had left, hightailed it back to Bangkok and went off in search of some sticky rice with mango to sweeten the experience.

Have you ever gotten travel advice? Did you take it? How did your trip turn out? Share your story with us by leaving a comment.

Until the next trip,
Sole Sister Lois

This is the last of the Thailand series but I'm sharing with you recap of the things I learned from the Thailand experience next.

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5 sole trails

  1. ayan kasi. hehehe.

    im staring blank on the screen thinking of things to comment about the floating market. but really, it's just BLANK!

    not gonna try harder.


  2. Hahahaha.. di kasi nakikinig.

    Now you know why this was the last thing I wrote about my last trip to Thailand. I'm not usually whiny, but I just had to share this.

  3. ayan kasi. hehehe.

    im staring blank on the screen thinking of things to comment about the floating market. but really, it's just BLANK!

    not gonna try harder.


  4. Good thing we chose Taling Chan over Damnoen Saduak,.  Lesser travel time, with fresh, yummy seafood at reasonable rates.  And if you're up to experiencing the authentic, traditional canal side way of life by the locals, from here you can take the one-hour Thonburi canal tour for only 60baht, which can cost up to around 1K+baht from agencies or other piers.

  5. it was really brave of u.. and very risky! i love it! HAHAH! i would have done the same thing.. :D


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