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Published: August 12th 2013
So I'm back in Bangkok for another extended rest period from travelling, and it's taken some six weeks before I found the strength again for a short sojourn outside of the capital. It was the Mother's Day long weekend here in Thailand, so I took the opportunity to visit the famous floating markets in Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak just outside of Bangkok. I'd read about these in LP during my first extended stay in Bangkok around this time last year, and they seemed like convenient day trips, but it has taken me until now to get down to visiting them. It's funny how sometimes the closer they are, the harder they are to visit...
I vaguely remember visiting a floating market as a kid, and I vaguely remember it being a looong boat ride down the Chao Phraya. And I thought that must have been one of the two that I was planning to visit now, so it came as a bit of a surprise to find out that the markets were in fact reachable by road. In any case, a short van ride later and I was at Amphawa, which as LP warned, was absolutely bustling on the weekend
evening, choking with weekending Bangkokians. So packed was the place, that I had difficulty finding an empty room to stay for the night. In the end, it took an enterprising guesthouse owner who rang what I believe must have been a family member (an elderly woman with many cats), who let me bunk over in a fan double for a princely THB600 (about USD20).
Then early the next morning, it was another short van ride to the other nearby floating market of Damnoen Saduak, this one a morning market, and packed to the gills with bussed foreigners instead. Despite the contrast of labyrinthine, narrow canals versus wide muddy rivers, I couldn't help but compare the floating markets to the ones that I'd seen in the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam, and consider how much they've evolved into essentially tourist attractions. One really wonders how much of the original trading between the locals persist today.
After Damnoen, it was another quick transfer by public bus (Number 78!) to Nakhon Pathom, supposedly the oldest city in Thailand, and home to (supposedly again) the tallest chedi in the world, the Phra Pathom Chedi. Almost as unassuming as mid-sized Thai cities get,
Nakhon Pathom reminded me very much of Nakhon Sri Thammarat in the south, which I'd visited earlier this year. Few foreigners, mostly Thai signs, and little English. As the evening beckoned, I decided to make my way back to Bangkok, somewhat astonished that it'd in fact been barely 24h since I'd made my way out, and yet I'd blitzed through three locations since...
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