Monday, February 6, 2012

The Floating Market at Damnernsaduak, Thailand







Air travel is amazing: one evening you are in the airport in Venice, and the morning after you are 'catapulted' into a completely different country. And yet even here there are some similarities: people living over the water and managing their lives with thin long boats. 




This is my third visit to Thailand, but I have never made it to the famous Floating Market that you see in all the postcards and photographic books. This time it was a must, in fact it was the first place that I wanted to visit. Of course in the postcards and books the boats look more 'orderly' and pretty, the reality is that mostly it looks like a traffic jam in water, there are about 5 tourist boats for every market boat, and they don't just sell photogenic and colourful fruit and veggies, but also hats and souvenirs, and most of all cooked food, cooked on the spot, that is!




Gas bottles aliment improvised open kitchens on the slender wooden boats, and you can see big pots of water or even oil boiling, while women (there seem to be only women paddling in the floating market) chop food and make hot dishes on the spot, all sorts of food really, from noodles to meat and fish curries, from 'pancakes' to fried morsels, or more simply some glutinous rice with fresh mango. Seeing those big rusty gas bottles and big hot pots really makes you wonder if they ever tip over into the water! Or if sometime they could collide a bit too roughly, and blow up! But they certainly didn't on the morning that we were there: these ladies must be multi tasking experts!




If you travel through Thailand for weeks or months it probably pays to get used to street food, but as we were there for just a few days we didn't want to risk a belly bug, so we only got fresh coconut to drink, and tropical fruit to peel (like banana, rambutan and mangosteen, in the picture below). It is better to have fruit that can be peeled rather than washed, as even the water can be upsetting at times. And I have to add: being a vegetarian can be an advantage when you travel in many countries as you don't have to worry about bad meat!




The Damnernsaduak Floating market is about two hours drive South of Bangkok, you can take a bus or there are many private tours for all pockets. Tourism is a very important income for this part of the country and I feel that this traditional market (which still is very much a Farmers Market) is thriving also thanks to visitors who come to this very original 'Venice of the East'. For me it was a great experience, and the kids especially enjoyed the ride on the long tail speed boat (we took this one before entering the market, of course), which was a very fast, bumpy and mildly wet experience (yep, keep your mouth shut!) through winding canals, mostly lined on both sides with wooden houses on stilts. Near the village the houses started to be connected to each others by long pedestrian 'bridges' that are only slightly larger that a gymnastic balance beam. We didn't see a single tourist walking on one of them :-).


Photos by Alessandra Zecchini ©


26 comments:

  1. Wow! Great post! And so many vegetables: vegetarian heaven!

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    1. Thank you for the visit Marina, and nice to discover your vegetarian blog :-)

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  2. Floating market?? Wow! I love all kinds of tropical fruits .That mangosteen looks yummy...

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  3. che belle foto Alessandra, non ero mai in Tailandia...

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  4. Che posto pazzesco! Hai mai assaggiato qualcosa quello che cucinano sulle barche?hai fatto proprio una bella vacanza.....mi spiace di non averti incrociata....un abbraccio! Ciao franci

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    1. Ho comprato solo frutta che si pela, il cibo cucinato sulle barche, o per strada, va solo bene se stai nel paese per settimane o mesi, altrimenti ti viene il mal di pancia, e con i bimbi non potevamo rischiare.
      Ma parlero' di dove ho mangiato nei prossimi post :-)

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  5. Che meraviglia... mi fai sognare Alessandra!

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  6. Awesome! I love Thailand and am so jealous you've just been eating mangosteen! Safe journeys home xx

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  7. Bellissime foto Alessandra.
    Mandi

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  8. Such gorgeous photos, Alessandra! Do you know if there is anything European in the name? It sounds vaguely Dutch as well as Thai.

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    1. Michael, do you mean the name Damnernsaduak? I don't think so, Thailand was never colonized by the European, the only Asian Country with Japan that wasn't.

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  9. Che magnifico post, sei proprio una cittadina del mondo tu! Un po' di invidia per tutti quei cibi strani ce l'ho....chissà se li assaggerò mai! Davvero un ottimo reportage. Ciao!

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  10. Great photos! Thailand is one of my favourite places to travel to.

    You were smart about avoiding a belly bug. My belly is sensitive but I'm a very adventurous eater so almost always get sick on my travels. These days I travel well stocked up with meds so that I'm prepared for potential dodgy bellies and I had the cholera and diarrhea vaccine last time I went overseas.

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  11. I love Thailand! Last time I was there was just last year - only by 2nd trip. Don't think I've had any bad experiences with food (taste nor tummy). Everything is just delicious! I think it also helps that being Asian, I could possibly have bug-immunity in my tummy...even after living for so many years in NZ. But truth be told, I too avoided certain foods sold at markets. I was too chicken to tempt fate! Happy travels and travel safe Alessandra. :)

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    1. Restaurants and food halls were fine for us, just the street food I avoid, in Bangkok there is a lot of pollution too and most food is sold next to heavy traffic, not ideal really. Plus no running water and hot weather, it just didn't appeal so much. Food malls are cheap and serve the same food that you find in the streets, but cleaner.

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  12. Oh my goodness...what joy is this...love all the colours! Thank you for sharing.

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  13. Sono bellissime queste foto così piene di colori. E molto suggestivo quel mercato sull'acqua. Bacioni

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  14. We loved our time at the floating markets-the fruit on a stem is simply divine! :D

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  15. Che belle queste foto.... Da una vita sull acqua ( Venezia) a quella del mercato sulle barche della tailandia....che meraviglia!

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    1. Si' tante similitudini, anche Bangkok una volta era cosi', tutto pieno di canali.

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  16. sono bellissime queste foto...sai trovare il bello ovunque :)

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  17. I missed the market when I was there, definitely on the must do list for next time! But you should have tried the street food,,,,so delicious!

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  18. Good blog! I truly love how it is easy on my eyes and the data are well written. I'm wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I have subscribed to your RSS which must do the trick! Have a great day!
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  19. Ahh, so that's what mangosteen is called! We found them in China but I never got to try one :( Good to know what they're called though hehe.

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