The Jungles of Bangkok and the surrounding area

Bangkok is a city of opposites: High-class shopping malls side-by-side with crowded marketplaces, 5-star restaurants shaking a block with run-down shacks, temples and spirit houses right next to stripper clubs and ladyboys. It’s an amazing mix of sights, colours, sounds and smells. Many love it, some dislike it, but what’s certain is that no one can remain indifferent to it.

 

temple

 

The average traveller stays in Bangkok for 2-4 days to see all the “must-see”s: a few temples, the palace, and for the most part, shopping. The relaxation, exotica, hiking, animals and learning the culture – all these are left for later, to be seen in the North or in the Southern Islands.

 

Hotels in Bangkok:

Novotel Bangkok on Siam Square

or:

InterContinental Bangkok

or:

Holiday Inn Bangkok

and cheaper one:

Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam

or:

Novotel Bangkok Ploenchit Sukhumvit

Or suites hotel for families:

Evergreen Place Bangkok

or:

Oriental Residence Bangkok 

It’s hard to believe that right in the city, in its centre and suburbs and surrounding provinces, no more than half an hour’s drive away, you can find jungles, animals in the wild, orchid greenhouses, and most importantly – see the non-touristy side of Thailand, where you will hardly meet a single tourist but will discover fascinating places, meet locals excited to see foreigners, see Thai children who will show off tricks to you as they swim in the murky waters of a river, and shop at a real, authentic floating market or colourful seaside market.

 

 jungles near the river  orchid greenhouse

 

dhildren swim in the river

 

All of these are hard to discover on your own, especially if you don’t speak Thai or don’t know your way around the outer suburbs of Bangkok. But a good local guide will open a window for you to a different Bangkok, tourist-free and special, which you will never forget.
Hananel Shamir, who has been living in Bangkok for several years now, organises trips for independent travellers in small groups in Bangkok itself and also farther destinations (including the islands and the North). His tours are different from the standard trip to Thailand, much more unique and exciting.
He won’t take you to the standard places, which you can visit on your own, but rather, areas which are mostly unknown to foreigners.
Even when you visit a well-known place with him, for example, the spirit house in Hyatt Erawan. You will be surprised to learn the fascinating story behind it which you would otherwise have not learnt.
You will even learn something interesting about Thailand’s McDonald’s...

 

Thailand’s McDonald’s

 

I had visited Bangkok many times, but after Hananel’s trip I discovered new sides to the city which I hadn’t even known existed. On a single day with him you will see, taste, discover, and do so much that it will take you several days to take it all in.
With Hananel you will travel in Bangkok using every possible form of transport, taste authentic local foods and learn lots about the Thai people, their culture and their customs.
It’s hard to believe that in Bangkok itself you can see – in the wild -- huge water monitor lizards, which look like dinosaurs; or, alternatively, see stunning orchids blooming right next to a murky canal.

 

lizard

 

A recommended trip outside of the city is to Samut Songkhram. An hour and a half drive will take you to a place where foreign tourists are rare and exciting sight among the locals, who I used to only Thai tourists who come to the area on weekends.
Here you can visit salt fields, a coconut farm, an educational archeological site for awareness and protection of animals including monkeys and “walking” fish; you’ll feed the “swimming monkeys”, visit the “Train Track Market” – an authentic, rural market in the province which sits on the tracks of an active train that crosses through the market four times a day...

 

Train Track Market

 

swimming monkeys

 

An amazing sight: with perfect timing, the stall owners close up their stalls as the train arrives and the market resumes the second the train has passed.
You will also visit a special market on the ocean shore (where you will only see Thai shoppers), tour the living area of the second Rama king which includes a museum and beautiful gardens, and to wrap up the trip, a trip along the canal banks in a real Thai floating market and a nightly boat ride through this floating market including dinner, as well as a boat ride to watch the fireflies which are unique to the area.

food market  house

Overall, a very special day, which you would not be able to have any other way. As authentic as can be.

floating market

A trip with Hananel is also a gastronomical experience. You will finally get to taste real Thai coffee and eat fries made of bananas, yams or durian (a very popular Thai fruit known for its stench...). You will eat in restaurants in air-conditioned shopping malls but also in simple street stalls which offer excellent soups. You will come to know new Thai dishes and fruit you have never heard of in your life. Even if you tend to be difficult or conservative about trying new food, you will not go hungry.
More information about Hananel’s trips along with plenty of photos can be found on his website.

Advice to those who wish to tour with Hananel: Book the tour well ahead of time!
Hananel’s e-mail address: hananelshamir@gmail.com  

More Thailand articles:
Animal Encounters for Families
Special Guided tours in Thailand
Family Vacation in Phuket
Vacationing in Koh Chang
A Trip from Bangkok to Khao Yai Reserve
Family holiday in Northern Thailand with Private Guide
Family Holiday in Koh Samui
The Islands of Thailand
Vacations Trips and Luxurious Hotels in Khao Lak

 

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