For some time now a friend of mine has been telling me what a great time he has had cycling in Phra Phadaeng, on the other side of the river close to where we live. It is on a big loop in the Chao Phraya river, almost an island as it is only a couple of hundred metres wide where the river loops back on itself. It is often called the “Green Lung of Bangkok” because of the lush vegetation, although technically it is not in Bangkok but an adjoining province.
He kept telling me how he rode along quiet paths through what is almost jungle, and that you could forget you were so close to the urban jungle of Bangkok. So last Sunday I went over to check it out ….
A short ride on the Skytrain to Bangna station, a 1km motosai ride down to the ferry at Wat Bangna Nok and then a 4 baht ferry ride across the river, to find not a single bicycle left to hire ! My friend said they had about 100 bikes, but they must have all been hired out that morning. The lady there said there was another bike hire shop at the market, go there. So on the back of another motosai for a quick trip to the market, but the bike hire here was at the other end of the market and when I found it once again all the bikes were taken. “Sorry, very busy today”.
Oh well, I’m here now so I may as well check out the market.
Although they call it a floating market, there are only a few food vendors actually afloat on the canal so it is really a canal-side market. While not in the same league as the famous weekend market at Chatuchak, this one is quite large with stalls on both sides of the path and branching off down the side lanes and crisscrossing the canal.
It has the usual mix of stalls selling the food, clothing, flowers and plants that you would find in any Thai market, but also a lot of organic products and home made arty-crafty type stuff, especially jewellery and home decor. I’m certainly not a market shopping sort of person but the quality and prices seemed reasonable to my eye.
Thais cannot go shopping without eating, so there are plenty of food stalls there ranging from the recognisable edibles to ‘what the hell is that?’ I just had boring old Pad Thai Gung…..
While it was not what I had originally planned for the day, I had a pleasant couple of hours wandering around the market before heading back home. This time I walked back to the ferry, it’s about 1.5km or so, not too far (and I had wanted to get some exercise that day!)
Before crossing back over on the ferry I got a drink and sat down to watch the river flow by. Although it’s not a very scenic view of Bangkok from there you do soon realise how busy the river is, with ships and barges coming and going all the time, so I filled in a bit of time and took some footage for my ever so slowly progressing timelapse project.
The market is only on at the weekends so now that I have seen that, I’ll come over when it is quieter on a weekday to make sure I can get a bicycle and see the rest of the place as I originally planned to do. Even though this was plan B, I had an enjoyable day out and would recommend it to anybody looking for something slightly different to do. Just get there earlier than me if you want to be certain of hiring a bike ! My friend said he had never seen them all hired out before so I guess Sunday was the exception rather than the rule.