Perhaps one of the most unique tourist adventures in Thailand can be found in the floating markets of Bangkok. This may be because the event truly epitomizes what is still a daily way of life for many of the Thai people, as individuals buy and sell fruits and vegetables on a daily basis, primarily as a means of cooking fresh and nutritious meals. Over time, this has morphed into a tourist spectacle that has put a smile on the faces of literally thousands of visitors on an annual basis. When in Bangkok, you should really consider a morning out at the floating markets in order to experience an ancient way of life that still transcends the hustle and bustle of one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world.
Today, the floating markets are largely centered on the tourist trade, but that is certainly ok. I mean, that is what we are. To begin, you will be picked up early in the morning from your hotel. Early morning means exactly that – on my last visit, it was right around 6am. While that sounds evil, you will be thankful as the Bangkok sun can be brutal in the afternoon, so the floating markets take place in the relative cool of the morning. You should return to your hotel by noon, depending on the type of tour you choose. While you could go directly to the area that the floating markets are by yourself, that is not recommended as it is difficult to navigate and time consuming. You will enjoy the experience much more by taking part in a scheduled tour. It is really not expensive, all of the hassle of getting to and from the markets are taken away from you, and the interaction with other tour members that you meet is memorable as well.
When you arrive at your destination, you will be led into a boat that is likely quite old. Do not be alarmed, this is to recreate an ancient tradition after all. As you begin floating along, you will encounter the market boats, and they will be piled so high with goods to sell, you might struggle to even locate the vendor! Some of the products you may find here are tropical fruits, of which Thailand is famous for and has many tasty varieties, fresh vegetables, coconut juice that is cut open already and ready to drink, and local food that has already been cooked and ready to eat. Throughout the tour, your local Thai guide will take great care of you. He or she will point out various landmarks along the way, and even help you make some purchases should you choose to do so.
A recommendation is to apply some sun screen prior to leaving your hotel. Even though you are getting an early start, the sun will be quite intense while out on the water so your skin will thank you. Once the tour is complete, everyone will load up in their vans for either a return to the hotel, or to another afternoon tour depending on your schedule. Enjoy!