One of the "must do's" on our list was to visit a Floating Market while in Thailand. It was first put into our heads after a night of watching Anthony Bourdain in Thailand, where he was standing along a canal, yelling out to the long boats each cooking different Thai foods trying to find the best local fare. When we watched that, I said to Andrew "I REALLY want to go there, add it to the list!"
So after we booked our flights to Asia, and we started figuring out which days we would be in each city, I then quickly booked a tour to the Floating Markets outside of Bangkok. The markets are about a 1.5 hour drive from the Bangkok city center, but the travel was easy with the tour as they picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel.
About an hour into the drive we took an unexpected stop at a coconut farm. We learned how they make coconut water, coconut oil, etc. And oh, surprise! You can buy all of the products right here! ok, so it was clearly a tourist stop... but any reason to buy some coconut water (for $1) I will take it!
After a bit more driving we made it to the longtail boats which would take us the rest of the way via canal. It was unbelievable to see some of these houses that are built along the canal. We were told a lot of them are no longer in use because so many people have moved closer to Bangkok.
When you arrive to the "floating market" - you'll find that it is one long canal, with walkways on either side. You have the option to pay a bit more and take a smaller long tail boat down the floating market. And we thought - we're only here once, we're doing it! We started to notice that the Floating Market is now a bit of a tourist trap selling more souvenirs than traditional food, but it was still interesting to see. Of course we had to order something from the food boats, so we settled on some freshly grilled octopus. (SO GOOD!).
After our 20 minutes on the boat, we hopped off and walked up and down the canals. If you walk towards the end of the canal, there is a bridge that makes a perfect spot for taking "insta-worthy" pictures. Luckily we got to the floating market quite early (around 9am) because you can see at around 10:30 the canal became packed with boats. You'd think "how does the boat move in that traffic??" ... don't worry, it does... there is some sort of organized chaos that all the asian women seem to be in on.
Another reason for going in the early morning - it gets HOT and humid in Bangkok. Don't believe me? Keep scrolling through the pictures... it looks like Andrew just did a Crossfit workout. But no... you just stand in the Bangkok humid air and you drip.
After a bit more walking, we found some amazing little boats that were docked and creating all sorts of hot dishes. See - THIS is why I came to the floating market... finally I was having my Anthony Bourdain moment. Even though we were stuffed, we had to try some of the chicken. And after I was sufficiently stuffed, I naturally had to end with a coconut ice cream.
So, although the Floating Market has turned a bit touristy, it was still really interesting to see. If you have more than two days in Bangkok, I would recommend taking the half day tour, that way you're back in Bangkok by lunchtime! (as if you'd be hungry after all of that!).