The morning broke dark and full of grey mist that blanketed Bangkok. I looked at the weather forecast willing it to show me a little break in the weather, but it didn’t co-operate.
There was nothing for it but to brave the rain. Downpours typically occur in the late afternoon or early evening, though it does sometimes rain in the morning, too. Even when it isn’t raining, skies are often overcast and the air can be very humid, however this morning it was relatively cool and I was anxious for the group to have their first ferry ride.
Add a shower cap to your attire an you will be just fine.
There is a free ferry across the river to the train and public ferry station. Its easy getting the group onto the hotel ferry, then the next stage was to board the orange ferry. It arrived with a roar and a thrust of the powerful engines, and we managed to get 19 of us on with a minimum of fuss.
Our first stop was the Busy flower market. (Pak Klong Talad)
It’s the biggest wholesale and retail fresh flower market in Bangkok. The market has all kinds of popular flowers and flora-related items, including roses, forget me nots, orchids, lilies and more. Most of them sold in packs of 50 or 100 flowers in each, and prices are amazingly cheap. Part of the Old City, Bangkok Flower market is located on Chak Phet Road near Saphan Phut or the Memorial Bridge. Shops and vendors are housed inside two to three-storey shop-houses on both sides of the main road.
Pahurat Textile Market (Little India)
Also known as Little India, this market is frequented by few tourists but is nonetheless bustling with locals. The labyrinth of narrow lanes gives way to plentiful rolls of textiles such as silk, cotton, wool and cashmere in all kinds of colours, each to be brought at a good rate. Once crossing Chakraphek Road you will enter Pahurat. Within these first few blocks lay Pahurat’s textile-selling action, so you choose one of the many small alleyways and dive into the heart of it all.
I’m sure the ladies would have like more time to explore but we were focused on buying silk to have garments made.
We designed on the spot. Discussing at length how the patterns and colors would be suitable for the fabric chosen. Roll upon roll of beautiful fabric was displayed in the low tables and the colors took your breath away.
It was fascinating watching the locals pass by the shop window. The men sat in the cool of the air-conditioning and supported our choices of fabric.
We piled into a convoy of Tuk Tuks and found our way to our lunch stop.
One is always tempted by the delicious street food sold by vendors.
You can wander the streets of Bangkok for weeks, pointing at every single thing that looks tasty, handing over a couple dozen baht, and eating until you burst, all without ever trying the same thing twice. And you’d have difficulty spending more than around $10 a day doing it.
Everywhere you go, from the fancy shopping malls downtown, to the grungy streets of Chinatown, to the vast semi-outdoor markets—even in the hyper-touristy areas around the gorgeous wats and palaces in the old city—you’ll find hawkers offering fresh-cooked meals, sometimes eaten straight out of hand, sometimes while perched on little plastic seats around a makeshift picnic table.
However, we opted for a restaurant and I was able to indulge in the Iced Thai coffee. This is how I make it at home, and I think ours had condensed milk in it.
Add cardamom to the ground coffee, and brew the coffee; when the coffee is brewed, add a little sugar and almond flavoring, mix well and then let the coffee cool to lukewarm. Fill the glass half-way to the rim with crushed ice and then fill two-thirds full with coffee; into each glass, stir about 1 tablespoon of heavy cream or condensed milk. To achieve a layered effect, hold a spoon on top of the coffee and pour the cream slowly into the spoon so that the cream floats on top of the glass over the coffee.
Some of the ladies opted for Iced Tea. However, it’s very different to the American Style.
Back onto the orange ferry and that was only part of tour day.
I didn’t have much time to take photos during our class session in the hotel and then it was a fast turn around to take our first trip on the BTR to a local shopping mall.
Already, new cases are being purchased for our wonderful textile goodies and this was only day one.