Monday, December 24, 2012

Bangkok's Beautiful Flower Market

 It is extremely hard to blog about the Bangkok Flower Market, not because there is not much to say, but because there is so very much to say!  It is overwhelming when you exit your cab/car or Tuk Tuk on this street and see and smell all the color and activity.  There are too many flowers and fruits and candies to count.  Endless varieties and colors all arranged in myriad ways for presentation to the Budda!  These are made for the everyday Thai...not for the tourists!  Amazing!
 There is only one hard and fast rule at the flower can not SMELL it if you are not going to BUY it!  And, there is everything from Jasmine to Roses, so I guarantee you will buy something!  Each and every one of these beautiful creations is hand crafted by the young and old women who sit in their stalls offering their wares for sale.  The petals of many flowers are individually separated and placed into large baskets where they are, one by one, picked up and threaded on strings, sticks, etc. to form the beautiful creations you see here.

 I particularly love these lovely rings of tiny sweet smelling flowers with the roses attached...sometimes yellow, sometimes red, sometimes white...irresistable all!
 These are strings of individual Marigold flowers again hand threaded onto strings for presentation to the Budda.  The Thai people feel that Gold is a particularly valuable color and that is why you will see so much of it in offerings of flowers, fruits and candies.
 I loved watching the ladies and girls make their beautiful creations, and YES, I did purchase one of my very own.  The smells are intoxicating with the jasmine in particular being a very heady smell.
 I know this is a lot of pictures, but it is so hard not to share this interesting event with you.  It was totally amazing.  Pak Klong Talad is the largest flower market in Bangkok, and I highly recommend it as one must see location while you are in Bangkok.  Although it is said to be most busy during the night hours, it was quite busy on the afternoon we were there.  That may have been because of the National Holiday (celebration of 80 years of Democracy) which was occurring on that day.

 You can buy flowers individually, in small arrangements to hang or carry, or in larger arrangements such as the ones you see here on the right.  Those leaves you see on the left are Banana Leaves which the ladies roll into triangles and place a tiny white flower at the tip and place in a beautiful fan like shape in their arrangements... Amazing!
 These are actually on golden ribbons and are used for weddings.  How very beautiful and aromatic!
 Tuk Tuk anyone?  Oh, by the way, if you decide to take a ride in a Tuk Tuk (which is extremely fun and great way to see the city up close and personal like) make sure you have a price agreed on before you step in.  Price is DEFINITELY negotiable, and if you fail to negotiate before you enter, you could be paying way to much for your ride.  Do a little research.  It will pay off!

 Flowers are not the only items available in the Flower Market.  Here you see local sugar cane and pineapples.
 And there are 30 varieties of Bananas available in Thailand!  I love the tiny very ripe sugar bananas...ooooohhhh so sweet!
 These are opened Lotus Blossoms..aren't they gorgeous!?

 These are those same Lotus in an unopened state!  You see many, many of these offered just as they are before the worship stations in front of the Budda.

The pink blossoms you see below are Lotus Blossoms which have been very carefully opened by hand and folded back to create an entirely different look...aren't they quite beautiful?

 Women stand on the street in front of their stalls removing the unopened blossoms and folding each individual petal back upon itself to reveal the beautiful centers hidden within.

These are so beautiful it is hard to believe they are real!

I loved watching the careful attention to detail to make sure each blossom was as beautiful as a piece of art!

 There are so many varieties of flowers at the market including, Gerbera Daisies, jasmine, orchids and roses grown locally and others imported such as tulips, iris, delphinium and many varieties...and there are vases and other ways available to display your wonderful purchases.
 These are some of the wonderful confections available for offerings to the Budda or for your own consumption..note the gold color of most!
 Although market is open 24 hours, you might want to keep in mind:
 Pak Klong Talad is most lively after midnight. If you want to see the market in full action, though, the best time to go is pre-dawn or at 3:00-4:00. This is when the roadside transforms into a kaleidoscope of bright, blooming colours, as vendors receive floral goods from each flower-growing area in the country. Wholesalers bring in truckloads of freshly cut flowers, while traders and retailers come to buy their stock in bulk. It can be quite a chaotic scene, and vendors may be less patient when dealing with visitors. If you go during this period, it’s best to just observe and absorb the surrounding atmosphere.
During the day, Bangkok Flower Market is relatively sleepy, although this is a good time for visitors to shop around. Prices are usually reasonably cheap, but during specific festivals such as Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, or graduation season, certain flowers will be three to four times more expensive (the same rule applies when you buy from any shop throughout the city).

There are also local street vendors available with an assortment of various street foods.  I know, everyone says "don't eat the street food," but let me tell you that if you don't sample some of these foods you are missing a true cultural experience.  I went armed with Lomotil (and anti-diarrheal my doctor prescribed) just in case...but as far as I can tell you I suffered absolutely NO adverse effects from the food I consumed from street vendors.  This gentleman had an interesting sort of noodle in a bag.  This was a hot dish, and I do recommend that you consume heated foods for safety reasons. These were fat rice noodles with a caramel colored sweet sauce and a white colored salty sauce which when mixed together made for a quite tasty dish! YUM!

Interesting, and one I would try again!

These Monks were lined up along the street while an "announcer" shared their blessings to the people.  The people would then place gifts of food in front of the Monks for their use later when returning to the temples.  The Monks are not allowed to own anything and their food is provided by the worshipers at the temples.
 Just turning a corner from the lovely floral arrangements is a market with all kinds of spices, peppers, fruits and vegetables.  Most of these are sold in bulk for local restaurants.  Some of these were quite familiar, and some I never did figure out!

 Remember to watch where you are walking on these busy side streets or you may get run down by a scooter or truck delivering to the stalls here!
Although these looked very much like FAVA beans to me, our guide said they are a Chinese bean which makes your breath smell badly!  Not for me please!
 Spices are sold in huge bundles for their restaurant consumption.  Note the peppers in the background too!

The pink and green fruit below is Dragonfruit which is frequently served in China for dessert.  It is a mild tasting white fleshy fruit with tiny black seeds resembling those in strawberries.  Tasty but not particularly sweet, as are many of the local fruits.

I love the little hairy red fruit you see below.  I have a terrible time remembering their name...

Rambutans are probably the most exotic fruit you’ve ever seen in your life. Maybe you’ve never seen them. They are grown the best in the south of Thailand.

These hairy little delicacies remind me of Lychee, but a bit sweeter!  They are absolutely delicious I was wishing I could take some home with me!
rambutan flesh skin peeled Rambutan! Thailands BEST Fruit!

I also tried Mangosteen which has a similar texture, color and taste inside its brownish purple exterior!  You can see those in the middle of the picture above.

All in all , our visit to the Flower Market was a very pleasant and educational experience! If you have the opportunity, don't miss it!  You won't regret it!

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