Took the Floating market tour through Absolute Bangkok Tour and it turned out to be everything that I would expect from a highly rated tour operator. We opted for a private car and the entire trip was well worth the money!!
Maeklong Railway Market: Our guide, Eve, picked us up from Hansar dot at 7.30 am. She had emphasised on the punctuality front, explaining that our first stop would be the Railway Track market where a train would pass by exactly at 8.30 am and we could see a market fold up as the train passes by. We almost didn’t make it on time, but luck was on our side. The train hadn’t crossed yet. We waited for just about 5 minutes when we saw the lights going green, and many tourists like us taking their position by the tracks. And when we finally sighted the train, we went beserk clicking away. It was simply FASCINATING — The shutters of the shops on the tracks rolled back, the train passed over fruits/veg laid out on the ground, missing them by inches and then, in the span of those fleeting minutes, the market life was back to business as usual. A must see, definitely!!!
After this, we took a round of the market. A thriving market full with the local produce, we went crazy at the heap full of rambutans that we saw there. Got a good bargain, and bought about a kg, which we kept peeling and popping into our mouths for the rest of the day!! Jayant, of course, was equally thrilled at the fish market (we seem to find one everywhere we go). There were spices and exotic vegetables and fruits and what not, being sold by women vendors. No wonder I was reminded of Shillong’s Burra Bazar.
Floating Market at Damnoen Saduak: From the Maeklong Railway market, we set off for the famous floating market at Damnoen Saduak. At the pier, we got on a long-tail speedboat to the floating market. The ride up to the market is probably the best part of the trip, winding through the narrow canals with houses and villages on both sides. The boat ride provides a lovely glimpse of the rustic life by the sides of the ever important water source, taking you back to the basics and forcing you to regret how complicated we have made on own lives in our pursuit for the insatiable ‘more’.
Once you reach the market, you are bombarded with offers for the usual stuff – Thai silk, Thai cotton, souvenirs, toys, home decoration pieces. Bargain bargain bargain if you happen to set your eyes on anything. If you don’t understand the Thai language, the shop keepers offer you their cheap-made calculators!! She punches in a number, you don’t agree, you punch in your quote, she vehemently shakes her head, you start walking away, she offers another number on her calculator..you can go on and on. Decide how badly you want the article and settle for a price. Quickly. Be warned though that the stuff on display are way off the margin…completely a ‘tourist’ market this.
Spend an hour or more and go back to Bangkok. We took a detour through shrimp farms via a woodworks factory. It was here that we picked up some quality memorabilia.
On the whole, a good half-day tour. A MUST on your itinerary when in Bangkok. The Absolute Bangkok Tour team was just wonderful – they had water/cold towels etc. in the Camry at all times. Not to mention the smiling driver and a very friendly and informative guide!