And my tomorrow became a day after tomorrow then another day. I’m sorry to keep you waiting for this post and for not keeping my word here. Just didn’t have the time to write yesterday and yesterday’s yesterday ‘coz we celebrated Ella‘s 9th birthday at Lala’s Eco Park. Yeah right, we’re regulars here already. Hehe….. And with all the backlog of work load I have in school, I keep on editing because the yesterday will be already almost a week now! Let’s cross our fingers that I’m really gonna finish writing this post today. Well anyway, let’s get back to business. Back into our Thailand adventure!
To start with, Bangkok is known to be the Venice of Asia for its network of canals and is also scientifically believed to be sinking. As we already experienced a romantic gondola ride at The Venetian in Macau, we also opted to have another boat ride in Thailand. But this time, in a real humble boat just like what the locals are having with a twist. For in this ride, we can go shopping and eating, an authentic Thai experience of doing market because Bangkok is also known as the city of floating markets.
In that matter, there are about five floating markets around Bangkok and Damnoen Saduak’s is the most popular and the most visited by tourists. So thanks to our travel agency for sending us here! Pick-up time for this tour is as early as 6:20 AM, a great time to hit the road for an hour and a half drive. We arrived at the market past 8:00 AM, still a great time to do the boating without too much heat of the sun. Hehe….. Gluta-paranoia strikes again! So we bought hats to protect our beloved facial skin.
Before entry to the market, we were brought into a pier wherein we hopped into a motorized long-tailed boat and banana in shape called rua hang yao to take us to a tour around the houses along the riverbanks. First impression? Oh, it’s just like the Philippines every time we get flooded after a typhoon’s landfall. Quiet true! Just like here in our country, houses are built beside rivers and in the coastal areas.The only difference is that Thailand makes it into a bustling site of commerce and trade. Now that’s a wise resource to a buzzing economy, right?
The water front of the houses are being converted into shops, restos, and bars, each bearing its own respective specialty as of a souvenir shop, spice shop, noodle house, etc. As we were nearing the Damnoen Saduak market proper, we were greeted by a spectacle of prolific trade. Then we transferred to a rowing boat, costing us 150 Baht (P280.50) per pax which was not covered in our tour package. And off we paddled our way through the canals, exploring the market.
The sight was so lively with all the colorful fresh flowers and Thai handicraft. Know more about their handicraft in my next post. I won’t be promising tomorrow this time ‘coz I might not keep my word again. Hehe…. There are also snake charmers who wowed us in their performance and you can have your photo taken with the snake around your shoulder too. Clothes, Thai silk, crafted candles, massage oils, post cards, and paintings are also available for sale.
Aside from the souvenirs, the best of local eats are also being sold around the market. Fresh tropical fruits are everywhere! You can’t help but taste all of them because the smell that was wafting in the air was so inviting! That just reminded me of my food adventure in Vietnam last summer.
However, let me tell you about our funny experience here. The lady cook called out “Pad Thai, Pad Thai!” which rang a bell to my ears. I suddenly remembered, that’s just the food that my former student told me to eat once I’m in Thailand ‘coz it’s a must-try. So I called out to our boat driver to stop by. We ordered the food, so excited to taste it, and was shocked! The Pad Thai we had cost us 200 Baht (P374) per serving! It was being sold up to the brim when in fact at the stalls in the market above, it was only 50 Baht (P93.50) even from the same owner! Haha! We only found out about it when we roamed around the market in wooden floor and stilts after our boat ride. Then we just laughed at our misadventure! I could not say that we were fooled unlike in Hanoi because boat vendors do really overprice their goods and foods sometimes. So it was just okay because the Pad Thai was worth the price! I will surely search for its recipe over the net for I also bought some Thai spices to bring home with me.
As mentioned, we also toured the market above which our tour guide fondly termed as “walk”, in contrast to the other one which she called as “boat”. Prices here are less compared with those sold on the boats. But they are still higher when compared with what’s in Pratunam Market which I will also be telling you about soon. Floating markets have become pricey because they are now tourist attractions. Anyway, everything that you see in the boats, you also see in the “walk”. It’s again just like here in the Philippines wherein we have bazaars for cheaper deals and steals. But once here, you must learn and master the art of haggling. Haggle down directly to half the price for vendors mark-up really high. But in fairness, vendors here are not as clever as in Vietnam to not give your change back.
In addition, there’s also a massage area if you get tired feet after the walk. And since the weather was really really hot, even hotter than here in the Philippines when we visited Thailand last Holy Week, buko juice and ice cream for refreshment capped out our morning tour!
Finally, I successfully visited a floating market for I thought I could visit one when I was in Vietnam last year. I often jumble this on my mind ‘coz a trip to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia can be made into just one setting. But poor little me, I’m doing it one country a year if compared with the Westerns that once they take an Asian tour, they’re hopping from one country to another. Well at least my going ootc. And compared with my peers, I’m more than privileged so thank God for that! More about our Thailand adventure here on The Other Side of Mae so stay tuned! #tosomtravels #tosomeats
Wanna know the best Thai markets in Bangkok? Check ’em out here! 🙂