Visiting a floating market is pretty much compulsory on a trip to Bangkok. These weekend markets include lots of good food, shopping, and the interesting sights of people cooking and selling food from boats. Most floating markets also offer the chance to take a longboat trip along the canals. It’s a great place to enjoy some food and experience a local market.
I found this floating market tour on Local Guddy, a peer to peer tour site with a lot of Thailand tour options at very reasonable prices. Our guide, Imp, offers a few tours on Local Guddy to make some extra money while she finishes college. And the floating market she selected was mostly Thai people doing their weekend shopping. Imp speaks excellent English and it was interesting to learn about college student aspirations in Thailand.
The tour included being picked up by Imp at our home exchange, and taken in a taxi to the floating market. Once there she walked us through the food stalls, describing everything and asking for samples of anything we wanted to try. We made a few selections to enjoy as a meal. And after lunch we went on a boat ride through the canals. These boats hold about 20 people and run regularly throughout the day. The one we joined included a stop at another smaller market and then a stop at an orchid farm.
We could have visited this floating market on our own and joined the canal boat ride as well. But for food experiences in foreign countries I often enjoy having a tour guide along. Especially if I’m somewhere that offers a lot of foods I don’t know. While I’m game to try almost anything, my stomach isn’t big enough to eat one of everything, so it’s super helpful to have someone to provide details about the foods for sale.
Imp also showed us how to learn our fortune at the temple by shaking a bin of sticks until one falls out. And then associating the number on that stick with the fortunes provided on the stand nearby. And she taught us some interesting things about Thai Buddhism.
Browsing through the Bangkok tours on Local Guddy, I’d say they are doing a good job only offering true peer-to-peer experiences. None of the tours look at all commercial. Instead you’re getting a local who wants to show you a part of Bangkok that they enjoy. For me this is much more fun than joining commercial tours. Typically peer-to-peer experiences are smaller (often private), and although they are less professional they give you the chance to get to know a local while enjoying an activity they’re passionate about sharing.