Bangkok’s floating markets draw more tourists these days than locals.
But the markets of Bang Ku Wiang, Damnoen Saduak, Taling Chan, Tha Kha and others lying in Bangkok’s provinces are important parts of the city’s heritage and real estate.
Boats piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables; fresh coconut juice and floating kitchens serving home-cooked food do not just offer photo ops, but also evokes the time when Bangkok was called the Venice of Asia.
The floating markets are found throughout Bangkok and its provinces. They are excellent places to visit on weekends, both for locals and for foreigners.
Floating Market At Bang Khu Wiang
The Bang Khu Wiang market is the least touristy. It operates between 4 am and 7 am every day, and monks arrive every morning for their alms round.
One way to reach this market is to hire a boat at Bangkok’s Chang Pier and head for the market. Another option which is also cheaper is to take a boat ride from the Pier at Wat Chalo to Bang Kruai.
Another ten minutes on a boat from there will get you to the market.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
This is the famous floating market of the city that has been documented in Bond films and is the touristiest.
But it is still worth a visit to Damnoen Saduak for the sheer chaos and color of the small, flat boats that jostle for space and the noise of the bargaining going on there.
It is not located in the city, but a little further away in the provinces. You can reach the market by taking a bus to Ratchaburi province, which is nearly 80 kilometers away.
The walk or the ride on a boat, to market is a short one from the bus stand there.
Amphawa Floating Market
This is Bangkok’s second most famous floating market after Damnoen Saduak. This market is smaller and not particularly touristy.
Visitors are most locals, and the market is located about fifty kilometers from the city. The market village may have been around since the mid-seventeenth century, and has since expanded from food stalls by the riverside to markets further away from the banks of the canals. Grilled seafood, souvenirs, long tail boat tours, the Mae Khlong River and the Wat Bang Koong temple are some of the highlights of this weekend market.
Amphawa lies west of Bangkok, near Samut Songkhram.
Bang Nam Pheung Market
This riverside market is not the usual authentic floating market, since a few boats are parked along the river banks and most stalls are built on the banks.
But this type of market, located a few kilometers to the east of the city is slowly becoming more popular in Bangkok. The market is small, low-key and very authentic, since reaching it can be a problem.
It lies in the greenest loop of the Chao Phraya River and is widely promoted by the tourism authorities, but is best reached by taxi.
These are only a few of Bangkok’s illustrious floating markets. Others like the Khlong Lat Mayom market, the Taling Chan market and Tha Kha are also deserving of mention.
The first two lie close to the city itself, while the last lies in Samut Sangkhram. No stay in Bangkok is complete without a weekend or early weekday morning visit to at least one of these markets.