The flooding in North Bangkok is slowly draining and now is a good time to visit the two floating markets that would have been affected, Bangnarmphueng Floating Market and Taling Chan floating market.
Bangnarmphueng was submerged in the floods to a depth of about 1 metre. The water is still high now, with walkways next to the river partially covered and the water is far higher up the bank than it normally would be. Take a close look at this photo below, I've marked where the water line came to. You can see the same level on all the photographs of Bangnarmphueng, the whole market was well under water.
There's quite a lot of cleanup to do, but also there's a lot of rebuilding needed. The paving you can see below is all uneven and moves as you walk on it - the sand it was bedding into has been washed away, and they'll need relaid.
But there is still some of the market open, a small part of the food area is open, obviously the boats selling fruit were unaffected and a few are back. A woman had a roaring trade selling mussel and bean sprout omelets. She couldn't make them fast enough! I bought some fish food and threw a few pieces out to see if the fish were back, sadly no.
The people clearing their stall tell me that the market will be back fully next month (January 2012). That's easily achievable, a few days cleaning, a lick of varnish, some payment leveling, they will have this market back in no-time.
Taling Chan Floating Market
Taling Chan floating market I've never covered before on this blog, but it's another popular floating market, a little further out than Bangnarmphueng and a little smaller. The market is made up of temporary stalls along a road, and a central floating pontoon on which the food is served and the boats set off from.
A woman there tells me the market was flooded, but recovered very quickly. I think it was the pontoons, they slide up and down on wheels with the water level, so as long as they can go high enough, they don't get damaged. I've marked what appears to be a water line on the supports that the pontoons, and a higher line where the wheels went up to.
The fish were there too, they know where to get a free meal!
Taling Chan's big attractions is a boat trip, it's a good hour and half ride around the area to visit an orchid farm, see a temple where you can feed fish and see some traditional wooden houses on stilts. No mistaking the water line on this house. When you imagine the same water level across the whole area, you begin to get a sense of the flooding.
I saw a lot of boats running their engines while moored. In a similar way to the Navy in the canal driving their boats against their moorings, these little boats were driving water through the little side canals. Given the size of the propeller, it's probably similar to a regular pump, in terms of the water it can move, a little, but every little helps.
There's quite a lot of modern house building going on here, lots of people want to live in this scenic area next to the canals. Modern houses aren't built on stilts, they build them on raised platforms. This is part of the problem with drainage. Water flows around these houses, whereas it can flow under the old stilt houses. They're also just not as high, as you can see from this photo, this expensive fancy house was flooded and now needs repairs. There's whole unfinished housing estates here that are now going to be very very difficult to sell.
Along the river banks you see lots of yellow dead banana bushes, the orchid farms have closed, again water has drowned the plants, and you can see the water still hasn't fully drained yet, quite a few of the flood walls were overrun in these canals.
But you can also see people getting on with their lives, those orchid farms will be quickly replanted, the houses will be quickly cleaned up, and life will return to normal very quickly. In the photo you can see the marks on the walls where the water level reached, but you can also see they've replanted those large vases on the pavement.