Bangkok: Bustling Markets and Glimmering Temples

As I mentioned in my last post, I had the opportunity to spend a weekend enjoying some of Bangkok while I was there for work.  This was the second day with our tour guide, Pook and our plan was to see the train market and floating market.

Salt flats
On the way there, we pulled over to take some photos of the salt flats and the street side markets where they sell the salt in large bags.

Food Market (a.k.a. “Train Market”)
First we went through the food area.  Pook had us taste some local snacks.

And why do they call it the train market you ask?  You can see that the market is actually on train tracks.  If you haven’t heard of this, perhaps you’re wondering: but do trains actually come through? …

Indeed they do!  Within seconds awnings are pushed back and larger items are pulled in.

And within a minute the awnings return and it’s back to shopping as usual.

Floating Market
I think others in the group knew what to expect here but I didn’t.  When they said “floating market” I pictured a barge where you have to take a boat out to shop.  Not exactly.  This series of canals are lined with stalls, while others sell goods from the small boats.  You paddle (or motor) through, stopping whenever you see something you like.

We had a late morning snack of noodle soup.  Yum.  And have you ever tried eating soup with chopsticks, on your lap, while holding a big camera, on a small boat?  Not easy.  Although, while I did spill a little of the soup on my jeans, I assure you it was worth it.

After our boat ride we did a little more shopping at the entrance of the market.  Talk about sensory overload!  I love all of the colors.

Royal Palace and Temple
Next we headed back into town and took a river boat to the larger Royal Palace (again, I need to come back here to fill in the blanks on the actual names of some of these locations).  But the thing that is so amazing about this palace is the level of detail.  This huge golden stupa is entirely covered in small mosaic gold leaf and glass tiles.

Here’s part of the shrine holding the Jade Buddha, just outside of the palace.

And another close up of some of the detail.  The amount of work it must have taken to complete these structures is unfathomable to me.