The Floating Market in Damnoen Saduak is one of the most famous floating markets remaining in Thailand. Vendors on boats float down canals selling everything from coconut ice cream to elaborate noodle dishes. The town where the market happens is an easy day trip from Bangkok, but we would recommend arriving the night before and going to the market in the early morning before the hordes of tour buses arrive. Here is a short video from our trip.
At La Aventura Project we focus on adventure, obviously! So of course we had to check out the Grasshopper Adventures Bangkok Night Bike tour! Grasshopper Adventures runs bicycle tours all over Asia, with expert local guides who show you an amazing time. The Bangkok night biking tour starts at their headquarters near Democracy Monument where they give you instructions on the route and explain some city history. Before you head out they give you a quick rundown of the bicycle then give each rider their own reusable water bottle. We were big fans of the water bottles and wish more businesses would reduce plastic waste by using this type of eco-friendly practice!
The Bangkok Night Bike tour started off by taking us down some small allyes behind the infamous Khao San Road. From there we biked a few more minutes to the Chao Phraya River where we stopped just in time to take some beautiful sunset photos. We were already impressed with the quality of the bikes and felt very safe riding around the city because the guides helped us safely cross streets and navigate the crazy traffic.
Stopping at the Flower Market was one of the highlights. We tried some refreshing passion fruit juice and learned about the history of the market. Then we learned how to fold the famous Buddhist lotus flowers into beautiful patterns, like a living origami. There were also vendors cutting betel nuts into packets for chewing. The local people used to chew the nuts to get high, or get energy, but the habit has faded out over time.People still buy the nuts as an offering to their ancestors who they still believe enjoy them. We stopped to get some more street food outside of the market and were able to try many things which were included in the price of the tour.
The tour stopped at two of the most famous Thai temples as well; Wat Arun and Wat Pho. The guides explained a lot of the history of the temples and taught us a lot about the connections between ancient Hinduism in Thailand and Buddhism. We offered our lotus flowers which we had folded earlier to the lord Buddha at Wat Pho. It was really special to view the temples at night, as they are illuminated with bright lights and lacked the hordes of tourists that swarm them in the daytime.
On the way home we rode past the Grand Palace and several other temples. We stuck to back alleys and less busy roads. It was super cool to see these neighborhoods of Bangkok that we never would have found without the tour. The Bangkok night biking tour with Grasshopper Adventures was better than we could have imagined. We learned a lot of Thai history, ate incredible food, and made some new friends. The traffic in Bangkok can be absolutely insane, but we felt very safe the entire experience and we have the guides to thank for that. We really were very impressed with the experience and hope to do more trips with Grasshopper Adventures in other parts of Asia!
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Figuring out how to get around Bangkok, Thailand can be overwhelming at first. Navigating the big city can seem impossible, until you figure out the different transportation systems. The options are many and all have their time and place and ideal use. Taking advantage of the right method can save you time, money, and headaches.
HOW TO GET AROUND BANGKOK
1 – Taxi
Metered taxis can be the cheapest way to get around the city. They are best when the roads are less busy (before 7 am), midday (10am-2pm) and after 8pm. Taxi’s should always be running the meter. If the driver offers you a price upfront then move on to the next driver because he’s trying to rack up the price. They usually will only do this during rush hour when the meter price isn’t worth it for them to drive you. At these times it’s best to take another mode of transport anyhow because it could take you hours to drive a few miles. Sometimes the taxis around the very touristy areas will also refuse to use the meter. If you just walk a couple blocks out of the super touristy area you should be able to find a taxi not trying to scam you.
Uber is another decent option. They are usually a little more expensive than the meter taxis but you get a set price in advance. You need a Thai phone number to do this, as the drivers usually like to call you in advance. Set yourself up in front of a 7 Eleven to make it easy for the driver to understand. Just say “Farang 7 Eleven” and they can usually find you. Your hostel can usually help you talk to the driver as well. You can use the code zackm5528ue to get 50 Baht off of your first ride.
Grab is an app like Uber, but more popular in Asia. Most of the metered taxis also run this app. It is usually a little cheaper than Uber and a good option during busier traffic times when the drivers don’t want to run the meter. Same as Uber, they will usually call you so be prepared to communicate with someone who has rudimentary English skills. Most taxi drivers at least know basic English though, so don’t fear.
2 – Tuk Tuk
Tuk Tuks are little motorized rickshaws that are on every street corner in Bangkok. Slightly more expensive than the metered taxis, tuk tuks are SUPER FUN to zoom around town. The price starts at about 100 Baht for a 10 min ride and you always have to negotiate to get a decent deal. Ask your hostel before you start for a fair price. They hold three people comfortableyand up to six if you want to get super cozy with your friends after a night out. They are best to use at night for bar hopping when it’s cooler and you care less about the lack of A/C. Keep in mind that you will get wind in your hair and the dust from the street may irritate your eyes a little, but it’s totally worth it for the experience. Everyone who comes to Thailand has to take a tuk tuk at least once.
There is also a really cool app called Tuk Tuk Hop. It’s like Uber for tuk tuks, and takes you around the historic temple area of the city. You pay a set price and get unlimited rides for the day. It’s really nice because you don’t have to negotiate or search for vehicles. Check out our article HERE for more information about this app.
3 – Moto-taxi
Mototaxis are the scariest way to travel in Bangkok. The drivers are crazy and you might spend the whole time praying that you live to see the next day. However, during rush hour this is sometime the ONLY WAY to get places because the mototaxis will cut between the traffic. Look for the guys with orange vests and the price usually starts at 50 Baht and foreigners usually have to negotiate.
4 – BTS, MRT, ART (Skytrain, Metro, Airport Rail)
The train system is by far the easiest and safest way to get around. It goes to most of the most popular Bangkok neighborhoods and get your their fast. You can pay as you go or purchase a re-loadable card for 100 Baht. The hard part about the trains is that there are three different systems and each has it’s own top-up card. Also when transferring between lines you usually have to leave one station and navigate around a corner to the other. Use the trains during rush hour or on weekends when the roads are clogged up.
5 – River Boats and Canal Boats
River Boats – The best way to get to the temples from central Bangkok. Just take the BTS to Saphan Taksin station and walk down to the Chao Phraya River. There are several options of boats that can take you across to Wat Arun for around 50 Baht as well as a free boat at night to the Asiatique Market.
Canal Boats – These boats cruise through the small canals in central Bangkok. This is the best way to get from the BTS to the Golden Mount and Khao San Road. The boat is a 9 Bahtt flat free and cuts your travel time in half over the bus, even more at rush hour. Buuuuuut, the downside is that these boats stop running at 7pm.
6 – Bus
Public buses run all over Bangkok and are the cheapest form of transport. They are pretty much useless during rush hour, so keep that in mind. They also are not air conditioned but have open windows. Just wait at the bus stop, get on and sit down. Someone will come around to collect your money. The best way to figure out which buses go where is with Google Maps– it’s usually accurate enough.
7 – Songthaew
These are pickup trucks with bench seats installed in the truck bed. Less common in Bangkok, they are very popular in Chiang Mai and other cities throughout Thailand. They usually have a set route and a cheap price. Just flag them down, hop in, and pay at the end.
8 – Bicycle
Bicycling in Bangkok can be downright scary when traffic is crazy. However, cycling around the temples at night can be an amazing experience. Check out the Bangkok Night Bike Tour put on by Grasshopper Adventures. Also, biking is the best way to get around Bang Krachao, the “green lungs” of Bangkok. Take a whole day to explore this neighborhood and escape from the grind of city life without going too far from the urban center.
9 – Walking
Walking is always our favorite way to get around. You see more and interact more with the local people. Some nice places to walk in Bangkok include Lumphini Park, Chatuchak Market, and Khao San Road. Use the maps.me app listed below for nice downloadable maps to show you how to get around Bangkok by foot. There is also a free walking tour by Take A Walk BKK once a week. Check their Facebook page for more info. Note that if you walk more than two blocks by choice, Thai people will laugh at you in a lighthearted way. The concept of walking by choice for exercise or sightseeing is pretty foreign here. Thai people jump on moto-taxis to go two blocks!
Other Useful Advice
Maps.me – The most useful app for world travelers. Just download the country map of wherever you are going then you are all set once you arrive. It navigates you around without using data. The app picks up location data from pinging WiFi signals, giving you constant location updates in towns and cities. It’s very handy to make sure the taxi driver is taking you in the right direction, or just for general exploring of a new city. This is the app we use the most while traveling, don’t skip it.
Sim Card – Get yourself a Thai number. You can pick one up at any 7 Eleven for 49 Baht then just top it up 100 Baht at a time to keep yourself connected in case of emergency. If you phone is locked you can get it jailbroken at many phone repair stores for a cheap price, or just buy an old used phone to use as a travel phone.
Stay Samed Coffee & Bed in Ko Samet, Thailand is a beautiful new boutique hostel on the island, located down a quiet side street less than 10 minutes walk from Sai Kaew Beach and Na Don Pier. Stay Samed let’s you relax in peace while being moments away from the party strip and the amazing ocean!
All rooms in Stay Samed come with air conditioning, and the beds are some of the most comfortable we have ever come across in any hostel dorms. The private rooms are very spacious and come with LCD televisions and their own private bathrooms.
The dorm rooms have a maximum of 8 beds. Each bed has its own privacy curtain, electrical outlet, and reading light. Each dorm also has it’s own bathroom and shower. The showers have soap and shampoo dispensers and the front desk gives you a towel at check-in.
The street front Stay Samed Cafe features western favorites such as chicken and waffles and the Stay Bowl- an invigorating breakfast bowl of yogurt, granola, fruit and superfoods! There are also a large selection of coffees, sodas, and beers to quench everyone’s thirst. They serve breakfast all day so don’t worry about sleeping in! The staff is super friendly and they probably speak better English than you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or have them help you with booking tours! Here’s our video tour and some fun moments on the beach!
Tour and Boat Booking
Cafe and Bar
English Speaking Staff
8 Bed Mixed Dorm: from ฿500
6 Bed Mixed Dorm: from ฿525
Private Room: From ฿1200
Rates vary seasonally.
Phone: 095 523 2515
Address: Sai Kaew Beach
Ban Koh Samet, Rayong, Thailand 21160
Many of us go traveling without any real purpose or direction. This can be great but sometimes our travel can cause harm to the local economies, environments, and people. Being mindful about how your travel affects others can make a real positive difference, especially in the developing world. Here is our list of 7 ways that Positive Impact Tourism is important when you’re on the road.
1) Dress Like the Locals:
If you travel to a Muslim or more religious country, you don’t necessarily have to wear a hijab or dress to your ankles. However, you might consider ditching the crop top and short shorts for a more conservative approach. This is especially important when entering temples and other religious sanctuaries.
2) Understand Local Customs:
Before you embark on your trip, take a moment to Google “how to be polite in __________”. This will go along way to encouraging the local people to not hate you. For instance, in Thailand it is very impolite and unheard of to get visibly upset or mad at someone. Keeping your cool can go a long way to having a more positive traveling experience.
3) Avoid Businesses Profiting Off of Animals:
Playing with the elephants, petting tigers, feeding the monkeys. These things all sound mighty fun but these businesses are profiting off of keeping wild animals in cages. These places are sad and there are few that should be supported. Spend your money in National Parks where the wildlife is wild and will eat you if you try to pet it.
4) Reduce Waste Along Your Journey:
Carry a reusable bag and water bottle on your travels. When you go shopping, insist that they put your purchases into your reusable bag. Also, many hostels have drinking water stations so refilling your bottle can save a lot of money along with reducing waste. Try to avoid plastic bottles in general, as usually you have an option to purchase soda in a can. Refusing plastic straws is also a great way to help the environment as single use straws are very destructive. Check out these bamboo drinking straws which are reusable and make you look super educated when you use them.
5) Eat At Local Restaurants:
When you go to a new country and immediately go straight to McDonalds, you are being a very bad tourist. Eating at the local establishments keeps the money you spend in the community. Skip Starbucks and drink the local coffee. It will be cheaper and you won’t look like a total douche. Spending your money the right way is one of the most important parts of positive impact tourism.
6) Volunteer The Right Way:
Stick to volunteering on farms or at hostels to extend your stay. Many “voluntourism” options create more harm than good. Make sure to do your research especially if it involves elephants or orphans. Make sure your work is having a long tetm positive impact before you begin your stay. Here is an article from the Huffington Post about “voluntourism” and the “white savior complex” and how terrible it is for third world nations. One of our favorite Instagram stars, Barbie Savoir, sums up the problem pretty well through her clever satire.
7) Learn The Language:
Locals understand that most travelers can’t speak their language. However, it’s really easy to pick up a couple words to make yourself a more polite traveler. Learning “hello,” “please,” and “thank you” in every country you visit can earn you a lot of respect and smooth over awkward situations. Do not just show up and start yelling at everyone in English. Bad Tourist!!!
Like this article about Positive Impact Tourism? Check out our archives for other amazing stories and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel for new and exciting videos!
The War Remnants Museum is in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, Vietnam. It was created to expose the war crimes of French and American soldiers during the American War in Vietnam. Read more
One of our days in Chiang Mai was spent helping our friend Julie check out organic farms for her new organization, Live It Global. Organic farming in Chiang Mai is becoming more popular, thanks to several people who are pushing the community in that direction. There are a lot of small villages around Chiang Mai that are mainly focused on agriculture, growing fruits and vegetables which they sell in the local markets. It was a great experience to get out of the city and see how some country people live. Read more