Bangkok is an exciting city. There is more shopping than anyone can imagine, plus nightlife, restaurants, markets, temples, and of course traffic jams and pollution. Those with a week or more to spare often escape the humid chaos that Bangkok is both loved and loathed for and take a trip to an island in the south or the hills of the north. However, what is the best option for Bangkok-based travellers who only have a few days? Staying in town for more than three consecutive days takes both tolerance and imagination. There are only so many bars to drink in until it loses its excitement. The novelty of people-watching from a restaurant in Khao San Road wears off quite quickly, too. As for shopping; well, budget and space in one’s luggage can limit this quite quickly. So, travellers need to get out of town for a day to see what Thailand’s famous for. Leaving quite early in the morning and returning for dinner, it’s possible to visit the famous floating market (not one of the many copies) then feed tiger cubs and bathe elephants in a river. Yes, all in one day from Bangkok.
Although infamous for traffic problems, Bangkok is just like any other capital city. Once outside, the roads can be traversed quickly, safely and comfortably. In new, hi-top, air-conditioned minivans with dvd movies playing, the journey time from Bangkok to locations just a hundred or so kilometres away can be the same as a taxi from one’s hotel to a shopping mall.
The best day trips involve visiting the real and original floating market, which is located out of town to the west. Here tourists can enjoy a trip on a longtail boat and see how water markets in Thailand have operated for centuries. Getting there early is best, as after 10.00am the market changes into a tourist trap that doesn’t really portray the true wonder of Thai floating market life.
After lunch, there is a short trip north to the province of Kanchanaburi. Here is where the world-famous bridge over the River Kwai (pron. Kware) is. Not far from the bridge is the original and real tiger temple. Other temples use the name ‘Tiger Temple’ but have no tigers, so be warned. There can be no better adrenalin rush than feeding a tiger cub or being photographed sitting with a large adult.
If that’s not enough for one day, there is a new elephant camp just a few kilometres down the road where guests are able to ride, and even bathe elephants. Although they are herbivores, these majestic pachyderms are possibly more amazing than their feline compatriots, both symbolizing the beauty of Thailand’s wildlife.
Book 1 day tours to the Floating market and Tiger Temple with Thailand Tours Center.