Day 5: Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Pratunam (February 28, 2012)

Notes by traveldiary007 on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 under Ten-days of traveling alone (Malaysia and Thailand)
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I woke up 5:30 in the morning to catch the 6AM bus to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Taxi from Sansen (the address of the hotel where I stayed) to Southern Bus Terminal cost me 43Baht (USD1.41). If you are going to Southern Bus Terminal, some drivers don’t understand English, so tell them you are going to “Sai Thai”. This is what Auntie (owner of Roof View Hotel) kept on repeating to me. She then gave me a note to give to the driver in Thai language.

We arrived in the station at 6:15, there’s no bus yet (or it already leave) so I decided to buy a ticket going to Phuket for a night’s trip. Southern Bus Terminal has six bus schedules going to Phuket from Bangkok. The bus that I chose will leave at 8:00PM tonight, a VIP bus which cost me 974Baht (USD32.02).

After I booked a ticket, I went back to the bus station and just on time, the bus no. 78 going to Damnoen Saduak arrived. We left the station at 6:30 and arrived in the floating market at 8:45AM. That’s 2 hours and 15 minutes ride. There’s not much tourist at this time. Tourist will arrive around 9:00AM. The last stop of the bus is the floating market so no need to worry, bus fare is 64Baht (USD2.10). The lady conductor brought me to the table where you will pay for a boat going to the floating market. The in-charge charged me 800Baht (USD26.30) since I am the only one.

I turned around ready to take a walk when the lady staff approached me with a calculator on her hand. She told me she can give it to me at 500Baht (USD16.44). I told her it’s okay, I’ll just walk (but I’m not sure if I can walk inside). Then she told me that I cannot walk inside, I need to take a boat to be able to go there. She asked me how much I can pay. I told her 200Baht (USD6.57). She said no, she can give me at 400Baht. Then my final and firm reply, 300Baht (USD9.86), that’s all I can pay. She sighed and said ok. The whole boat is mine; it allowes me to view the market for 40 minutes. This is what you can see in Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Forty minutes is done and we are on our way back when the salesboy of the spices, (yes, I bought saffron for only 250Baht (USD12.91) which the original price was 500Baht (USD16.44), recognizes me and shouted, “Miss Philippine!” He knows I’m from Philippines because he asked where I came from when I bought the saffron. Some Thai cannot pronounce the “s” in the last word so “Philippines” became “Philippine”. He then acted as if ready to fight and yell, “I love Pacquiao!”. I gave him two thumbs up and a big smile which leaves the tourist in the other boat all smile and staring at me.

Spices in Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

I leave Damnoen Saduak at 10:00AM and bus of tourist came pouring in. If you will go to Damnoen Saduak by bus, going back to take a bus is a bit tricky. You have to get out where the bus leaves you, walk to your left side until you see the overpass highway. You will see a stairs and you have to go up, then go down to the other side and walk a bit. Cross the road, walk past below the overpass and you can see the bus taking you back to Bangkok. The fare is the same.

We arrived in Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok at 1:00PM because there was a bit of traffic and stopping of the bus. From SBT, I crossed the road by overpass and took a cab to take me to the Grand Palace. Remember that some Thai cannot speak “s”, Grand Palace became a “Grand Palath” and that leaves me a smile. Taxi cost me 47Baht (USD1.55).

Entrance to the Grand Palace is 400Baht (USD13.15) but its worth it.

The Grand Palace

The hermit doctor

The palace will closed at 3:00PM. If you buy ticket at 3:00, they will still allow you to come in, but they will close some of the palaces, which you cannot go inside anymore. They will not refund your money.

One of the taxis (which some called it “Tuktuk” in Bangkok):

Tuktuk

After at the Grand Palace, I went to Pratunam at 4:00PM. Taxi cost me 69Baht (USD2.27). When you take a taxi from Grand Palace to some other places, walk a bit far because taxis parked in the Grand Palace won’t use a meter and give you a high price.

Pratunam is known as the wholesale market in Bangkok. Vendors are everywhere and you can make a good bargain. Please bargain nicely and smile while bargaining them. I always do this and it was a smooth bargain.

I leave in Pratunam at 6:00PM, went back to the hotel to get my belongings (I checked out early when I went to Damnoen and leave my belongings at the counter at no cost), get back to the taxi and went to SBT for the bus going to Phuket. It was so traffic that we arrived in SBT at 8:00PM and taxi cost me 219Baht (USD7.20). I’m glad that the bus was still there; waiting for the passengers who did not arrived yet. The bus leaves Bangkok to Phuket at 8:10PM. The staff gives us a bottle of water, a bun, peanut and a juice. An hour later, they provided us a blanket.

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