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Monday, November 23, 2009

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

This morning we woke up really early to go to the floating market, which is about a two hour bus ride west of Bangkok. Floating markets used to be very popular in Thailand but not so much any more. We were told there are only a few true floating markets left, and many of them are for the tourists, to show them the old traditional ways of selling and buying fruits, vegetables, etc., from small boats. Along the river and the canals there are many old traditional Thai houses on stilts. The bus from Bangkok only cost us 140 baht round trip ($4.30). We “rented” a boat at one of the side canals for 400 baht, and we’re taken around the market for almost 1.5 hours. Some people have little shops set up along the river while others, mostly old ladies, sell fruit, vegetables, pad Thai, sticky rice, drinks, etc. from their own small boats and paddle up and down the market. Some of the boats even made soups and other noodle dishes and were like little restaurants, so cool! The market was pretty busy, and there were many traffic jams on the river! It is only open in the morning from 7-12pm, and we were there at the busiest time. It was a lot of fun floating down the market and trying to bargain from the boat. Some of the stuff was overpriced but then again it is a tourist hot spot. We had some great sticky rice and mango with coconut milk and I tried these little coconut pancakes served in a banana leaf.

Coconut pancakes 


After our boat ride was over we wondered around some of the shops and we also went to a coconut sugar plantation/factory. We tried this really sweet coconut and honey candy, which I now wish that I had bought to bring home for everyone else to try.

A man making coconut sugar candy and glaze at the plantation

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around the Kao San area and relaxing before going out and enjoying out last night in Bangkok. I had sticky rice and mango again for dinner, it is one of my favorite dishes I’ve had and I can’t wait to find the recipe and make it at home. I also had ‘street food’, chicken skewers, from one of the vendors on the road, and it was so delicious, and only cost 10 baht ($0.30)!

Katie and I decided to live it up and go all out to celebrate our last night in Bangkok and the end of our trip together. I am so jealous of her that she has another month of traveling left, I am now regretting not going to South America with her. We went out and met some really nice guys from Brazil and hung out with them at one of the street bars and we all went dancing together too! While we were at the street bar two little kids, an 11 year old girl and her 6 year old brother came up to us trying to sell us roses. There were about 20 little children that we saw going up to tourists in restaurants and bars trying to sell them roses and souvenirs. I couldn’t believe how young they are and that they are out so late!! But I do have to say they are very persuasive and would make great business people, its just too sad that they have to do this instead of sleeping and going to school. They all speak English and come up to you and put a 100 baht bill on the table and say things like lets thumb war, if you win you get the 100 baht if you lose you give me 100 baht and buy a rose. Or they would go up to the boys “pretty roses for your pretty roses”. They were very persistent and didn’t leave you alone until you bought something, and they almost always won the thumb wars! I know the money goes straight to their parents, but I also know they have to stay out and sell all their roses before going home, so I gave the little boy 100 baht and let him keep the rose - I had already been given two buy the boys anyways!

Later we happened to bump into Oliver and Marios, two guys we met in Phi Phi and hung out with them for the rest of the night. By the time we headed back to our hotel it was almost 3am, and there were still children out on the streets selling their roses! Most of the vendors were gone and the bars closed, but the few that were open were swamped with hungry drunk tourists.

Today unfortunately was our last day in Bangkok. We hung out with Oliver then Katie and I went to BKM shopping center. It is a huge mall with 5 or 6 floors with stores selling everything; perfume, name brand clothing, shoes, bags and fake stuff too. The best part about it is that even though they are sores you can still bargain the prices!

Now we are at our hostel packing up then meeting two of our friends for dinner before heading to the airport to begin our 28 hour trip back to Boston. I am now regretting my decision of not going on to South America with Katie. I am so jealous of her and that she still has one month left of traveling! This trip has been one of, if not the best, experiences of my life. It really has opened my eyes to so many things and I really learned a lot about myself too. I feel sorry for people who never get the opportunity to travel and see the world and experience different cultures. I might be behind some of my friends in terms of finding a job or not getting ahead in the real world, but I think I’ve gained so much more from traveling, experiencing new things, meeting new people and seeing with my own eyes everything the world has to offer. People have such preconceived notions of what other places and people are like and I’ve learned that many of them are not true, and there is much more out there to learn too. I came across this quote that I found quite interesting and strongly agree with:

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. And those who travel have only read the first sentence of every page.” I believe this is quiet true and some what saddening. It’s a shame you can’t meet all the people everywhere you go or see everything that one place has to offer, there is just not enough time or money for this!

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