On Sunday we joined a tour called the Offbeat Floating Markets Food Tour and it was great fun. They picked us up at 7am at our hostel and we visited 3 different floating markets throughout the day, as well as a very interesting temple and the “train market” (see this Youtube video.) At one of the markets, we were treated to a Thai massage.
Most of our stops were about 2 hours southwest of Bangkok and it was nice to get out of the city, where the heat/humidity seems more oppressive. Floating markets are a major tourist attraction in Thailand and they vary in size and character. Some are small where vendors prepare and serve their food from a sampan pulled alongside a canal and others are more like China’s “water villages” where restaurants line the water on both sides of a canal. Our tour included a little of each. During the day we sampled so many different delicious foods: we are both convinced that Thailand’s food is more delicious and varied than most western countries.
Enroute to the markets we passed large factories where seafood is processed (Thailand is 3rd-largest canner of tuna, we were told) and large areas where the fields had been flooded with sea water to create “salt farms” (evaporation leaves the salt behind.)
The first market was in an area of “coconut farms” where the trees are raised between irrigation ditches. We visited a coconut sugar “factory” (really just a shed where a local family processes the sap from a coconut tree and turns it into coconut sugar (delicous!).
The tour guide said his company has been greatly impacted by the protests in Bangkok – there were 6 customers yesterday (van had room for 9) but previous weeks had netted only 2 customers each trip.
Sorry, I’m too tired and don’t have enough time to put together a video of our day but I do have some photos and I’ll post them below.