What's best for tour with Tong?

Apr 19th, 2010, 11:23 AM
  #1  
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What's best for tour with Tong?

This will be our only day with Tong (or any guide) while in Bangkok. Right now the plan is the floating mkt, Railway Mkt and Fishing Village. Do you think this is a good use of our time with her?
The fishing village sounds interesting and the Railway market to some extent but i'm not sure about the Floating Market. Sounds kind of touristy. Anything we should substitue?
We plan to see the city of Bangkok ourselves and have a total of 4 full days in Bangkok. One day will be spent at Chatuchak Mkt.
Is there some other tour that you would recommend instead with her? Advice would be very appreciated!
suep1 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 01:11 PM
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When we went with Tong, we visited a couple of temples and restaurants, bought caskets for the poor, shopped for monk's bowls, and then went out to the fishing village. It was an interesting and very fun day.

I don't think you'll regret anything you do with Tong, and other posters have enjoyed doing the floating market with her.
lcuy is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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I would skip the Floating Market. It is overwhelmingly touristy, even with Tong by your side.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 02:49 PM
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I have mixed feelings about the Floating Market - somehow it is a must do for Bangkok but we were underwhelmed (did not go with Tong or her people).

No matter what you choose to do, it will be a full day, you will have no choice in that - plan on at least ten hours. Quite honestly, unless you get up really, really early and get to the railway market in time for the train, there isn't much purpose in going there if you have been to an Asian market - although you can buy some fish at the market and make merit "by setting them free" in the nearby river, which to us was kind of goofy but fun (and made for good photos).

Bottom line, if you have an out-of-the-way place either in Bangkok or outside that you need a ride to, this is the day to do it. We wanted to return to the woodcarving place near the FM that we had visited on a previous trip and it worked out well - we ordered several major pieces over the course of a couple of hours...
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Apr 19th, 2010, 03:03 PM
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Thanks so much for your answers. What you're saying about the Railway and the floating market makes sense. I like the idea of the fishing village though. Ideas on places that would make the most of her time? It will be our first day in Bangkok but I want to use her for places that we can't cover on our own.
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Apr 19th, 2010, 03:38 PM
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In Bangkok, any place that is away from the river and not near the skytrain would be places that will be more difficult (and time-consuming) to cover on your own.
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Apr 19th, 2010, 03:48 PM
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I would stick with your original plan. Tong knows the time of the train and will probably get you there to see the rapid movement. We did the Floating Market on a tour and it was tedious. We did it agian with Tong and it was really fun.

Craig is right. It will be a very full day, but it will be memoprable. be sure to tell Tong that you posted with Panda.
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Apr 19th, 2010, 04:10 PM
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Using Ratt or Tong your first plan is a good one. If you wish to avoid the tourists and if you are arriving the night before from the US you will likely wake up early just beause of the time difference. That said, if you left your hotel at 7:30 you would get to the market at 8:15 and spend 1 hr or 1.5 hrs. max there. The tourists often leave BK at 8-8:30 for the FM so you will see it with a few more locals or at least Thai folks and less tourists. The wood carving place that is not far away, in our opinion, is not worth the the hour between the drive and the stop. The woodwork is quite interesting but much of it is large furniture and large wall hanging of woods that if you live in colder climates tend to crack within a few years not because it is not good wood but it is either teak or cherry woods that are used to warm humid environments. Additionally based upon 2 visits over 12 years the shipping costs were quite expensive. The fish market is worth the experience. The Railway market was o.k. but a few Temples not easily accessible on the metro line might be worth your time instead. If it were Ratt I would suggest you go to a special store a little out of BK that hand paints awesome tea pots and cups but I do not know the name of it. We purchased several pieces and found out that 2 teapots that we paid $60 each for were selling in the Metroploitan Museum Store from the same town were selling for $350. It's not the price but it is always nice to get a "real" bargain.
StanKase is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 04:20 PM
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we did the day you describe with one of tong's team and it was great. don't change anything, you will have a marvellous time
4bams is offline  
Apr 19th, 2010, 04:52 PM
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the place StanKase is referring to is Pinsuwan Benjarong. We went there with Ratt and did quite well with purchases in 2006. However, last February we went with Lily (one of Tong's "team") - there was very little for sale and we left with nothing...
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Apr 19th, 2010, 05:54 PM
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Craig-(and others) when you say stick with the original plan do you mean to do the floating market and railway market or to substitute something else? I was wondering if it would be possible to do Fishing Village and Erawan or River Kwai but don't know the distances involved.
We aren't coming from the US: Bangkok is the last leg of our journey so we won't be jet-lagged.
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Apr 19th, 2010, 06:03 PM
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Just for the record, I did not say stick with the original plan. We did not bother to get up early to get to the railroad market when the train arrived and had no regrets.
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Apr 19th, 2010, 06:16 PM
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Sorry Craig--you're right, Gpanda said that. What would you substitute for floating market and railway market?
Would it make more sense for us to bag the fishing village and do the River Kwai/Erawan day?
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Apr 19th, 2010, 06:44 PM
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Simple, do the railway matket, Floating Matket and fishing villageIT will be agreat day and tings bright ightwill led the way, Don' oer-pln. Tyou've hited the best, let her figute out what will work for youi. aJudt thunk of it as a dy with Tong and nithing else. I ppromise you willbe amazed and amused,
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Apr 19th, 2010, 09:28 PM
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that would be a great day.....while touristy, the floating market is tons of fun and very picturesque... remember you are a tourist afterall....its not like miami beach or coney island or las vegas, its a part of the almost former culture of thailand....

the tour as outlined would provide a well rounded day... we started with making merit in bkk too with tong which was fun
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 03:52 AM
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If you do go to the FM, you will need to convince Tong to arrive at a very early hour and minimize your time there. Be aware that it is overwhelmingly touristy; you need to walk through a conglomoration of tourist stalls to reach the water. I doubt if you will see any locals shopping from their boats. Perhaps ask Tong is there is another floating market scene that might be less filled with tourists.

There is also a "teak temple" in the area that I visited with Tong and that I recommend very highly--not sure if this was mentioned already. The inside has the most fantastic carving of teak and there are lots of monks on site.

Fishing village is wonderful and at the right time of year you could even swim from the stilt house out on the water.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 05:01 AM
  #17  
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Thank you all! I am feeling much more comfortable with the plan. There's always a tension between self-educating/ taking charge of your trip and over-planning. Tong sounds like a real experience in and of herself.
You've all been wonderful. Gpanda, hope you are feeling much better.
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Apr 20th, 2010, 05:05 AM
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The River Kwai is really more in the memory than in what you will see. If you read a few page summary about it I really think it is far better than going for the trip will occupy a day. I do understand Tong is not as flexible as Ratt azand that is why we used Ratt on our 3 visits to BK (not her team but her). Though she is not licensed she knows everything I would ever want to know based on questions we asked her. I would assume if you ask Tong in advance for a 7:30 start and ask for an o.k. she will honor it. We did not find it difficult at 8:15-8:30 on a weekday walking through the forst part of the maret in terms of too many people and we took a canoe-type boat but for only about 40 minutes which was fun but enough and as I said 1.5 hours there was ideal and we we on our way to the next destination before 10AM.
StanKase is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 07:09 AM
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i find ratt and tong to be equally flexible and rate them both at 110%
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 20th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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the railway market is a treat- fairly exotic goods to peak at, and when the train comes it really is fun to be there! it does not take up much time and we really enjoyed it. I would not play with tongs original itinerary. (make sure you are at the railway market before and after the train- have tong time it.) it will be a long day, but well worth it
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