Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Floating food and flowers

On Tuesday we got up at the crack of dawn and took a car ($120 USD for the car, driver and guide for six hours) out to Damnoen Saduak, the floating market located 60 miles outside of Bangkok. This was one of the highlights of this trip.

You've probably seen pictures of this market in Thai travel adverts. This was the way Thais made their daily purchases way back when. We left the hotel at 6:30a and arrived near the market at 8a, then took a long-tail boat to the market itself. The long-tail boat ride was through the khlongs, or canals, and it made me feel like I was on the set of Apolcalypse Now. Once at the market site, we arranged for a small boat to take us through the floating market itself.

These small wooden boats are paddled through the water by mostly women who wear traditional blue farmers' shirts and conical straw hats. You can buy fruit, vegetables and spices there, and souvenirs. I scored my spirit house there! Neeracha bought some kanom buang for herself and mango and sticky rice for the girls. I stuck with my beverage of choice, bottled water.

We left there about 10a, glad to be departing as the tour buses arrived and the market got nutso.

On our way back to Bangkok we stopped at a handicrafts shop / market and watched people carving large wooden elephants by hand and large decorative wall art. They also hand made the Thai rice paper with flower petals that you see everywhere.

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