Published on November 23, 2007
The market promotes ‘safe’ orchards and farms, which bring in produce that isn’t ‘organic’ but ‘safe’, meaning the growers strictly follow the instructions when they use chemicals.
People who live and work near and on serene but polluted Klong Lad Mayom are teaming up to clean their beloved canal and preserve old ways of life for future generations. The narrow klong was once part of a more extensive irrigation system in Taling Chan, which once had an abundance of fruit orchards (especially citrus fruits), vegetables and even flowers.
For the past three years, visitors have been coming on weekends to enjoy a floating market and the old lifestyles. Local villagers usually gather with their fresh homegrown produce and food to sell among themselves and to anyone who wants to drop by and slow down the pace of life.
"We began setting up the weekend floating market here as a way to preserve the canal," says Klong Lad Mayom community leader Chuan Choojun. "The canal used to be deserted and people, when turning towards cars and roads for ways to commute, discarded things in the canal and polluted its waters. We began this floating market as a way to bring back the old days' values to people who still live in the area and encourage them to preserve the water and old ways of canal life."
Klong Lad Mayom market is small, compared to other floating markets, but still has plenty of shops selling food. There is also a food raft with low tables where we can sit around and order food from nearby boats. Chuan says that Klong Lad Mayom is famous for its tom yam.
"Our soil is good for growing kaffir limes and all sorts of citrus fruits," explains Chuan. "Kaffir limes here are more aromatic than those from other areas. We also have fresh ginger, lemongrass, holy and sweet basil as well as chillies. And by setting up this market, locals can sometimes bypass the middleman of the commercial systems and visitors who come here can also get things at much cheaper prices as well."
Apart from the local produce, the community also supports "safe" orchards and farms with small outlets selling fresh vegetables that are clean of chemical residues. Chuan explains that the vegetables here are not "organic" but "safe", meaning the growers strictly follow the instructions when they use chemicals for their farming. We saw arrays of staple vegetables, such as cucumbers, baby carrots as well as bitter cucumbers that are widely used in the Thai kitchen for soups as well.
Small boats, sitting less than 10 people, are also available for hire at Bt300 an hour for those looking for a tour of the charming canal community. Klong Lad Mayom is connected to many other canals nearby and winds through orchards and farms. You can either have a short tour of one to two hours or half a day into outer areas of the community such as Chak Phra and Bangkok Noi as well.
"We hope that our floating market can help preserve the old-style canal community by uniting people together," says Chuan. "We used to be very united in the old days when farming was the main career and people helped each other in harvesting and selling seasons. Now, with the modern lifestyle, the community has became disconnected with families hardly seeing each other. I hope that by establishing this floating market, our community now has the focal point that knits the old charms back into our lives."
The Klong Lad Mayom Floating Market celebrates its third anniversary this month. A lot of parking is available in the area and the best time to go is before lunch.
Klong Lad Mayom Floating Market
Bang Lamad Road
(off Bang Khae-Bang Bua Thong Outer Ring Highway)
Taling Chan, Thonburi
8am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday
Sirin P Wongpanit
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