Thursday, June 2, 2011

Day 11 - Floating Market and the Bangkok National Museum

Another day waking up early to head to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Markets, which were located about 50km away from Bangkok in the city of Ratchaburi. We hired a taxi to take us there and back for 1,500 baht, but I doubt you had to pay more than 1,000 baht if you bargained. We asked some of the locals in the city if there were any floating markets in Bangkok but were told they were only open during the weekend, and that the Damnoen Floating Markets were probably the closest and most popular during the weekdays. I was excited to see the local villagers selling fruit and whatever else they had to offer to curious tourists, but the whole experience was a let down. When we got there, we purchased tickets to ride the floating boats, which set us back another 1,500 baht for 4 people. Floating on the river towards the hub of all the trading activity, we saw other stations where other tourists we also getting on the boats, and noticed that their tickets were only 200 baht per person...

Once at the center of the floating market, we noticed that every stall that had things to sell had merchandise that was exactly the same as all the other night markets in Bangkok! There was nothing special about the selection of goods to purchase and so we spent the next hour floating along the river, watching others purchase items, and taking pictures. I'm not sure if there are any other interesting or worthwhile attractions in the city besides a cobra snake show, so I don't think I would recommend a trip to this city just to see the floating markets unless you have other plans around the surrounding area.

Heading back to Bangkok, we stopped by the Bangkok National Museum which housed many historical artifacts from throughout the span of the existance of the royalty in Thailand. There were textile, puppet, Buddha statue, weapon, textile, ivory, pottery, mother of pearl, wood carving, and palanquin rooms showcasing the various artifacts from different ruling periods.

At the end of the night, we took a stroll along the Silom Road markets, again looking at the plethora of merchandise available. The clothing here was definitely more fashionable than in Cambodia and Vietnam. We had dinner at a food court in a department store and I noticed that there were a lot of Muslims in the city. In fact, there was even a Muslim prayer room on one of the floors of the department store and many Halal restaurants in the area. The travel book we used list many different temples, and the dominant religion in Thailand is Buddhism, so I was surprised at the number of Muslims. Then again, this is a city full of diversity so maybe I shouldn't have been so surprised at all.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

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