We’ve been back in Bangkok for two days and we’ve just put my parents on the plane to Korea. Sue leaves for South Africa (where she’s giving a presentation at a conference) tomorrow. I should be able to get out of photomontage mode and start posting again soon. I plan on writing more about Ko Phi Phi…

Just as the guide books promised, the floating market of Damnoen Saduak offered terrific photo opps, but was on the touristy side. Still, it’s an activity I highly recommend if you’re spending time in Bangkok because one, you get 100 km out of the city and see the country side (we hired a taxi van for the day which cost 2000 baht or about $70); and two, it is FUN to zip around by boat through all the canals – and very interesting to see how people live along the river, even more interesting than the market itself.

The cons: it’s a day trip and you spend a lot of time in the car. Also, we ended up paying 300 baht ($10) per person for a 1 1/2 hour boat ride, which is expensive by Thai terms and far more than the website said we would have to pay. But we did get a covered, motorized boat; pleasant boat drivers; long tours through the canals; time to explore the town on foot, and the tour ended up being almost 2 hours long. We got two boats, as each boat carried a maximum of six people. As we got closer to the market we could see there were lots of different boat operations we could have chosen, and it would have been cheaper probably to go with a paddled, uncovered boat, but we were happy with the sun protection. (The speed was not important to me, but we didn’t know until we were in the floating market that the motorized boats were the SUV’s of the crowd) Lastly, the market ends early, so you have to leave Bangkok by 7 am to catch it.

Songbae hanging with the dude while we waited. Sue did some hard-core negotiating to get the price per person down from B450.

Songbae hanging with the dude while we waited. Sue did some hard-core negotiating to get the price per person down from B450.

The kids were fascinated by the whole thing. I struggled to keep Christian fingers in the boat.

The kids were fascinated by the whole thing. I struggled to keep Christian fingers in the boat.

Converging on the crowd at the market. There are boats selling food and stalls right up against the water selling things - mostly trinkets, but some interesting stuff too, like carvings and marionettes.

Converging on the crowd at the market. There are boats selling food and stalls right up against the water selling things - mostly trinkets, but some interesting stuff too, like carvings and marionettes.

That silver wok you can see in the boat is filled with bubbling oil frying yummy treats. It was like dim sum on water!

That silver wok you can see in the boat is filled with bubbling oil frying yummy treats. It was like dim sum on water!

The town itself is quiet. We sutmbled into this strange spot - it looked like a graveyard for broken buddhas.

The town itself is quiet. We stumbled into this strange spot - it looked like a graveyard for broken buddhas.

And there was this random dog there that looked like a statue.

And there was this random dog there that looked like a statue.

For what ever inexplicable teenage reason, by the time this photo was taken, Bella was no longer into the touring of the Thai countryside. No shopping makes a grumpy Bella.

For what ever inexplicable teenage reason, by the time this photo was taken, Bella was no longer into the touring of the Thai countryside. No shopping makes a grumpy Bella.

Noi naa and Sue applying a little square of gold leaf to the buddha in the local temple.

Noi naa and Sue applying a little square of gold leaf to the buddha in the local temple. (Look for their heads to the left of the top buddha. They climbed stairs to get there.)

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