Friday, February 15, 2013

Damnoen Floating Market

Friday was another day in Bangkok. My parents' plan was to do something early each morning (before it reached 92 degrees) and then spend the afternoon at the hotel pool.  This morning was the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market about 90 minutes outside of Bangkok.

My father booked this excursion online at (much cheaper than what the hotel was charging for the same tour). For the tour including hotel pickup, they charged 550 THB ($18 USD) per adult and 413 THB ($14 USD) per child.

We were supposed to get picked up at 6:15AM from the W Bangkok hotel, but when 6:30AM came around, my father called. What I didn't realize was that many tour providers can book excursions, but they are actually just the customer facing salesperson who then sends the booking to the actual tour operator. Our actual tour operator, in this case, was lost/confused, because their hotel pickup van was waiting at We Bangkok (a nearby hostel) and not the W Hotel where we were staying. Eventually, they arrived and took us to the central meeting place.

There, each group of tourists were given colored stickers based on what tour package they had. All of us going to just the morning Floating Market tour were given green stickers. Others doing the elephant riding were given blue. Those going to the crocodile farm were given red. You get the idea.

The 90 minute drive was pretty intense. I was secured in my car seat and my mother was busy reading her book, but my father was enjoying the high speed swerving in between cars and trucks going about 90 mph.  I'm not allowed to watch movies outside a G rating, but this drive would have been like those crazy high speed car chases in those R rated movies I've heard so much about.  In fact, one of the older European women in the back of the van started crying.  Sucks to be old I guess.

But back to the actual Floating Market.  My mother was VERY hesitant about this trip because she wasn't sure it was a great idea for a 15 month old baby.

My father, on the other hand, was a lot more liberal about my personal safety. I guess that's what happens when you have a young fertile wife - you figure you'll get another bite at the Baby Apple.

Nevertheless, we finally arrived (in one piece) and got in line to ride the paddle boats down the canal.  The boat ride down the canals and around the market was an extra 150 THB ($5USD) per person in addition to the tour.  Notice the lack of any life jackets.

The actual Floating Market is a big cement block that you can walk around on, but it's surrounded by several canals that are lined with open stalls as well as the smaller boats hawking tourist junk (think West 8th street stores selling weed smoking paraphernalia).

I was strapped into my father's baby bjorn contraption again but I had enough slack to look around and see all the floating boats. Once that ended, we had an hour to walk around the market.

It was around 10AM and none of us had eaten yet, so we stopped at one of the "restaurants" there and had a bowl of hot noodle soup.  Exactly what you want when it's 90 degrees out.  But for 40 THB ($1.33 USD) per person, you can't complain.

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