Boat Noodles, long tail boats, and street market food that would blow the top of most Thai restaurants in America. This is everything Netflix has showcased about the infamous floating markets outside of Bangkok. And though each floating market is different, the tour we booked through AirBnB Experience with our guide Vicky lived up to all our expectations. We ate so much traditional Thai food that I would never have tried in a million years, experience the ride of a lifetime in a long tail boat, and even had a family style lunch at a unique floating restaurant. All of this to say, the Floating Markets are a wonderful experience that must be seen to be understood.
To meet up with our tour group, we had to hop on the subway system and head west from Wat Mangkon to Tha Phra. To our surprise, the subway system in Bangkok was punctual, clean, and very friendly. We hopped off at our stop, walked down the street, and met up with our group who was quite eclectic. One couple from Alaska, another from Germany, and the other from India. Our guide, Vicky, picked us up in a passenger van and took us North to the Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market, where we were guided around to different vendors and explained to us how these ingredients make up traditional Thai dishes. We wandered up and down through the market, to which we realized was not actually floating, but was unique nonetheless. Vendors and shop owners sold everything from fresh fish and honey, to vegetables and trinkets. We eventually all sat down at a table where we all sat down and had Vicky order countless traditional dishes for us all to try and experience. We tried Kao Tom Mud, Khao Niao Ping Sai Kluai, durian, dried Jackfruit, and tons of other sticky rice dishes wrapped in banana leaves.
We wrapped up our food tour, by hopping into a long tail boat. A traditional Thai Longboat is an open topped wooden boat, with a massive car engine mounted to the top of the stern of the back. Attached to that motor, is a 12ft shaft with a propeller at the end which navigate the shallow canals, hence the name, “Long Tail”. We all loaded into this 25ft watercraft, and started out from the market down the narrow canals with the boat’s motor screaming as the RPMs climbed. The boat’s Along the canals were many homes perched above the waterways in various states of condition. Some where large, modern homes, while others were dilapidated buildings barely held up by a few poles. Eventually, we found ourselves at the dock of a working orchid Farm, called Niyom’s Orchid Farm. The Orchid farm was far bigger than I imagined, especially after learning it takes 3-8 years for an orchid to grow to the size we normally for sale at home. We also learned that there are over 28,000 different species of Orchid, and so many of those species were at this farm.
The tour ended in the best way possible, at a nearly floating restaurant. And by restaurant, I’d say this was more of a host’s home that makes food along the canal’s edge. We showed up at what was best described as a hopeful tourist destination with decorations and random items that resembled a Thai version of an open-air TGIF restaurant. Nevertheless, the hosts were beyond gracious, as we all sat down at a large table on the deck of the home, where Vicky help the host bring out some incredible Thai dishes out. We tried countless various of Thai herbal teas, curry dishes, and most importantly delicious sweet pudding and Thai deserts. As we ate Vicky told us how Covid has affected the tourism over the past couple years, how she learned English, and fielded questions about her life and family.
Over this trip, I began to realize how important a meal can be to sharing culture. Not only the Thai culture that we were all learning so much about, but also the culture of all the other people on our tour. We shared our experiences traveling to other countries, and also where we all have been so far in Thailand and specifically Bangkok. We shared stories of family, friends, and of course the food we experienced along the way! And eventually, the tour came to an end as we took the long tail boat back to the market, followed by a van ride back to the outskirts of Bangkok where the day began. Following that, we spent the rest of the day exploring Chinatown with another couple we met on the tour. Even though the tour ended, our trip and adventures in Thailand were just beginning.
Hi there, my name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.