THE FLOATING MARKET, RATCHABURI, THAILAND – After riding the elephants we traveled to the floating market in Ratchaburi, Thailand. This market is world famous for the vendors that sit in small boats and float up and down the rivers selling fresh fruit, food, and other products. This market was originally part of a way of life for those living in the countryside. Today the market is more of a tourist destination. Tours are also given of the river. There is also a small market place that lines the river. These shops sell handmade pieces of art and other souvenirs. Outside of the market, people offer the chance to hold snakes or to feed a baby elephant.
JAMES FASHION, BANGKOK, THAILAND – The second store that our tour guide brought us to was James Fashion. James Fashion has been rated the number one tailor in the world by National Geographic. They also offer custom made suites, shirts and dresses. They even offered our group a student discount if we bought from them and free drinks. Again I thought this was a sham, but I looked at the materials they were offering and other people having suits made and decided to have some made. In fact everyone in our group got suites made. I bought two suites, two shirts and three ties for 15,000 Bhat (approximately $500 USD), an extremely good deal for custom fitted suites. Each person in our group was given their own tailor they showed us around their show room and we were able to choose they color and type of fabric that we wanted. All of the suites that I bought are wrinkle free. We had our measurements taken. The next day we went back and were re-fitted with the semi-finished coats and finished shirts. The tailors then told us that they would deliver them in person to our hotel the next night before we left. They kept their word and arrived at 11:00 PM with our order. We tried them on and they fit perfectly. I was extremely happy with the quality and service that they provided and I would highly recommend them. They even keep your measurements so you can order another suite online if you are no-longer in the country and they will ship it to you.
THE ROYAL LAPIDARY, BANGKOK, THAILAND – Our first day of touring ended with our tour guide bringing us to two shops. Obviously the tour company received some sort of kickback if these companies sold something to us, but it was still cool to see another side of Bangkok. Our first stop was The Royal Lapidary. This store was actually a gem factory that is known throughout Thailand for its jewelry. It specializes in sapphire and ruby’s, but they also work with every other gemstone. At first I thought this was just a sham, but they allowed us to go into the factory and stand over the workers as they built various jewelry mountings and polished the stones. It was a neat process to see.