Damnoe Saduak Floating Market, Bangkok
For our last activity/tour on our 4 month journey we opted to explore the workings and shops of the Damnoe Saduak Floating Market. Billed as the "Original Floating Market," Damnoe is an hour and half away from Bangkok. Having that distance between you and the craziness of Bangkok I thought the market would be laid back and mainly populated by locals. How wrong I was. Over the years the market has turned into another type of tourist destination that doesn't really offer a true experience - just a glimpse of what one would actually look like if it weren't crowded with foreigners and a multitude of shops selling the same souvenirs you see all over Thailand. However with that said, the floating market is still a fun experience if for nothing else than to enjoy a leisurely boat ride while you shop from your boat. A myriad of food vendors from pad Thai, to fresh fruit, to coconut ice cream pull your boat near theirs to fulfill your order. Shop owners along the water front have long, hooked poles to bring you into the midst of their store. It feels as if you've been captured and forced to peruse what they're selling. At first this was amusing. After the third time it became rather annoying considering the fact that no one in the boat requested to visit their shop. Like many other tours in Thailand, there probably is some arrangement between the boat company and the shops that pull you in to sell you another souvenir. Along the way we munched on some mango and took in the sights of river side homes that truly showed us how people had been living, and still do, on the water's edge for centuries. Though slightly put off by the tourist attraction aspect of the market, we were able to take some very lovely images. Oh, and Sarah girded her loins and conquered her fear of snakes on our last day in Asia. She was able hold a Burmese Python and get pictures taken with it. Though there was a lot of apprehension on her part, her courage was incredible. One more bucket list item checked.