Day 16: Floating Markets of Bangkok

Another must-see on my list for Thailand was the floating markets of Bangkok.  I have seen these on TV and always thought it would be cool to see in person.  I did some research in advance and I knew that the Damnoen Saduak markets are rather touristy, but I also knew these were the easiest to get to with our limited time.  Remember, only 1 night in Bangkok!

I found a group tour, but the downside was it left at 6:30 am.  This meant breakfast needed to be super early.  We ordered room service!
We got a lovely fruit plate.
I ordered smoked salmon to enjoy with a bagel.
We also ordered the pastry basket, which I had no idea would come with so much.
Anyway, to start our one and only morning, we headed off to the floating market.  The first stop was at a coconut sugar "farm".  This is a palm branch, I guess it would be called, maybe, and we were shown the inside.  Technically this is where the sugar would come from.
This is the finished product.  We were given samples to enjoy before demonstration of how they make this.
This is the heating process.
Lots of heating!
Getting close to the final product.
Stirring the liquid.
Then it started to harden, sort of like caramel or taffy.  They poured it into molds and then let it harden. 
After the coconut sugar and souvenir stop, we headed to the canals outside of Bangkok to enjoy our morning market experience.  First up was a speed boat ride down the larger canals to the start of the market.  Once at the market we could hire a paddle boat to take us further into the markets.
These are the pictures from our ride down the canals.
It is crazy to think about living along the canals here, but it seems people are still living in communities like this.  They had stores and cafes that could be entered from the water by boat.

The scenery was gorgeous.  Just like a movie!  In fact, the markets we were headed to were in a movie!  One of the James Bond movies was filmed here (hence the extreme tourist attraction this has become).
We even passed some temples too.
A Buddha.
Lots and lots of palm trees.

Then we entered the market area.
There were vendors everywhere!
You can see all the paddle boats lined up waiting for tourists to come by and buy their goods.
There were all kinds of products, but I was most interested to see the foods.  They were even cooking dishes inside the boats.
No idea what everything is, but it was very interesting to see.
Looking down on the other tourists.
It was busy, that's for sure!
Something inside a banana leaf.
Cut up fruits.
A boat full of traditional fruits, like mangoes, mangosteen and rambutan. 
Sodas and beers, too!
Grilled bananas in a boat!

I just couldn't believe they were cooking right in the boat!
One last shot with me by the boats as we were getting ready to leave and head to an elephant camp.
We had already done the elephant thing so we didn't need to go for another ride, but feeding them is always fun, so we took this last opportunity to feed them some bananas.
They are so cute!  You can't resist wanting to feed them.  This time there was a baby.

Cute!!!  He liked to have the bananas peeled first.  He was too young to eat the peel and got frustrated peeling it himself.
After the market tour we headed back to the hotel and then went out to enjoy some shopping and dinner before heading to the airport and back to reality.

We went back to the mall we were at the night before.  Actually, there were 3 malls all in the same area.  We knew that was our best and easiest option for dinner.  The mall was just a few metro stops away from the hotel.  

We were really looking for Red Mango for some frozen yogurt.  We found a location listed online that was in this mall, but it seems like it may have closed already.  Instead, we came across Big Apple, a donut shop.
Crazy kinds of donuts and a ton of options.  According to their website, they use less sugar than your typical donut.
I have never seen a kiwi donut until now!
We were glad to see they had mini donuts too.  It is hard to tell from the pictures, but these are a bit smaller than a regular sized donut.
We each got 2 to try.
We never found the Red Mango, but we did find Buddhi Belly, which is basically the same thing.
I'll confess, we weren't entirely at this point, but we don't have anything like this in Japan so we couldn't turn it down.
I got a small with a little fruit and that was enough to satisfy the yogurt craving.
After some more walking around, we decided we better get some dinner because soon it would be time to head to the airport.  We went to the basement of the mall because we knew there were tons of restaurants.  They did a great decorating job down there and most restaurants had an "outdoor" eating area in the middle of the hallway.  We went with Taling Ping because it was traditional Thai.
I wanted to see "out" there since it felt like you were dining along a canal.
Not a lot of water, but still a nice setting.
I started off with the spicy papaya salad and it was so ridiculous spicy that I couldn't breathe and thought I was choking.  I had to send it back.  Even my husband said it was spicy.  He could handle it, but it was spicy.
He went with lettuce wraps to start.
Then he had a chicken dish with egg.
I had shrimp pad Thai one last time.
I also ordered some spring rolls to replace the papaya salad, but wasn't too hungry so I didn't eat them all.  In fact, I wasn't hungry at all by the time they came, but decided to try them since I made a big deal about replacing my appetizer with something I could actually tolerate.
Well, that was it for our trip to Thailand.  We headed back to the hotel and then off to the airport.  What a fantastic vacation!  So glad we were able to have all of these experiences.

QUESTIONS:  Have you heard of the floating markets?  Have you ever eaten anything that was so spicy you thought you would choke if you ate more?


Unknown said...

Anthony Bourdain has nothing on ya'all! Love that you fed Elephants :) Look at that baby, squeee!

Matthew @ My Little Eye Surgery said...

Fantastic pictures, I'd love to go there!

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