My flight to Thailand few years back was a bit “dramatic” because the “red versus yellow shirt” riot was unfolding. Jaa, my Thai friend called me and suggested that I should rebook my trip and just go there during the Chinese New Year. I followed her advise.
Jaa was kind enough to help me find a place to stay and treat me to a trip to the floating market and elephant village. Since it was Chinese New Year, my eagerness to swing by to temples increased! Ha!
The boat ride onward the Temple of Dawn was invigorating. I also got to see small temples on the way. I did manage to look around and meditate a bit in the Temple of Dawn. The structures were overwhelming! I had a hard time taking photos because I was scared of heights ! Arghhhh!
The next stop was the Wat Pho temple (a.k.a. Temple of the Reclining Buddha)… This time, I rode a tuktuk to get there. It’s nerve-wracking to see the Reclining Buddha, it’s too huge! I felt like it will wake up any moment and will turn the place upside down. Ignore me. I have a very weird imagination (sometimes!). :p
Checking out the temples served as an eye-opener for me. The devotees’ and temple caretakers’ passion and discipline can be felt within the temple. I find the atmosphere strange at the same time, commendable.
Floating market is one of the most interesting places that’s a must see in Thailand. It’s a fun boat ride and shopping “haven” in one! The trick is, you need to be alert and fast enough to spot the best, haggle, pay and get the item. It takes practice to do all these things in a lightning fast mode because the boat can’t remain still for a long time unless there’s a “traffic” along the way.
I managed to buy a deliciously cut mango to fill my stomach while enjoying the boat ride and quietly observing what’s going on. Mind you, it’s nerve-wracking and at the same time, a thrilling experience. It’s amazing how the vendors skillfully maneuver their boats while selling their stuff amidst the crowded river. It’s dangerous if the vendor is not knowledgeable enough to control the boat because a collision with the “reckless drivers” may occur.
After the boat ride, together with my newfound friend (a nice lady from Chicago), we went to check out items near the floating market. While I haggled with the vendors to get a cheaper price, she was smiling and later on told me that I was very good at it. When she saw an item that interests her, she requested me to negotiate and get a good price. Great tandem, eh?
Have fun with the boat ride at the floating market when you visit Thailand!
Tip: Items at the floating market are more expensive than those located near the area.
Haggle! When they give you a price, cut the price by half or even lower and then agree at a price.
Don’t look too interested. If you can, leave if they don’t want to give the price you want. :p