From Koh Samet, we returned to Bangkok. I ended up spending time in Bangkok in three different stretches, which I will compile together in my final post of Thailand.
On our second day in Bangkok we opted for a daytrip to the nearby city of Amphawa, known for its famed floating market. Plenty of companies run cheap daytrips there, but the problem with going on those tours, aside from the ungodly early hour of departure, is that because of the early start (likely designed to avoid traffic), you get to the floating market too early. On weekdays there is no floating market other than on Friday, and on the days when the market is running, it really only gets going midafternoon.
The day before our daytrip, we encountered a friendly cabbie who offered to take us to Amphawa for 500 B each way, which is a crazy good deal—on a meter it would come out to at least 800 B. It sounded like a scam of some sort but we triple confirmed the price and booked it. The following morning we departed at 10:00 am. When we arrived near Amphawa, our cabbie took us to a boat launch site that was not busy at all. When we talked to the boat operators, we quickly understood why; they wanted to charge us $80 CDN a person for a three hour tour on the canals–a crazy price. So that was the scam, cheap taxi ride in exchange for a good commission on an insanely expensive boat tour. We got back into the cab and very firmly instructed the driver to drive us to Amphawa proper as he had agreed and informed him that we would book our own boat. The cabbie was very upset and subsequently told us that he would not wait for us and would certainly not drive us back for 500 B. No loss, we still got into town for one hell of a good price, and Amphawa is a popular tourist town so we were not at all concerned about finding transportation back to Bangkok.
Sure enough when we booked a 1.5 hour boat tour on arrival, it came out to 300 B a person (the pricey place wanted us to pay 2000 B). Some shots of the town and from the boat tour:
These scary looking statues are a thing in Thailand, though not on this enormous scale. How would you like to have that as a building neighbouring or facing your home?
A tiny bit of the floating market had started up by the time we were getting ready to leave the town around 4:30 pm:
In the end we were right not to be concerned about arranging for transport back to Bangkok. Just a few metres away from the main bridge over the floating market, minivans depart to the Victory Monument terminal at regular intervals for about $4 CDN a person. Alas, the traffic was brutal, so it took close to 2 hours to make it back.