What is it about markets that make them so interesting? The array of merchandise on sale, colourful little trinkets up for a bargain, the amusing banter of the sellers or the fragrance of the fresh cut flowers at the florist’s shop. Markets are deeply immersed in the local culture and speak volumes of the history of a place. When the market that you’re trying to find is of the floating kind, it just makes the experience more exciting.
For most of us when we think groceries, we think chores. Here in Pattaya, they do things a little differently. Pattaya which was once a small fishing town on the east coast of Thailand is now a bustling city that hosts a myriad of travellers each season. While downtown Pattaya is known for its thriving party scene, the thing that lured me to Pattaya was the floating market. The concept of the floating market originated as the communities alongside the river were one of the first places to be densely populated, like with most towns. With rivers and canals running through the cities, waterways served as the most suitable forms of transportation. In Pattaya, the natives of different regions came together to sell their local merchandise as a means of earning their livelihood that’s why the market is also known as the four regions market. What once started as a daily market, today is a favoured tourist attraction.
Damnoen Saduak, is a hundred thousand square meter long market and is one of the largest floating market in the world made by man. A hoard of merchandise right from silverware to toys, from spices to silks can be found in the floating market. Fun adventures like the tail-boat ride or the amphibious boat ride can also be experienced for those in the mood for some exciting escapades. The market’s offering keeps changing depending on the harvest or the catch of the day and a hoard of merchandise from fresh farm produce, to the best catch of the day like lobsters, crabs, the works and even some intricate Thai handicrafts can be found.
The sheltered wooden platforms that run alongside the river are perfect to strut around to get a glimpse of the happenings. However, if you’re in a mood for some adventure, try to rent a small boat for an hour or two and have fun circumventing your way through the hustle bustle. For the lovers of all things vintage, keep an eye out for the antique sellers who are a few but are ones to look out for. Me for As one tend to gravitate towards the clothes, cause what tend to gravitate towards apparels, there can’t be a better way to learn about a culture than fashion. Particularly in this market, one can find the garments from different regions of the country each bring with it, its own unique origin and applique.
The vibe of the floating market can be felt even before you reach the location as the banter of the vendors and the wafting street food aromas can be felt in the areas around the market. Much like the farmer’s market in the western countries, the floating market in Pattaya is one attraction that is a must visit!
The market is open every dayon week days from Monday to Friday from 9.00 am to 8.00 pm. The entry to the market is ticketed and the tickets are easily available at the local stores or online. Grab a local snack while you stroll through the various attractions in this magical auction.
-APURVA SHRIKANT KULKARNI