A visit to a lotus farming pond is probably not at the top of most people’s aspirational Bangkok experiences. But while browsing through the TakeMeTour peer-to-peer experiences I found several that seemed really unique. I almost signed up for a Muay Thai experience, but then decided that it was likely without AC and I might die in the heat. So instead I picked a red lotus pond tour. This didn’t sound like anything I’d ever do on my own. And to me that’s the point of peer-to-peer tours.
The experience didn’t disappoint! The guide is not a professional, she’s just a local who takes people to this fun activity on the weekends. We were actually only her second customers (she just listed the experience a month ago). She picked us up in her nice, air conditioned car, for the hour drive to the lotus pond. Although she insisted it should only be 30-40 minutes away, Bangkok traffic is always bad so I imagine that’s only true at 6am. Nonetheless the drive was quite pleasant as Muk is fun to talk to and she supplied an excellent playlist. She even thought to supply some drinks and snacks for the ride.
Once we got to the lotus pond we wandered through the stalls of food and entertainment, ultimately selecting what we each wanted to eat for lunch. The cost of the food was included in the tour. And Muk went out of her way to make sure we had water and any other treats we might want to try. It was nice to have someone along to translate special dietary requests. And to explain exactly what was in all of the interesting foods we passed.
After lunch we got to take a boat ride on the lotus pond. This included sun hats, and a boat driver (using a pole). Muk said she usually paddles the boat herself, but mid-day on a very hot day it was worth getting the driver. We got up close to see the flowers, huge leaves, and many dragonflys out on the pond.
We got pretty hot out on the water, and Muk had carefully planned the last activity inside the only air conditioned building at the market: a tea house that serves traditional lotus petal snacks. This is something I never would have tried. In fact even if I had decided to order it, I’d have no idea how to eat it! It involves using lotus petals as a vehicle for a bunch of seemingly random foods mixed together with a sauce. Make a cone with your petal and then add: coconut flakes, peanuts, lime (with the peel on), ginger, raw onions, thai chilies, dried shrimp and a sweet sauce. Stick the whole thing in your mouth. It’s a remarkable combination of flavors that really works well together.