Markets, dragon flys and floating down a canal
It was 1pm that I decided I wanted to go see the Aphawa floating markets.
To get there can be quite tricky as its over an hour outside of Bangkok, so I thought I would bite the bullet and book onto a tour. The tour departed Bangkok at 1pm but there was one seat left on the minivan so they said they would turn around and come back to pick me up. A young guy on a small push bike pulled up at the tour desk and told me to follow him. I walked (well more like awkwardly ran) behind him through the touristy street before he suddenly stopped and asked me for payment. I told him not until I got onto the bus, I did not trust that I would be able to chase him down if he ran off with my money. We got to the minivan which was parked in the middle of the road…literally..stopping traffic, engine turned off and the doors wide open. This is actually normal practice in Bangkok, tuk tuk drivers will stop in an outside lane and take a nap in the back while traffic goes around them.
Our first stop was the Maeklong Railway Markets, an interesting concept where a full market is set up along a railway track. The train runs on these tracks everyday and all the stall owners have designed their stalls so that they can quickly pull everything in off the tracks at the last minute before the train comes. They pull the shading back and roll in their vegetables, some people have even worked out how to leave their stall as is and let the train go over the top of their veggies and other products they are selling
We continued on to the Amphawa floating markets. This is something that everyone must see while in Bangkok, there are about 8 markets like this but Amphawa was the only markets that was open in the afternoon.
Although very touristy it was spectacular. Small boats pull up on the sides of the canals and sell food to the people on the banks. They have everything set up to make pad thai, grilled fish, sticky rice, everything from a small boat. It’s a fascinating sight and a really unique dining experience. I sat down and ate a grilled fish with some sticky rice and you could taste the freshness of the fish straight from the river.
As soon as the sun set we jumped onto long boats with big loud open engines and drove up the canal to see the fireflies. Well, at least we attempted to. Our longboat driver was having slight issues with his engine and was too proud of his boat to turn back. So we very slowly floated down the canal catching the wake of the other boats to guide us along. The dragon flies along the river was a real treat. Over a hour later we drifted back to the dock only to be told that our minivan that was taking us back to Bangkok had broken down so we had to share a ride with another tour company. My adventures are always eventful!
Tomorrow I would leave on an overnight train to Chiang Mai to go trekking in the jungle and play with some very happy elephants.