By Vipasai Niyamabha
I understand there are a few, and any of them will do as long as it's easy for to travel with our two kids, who are aged nine and six. Thanks for your help! Ronda
The best known floating market in Thailand is the Damnoen Saduak floating market in Ratchaburi province. It’s extremely popular among tour operators, who take tourists there for a day trip, leaving Bangkok early in the morning.
This market has vendors paddling boats that are full of local produce. Some moor their boats at a pier and sell bowls of noodles. While the atmosphere is touristy, the surroundings are attractive with canals and rivers twisting through fruit orchards. You need to go on a boat ride to explore the area, and this will make a market a worthwhile visit.
The good point is that the market opens every day while many other floating markets operate only on the weekend. If you plan to go there, the most convenient way would be to join a tour group, though the price could be little steep for all four of you.
If Damneon Saduak floating market is too far and too touristy, then you could check out Bang Nam Pheung in Samut Prakan’s Phra Pradaeng district. It’s open three days a week from Friday to Sunday. Here you can find local products and traditional Thai food such as fried mussel pancake, phad thai, mango with sticky rice and more. A rowing boat for rent is available and you can also hire bicycles to experience the local way of life among fruit farms.
Bang Nam Pheung is located in the lower part of Bang Krachao, which often called the green lung of Bangkok. Most visitors go by private car but it’s also possible to hire a taxi for a full day – this is the easiest though the most expensive way. If you hire a taxi one way only, it can be difficult to find a taxi on the way back.
Many people go by taking a ferry from Wat Khlong Toei Nai to Chang Pier on Ratrangsan Road and then catching a song thaew (local pick up bus) or motorbike taxi to the market. It’s also possible to travel from Bangna Skytrain Station and then catch a ferry. Air-conditioned bus 140 runs there from the Victory Monument.
A lovely hotel called Bangkok Tree House recently opened in Bang Nam Pheung and is a good option for a night amidst the greenery.
Is it cheaper to buy prescription glasses and sunglasses in Bangkok? I need new frames and am not sure if I should wait until my trip to Thailand in August. Please advice, D Gris
There are many optical shops in Bangkok but quality varies enormously. You’ll find chain stores in major shopping malls through small shops to street stalls, the majority of them in the Chinatown area where you can pick up cheap prescription reading glasses for about Bt100. These are useful to keep as spares rather than for use as a main pair of spectacles.
Prices at a good shop are not really cheaper than elsewhere. Many people say frames bought in Thailand are not as durable as those in the US and UK, unless you pay for a brand-name frame, which is expensive. The price also depends on type of lens you choose. There are many brands in Thai market, among them Hoya and Rodenstock, but if you need an extra thin lens, the best coatings and top brands, you will pay more.
If you plan to get new glasses in Thailand, you need to do some research on opticians and compare them. I would recommend you have your glasses made in your own country and if you need a spare pair, have them made in Bangkok with reasonable frame and lens. Some people advise avoiding the chain opticians and opting for a stand-alone shop, which offers better service and more flexibility in terms of pricing.
Hope this helps!