We travel Southwest of Bangkok for the Floating Market with Wat Bang Kung Temple and the Railway Market hosted by Arlymear Tours.
Coconut Family Plantation
We make a quick stop at the Coconut Family Plantation on our way to the railway market. Here every part of the coconut is used to make a variety of products.
Coconut sugar is made from extracting sap from the coconut flower. After the sap is removed, it is boiled in a wok to remove moisture. Once all moisture is removed, the sap is reduced to crystals and placed in a mold to harden. The plantation has to be strategic about their harvests. Harvesting a coconut flower for for sugar prevents the growth of a coconut.
Coconut Milk is removed from the meat by grating the coconut above a bowl. The grated coconut meat is squeezed to release any remaining milk and separated from the liquid.
Samut Songkhram Railway Market
Since 1905 locals have gathered to sell their goods along a narrow street. When plans were announced to build a railway through the street, the people refused to move the market. At 4:00am vendors begin setting up their displays of produce, seafood, clothing, herbs, meat, and more.
3 times a day at 9:00am, 11:00am, and 2:00pm vendors roll in their awnings and tables are moved for the train to pass. Items on blankets or baskets are left along the tracks. The train just clears the the top of the baskets as it rolls along. Pressed against a concrete wall, the train is inches from us as it passes. At 1:00pm, vendors begin packing up their unsold goods and return home.
Traveling Gingerbread Note: Avoid eating produce along the railroad tracks that isn’t moved or covered as the train passes through the market. We noticed a lot of liquid dripping onto items underneath the train as it passed.
Damnoen Saduak Floating market
We board a long-tail speed boat and zoom past fruit plantations and river side villages on stilts to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Long tail speed boats are a popular form of transportation in Thailand. These narrow boats with motors attached to long sticks just below the water’s surface can easily maneuver the shallow canals.
Thai women in straw hats paddle their long boats through the canal each morning. The floating market is busiest 7:00am – 9:00am. Almost anything can be purchased at the market. Boats of fruit, vegetables, hats, purses, cold beverages, Pad Thai, and potted plants float by.
Anything that isn’t for sale on a boat, can be found at one of the many stalls lining the water’s edge. At 2:00pm the boats begin the journey home. Once only accessible by boat, the floating market can now be reached by car.
Traveling Gingerbread Note: This slow loris melted my heart with its big eyes and tiny hand wrapping around my finger.
Upon our return to the United States I learned the grim truth about these adorable little mammals. Their name comes from their inability to leap like many of their relatives, making them slow. Slow lorises are in danger of becoming extinct due to illegal trafficking. Unusual for mammals, lorises are venomous. Traffickers extract or clip the animals’ teeth and many die in transit. Handlers keeping these nocturnal animals awake during the day causes damage to their eyes. Here you can learn about how to help save the slow loris on the Tickling is Torture website.