We woke up bright and early at 7am to head to Damnoen Saduak in Ratchaburi, southwest of Bangkok. Being a national holiday (commemorating King Rama V’s birthday), there wasn’t much traffic, so we got there within two hours. Before reaching the river banks, we stopped by a coconut sugar factory and orchard farm with steaming kilns and swarms of bees.
Shortly after, we hopped aboard a longtail boat and zoomed around the village, before stopping at the center of the floating market.
As if engines were too costly or disruptive, we transferred onto a smaller paddle boat with an elderly man steering in the backseat. I thought it would be a peaceful drift through a romantic Venice-like canal, but all the storefront owners would use a long, sickle-like tool to hook onto our boat and draw us in toward their shops. The next few minutes would feel like an apologetic battle with highly skilled sales agents, before they accepted defeat and let go of our boat. The food vendors on actual boats were much more pleasant to deal with (and way more popular), so we bought some fresh-peeled mangos and deep-fried spring rolls to snack on.
As if vans, motor boats, paddle boats weren’t enough for one day, we rode an elephant! through a mini jungle and swampy water! (I just felt sorry for the elephant the entire time, praying that the owner would reward the hard worker with extra bananas that day.)
Afterward, we stopped at a teakwood factory and bought a little elephant plaque with our names chiseled onto it!
To complete our Thai tour experience, we stopped at a gemstone factory on the way back — and of course, our photos were enough for memory’s sake.
Day 15: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
What better way to spend the last full day in Thailand than to enjoy a two-hour full-body massage at So Thai Spa? The antibiotics cleared up the last bit of infection in me, the spa treatment helped our bodies detoxify fully, and we downed three plates of Australian beef and two bowls of veggies at Shabu City (hot pot) that night.