One of the most cost-effective ways to take tours is to tag along on a group tour which always has some good surprises thrown in for the traveler. My partner Perla said we were going to feed the elephants and then go to the floating market which I had on my list of things to see. Off we go on a brand new bus with an experienced Thai tour guide to point out interesting things about the country of Thailand and different scenic venues as we traveled through the countryside.
I thanked Perla for arranging this trip and thought this was a pretty cool way to travel, since we were picked up at the hotel and didn’t have to haggle price and figure out taxis, bus terminals, train stations, tuck tucks,tricycles,ferries, etc that I usually have to do when backpacking by myself.
We arrived at the elephant feeding station where I purchased several bunches of bananas and proceeded to feed the elephants who have a ravenous appetite. Perla came to me excited and said we can ride the elephants on a jungle trail…I thought of my aching lower back and said I probably couldn’t stand the bouncing and jarring and I will pass. Perla bought her ticket and went on the platform where I was going to photograph her as she mounted the elephant. The mahout said one can’t ride we need two to balance the weight… so what the heck since the loading was just an easy step from the platform, off I go like some hollywood superstar heading down the jungle path.
Our elephant seemed a bit crazy and kept veering off the path to eat small trees and whatever treats it liked. Then our mahout driver dismounted the elephant and waved goodby as he headed into the jungle for a possible bathroom call. The elephant kept walking straight up the path as if he knew where he was going (I told Perla no worries elephants have good memories.) The mahout returned and we ended up going through a small stream with the water up to the elephants shoulders. I am glad I had the opportunity of a lifetime to enjoy a ride on one of the most majestic animals of the world. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
On our next venue we mounted a six seater wooden dug-out boat with a strange-looking engine and proceeded at a leisurely rate down the jungle interior taking in the sights of the wildlife and amazing vegetation…. and just as if we signed up for a new James Bond movie chase scene our driver began to go full throttle though the narrowest of canals, taking blind corners at full speed and narrowly missing other speed demons as they proceeded toward the floating market.
Giving one of those thank you secret prayers which are very personal it felt good to be on terra firma and become a spectator at the floating market. Even though its touristy in nature the floating market is a kaleidoscope of great photo opportunities with the colors of the local foods, textiles and local crafts almost overwhelming the normal senses and cameras.
We had a great lunch next to the water and it was fun just to watch all of the different boats maneuver through the floating market… adding to an already colorful atmosphere.
So there you have it… if you really want to see a county on the quick it might make good sense to tag along on a group tour and see what the adventure has to offer.
Zentraveler footnote: Because of the extreme flooding in and around Bangkok if any readers have any extra money all contributions would be greatly appreciated by the Thailand flood victims. Thanks,
QUOTE: “I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” —- Rosalia de Castro
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW: Traveling provides tremendous opportunities for fun, adventure and discovery. When we visit places in other countries, we gain a better understanding of the people living there. We learn their cultures, history and background. We discover the similarities they have with us, as well as their differences from us. It is interesting to learn from people with diverse backgrounds.Traveling helps to enrich our lives. It increases our knowledge and widens our perspective. When we visit interesting places, we discover and learn many things. We discover new people, surroundings, plants and animals. If we want to make our travels more exciting and challenging, we can choose to plan our own tour and select the specific places we want to visit. Traveling not only provides us fun and adventure, it also provides us marvelous insights and enlightens our minds.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO SAVE:Help save the Earth by having smaller families as we reach the seven billion mark on world population this month. The world’s agricultural systems are already dangerously overstretched. Rainforests are being cut down to make way for new farms; groundwater used for irrigation is being depleted; greenhouse gases emitted from agricultural activities are a major factor in global climate change; fertilizers are poisoning estuaries; and countless species are threatened with extinction as we grab their land and water and destroy their habitats.
ZENTRAVLER SAYS:It’s all in zee travel. Travel light, travel often and take tons of photos.
From here to Infinity is a relatively short ride! The next leg takes eons and eons as you fly through the Barycentric Dynamical Time Zone! …and on and on and on.
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