You Buy From Me?
We left our Bangkok hotel EARLY to head off to the floating market with our driver Tak-Ta, only to encounter our first noticable tourist scam.
The floating market is outside Bangkok and we were in the car for a while, when Tak-Ta finally took us to a port with one vendor there selling tickets. He said the price was 1,000 BAT which is like 30 dollars. We felt we had no choice so we paid it, reluctantly, and our boat driver took us to a few little shops. At one shop where his wife worked, he even stopped the engine! We baught nothing. Then we got to the canal where the real floating market was and we started asking the tourists in the other boats how much they had paid for their rides. They told us 150 BAT, or less than 5 dollars. I flipped. Allison and I started yelling at our driver, telling him to take us back NOW and that we want our money back! He pretended like he didn’t understand us, but made a quick cell phone call and then told us he was returning us to the dock. Once we got there, a young woman asked us what was wrong. We said we’re very angry that we got scammed and she said she’d give us all our money back if we didn’t say anything to anyone. Of course once we got our money back, we told the tourists pulling up that a boat ride costs 150 BAT and not to let these port people scam them.
I was upset because I was convinced that our driver Tak-Ta was in on the scam, but I didn’t want to say a lot because we still needed her to take us all the way back to the airport later that day and we didn’t really know where we were.
We had Tak-Ta take us to the center of the market, where we picked up a proper boat. After a nice ride around the canal snapping photos and taking in all the sights, sounds and smells, we felt better.
Next, Tak-Ta drove us to the bridge over the River Kwei. We took a look at the bridge, the railroad tracks and the local train and moved on.
Our coolest stop of the day though, was Tiger Temple. That’s an area where the monks of this particular temple take care of the tigers there. We went during tourist visiting hours — which is right after lunch when the tigers are full and sleeping soundly. The staff took us around to pet the tigers and take photos with them.
I felt relatively safe, except for the disclaimer they made us sign and that was also posted all over the Temple that they are not responsible for bodily and/or material damage that might be caused by the animals.
We got our photos, saw the monks and booked to the airport.
Tak-Ta was a crazy woman on the road. It was unclear whether we would make our flight to Chaing Mai, but we did it! We made it with a few minutes to spare, checked our bags, and we were in the air before we knew it.
We checked into a cute little guest house, not far from the Chiang Mai night market. Just had dinner in the market “food court and beer garden” and went walking around a bit. I actually like this market, I think it’s my favorite on on this trip so far!