I wasn’t sure I wanted to visit a floating market on our Bangkok trip because I had read online that the experience was no longer authentic due to an over influx of tourism. But, Bridgette seemed fascinated and intrigued by her own research, and so we decided we’d pick one to check out.
During one of our Grab rides, our driver told us he could take us to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, which was the oldest floating market in Bangkok and the one that Bridgette was most interested in. The price he quoted was cheaper than what we had previously found online and through our hotel, so we decided to trust him after chatting it up with him for the whole car ride.
He picked us up really early in the morning, at like 6am, and we drove 2 hours to get to the floating market. He dropped us off, introduced us to this lady, and told us he’d park his car and wait for us in that spot after our tour. The lady sat Bridge and I down, and began selling us all these packages for the floating market tour. The packages seemed expensive and I used my best negotiation tactics to try to get it down, but because we were in the middle of nowhere with no other competition, she knew we’d have to suck it up, which we eventually did. I began to think our driver must have conspired with the lady to scam us.
Anyway, so off we went on this long boat, and the first part of the ride was pretty pleasant as we sped through the river with the wind cooling us down. Then, once we began passing through merchants that were set up in these floating containers, we felt a bit of pressure as we kept being sold all kinds of products–picture frames, candles, Thai clothing, etc. It got tiring to keep saying “no, thank you” over and over again, even though the salespeople told the rejections very nicely.
Finally, we got to the floating market portion, where there were merchants actually selling food items on boats around us. We got some yummy mango sticky rice, took in as much of that cultural experience as possible, and then went off on our way to visit a temple, a sugar making factory, and some wildlife sightings.
Our driver met us when we arrived back to the starting point. The lady that sold us the floating market tour must have told him we weren’t too happy about the price, because he seemed remorseful about “leaving” us stranded with her and offered to take us on a tour to the nearby Maeklong Railway Market. He even bought us a framed picture of Bridge and I on the boat, which was nice.
The Maeklong Railway Market is a market that literally sits atop a train track. Whenever the train is scheduled to pass, the market would be quickly transformed to make way for the moving train. Once the train passes, the market transforms back and business continues to be conducted as usual. It was literally the most fascinating and mind boggling thing to witness first hand!
And that’s a wrap for our week in Bangkok, Thailand! 🙂