Our one month backpacking trip through Thailand began in Bangkok; a common central starting point for travellers alike. Eager to explore and stretch our legs after a combined 30 some odd hours of travel, we dropped our packs and hit the city streets. Bangkok is (quite literally) littered with street vendors and food stalls; you won’t have any trouble coming across souvenirs and traditional eats. Personally, I was a big fan of the Pad Thai vendors who would whip up a plate of noodles for you for a couple of dollars (a backpacker’s treasure). But if I’m being honest, the city streets did not even compare to the atmosphere of the Floating Market!
Coming from the heart of the city, you’ll need to venture out a little ways to the floating market. If memory serves me correctly, we hailed a meter taxi and drove roughly 10 minutes to the pier, where we would then hop into a Long Boat which took us to the actual market. Keep in mind, there’s more than one floating market to see. We chose the Taling Chan Market because it was the closest to our location, and given that we were only spending a few days in Bangkok, it freed up our afternoon for other attractions on our list.
A piece of advice; you can haggle just about any price in Thailand. After negotiating a group rate at the pier, we spent the next little while speeding along the Chao Phraya River towards the market. This was definitely a part of the experience, so be sure to catch a long boat if you can swing it!
It is an absolute wonder what the Thai people can cook up, let alone on a boat! I was so impressed by the preparation that must go into being a vendor at a floating market. Fresh produce filling ceramic bowls, portable heating surfaces, and prep spaces all confined to a boat not much larger than your front door! Not to mention having to row your boat of goodies to your stall in the morning and back again in the evening! To say that I was fascinated, would be an incredible understatement.
Though many vendors do sell their stock from boats, the Taling Chan Market does extend to the streets, leaving it accessible for travellers who prefer to drive in. The walking streets also offer up the opportunity for souvenir shopping and dining outside of the seafood realm. As a vegan, I found more than enough options!
Considering the pure humidity and heat of our first few days in Bangkok, I couldn’t say no to some coconut ice cream on the river! Traditionally served with peanuts or soy beans, it was the perfect afternoon pick me up. Not to mention the Thai man who served this to me had the biggest Thai smile. I'll admit, I felt a sense of kindred to the man with his ice cream stall. Not many things make me happier than handing over healthy vegan treats to customers on a hot market morning. I’d like to think I knew his happiness in that moment.