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If you close your eyes and think of Thailand – what are the first things you see?

Try and keep it clean please people, we don’t want ping pong balls cluttering up an otherwise simple exercise.

Thailand is exotic. It is hustle and bustle. Colour and light. Mysterious sights and sounds, sumptuous smells that waft through the air.

Basically, you are thinking of a Thai floating market – one of the most amazing experiences Thailand has to offer!

Thanks to the increase in tourists visiting Thailand, floating markets may not be as authentic as they once were but a trip to the canals of Thailand is one of the most amazing experiences to be had in the country. It gives you an idea of the history of the region and just how culturally different the area is to anywhere you’ve ever been.

In the 19th Century, Bangkok was known as the ‘Venice of the East’ thanks to sheer number of canals, or khlongs, in the city. The khlongs were, and to some extent still are, the lifeblood of the city.

When you are in Bangkok as part of our Ultimate Thailand adventure, you will be taken on a river and canal cruise through Bangkok where you will be able to see historic temples and houses that skirt the edge of the water.

The canals and rivers of Bangkok may not be filled as they once were but a long-boat ride lets your imagination run wild!

The floating markets aren’t too far from Bangkok with some of best located less than three hours from the city centre. Day trips can be organised from the Khao San Road and our handy guides can help you book them. Here are some floating market names to remember!

Damnoen Sanduak – the most popular.

Only about an hour and a half from Bangkok city centre, Damnoen Sanduak is the go-to floating market for tourists and tour companies in Bangkok.

If that floats your boat (yes, I went there) then check it out! If you’ve already had your fill of those weird frog-noise things and ‘Same Same but Different’ t-shirts, maybe give it a miss.

If this is the market you select, it isn’t all Americans with bum-bags. You can still find some secluded areas where you get a feel for the local culture of a floating market. You can buy fresh produce and Thai craft and take some of those awesome photos of baskets filled with colourful vegetables.

Amphawa – the local version.

Amphawa floating market is where the locals head to the water for their shopping. It is a Thai experience like no other as the long-boats crowd around the popular stall-boats for their favourite produce or freshly cooked food.

It is an impressive site, hundreds of long-boats crowding the small canals of Amphawa. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen really. The sights, sounds and smells will entice and amaze you as you bob along in a long-boat of your own, past countless stalls!

Taling Chan – the food-lovers paradise!

In all honesty, the food and produce at each Thai floating market is amazing but Taling Chan just tips the scales with its amazing seafood selection.

From fish heads to crab legs, and everything in between, Taling Chan is foodie heaven and is filled with locals looking for something tasty for their weekend lunch!

If you aren’t brave enough to plump for some seafood, there are plenty of other options to impress your palate at Taling Chan.

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These are just some of the floating markets on offer in the Bangkok area but there are hundreds more across the entire region.

You might not be a markets person or have seen your fair share of crowded stalls throughout your travels – a floating market with its mystery and wonder is definitely not to be missed!

Remember to take a look at our Ultimate Thailand trip for more information on an amazing adventure in Thailand!!

There are cultural differences everywhere you go, whether it be subtle ones county to county in the UK or big, noticeable ones like those found in South East Asia. We’re always writing about the amazing things that you should do in Thailand but there are a few that appear on the ‘What not to do in Thailand’ list!

You may not know you are doing it but it can be easy to commit social suicide should you do the following. Some of these are obvious, but some not so much … never fear, Ultimate Thailand is here to point you in the right direction when it comes to Thailand’s social dos and don’ts.

Watch where you put your feet.

It can be considered exceptionally ill-mannered for you to point your toes or the soles of your feet towards people, places and inanimate options. Even more so if you point them in the direction towards temples, images of a Buddha or monks … this is a big no no! It is also frowned upon for you to use your feet when you shut a door, step over or kick something.  (Also, remember to take your shoes off when you go in to someone’s house or a temple … especially if there’s a big pile of them outside the door!)

Don’t touch their head.

To a Thai person, the head is thought of as the most holy part of the body. Unless you have a very close relationship with that person, touching their head will be considered as a sign of disrespect and would be a source of great discomfort and uneasiness.

Whistling at night is bad luck.

Thai people are superstitious and they believe that by whistling at night, you call the spirits which is bad luck! This may not be so much of a worry for some these days but many will still feel a sense of anxiety if they hear a whistle once the sun has gone down.

Keep the noise down.

Thai people are very gentle and softly-spoken and travellers usually stick out like a sore thumb! As a general rule, we are not as reserved as they are. Where you are in the shops or dining with friends, try to be a bit quieter. If you find yourself in an argument, try and stay as calm as you can. By increasing the volume or shouting, you will embarrass all involved.

Don’t get touchy feely with a monk.

It is prohibited for monks to make physical contact with a woman. If a monk places something down for a woman to pick up, instead of handing it to them directly, they are not being rude!

Guys, you are allowed to be in contact with a monk, but they will still probably leave a respectful gap between you. A big no no … don’t stand over or put yourself in a higher position than a monk!

If you make an effort to stay away from these social no no’s, it won’t go unnoticed and the wonderful people who make Thailand so great will respect and appreciate your efforts to respect and appreciate them, which means everyone is happy … and we at Ultimate Thailand love happy people!

Hi Guys! It’s always nice, when going to a new country, to be able to communicate with the locals in their mother tongue. Though learning a foreign language is no easy task, it is a huge sign of respect and will be very well received if you can say at least a few simple phrases and be seen to be making an effort. With that in mind, Ultimate Thailand has come up with a list of phrases you may find helpful when on your travels. Learn to speak Thai and enhance your experience in this wonderful country!

Sawatdee Hello
Sabai deer u How are you?
Pood Thai mai dai I cannot speak Thai
Mai kow jai I do not understand
Nee tao rai? How much?
Lot noi dai mai? Can you give a little discount?
Sanaam Bin Airport
Khob Khun Thankyou
Nit noi Small/a little bit/not much
Yai Large
Ron Hot
Nao Cold
Naam Keng Ice
Naam Water

 

And the most important! …

Bia Beer

 

As with a lot of languages, it can change slightly depending on whether the speaker is male or female … to make what you are saying more polite, add krub/khrup to the end of your sentence if you are male, and kah/kaa if you are female.

So ladies, when saying ‘thank you’, to be polite, you would say ‘Khob khun kaa’ and guys, you would say, ‘Khob khun krup’.

Now you have the basics, be sure to practice your Thai with the people you come across on your travels in Thailand. Chok Dee!! (Good Luck!!)

Gayle x

Thailand has loads of cultural practices and beliefs that are different to those in Western societies. Your Ultimate Thailand Tour Leader and our Thai Guides will teach you everything you need to know during the trip, but here’s a few bits to get you started… The Royal Family – The Thai’s love their Royal Family!…