Travel Diary: Beyond Bangkok II

I think it’s pretty obvious what the second part of our trip to Ratchaburi is all about. Our last stopover was at the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market where most transactions were made while aboard the boat. I may have purposely isolated this from the rest of the places we went to while in Ratchaburi because I think this is the most interesting part of our excursion.

My family and I got on-board a motorized boat headed to the famous floating market. To be completely honest with you, I felt giddy as a kid because I wasn’t able to experience this adventure when I last went to Thailand. It caught my attention that we came across tourists aboard boats manually paddled by locals (non-motorized).

See those houses along the riverside? According to our tour guide, most of them are a hundred or so old. This actually reminded me so much of Manila, except that these aren’t illegal settlers. If I may add, the river didn’t stink. Actually, I half-expected to see an entire stretch of vendors along the riverside until we were dropped off at the “central market”.

The “central market”, as the name suggests, is where one can find almost everything—from clothes to handicrafts to food. There’s a food slash waiting station where tourists could take a rest if they’re not up for shopping aboard a boat. For starters, Aunt Marie and I bought mango sticky rice and coconut ice cream (again!) for snacks while Mom bought a bag of fresh lanzones and grapefruit.

Aunt Marie and my brother Roi each craved for noodle soup and tom yum. A quick tour around the market led us to a stall that serves both. I, on the other hand, took in the craziness of what’s going on around me. Say for example the first photo below: I think this is the only traffic situation that’s fascinating to watch! We even witnessed a lady yelling at another local because the latter’s boat got in the way of hers. The lady found it difficult to maneuver her boat to the right direction. I tell you, it was a comical bout!

It’s a humbling realization on how these people make a living from selling produce on a boat or along the riverside. I mean, this is their life in the province, away from ultra-modern stuff. Oh, did I mention that most of the fruits and vegetables sold there seemed so fresh they almost looked like they’re fake? In the words of my mother, “How I wish we could take all of these to the Philippines!”.


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