Day trip to Amphawa: 5 temple tour, floating market and fireflies

IMG_20150829_105055I have been wanted to go to a traditional floating market since I have been in Thailand. I decided to take a day trip the other weekend to Amphawa, which is just south of Bangkok. Amphawa is not the popular tourist floating market that most people go to from Bangkok. It is not a typical floating market as it gets busy in the afternoon rather than early morning. IMG_20150830_072137

It was easy to get to Amphawa from Bangkok. To get here, take a van from Victory Monument. The easiest place to find a van is leave the Victory Monument BTS at exit 4, walk about a 100m then turn left to the van station. It cost 80 baht each way. After a peaceful 2-hour journey, I arrived in Amphawa, where I brought a return ticket to make sure I could get back to Bangkok. When I got off the van, I saw a sign to the floating market, which was a short walk away.IMG_20150829_131711

The canal was surrounded with rows of shops selling food, souvenirs, and clothes. There were a few boats on the canal selling food mostly. When I researched Amphawa, there were a few places I wanted to see so I found a long boat tour that took me to 5 different temples, which cost 50 baht. The only catch is that I had to wait on the boat until it was full, which I didn’t mind as I wanted a relaxed day. Soon, the boat was packed, all with Thais. It was lovely trip seeing different scenery and temple. The first 4 temples, weren’t anything special but I got blessed by a monk at one of then, who gave me a bracelet. It was interesting to observe the local buying flowers, incense as an offering to Buddha. At each and every temple, they did this. IMG_20150829_132807

The final was the temple I wanted to see: Wat Bang Kung. As I departed the boat, I was faced with a animal petting area with camels, goats,deer and some other animals. They were so cute. I walked up the road to find the temple in a Banyan Tree, which was crowded with people but looked really cool. There are many statues of fighting men and an aeroplane.IMG_20150829_151012

Once, we the long tail boat speed back to the market, I had a pad thai made by a woman on one of the floating boats and I sat facing the canal and enjoying my food. I wandered through narrow markets, full of sample and different food to find the Thai dessert museum, which wasn’t really worth going to but the surround garden was beautiful. After, I went back to the canal area to get a foot massage, which is just what i needed. There is only one massage place along the whole of the canal and they also give massages on empty boat.IMG_20150829_172644

Late afternoon, I tried different Thai desserts and food before hopping on the firefly long tail boat tour, which was incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen fireflies and they covered trees in the dark. The driver caught a firefly and showed me as I was sitting at the rear of the boat. It was just amazing. I went on the tour at the perfect time, where I saw the sunset on the river before seeing the fireflies.IMG_20150830_071505

After the tour, I got a van back to Bangkok. I had an amazing day and would totally recommending going to Amphawa.

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Barcelona: tours and magic fountain

Saturday 13th

After chatting to some people last night, I decided to go on a Travel Bar walking tours as I got told it was more interesting and informative than the one that the lady at the hostel mentioned. The Travel bar is just off La Rambla, and arrange many tours including the old town, Gaudi works, photography, pub crawl, tapas, cooking – there is something for anyone so if you enjoy tours, I would head here.

I went on the Free Walking tour of the old town, Barcelona, which took us around the cathedral through the side roads to the port. There were about 9 of us on the tour I did with a mixture of people from USA, Canada and Korea.

As it was Christmastime, we got told about a Catalunyan tradition, where there is a log with a face that is put under the Christmas tree which grows over weeks. Then on Christmas Day, the log is beaten by the children and present are pooped out.

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The logs in different sizes so they can ‘enlarge’

Another tradition is where a person with a nativity set decided to trick his family by putting a ‘new’ character in the scene. They hid this to see if they noticed. This character was if a little boy pooping. Now apparently in every nativity scene you will see different characters pooping from football players to celebrities to cartoon characters.

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Pooping boy

It was also interesting to hear about George slaying a dragon is a myth in Barcelona (as well as many other countries in the world including England). Also about the hairy statue and the rivalry between the Spanish and Cantalunyans (They want Cantalunya to be its own country)

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Picasso art of the Kings

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The hairy warrior – Try to find it if you are in Barcelona

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Parliament houses

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Interesting nativity in the Parliament Square (with a pooping boy)

When the tour had finished, we got the reminder that ‘We expect tips for the tour’. I have been on many free walking tours and they make money from tips but I’ve not ever been on one where they are so demanding and pressurised. I alway give a generous tip but when I get told that I have to do something, I’m likely to do the opposite. Anyway, I gave a little tip.

After I wandered around, ate some lunch before meeting one of the guys from the day before to do a Gaudi and Modernism tour, which I knew was going to be a lot of walking. I saw some incredible architecture. The photos will not be anything as good as the actual buildings but here’s some of them:

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4 cats cafe

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Music hall

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Casa Batlló

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Casa Milo

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The tour ended at Sagrada Familia. While on the tour, we got told about the history of these place, the people Gaudi worked with and just the detailed of everything in the city.

After we went under the Sagrada Familia to see Gaudi tombstone (which you can do for free after 6pm).

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Two of us decided to go to see the Magic Fountain show, which someone on the previous tour had mentioned. Thus was the other side of town but as I like walking so much, we went be foot. (Warning: it took over an hour to get there).

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The magic fountain was amazing; so mesmerising and beautiful.

When I got back to my hostel, I met three girls in my room, where we decided to go to a few bars drinking sangria and shots before heading to a club.

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