Bankok has a market for everything it feels like. Flower markets, night markets, flashlight markets, weekend markets and even floating markets. On the morning of my first day in Thailand I tried to sit and plan things I wanted to do. I wanted to do day tours and little trips but I was worried about navigating my way there and back on my own. I tried to book tours but I waited too long. The problem with traveling solo and waiting to book things until you check into your hostel. However, I found this app/website called WithLocals and it saved me a lot of trouble.
One of the things I really really wanted to do was go to the floating markets. Or one of them. I didn’t realize there were several. And as I was looking around on the website I scrolled past fruit carving classes, city tours, tons of home cooked meals, and found a nice floating market food tour. I sent a request, paid for my tour and waited for a response. I heard back by the next day and went about the rest of my trip until Sunday rolled around.
The market I went to is only open on the weekends so I went on Sunday. You can go on your own, it just requires a bit more moving parts to get to and get back from than I felt I was comfortable navigating on my own. My tour guide met me at my hostel and we walked to a good place to grab a cab. Transportation costs were on me, which is a bit of a downfall for the whole thing, you pay essentially for the tour, but all extra things like transportation, food, a boat tour, ect are on you. But my tour guide was nice and full of information about Bangkok and things to do in the city. We even helped a dog cross the street on our way to getting the taxi.
Once we were at the market she gave me a history of the market, how it’s more of a farmers market and it takes awhile for things to finish setting up. We were a bit early. If I wanted to try something she would order it for me and tell me how much it was, making it very easy. I tried pink milk and while we waited for a boat tour, I tried some fried bananas that she bought for us to share. She also did some shopping which was fine with me, by Sunday the heat and all the flowers and dust had finally gotten to me and I was a bit under the weather with allergies so I wasn’t the most talkative. One of the stands was really interesting, they were selling these jars filled with powder and with a little bit of care would grow you fresh mushrooms. She answered any and all of my questions about Bangkok and I learned that pretty much anything and everything can grow there.
Eventually after a lot of big boats were filled with tourists had passed a small little boat with an elderly woman came to the dock and I was lead aboard. I learned that some of the boats are for tourists and take the tourists on sort of strange tours that don’t really make a lot of sense, but there are also small boats that give neighborhood tours. On these boats you get to see the homes of people who live on the river and it’s a lot cheaper and peaceful.
The Floating market we were visiting had people from all over who would come through to sell their wares and then continue on. There was one other small group aboard the boat with us, another two person group of one tourist and a guide. At first we went further along the market and the elderly woman bought food and treats. My guide had bought bread to throw to the fish but the fish by the market were over fed, with children buying fish food and throwing it constantly. As we went along it was explained that everyone in the village had a boat, it was the way to get around, they may have cars but not by the river. We passed a 711 that you can only get to by boat, children fishing, and a turtle house where the turtle had been chased off by a duck and the villagers would bring it food. We passed old abandoned shrines and abandoned market spaces and large lotus flowers. Occasionally we would stop and the elderly woman would bring give food to people we passed or just talk to them. We moved at a peaceful slow pace beneath tall mango and coconut trees.
Towards the end of out journey we stopped by a little dock with three dogs that came out barking and we gave them all the bread. The villagers stop by often to feed the dogs and care for them since the owners don’t. They ran after our boat for awhile, hoping we had more for them.
We paid when we got to the dock and then went to look for lunch. I got chicken and purple sticky rice. I tried taro coconut pudding which was amazing and warm and a little salty and sweet. I tried palm juice and was shown the best place for fresh mango, a woman on one of the boats will cut it properly for you which apparently is rare. We spent a lot of time walking around looking at things before heading home via Sŏrng tăa ou and a river boat.