Pak Klong Talat - The Blooming business, Bangkok Thailand
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Pak Klong Talat

Pak Klong Talat
 The Blooming Business of Pak Klong Talat

By Siwanit Phattanarat

If you happen to be in Chinatown anytime after six p.m. do yourself a favour and walk up Maharat Rd. As you approach Saphan Phut Bridge you are likely to notice a distinct change in the air. Allow yourself to take it in….sniff the air. In place of the sometimes acrid odours that rise from the Bangkok drains, are the delightful scents of jasmine, rose, lily and marigold. It is a fragrant oasis in Bangkok. A place where the gift of smell is a pleasure.

This is Pak Klong Talat, the biggest flower market in the city. Every day as the bite of the hot sun dissipates, the roadside of Pak Klong transforms into a kaleidoscope of bright, blooming colour as vendors, receiving floral goods from each flower growing area of the Kingdom, meet to trade.

The floral feast is truly engaging for flower lovers. In addition to roses, daisies and chrysanthemums are other more fascinating blooms unique to tropical climates. Haleconias grow with copious numbers of different flowers and the orchids spill magenta, tangerine and canary tresses of bright colour on to the street.

The plentiful water supply in the provinces of Nakon Prathom, Samut Sakon and Samut Songkram to the South-west of Bangkok, nourishes thousands of farms; hundreds of which produce millions of flowers every year.

By Western standards the prices at Pak Klong Talat are miniscule. Newspaper bundles of 50 roses cost as little as 30 baht; armfuls of fragile orchids are priced at 20 baht. Even the European flowers cultivated in the cooler areas of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are sold at very reasonable prices.

The aromatic occupation of selling flowers offers excellent job satisfaction to the people working there. Khun Chatchai has been selling jasmine, lotus and roses at the market for four years. "I have my own farm in Nakon Prathom. I inherited the land from my father who used to grow vegetables. I started to grow flowers because I prefer them. They make me feel peaceful. They are also quite easy to look after and people always want to buy flowers."

Khun Mali has been patiently threading phuang malai, Thai garlands, for nine years. "I order the jasmine and dok ruk (calotropis) from someone in Samut Sakon. In nine years the market has become much busier because now we can grow flowers from cold countries up in Chiang Mai, where I come from.


- January 2003, Volume 6 Issue 1

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