Monthly Archives: February 2011

Pictures of Thai Desserts – Part 2

(9) Wun Kati (วุ้นกะทิ), which is a Jelly with Coconut Cream Topping. It costs 30 baht. (10) Khao Niew Na Sangkaya (ข้าวเหนียวหน้าสังขยา), which is Thai custard on sticky rice. It cost 12 baht. (11) Thong Yod (ทองหยอด) which translates as Golden Egg Yolk Drops. (12) Met Khanoon (เม็ดขนุน) which literally translates as Jackfruit Seed in Syrup.

(13) Khao Niew Na Kloi (ข้าวเหนียวหน้ากลอย) which is Sticky Rice with Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa). (14) Ta Ko (ตะโก้) which is Water Chestnuts in Mung Bean Pudding.  (15) Pla Grim Kai Tao (ปลากริมไข่เต่า) which is Rice Flour Strings in Coconut Cream. (16) Khao larm (ข้าวหลาม) which is sticky rice dessert grilled in bamboo.

More Thai dessert pictures next week here at In the meantime, you can follow me live on Twitter @EnjoyThaiFood for pictures of the Thai food and desserts that I am eating!

Bang Noi Floating Market

A short distance north of Amphawa there is another riverside market that has been trying to revive its old community. This is Bang Noi Floating Market that straddles a canal of the same name near the Mae Klong River. There has been a market here for more than one hundred years and at one time hundreds of market vendors and locals used to gather here to buy and sell. They used to meet on the 3rd, 8th and 13th days of the waxing and waning moons of the lunar calendar. However, once they started building roads in this area, the number of people visiting this market dwindled until it nearly died out completely.

After the success of the late afternoon market at Amphawa, the local government here decided to do something to revive Bang Noi Floating Market. They pumped a lot of money into the community to pay for renovations and infrastructure like walkways and bridges. It was formerly re-opened a couple of years ago and has already been hailed a success. Although it doesn’t get as busy as Amphawa, it still has a lot of charm and things of interest. The small numbers allow you to walk comfortably up and down the canalside walkways and visit the shops without interruptions. I like Amphawa but it is getting too crowded these days.

Bang Noi Floating Market is open during the day and starts to wind down in the late afternoon at about the same time as Amphawa starts to get busy. So, if you are looking for somewhere to eat lunch while waiting for Amphawa to open then you might want to consider Bang Noi. It is open every Saturday and Sunday from about 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. I arrived a bit late as I had lunch at Bang Nok Kwaek Riverside Market. By the time I got here at 5 p.m. some of the shops had already started to close. But I could see that there was a good variety of shops that sold souvenirs and handicraft. There was also a lot of delicious food on show.

At one of the piers I noticed that they had a boat service. I spoke with one of the locals and they said that it was a free boat tour up the canal. It was getting late but they agreed to take me. There were two rowers and I sat in the middle. I felt a bit embarrassed as they had to work so hard rowing against the current. I guess it was nearly low tide as a lot of water was flowing down Bang Noi Canal and out into Mae Klong River. From there it flows south past Amphawa Canal, through Samut Songkhram City and out into the Gulf of Thailand. Other canals that feed into Mae Klong River include Damnoen Saduak and Bang Nok Kwaek.

I didn’t really have any idea where we were going, but we ended up at this temple called Wat Sai. As we got out of the boat, one of the monks started talking over the loudspeaker about the history of the temple. Apparently Wat Sai is believed to be over 500 years old. Many of the buildings are built in traditional Thai style with teak wood being used a lot. As I approached the temple I heard the monk suddenly exclaim that “a farang has come to look around the temple”. Nothing like your presence being announced to everyone. Though I seemed to be the only visitor and I could only see half a dozen monks who were sweeping the grounds.

One of the monks offered to give me a tour of the temple. He took me into one of the teak buildings where they had a kind of museum of ancient artefacts. These varied from Buddhist scriptures written by hand on palm leaves to old Thai typewriters. In the basement of another building he showed me around a museum that contained a large variety of different kinds of boats. I asked him how many visitors he had shown around today and he said that I was only the second. Back outside my two oarsmen were waiting to row me back to the market. I felt a bit awkward having this all for free so I gave them a good tip once we got back. I will definitely come here again but next time I will come in the morning and eat lunch here.

The following is a map showing the location of the market and other attractions nearby.

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Aquarium and Crocodile Farm in Nakhon Sawan

It seems that a number of provinces in Thailand are starting to build their own aquariums that rival if not surpass the one in the basement of Paragon shopping mall in Bangkok. One of the latest ones to be built is at Bueng Boraphet in Nakhon Sawan. It was officially opened in 2008 and as you can see in this photo, it’s built a bit like Noah’s Ark, though this one contains freshwater fish.

The aquarium is built in the shape of a “krachaeng” boat. It is 35.3 meters wide and 105 meters long. This kind of boat was often seen floating along the river in Paknam Pho transporting goods. The aquarium was built to commemorate the 80th Birthday of H.M. The King. The fish tunnel that you can see here is 24 meters long.

Inside Bueng Boraphet Aquarium, the natural environment of freshwater fish has been imitated. The majority of these species are from the Chao Phraya River and the marshes of Bueng Boraphet. As well as the fish tunnel, there are also 30 fish tanks, marine fish tanks and a touch pool. All of the labels of the exhibits are in both Thai and English. It’s not a very large aquarium, but the admission price of only 49 baht for adults and 19 baht for children makes it good value for money. In comparison, the one in the basement of Paragon is something like 900 baht.

Behind the aquarium there is a Crocodile Farm with daily shows. There are six rounds per day starting at 10:30 a.m. and repeating every hour until the last show at 3:30 p.m. As well as the show you can walk around the crocodile pens. Entrance is only 30 baht for adults and 20 baht for children. Again, this is very good value for money.

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5 Bangkok Day Trips for Kids

Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chonburi Province

These are some ideas for day trips around Bangkok that are good for young children or teenagers. I think the most popular one for Nong Grace was the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in Chonburi.  She keeps asking to go back here every year. She likes feeding milk to the tiger cubs and also posing for photographs with the cubs and baby crocodiles. There are also shows featuring animals such as crocodiles, elephants, tigers and also pigs that seemingly can count. When we last went the ticket price was 300 baht for adults and 200 baht for children. It cost 150 baht to take your picture with the animals and 10-50 baht for food to feed the animals in the petting zoo.

Swimming Monkeys in Samut Songkhram Province

This day trip from Bangkok to go and see the Swimming Monkeys in Samut Songkhram is a little adventurous. However, it is definitely worth the time and trouble. I have already been a couple of times and Nong Grace came with me on my last trip. We rented a boat for about 500 baht and he took us through the mangroves where we saw about 3 or 4 groups of monkeys at different locations. It is a good idea to bring bananas as they will come closer to your boat looking for food. They are not aggressive but they might squabble among each other to get at the bananas. During the boat ride we also went out into the bay to see the fishermen huts.

Farm Chockchai in Nakhon Ratchasima Province

To the north-east of Bangkok is Farm Chockchai in Nakhon Ratchasima. This is popular with Thai families as you get a tour of a dairy farm, which to them is unusual. Although I actually grew up on a dairy farm myself, I still enjoyed the trip. You are taken around the farm where you can see how they milk the cows and also the dairy where this is processed. There is an opportunity to have a go yourself at milking by hand. During the tour of the farm there are two more stops. First is a kind of Wild West Town where you can ride ponies. There is also a rodeo show here. The next stop there was a petting zoo where you could feed the animals. They also had a short animal show here. When we went tickets were 250 baht for adults and 125 baht for children. Horse rides were 40 baht and pony and trap rides were 100 baht.

Dream World in Pathum Thani Province

Judging by our hits from Google, many people are searching for information about Dream World in Bangkok. This theme park has been around for quite a few years now. There wasn’t much the first few times that I went but there is enough for a decent day of fun now. But, don’t go expecting something like Disney World. There are rides for children of all ages. I first took Nong Grace here when she was only five but she still found plenty to do and have fun. The highlight for her was the Snow Town where she could play with “snow”. The temperature here was a very chilly -3 Celsius. In addition to the rides there is a Fun House and Ghost House. There are also shows such as an animal show and a stunt show. When we were there tickets cost 450 baht and allowed you to have as many rides as you liked.

Siam Park City in North-East Bangkok

The biggest water park in Bangkok is Siam Park City or Suan Siam as it is called in Thai. I hadn’t been there for years and was surprised how much the place had grown. There is now so much to do there that you will only scratch the surface in a day visit. We spent six hours there and didn’t do everything. The water park is the main attraction of course. There are a number of different pools of varying depths. There is also an action river, a giant waterslide and an artificial sea which even has waves. As well as the water park, there is also a theme park with numerous rides for children of all ages. If you wanted to, you can buy tickets just for the water park and for rides in the theme park as you go. When we went, a 600 baht ticket gave you unlimited access to both the water park and theme park. If you are planning on doing everything then that is good value for money. A yearly pass is also good value.

Come here for five more great ideas for day trips around Bangkok for children.

Are Thai Street Food Stalls Really Dangerous?

This week we have the tragic news of a young New Zealand tourist, Sarah Carter, who died while on holiday in Thailand. Reports are not clear yet, but it seems that 23 year old Sarah died from food poisoning after eating at a market stall in the Northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai. Two of her friends, Emma Langlands and Amanda Eliason, also suffered from food poisoning though Emma seems to be recovering now. Initial headlines that went around the world stated “NZ woman dies after Thai food poisoning”. The article in the online newsite went on to say: “Sarah Katherine Carter, 23, died at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, in northern Thailand, on Sunday morning after eating toxic seaweed she bought from a food market on Friday.”

A lot of what has been printed in the newspapers has been pure speculation and more questions are raised than answered. The truth is, doctors are not sure yet if seafood is to blame. We don’t know what they ate or even where they ate. Though the Bangkok Post this morning (“Chiang Mai fears food poisoning scare”) said officials were sent to collect food samples from “the Night Bazaar food market”. According to Chiang Mai public health chief Wattana Kanchanakamol, the preliminary report into the death of Sarah indicated a viral infection. What is strange at the moment is that Emma, who also suffered from vomiting though not as serious, ordered a different meal to her two friends. In addition, in a newspaper interview (“Doctors not sure if Thai seafood to blame”), Amanda told reporters that they didn’t start vomiting until the next morning.  Lab results are not in yet and we probably won’t know what caused the tragic death for a few days yet.

In the meantime, we don’t need scaremongering headlines like this one in The Timary Herald: “Guesthouse owner says avoid Thai food stalls”. Like many people, I have lived in Thailand for many years and I haven’t had anything worse than diarrhoea that went away by the next morning. Of course, food poisoning is a real threat but if you take basic precautions then your chances of being hit are greatly lowered. The advice in this newspaper story is given by a foreigner who suffered from “crippling food poisoning” after eating RAW oysters on TWO different occasions. According to this man, you should avoid roadside or market food stalls. Do I really need to comment any further on this?

Thai people are just as concerned about food hygiene as people like you and me. I’ve always said that if you see a food stall that is crowded with local people then the chances are much higher that the food is safe to eat. No-one is going to return to a stall if the food gives them diarrhoea. I would also suggest to only eat at stalls where you can watch them cook your food. Don’t eat ready-cooked food that has been sitting in pots all day. It should also be obvious that you shouldn’t eat any kind of raw seafood on the street. That is just crazy. As for ice, you should only eat ice cubes and not crushed ice. One final advice, don’t make the mistake of thinking a fancy restaurant is cleaner than a roadside food stall. The only time that I have had diarrhoea or anything that resembled food poisoning was after eating at a restaurant.

It is always sad to see someone die so young. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of  Sarah Carter. I also hope that both Emma Langlands and Amanda Eliason will make a full recovery and are able to fly back home to their family and friends soon.

Related blog: Thai Street Food Challenge