Pattaya’s Floating Market was a venue that I had walked past many times but delayed visiting because many people told me it was either rubbish or a waste of money.
However, I wasn’t particularly interested in what it had to sell me but more what it had to offer me as a photographer. These two things are a world apart as far as I am concerned and so after six months of living here, I finally took the decision to go and see what, if anything, this unknown place could extend to me.
First impressions were easy. 200 Baht in a taxi or £4 in UK terms and 200 Baht entry fee. You can do your own math to convert from Baht to Pounds for the entry fee 🙂
Nom got in free as she is Thai, which I could argue that I live here but for 200 Baht, I was never going to do so.
When you enter the market, the first impression is how creaky the wooden walkways are and the amount of timber used to create the buildings, for it is just wooden buildings supported by beams and stilts on water with a murky appearance.
There are shops everywhere selling the normal touristy items, clothing, hats and so on. Then you have the food retailers, who will peddle everything from an apple to a coconut.
There are restaurants to be found all around the market, offering a variety of produce, cooked to your liking.
There are coffee shops dispensing both hot and iced drinks with the latter being absolutely necessary due to the humidity.
Along the many sidewalks you will find bridges leading to other areas, some of which move freely as you traverse them. One in particular is a rope bridge, with wooden slats, which sways from side to side as you advance along its narrowness. Daunting at first but you soon get used to it.
Humpback bridges offer good views and photo opportunities as the boat people sail beneath you.
You can of course pay extra to travel around the market in one of the many boats if you so desire.
There is also a zip slide, which sort of baffled me by its presence but it did seem popular on the day.
Oddly enough there is a British phone box situated in the centre, although it is painted blue as opposed to our traditional red ones from days gone by.
We spent approximately 90 minutes walking around the many shops, stopped for an iced coconut drink and freezing cold coffee as we attempted to rehydrate ourselves and I even purchased some socks. Yes I did say socks. Good quality trainer socks for walking purposes.
If shopping is your thing, you could easily spend a day here, so for value for money, it is not too bad at all.
The highlight for me however was a small caged area full of macaws, parrots, a deer, a giant tortoise and some rabbits. Now apart from the birds I couldn’t get to grips with what the other creatures presence was for but the macaws and parrots were a dream discovery.
As we entered the arena, the birds immediately landed all over us, perched on heads, shoulder, cameras, bags and hands. We bought some food to attract them but there was clearly no need for their curiosity brought them to you anyway.
Nom featured in many of the images as she was in her element handling the birds. Her beauty and the colours of our feathered friends delivered, in my opinion some fantastic photos.
We spent at least 30 minutes in this enclosure before I noticed the flying creatures had wrecked my camera bag with their beaks. I knew they were on it and thought nothing of it but then we spotted the mischief they had been up to.
The tassels had been removed from the zips, all 14 of them, making it difficult to open and close the pockets and compartments. Who would have thought the beak of a parrot could be so dexterous and proficient at destroying a camera bag.
When the food ran out they began nibbling at our ears and fingers, which was more irritating than painful but occasionally a yelp could be heard as they bit down just a tad too hard. This shriek was more often than not from me 🙂
We decided enough was enough and left for a cold drink.
On route I came across a chap making music by rubbing the tops of wine glasses. Now I have witnessed this before but it was his appearance that grabbed my attention, for he was the spitting image of one Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean!
Not only did he resemble the pirate but he wasn’t too bad on those wine glasses either, producing a pleasing version of The Beatles song Hey Jude.
Further along we walked over yet more bridges, waved at the many tourists travelling in the boats and browsed an ever increasing number of shops selling shoes or wallets or some other commodity that would interest a curious tourist.
Was it worth the trip?
Well to be honest, I would have paid for the birds alone. They were fascinating, charming creatures that provided me with ample photos from my day out.
Without the birds – well yes I would still have found some things of interests to take photographs off, for the market has much to offer the world of art.
If I had no interest in photography it may have been a let down for me as I am not really one for browsing my way around shops or window shopping.
The tourists present seemed to be enjoying themselves though, so based on that I would say, if you are in Pattaya, it is a cheap day out and one you should probably undertake.
I believe the images on display are pretty much self explanatory so I will will leave you with my favourite photo from the day.
I was on Facebook using the “Live” feature when a beautiful yellow parrot flew onto my phone. I quickly raised my trusty Nikon D750 and captured the bird, nibbling on my iPhone as I filmed another bird resting on my head.
This image alone made my day worthwhile.
If you wish to visit the market it is on Sukhumvit Road and is open from 09:00 till 20:00 at the time of posting.