Start with a colourful ride a few kilometers outside of Bangkok, to the Taling Chan Floating Market, one of a handful in this vibrant city. Although a tourist destination, visitors will feel like resident as they shop for produce, ingredients, food, drinks, souvenirs, all while being entertained by live music.
The best way to reach this epicenter where locals meet visitors is via a longtail boat, which can be easily hailed via the hotel concierge. Hauled like a canoe, with an engine mounted on the back, and a turret-like pole that can rotate 180-degrees, riding in a longtail is an adventure in itself.
On the way to Taling Chan Floating Market, a gaggle of longtail boats will find themselves inside of a lock. Couples and families have looks of amazement and curiosity, and a little worry, about what they are about to enter into. Remain calm for the happy barefoot boatmen are peaceful throughout the entire voyage.
The boat will dash through the rest of the canals and shoppers will dock briefly upon entering the Taling Chan Floating Market. Through the crowd and canal women selling their goods, catch a glimpse of the school of fish – used to being fed with bread. En route back to Bangkok, the boatman may make a stop outside of the royal fleet and give a loaf to feed them.
Some of the things for sale may be shocking, live snakes for example. Creatures along the way are also not for the faint of heart. The reptiles tend to blend in with the environment but once spotted, they appear to be prehistoric creatures; however, do not worry, the boatman will advise through gestures and a toothless grin they are indeed not poisonous.
The trip to the Taling Chan Floating Market is just as memorable as the shopping itself. Seeing the clusters of small homes on the banks of the canal, all complete with smaller homes in their front, donned with gold and fresh flowers – to protect the residents from evil spirits. It’s definitely one experience in Bangkok that you won’t forget.