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Thread: Taling Chan floating market
06-03-08, 06:31 PM #1
recently, http://www.thai-blogs.com had an article on Taling Chan floating market:
now here is some more information from the Bangkok Post, with a "how to get there" section in the end. no map, unfortunately - didn't make it into the online article.
Two decades after its district chief got the bright idea of reviving the traditional 'talat nam', Taling Chan now boasts no less than three floating markets
STORY BY KARNJANA KARNJANATAWE, PHOTOS BY ARTHUR JONES DIONIO
A mere five kilometres to the west of Sanam Luang, on the Thon Buri side of the river, is one of the few remaining parts of the city where agriculture is still practised to any extent. Artefacts unearthed in Taling Chan indicate that the area has been intensively cultivated since at least the early Ayutthaya period.
In the years following the end of World War II, the paddy fields of Taling Chan gradually gave way to orchards and market gardens, supplying the rapidly increasing population of the metropolis with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs. As the city continued to expand, the construction of more bridges across the Chao Phraya and paved roads in Thon Buri brought in property developers. Many farmers sold their smallholdings for the building of housing estates. Today only a small fraction of the land here is still being tilled, producing mostly seasonal plants such as vegetables and orchids.
"Taling Chan is the last place in Bangkok where one can still see the farming life," said Assoc Prof Srisakra.
Ten years back, the market was given a facelift. The concrete pier was extended and covered with a roof, a small public park developed behind it and the access road from the district office upgraded. Encouraged by the level of support from the authorities, local people have joined forces to make this into a sustainable venture.
The term "floating market", as we use it today, is something of a misnomer. In the days before sealed roads, the only way of transporting passengers and goods was by river or canal. In the early morning farmers would paddle their produce to an established rendezvous on the bank of some waterway. Merchants would dock with boatloads of dried staples and hardware. Householders would also arrive by water to bargain for food and other necessities. Long before noon all business would be finished for the day.
By contrast, Taling Chan Floating Market is like a small-scale Chatuchak, a place one goes to buy handicrafts, ornaments and decorative plants and to sample a range of ready-to-eat food and sweetmeats from stalls erected along the road leading from the canal to the district office. More substantial snacks and hot meals can be ordered from vendors who cook them on board little wooden boats next to the pier.
The most popular items on offer here are charcoal-grilled snakehead fish and seafood, according to Jiew, a vendor of traditional desserts. People like the barbecued food because it's affordable and they can also be sure that it's fresh, said Wannee, a regular visitor. She was sitting on a mat next to the canal. Beside here was a low, folding table on which was laid out food still steaming from the brazier: a whole pla chon yang (120 baht); two portions of crab, cooked in their shells (60 baht each); plus bowls of mussels and cockles (30 baht each).
Nearby, Kai, a woman who's been doing business here for seven years now, said she can sell up to 30 kilogrammes of jumbo shrimp per day.
"People are here to find food. And there's certainly a lot of choice," said Siam, a vendor of steamed pla thu. He buys the mackerel directly from the wholesale seafood market in Mahachai and said he can easily clear 70 bamboo trays of it a day.
"Even if you're really hungry, 25 baht should buy you enough food here to fill your stomach." he noted.
If picnicking and shopping seem too sedate, you can always take advantage of your proximity to the water by going on a little cruise. Long-tail boats can be hired for tours of the neighbourhood. Motor along Chak Phra Canal, past small orchards, market gardens and traditional wooden houses built on stilts and you end up at an orchid farm where glorious specimens of many hues can be picked up for bargain prices.
Thousands of tourists now visit this market every weekend and its popularity inspired the residents of two other communities in the vicinity to follow suit. Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market opened in November, 2004 and a smaller talat nam in the grounds of Wat Sapan in August, 2005.
"These markets are still small but they have the potential to promote tourism," said Supaporn Jindamaneeroj, an associate professor at the Faculty of Archaeology, Silpakorn University. The three floating markets are linked by road and it might be possible to start up a connecting boat service, too, at some point in the future," she said.
Community elder Chuan Chujan explained that the primary motivation for launching the floating market next to Lat Mayom Canal was to give locals a place to sell products such as organic vegetables, freshly cooked food and home-made desserts. "The people around here wanted this to be a green' market," he said. One sign of this is that food is served in ceramic plates and bowls, whereas the vendors back at Taling Chan are still using non-biodegradable styrofoam containers.
The market occupies a strip of land at the edge of coconut plantation belonging to Boonchuay Panphrom. A farmer in his 80s, he seems quite keen about the whole idea. Visitors are welcome to ramble through his orchard where he has marked out a walking trail and put up signs on wild edible plants.
Here, too, boats can be hired for canal tours. In an L-shaped building in one corner of the market are vessels of a different kind. Here a man named Surachai Runboonrod makes and displays model boats. They are not for sale; in fact, this is a miniature maritime museum of sorts. Surachai teaches this delicate craft to visitors - for free. Clearly an individual who is not motivated by money.
Wat Sapan Floating Market, on the other hand, is the smallest of the three. Located within the compound of an ancient Buddhist temple on the banks of Bang Noi Canal, it owes its existence to a police lieutenant named Sitthichon Angsusat. The temple was razed by Burmese troops some time during the Ayutthaya period and the evidence has survived to this day, among them badly damaged Buddha statues and some fire-blackened sima - stone tablets used to mark the boundaries of the temple precinct.
Not as busy as the other two, this market has a soothing, relaxing ambience to it.
"We come here every Sunday for lunch," volunteered Ake Saelee, 80. He was there with his daughter and her family, who had made the journey all the way from Chan Road in the Sathon area. Ake and his relatives were tucking into a veritable feast. Among the goodies before them were skewers of pork satay, grilled fish, a mass of khanom jeen (fermented rice-flour noodles) with nam yaa (spicy sauce made from pure'ed fish and coconut cream) and both sweet and savoury versions of khanom buang (tiny, crispy stuffed crepes).
Thais are, by nature, connoisseurs of good food, said Assoc Prof Srisakra, so a floating market that offers tasty dishes is sure to attract them. "When people see that they can earn money from selling local produce [what they grow or cook themselves], then they'll try to preserve what they have. This is a prime example of [HM the King's concept of] the sufficiency economy."
Taling Chan Floating Market is open on weekends and public holidays from 8am to 5pm. It is situated close to Taling Chan District Office (intersection of Chimphli and Chak Phra roads).
The only bus which connects the market is No. 79. If you're driving, take the Pin Klao-Nakhon Chaisi Road, turn left at Taling Chan Police Station onto Chimphli Road, cross the railway line and follow the sign to the district office.
Boats leave the pier every hour between 9:30am and 4pm for a two-hour cruise along Chak Phra Canal. On Sundays, a three-hour canal tour to a snake farm is also available; the boat leaves the pier at 1pm. For more information, call 02-881-3829 or 081-325-3590.
- Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market is open on weekends and public holidays from 9:30am to 4pm. To go there by bus, take No. 146 to Kanchanaphisek Road and alight at the offices of Samakom Chao Pak Tai (Association of People from the South). Then take a 15-minute songthaew (Rod Fai-Wat Pu Theun route) to Bang Ramat Road. If you're driving, take Kanchanaphisek Road and turn onto Bang Ramat Road when you see the sign for Natibunditiyasapa (the place where Thai law students sit examinations for admission to the Bar).
For more information, call 02-448-3670 or 089-215-2659.
- Wat Sapan Floating Market is open on weekends and public holidays from 9am to 3pm. To get there by bus, take No. 68, 80, 81, 146, 175 or 509 to Bangkhun Si Market on Charan Sanitwong Road and then get on a songthaew (Paknam Nam-Krajome Thong route); tell the driver that you want to go to Wat Sapan, which is one kilometre beyond the terminus (Wat Krajome Thong). If you're driving from Taling Chan Floating Market, use Ratchaphruek Road, then make a U-turn at Charan Sanitwong Soi 13 and turn left onto the Paknam- Krajome Thong Road.
For more information, call 086-035-0424.
14-03-08, 08:34 AM #2Forum Regular
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Re: Taling Chan floating market
I've been there on my last trip in feb.
For me, I felt that there's nothing much to see.
Took me almost an hour to reach there from my hotel...
14-03-08, 01:12 PM #3
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17-03-08, 09:52 AM #4Forum Regular
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