Sunday, August 18, 2013

Damnoen Saduak floating market and Maeklong railway market.

Damnoen Saduak floating market is about an hour drive from Bangkok. We wanted to see one floating market while in Bangkok. We chose this one as it's the only one that fitted into our schedule plus it's close to the railway market which I wanted to see.

This is Damnoen Saduak floating market's boat tours dock before the market's main entrance. Was taken here by our driver- recommended by a friend. We were charged 4500 baht for a tour in one of these longtail boats. Included in the 2 hours tour were a visit to a small temple, a coconut sugar factory (selling various merchandises unrelated to the coconut sugar) and a local boat racing show. We were not interested in seeing any of these sights as we only came for the market. We've asked our driver to take us to the market entrance where we can get on the wooden boats to be paddled around the market for much less (1000 baht) but he refused. Since we had a friend with us, we didn't want to argue, but paid and went ahead with the tour.
 As we didn't have breakfast yet, we bought food off the boat vendors- of course, more expensive and tastewise were not better than any of the street vendors out there. Plenty of vendors selling food, snacks, drinks, fruits, vegetables, spices, clothing, souvenirs, gasoline, bags, arts, handicrafts and a couple of guys touting pictures with live snakes. 
A local doing dishes on the steps of her house as longboats zipped by.
Part of the main market
Food vendors in their respective boats.

                          Pan fried rice noodles- quite greasy, sweet chili sauce was alright.
Crispy roasted pork with rice- sauce poured over the rice was too sweet. It seemed the Thai foods that I had on this trip were on the sweeter side.

Pork rice noodle soup- pretty good.

 Mango sticky rice- sweet mangoes with very sweet coconut cream and rice. Nobody else wanted this sweetness, so I had the carb overload. I'll stay away from mango sticky rice for a very long time.
More sweetness- bananas, rambutans, papaya, pineapples, pomeloes, honeydews, rose apples.

Looking at the water in this picture reminded me of how clean the water was at the floating market. After breakfast, we passed by a water lily area that smelt and looked like a sewage disposable area near the coconut sugar factory. I almost threw up my breakfast right then and there. To make matter worse, I was splashed with these water on the way back to the boat dock by another speeding longboat. Being in the front seat, I was drenched. Made me felt disgusted, knowing what kind of water I was soaking in.
A local selling fresh coconut juice alongside bottles of gasoline. 
Bored kid among merchandises.
The one-man coconut sugar factory. Hard work though- having to cook and stir the sugar syrup over the hot stove for hours before cooling it down enough to start the filtering process. Lots of wasps hanging around and of course, plenty ended up in the hot syrup as well.

On the way back from the floating market, we stopped by the Maeklong railway market. Should've checked the train schedule before going there. We were there at 10:30am and found out the train won't be passing through the market until 1:30pm. What to do but off to lunch at a local restaurant next to the market.
 I felt embarrassed ordering drinks from this elderly gentleman at the restaurant. He's either the owner or a longtime worker there. Very friendly and chatty.  He seemed so happy to see us even though we've never met him before. We couldn't understand one word of what he was saying. Couldn't tell whether he was speaking Mandarin, Thai or a Chinese dialect. We just kept smiling and he walked ever so slowly to the fridge to get soft drinks for us. He gave us the wrong drinks, but we kept quiet and drank up.

Spicy winged beans- quite tough, should have been sliced into smaller pieces.

 Chicken and squid with basil leaves- very good but tongue burning spicy. Couldn't finish the dish.
  Another tongue burning dish- seafood with glass noodles salad- sweet, sour, spicy in a plate.
After lunch, we drove for 15 minutes to Amphawa floating market which was closed during the day. So, back to the Maeklong market. Most of these items for sale were on wheels and next to the tracks. It's quite interesting to see the vendors rolling back their merchandises and pulling back their shades for the train to pass through.  As soon as the train left, they rolled out their merchandises back to the original spots and stretched out their shades again. All in a very efficient manner.

Vendors getting ready to pull back the shades in anticipation of the train approaching.
Tourists getting ready to catch snap shots of the slow moving train passing through the market. I was originally standing on the pavement where these people were but a vendor pulled me all the way back into her stall next door. She was right! The train took up most of the pavement's space as it moved along. I was thankful to her for her gesture. All in all, a very cool thing to watch even though it lasted maybe 2 minutes.

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