Bangkok is crisscrossed by numerous khlongs (canals). The tranquil life on these khlongs has little to do with the hustle and bustle in central Bangkok. The best way to get to know this side of Bangkok is by taking a boat trip that takes you past tiny temples, gardens, orchid plantations and the typical stilt houses. These boat tours are organized by World Travel Service and Diethelm Travel. For example, Diethelm Travel’s program includes a four-hour boost trip or a full-day visit to the floating market in Damnoan Saduak.
Every Saturday from 6 p.m. the Bangkok Travel Bureau offers a three and a half hour bike tour through the historical center of Bangkok. You meet at the headquarters, 17/1 Phra Arthit Road, in Phra Nakhon and then drive past Sanam Luang, Wat Pho and the Democracy Monument and through the backpackers’ area of Khao San Road. The price of the tour includes the bike rental fee, a snack and drinks.
Phone: (02) 225 76 12 (Bangkok Travel Bureau)
World Travel Service offers small group tours where you can be picked up free of charge from numerous hotels in Bangkok. These tours can be booked directly with the organizer or in the hotel at the information desk for city tours. The half-day city tours include the “Royal Grand Palace Tour” (including Wat Phra Kaeo) and the “City & Temples Tour” (with visits to Wat Pho, Wat Trai Mit and Wat Benjamabopit). Both tours last 3 hours 30 minutes.
Diethelm Travel offers similar tours.
Phone: (02) 233 59 00 (World Travel Service); (02) 660 70 00 (Diethelm Travel)
Although Bangkok is not necessarily ideal for exploring on foot, Diethelm Travel offers a tour with a guided tour of Chinatown, which is called the “Bangkok Way of Life” and takes 3.5 hours.
Telfon: (02) 660 70 00 (Diethelm Travel)
Until its destruction in 1767, Ayutthaya was the Thai capital for over 400 years. Large parts are covered with numerous temple and palace ruins. The place is so beautiful that it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Ayutthaya is located 76 km north of Bangkok and can be reached by bus, train or boat. For more information, contact the local Thai tourist office.
Phone: (035) 24 60 76/77
Damnoan Saduak floating market
Although this market is located 80 km west of Bangkok, it is much more interesting than the floating market there, because it has not yet become a tourist destination. In the early morning there are countless small boats on the narrow canals, on which local women sell fruit and vegetables, a very colorful spectacle with an extremely interesting atmosphere. Since everything is already over at 11:00 a.m., you have to start from Bangkok very early in the morning. You can catch a bus from the southern bus station to a stop about one and a half kilometers from the market, but an organized tour from the hotel is probably easier.
This popular visitor attraction is located 32 km west of Bangkok. Every day at 2.45 p.m. cultural performances are presented here, including dance, Thai boxing, cockfighting and an elephant show. This excursion site is surrounded by a well-tended garden and is open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Phone: (034) 32 25 44
The infamous Kwai Bridge is 122 km from Bangkok. It was built by Allied POWs during World War II and is located in a scenic area with forested mountains and valleys. Two very well-preserved Allied war cemeteries lie on the outskirts of the city. Kanchanaburi can be reached from Bangkok either by bus, train or an organized bus tour. For more information, contact the local Thai tourist office.
Phone: (034) 51 12 00