The floating market – a tourist ripoff
Today, we rose earlier in order to make the trip to the floating market, which is not really in Bangkok, but about 60 kilometers outside the city. We had secured a taxi the night before from the driver who had driven us around the bars the night before and his stand-in was promptly waiting on us.
On the way, we encountered a police roadblock and I realized I had forgotten my passport copy and had no ID. Fortunately, the police were checking taxi driver permits. Our driver did not have one and had to pay a fine (bribe) to continue on.
The entrance to the floating market is nondescript, with a small restaurant and trinket shop at one end, and the canal and entrance on the other. The fee for two in one boat was about $30. As we would understand later, we were basically paying for the privilege of entering a tourist, high-priced souvenir market.
My perception of the floating market was that it was for locals to trade their agricultural goods to one another, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. The locals were selling stuff alright, but they were selling it to the tourists, at seriously marked up prices.
Some fresh mango hit the spot when thirst came. Barbecued pork on a stick satisfied a budding appetite. At one point, we were in the midst of a huge market out in the middle of nowhere, with shops and restaurants, bathrooms, ladyboys with huge pythons wrapped around them.
Along the canals everywhere were shops selling handbags, elephant statues, Thai silk, trinkets, t-shirts, hats, food, beer and sodas. Finally breaking down, I purchased 4 meters of beautiful Thai silk for about$40, a ladies handbag and blouse, and some small bracelets made from coconut for the Goodies Girls.
That evening, we headed back to the Nana Plaza area. Jack wasn’t finished exploring the Bangkok nightlife.