Shopping on water? Sounds like fun. Sipping from a coconut while sailing through Bangkok’s most famous floating market? Too good to turn down!
Bangkok is Backpacker Central, and a trip to the Floating Market in Ratchaburi Province is usually part of any backpacking itinerary, regardless of your age. I have not only seen teenagers on gap years, but also older couples enjoying their retirements in the Thai capital, and you can be sure that they will all contribute to the chaos on the water here at Damnoen Saduak!
Clearly, Damnoen Saduak has lost some of its authenticity due to the amount of tourists that descend here every morning (market usually closes at lunchtime and doesn’t reopen), but I did not see any of the local sellers worrying too much about the plague of tourists – in fact, they see it as a way of perhaps getting more money than they expected from unsuspecting passers by.
Indeed, what surprised me the most about the floating market here in Bangkok was the smiles of the people! I know Thailand is known as The Land of Smiles, but this was just beyond the pale – but in a good way. I kind of feel bad that I didn’t buy anything really (not even any simple fruit), as this was last day in Bangkok before flying to Myanmar, and I was concerned about my last few remaining Baht being good enough to get me back to the airport in the morning. However, despite not tasting any of the great food on offer here at the floating market, I will remember the vivid sounds and smells for an age!
When all is said and done at Damnoen Saduak, the locals sail home at noon with their fresh groceries, no doubt calculating whether or not they got a good deal! As for tourists like me, well, I happened to find a seller of Thai coconut ice cream (known locally as “I-dtim Mat Phrao”), which is one of my favourite forms of ice cream in the world. It was a great experience to sit by the klongs and watch the chaos around me as I indulged in some cheap Thai food!