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Floating market


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large_5550_14684992472217.jpgLok Baintan floating market at dawn.
I had set the alarm for 0430 (which is 0330 Pontianak [Pontianak-travel-guide-869006] time where I had come from). I met the Simon & Karen at reception with their lovely guide Nurul Hidayah. We soon boarded a kelotok (boat) from the hotel’s back gate.

In the darkness we navigated upriver and saw the sky turn pink. About 90 minutes after setting off we were presented with a large collection of sampans loaded with fresh produce, largely “manned” by women. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Lok Baintan floating market or Pasar Terapung.

It was such an awesome sight, nearly completely untouristed. We were the only foreigners around and their was a boat of domestic tourists nearby. Such a far cry from Bangkok.

Their boats, laden with tangerines, bananas, veges, fish, cakes slowly drift downriver.large_5550_14684992537641.jpgLok Baintan floating market soon after dawn.They paddle a little to slow thei drift so as to continue to their trade. The sell to villagers along the way and also to those who buy to resell at the markets in town. B2C and B2B!

Nurul bought some cakes and fruit for us as a pre-breakfast. We couldn’t stop ourselves from taking more and more photos from the roof of the kelotok as it was so colourful and authentic. About 1h30 after arriving, we turned back.

In daylight, we got a better view of the houses along the river. They are just like the ones I saw when growing up; houses on stilts with an outhouse direct into the river. Here, the houses are situated on both banks which have roads alongside. This means that tap water is available to them for drinking. To save on cost, locals still was wash themselves, brush their teeth, do their laundry in the river. Sadly, this is often still very close to their toileting facilities.large_5550_14684992603528.jpgLok Baintan floating market soon after dawn.

The return journey downstream was faster. We got back to the hotel around 0900. As I had joined Simon & Karen’s prebooked tour, I offered to give them some money and also tip the guide. I said that if they didn’t want the money, they could give it to Nurul instead at the end of their arrangements. Instead, they suggested that I gave Nurul and the boatman IDR50K each (which was still cheaper than the IDR350K I would have paid on a boat by myself. I bought them dinner that night too, so I don’t feel that I have freeloaded (important as we would be in Derawan [Derawan-travel-guide-1335019] together coincidentally).

After breakfast and before it got too hot, I explored the non-floating markets on terra firma near the hotel. I found some buah keluak (a kind of nut used in very limited cuisines, particularly Rawon and Ayam Buah Keluak).large_5550_14684992649758.jpgFloating cake shop. Mmm. The banana leaves contain yellow rice with sambal. The steamed banana leaves contained like santan hoenkwe with pumpkin.They sold for IDR18K per kg and bought half a kilo for Mum as they’re not available in Kuching.

I returned to the room for a rest and messaged her. She excitedly messaged back saying that she pays about SGD0.80 each in Singapore. With about 58 nuts per kg, it was about SGD 0.30 each here. That’s about 4% the price in Singapore. Someone was making a lot of money somewhere!

Even though I needed a rest to recover from the early wakeup, I couldn’t sleep. I wasn’t hungry but I just wanted something, so wandered across the road for fried chicken, rice, bowl of veges in soup and a mango shake. That came to IDR29K which was less than one bowl of noodles in Pontianak. I’m starting to think I was cheated there even though a computerised invoice was generated in that hot steamy local cafe.

Mum had asked for more buah keluak so i bought her another half kilo.large_5550_14684992708909.jpgLok Baintan floating market.Time to cool off in the room again and look a the day’s snaps.

The heavens opened and it poured later in the afternoon. As my room faced out into a coverered courtyard I couldn’t really see but the noise a sure indicator.

I had arranged to meet Simon and Karen for dinner and we had a simple meal each in the food court adjoining the hotel.

It was a short but fruitful stay in Banjarmasin [Banjarmasin-travel-guide-861250] as the floating market was very authentic. Tomorrow I continue my journey to Samarinda [Samarinda-travel-guide-869709].

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in Indonesia

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