Thursday, 10 October 2013

Floating Markets near Hua Hin. Part 1

The original Thai floating markets were literally boats filled with groceries, market goods, fruits, vegetables, fish, meats, vendors selling cooked food and a plethora of other things. There are still some of these markets operating in Thailand, with a large market on the outskirts of Bangkok which is a huge tourist attraction nowadays.

The more modern floating markets are designed as both retail and entertainment areas for the Thai people. They also attract many tourists. Rather than boats filled with goods they tend to be clusters of shops built around a small lake, often man made. These are not grocery markets, these are places to pick up your clothes, shoes, souvenir items, hand made goods and find a spot to have lunch. They tend to be family friendly and while alcohol is readily available I have not seen the traditional group of Thai's getting drunk around a bottle of Whiskey.
As I had hired a motorbike for the day I decided to take a trip out into the country and explore the markets.
Please note below that I visited in low season on a weekday, the numbers of tourists both Thai and Foreign were very low and many shops simply did not bother to open. The experience in high season will be markedly different.

The Entrance to Hua Hin Floating Market

Market 1. Hua Hin Floating Market. This is about 12km from Hua Hin proper, along Soi 112. Confusingly it is right next to another floating Market (Hua Hin Sam Phan Nam Floating Market ) so you can kill 2 birds with one stone. If you follow the signs to the Sam Phan Nam market you will reach Hua Hin Market first. My map was out of date and the Market was much further along Soi 112 than I had anticipated. I had actually tried walking there the day before and given up. I believe that it may have moved from the original site as the buildings all look very new and modern.

While the lake and buildings are pretty overall I did not find this very impressive. On the day that I went it there were only a handful of shops open and only a handful of other tourists. But there are certainly some nice looking food stalls, I did stop at one to get a cold drink but the disinterested staff could not be bothered getting off their seats so I gave up on the drink idea and walked away.
Goats in the Animal Farm
There is an animal farm at this market which is attractive to children. The animal farm consists of a small souvenir shop, a coffee shop and the animals themselves. These consist mainly of some tired looking goats, a few parrots and a bunny rabbit. You can buy bottles of milk to hand feed the kids.
I walked around the whole complex in about 30 minutes and was on my way.
The Bludger was not overly impressed.

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