Bangkok has such a large network of interconnected canals that it is often called “the Venice of the East,” and travel by boat was once the standard. As a result, local merchants often hawked their goods from boats that could easily move from one village to another. As roadways developed and land travel became the preferred mode of transport, floating markets were no longer a necessity, but they have remained a mainstay of Thai culture and very popular tourist attractions. These picturesque markets offer a glimpse into Thailand’s past as well as an ideal opportunity to sample some of the many Thai dishes that draw foodies from all over the world to the streets of Bangkok. No one should visit Bangkok without experiencing the immense pleasure of eating coconut ice cream, pad thai, or a perfectly ripe mango purchased from a floating vendor.
While the main draw of most markets is the food, they are often great places to find local handicrafts and other inexpensive souvenirs. Most of the markets also have tours or guides available, but visitors should feel comfortable exploring independently as well.
Taling Chan Floating Market
Taling Chan Floating Market is a great choice for tourists who want to explore a smaller market located close to Bangkok city center. Taling Chan Market is less touristy than some of the area’s other floating markets, and the focus is on food as opposed to trinkets. While visitors won’t find much in the way of souvenir shopping at Taling Chan Floating Market, the wide array of delicious Thai street food more than makes up for it. Travelers with young children may also enjoy the option to purchase a loaf of stale bread with which to feed the many catfish that live in the river.
While there are tours available at Taling Chan Floating Market, it is small enough that most visitors will be comfortable exploring on their own. Visitors should plan to arrive at the market in the late morning in order to get the lay of the land and work up an appetite. Popular food options include steamed blue crabs, pork meatballs, and tempura fried Thai basil. The market is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 5pm. Live music performances generally run from 11am to 2pm.
Check In to The Royal City Hotel, Step Out to Taling Chan Floating Market
Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
Visitors who want to make a full day out of exploring the floating markets in Bangkok can venture to Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market after an early lunch at Taling Chan Floating Market, which is just four kilometers away. Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market is even smaller than neighboring Taling Chan and is similarly popular with locals. Delicious, authentic Thai food is also the highlight of this market, and the boat noodles are especially worth seeking out as is the kanom jeen (cold rice noodles) and hoi tod (oyster omlette). Each of these dishes costs about 40-50 baht, making it easy to eat well on a slim budget.
Visitors who arrive at Khlong Lat Mayom already full from dining at Taling Chan can always purchase fresh mangoes or papayas to enjoy later. In addition to the boat vendors, there is a covered market with stalls offering inexpensive clothing and home décor as well as fresh flowers. Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market is open on Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 5pm.
Check In to Sarasinee All Suite Boutique Hotel, Step Out to Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
Kwam Riam Floating Market
Bangkok’s newest floating market is Kwan-Riam. Established in 2012, the market is named for the main characters in a famous Thai folktale about star-crossed lovers. Kwan-Riam Floating Market’s location beside Wat Bang Peng Tai Temple distinguishes it from some of the city’s other floating markets. Local people will line up along the banks of the river near the market beginning around 7:30am in order to offer food or money to the monks who arrive by boat early in the morning. In return, the monks offer blessings to the people gathered on the riverbank.
The market features stalls and shops on both sides of the canal, and the bridge connecting the two sides of the market is a popular photo spot. Most of the food stalls are on the north bank of the canal, and visitors will find plenty of space to sit and eat or sip a cup of coffee while enjoying the ambiance of the bustling market. The south side of the market is full of stalls selling clothing, toys, and handmade crafts, so it’s a perfect spot to shop for souvenirs. Kwan-Riam Floating Market’s is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays from 7am to 6pm.
Check In to Thong Ta Resort Suvarnabhumi, Step Out to Kwan Riam Floating Market
Bang Nam Floating Market
Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market provides a great opportunity for visitors to experience a remarkably undeveloped area without traveling too far from Bangkok. Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market is located in Phra Pradaeng alongside a section of the Chao Phraya River that is known as “the Green Lung of Bangkok” thanks to its lush vegetation. The market itself is surrounded by tropical forest, making it feel very removed from the city center. Tourists planning a visit should know that this particular market, though large, has relatively few floating stalls. Even still, Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market is well worth a visit just to get a glimpse of village life and relatively unspoiled nature.
Visitors will find that the little thatched roof stalls have a wide array of unusual fruits and vegetables on offer, including gac, an orange melon, and noi na, a fruit that is also known as the custard or sugar apple. The easiest way to reach the market is to take a taxi for the 15-kilometer drive from the city center. Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market is open from 8am to 4pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Check In to Carnation Residence, Step Out to Phra Pradaeng
Don Wai Floating Market
The century-old Don Wai Floating Market is located in Nakhon Pathom Province west of Bangkok. One of Don Wai’s main selling points is that it is open during the week, so it may be easier to work into a busy itinerary than some of the more well-known markets, which only open on the weekends. Don Wai Floating Market is on the Tha Jeen river, and there are several companies near the market that offer boat tours of the river, so it is easy to make a day of a visit to the market and surrounding area.
After browsing the market stalls, visitors would do well to make a bag lunch of local specialties like fish balls and palm cakes to take on one of the boat tours that depart regularly from the dock nearby. Don Wai Floating Market is open daily from 7am, to 6pm. The best way to get to the market from downtown Bangkok is by taxi, which should cost about 400 baht and take roughly 40 minutes.
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Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa Floating Market is about 50 kilometers from Bangkok in Samut Songkhram Province. While Amphawa is quite a popular market, it has maintained its authenticity and is frequented more by locals than by foreign tourists. To make a day trip out of a visit to Amphawa Floating Market, visitors should plan to take a longtail boat cruise of the Mae Khlong River once they have finished exploring the market. There are plenty of options for river cruises, and its even possible to book a private boat tour for around 500 baht.
Amphawa Floating Market is unique because it is open into the evening, making it a great choice for dinner. Like many of the city’s floating markets, Amphawa is known for its grilled seafood offerings, with extra large prawns being a popular choice. The market is open Friday through Sunday from 11am to 9:30pm. The best way to reach Amphawa is by minivan or bus from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal.
Check In to Amphawa Na Non Hotel and Spa, Step Out to Amphawa Floating Market
Pattaya Floating Market
Built specifically to appeal to tourists, Pattaya Floating Market is the largest floating market in Thailand. The 100,000-square meter market is divided into four sections, each corresponding to and selling goods from a different part of the country. As with all floating markets, it’s all about the food at Pattaya. Visitor favorites include ka nom krok (coconut pancakes), thong yip (sweetened egg yolk), and a coconut milk curry. In addition to the food and handicraft stalls, Pattaya Floating Market offers daily music and dance performances as well as interactive cultural demonstrations.
Unike most of Bangkok’s floating markets, Pattaya does charge an admission fee of 200 baht, but discounted tickets are often available. The market is open every day from 9am to 8pm and is about a two hour bus ride from Ekkamai Bus Station.