Last day in Pattaya! And I am definitely not sad about it. Today I visited the floating market, a must see in this town.
Floating markets in Southeast Asia have a long tradition and usually reflect the way of life and the culture of the local people. Foreign visitors get a good insight into the life on a river or the coastline. Farmers and fishermen flock in early in the morning to trade their goods like vegetables, fish and seafood right off their boats. Those floating markets have their very special atmosphere with uncountable traditional long tail boats seemingly congesting the water and creating an exotic picture of the old traditional Asia. That is what you would expect when you come to a floating market, especially if you have seen those typical photos on the internet or even visited one before. And that is of course what you would expect when visiting the floating market in Pattaya, the largest of its kind in Eastern Thailand. But here everything is different.
This market did not develop naturally over a long period of time. It was artificially set up in 2005 by the community to attract more tourists to Pattaya. It shall represent the four major regions of Thailand, Northern, Central, North-Eastern, and Southern. And each regionally dedicated part of the market shall reflect the culture and tradition of the represented region by offering their local handicraft products, food and even show acts. Once you are aware of all this, you will keep your disappointment low when you visit this place.
During my many travels around Asia it happened more than once to me that I listened to tourists, being at a pretty touristy place and complaining about how touristy this place was. I never knew whether I should laugh or cry about such ignorance. But in the case of the floating market in Pattaya, I am sorry to say, that this is really nothing else than a touristy place driven to an extreme.
You have to pay 200 Baht entrance fee for a start. Once you enter you can walk along wooden gangplanks leading through the market place. Alongside those gangplanks, needless to say, you find little shops, food stalls and sometimes a boat. And that´s it!
Have a look onto the water. A brown surface and empty. If you are lucky you can see an occasional long tail boat floating around and looking for tourist passengers.
I came across a swing bridge leading to a wooden tower. I thought, maybe I have a good view from the top over the whole market place. When I reached it, I saw a piece of paper attached to the stairs saying that you have to pay 200 Baht if you want to take pictures with your own equipment. I could not believe it, just ignored it and climbed up, only to be disappointed once again. The view was not even worth the physical exercise of climbing the stairs. Then a young Thai guy approached me saying that I am not allowed to take photos. Never mind – I had already made my shots!
I finished my tour around the market which did not take more than thirty minutes and left this horrible location.
If you really still want to go there now, you can reach the Floating Market of Pattaya on Sukhumvit Rd, about eight kilometres away from the city centre.
On my way back to town I was driving along the Jomtien beach road when I saw this strange but very interesting fun activity on the ocean. I have never seen it before, and I do not know the name of it. Apparently a water driven jet is attached to the guys feet uplifting him into the air. It was connected to a jet ski via a hose. He was performing incredible movements. He made a salto, then dived into the sea, only to shoot out of the water within two seconds and back into the air.
And finally I could take a few photos of a British guy who just got tattooed. I walked in and asked him whether he would mind if I take photos. He did not!
Click the slide show above the post to see more images.