Strange fruit. Bangkok’s Pak Klong Talat.
I love walking around this place. It’s a kind of market-come-port on Bangkok’s Chao Phraya river near the Grand palace. It has been a place where for centuries Thailand’s rural produce has always been brought - floated down the Chao Phraya on barges from the rural upcountry.
During the reign of Rama 1 (from 1782 to 1809), there was once a floating market on the river here. By the reign of Rama 5 (from 1868 to 1910), it had become a fish market. The fish market eventually bacame today's produce market, which has existed for over 60 years. Now, it’s dying and what’s left of what was once a huge and ancient produce market now clings to one street. The market's produce selection remains extensive and is still delivered by boat from across the country.
Flowers are taking over. The market's focus has shifted from produce to flowers with Talat Thai, a much less quaint and more modern market on the outskirts of Bangkok taking over much of Bangkok’s produce wholesaling.
Now it’s flowers that float down the Chao Phraya from the provinces to be sold Pak Klong Talat. Delivered from places like Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon and Samut Songkhram. Flowers that grow in cooler temperatures come from as far away as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
The urban poor come to buy huge bags of jasmine and marigold blossoms and make a living by stringing and selling phuang malai, the ornate psychedelic flower garlands you see all over Bangkok adorning temple shrines and votive spirit houses, rear view mirrors, market stalls, boats and bicycles.
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