Tag Archives: Floating Market

Rangsit Floating Market

One of the latest markets for people from Bangkok can be found at Rangsit Floating Market. It is just north of the city on the Rangsit-Nakhon Nayok Road. It is just a short distance from Future Park and is not too far from Dream World. I went there for the first time at the weekend. It has been open since March 2009 but I hadn’t heard of it until someone on Twitter suggested that I should go there. I am glad that I did.

It’s not really a floating market like foreign tourists would imagine it. It is true that there are a couple of boat vendors selling food. However, the majority of food is sold from normal stalls. Having said that, technically it is a floating market as the whole thing is on a series of linked flat barges moored to the banks. Anyway, it is good, open-aired, clean and has a nice atmosphere. For a weekend I was actually expecting large crowds, but it was to our advantage that, unlike other markets, we were easily able to find some seating.

I usually say that you judge a good food stall by the crowds. I think that in this case we have some delicious food being sold in a great location but suffering greatly from bad promotion to the public. I don’t think that many people outside of Rangsit really know about it. Which is a pity as the food was good. I don’t normally eat that much but I had three full meals here. Two of them were from this vendor that sold 12 different kinds of pad thai. My favourite was pad thai made with green papaya (see here). Very unusual but surprisingly good. The other was crispy noodle pad thai (see here).

It is probably not worth going all the way here for this one market. But, you could visit here on the way back from or to Dream World. Or if you are going to the shopping mall at Future Park. On this trip we also visited the Thai Royal Air Force Museum which is not that far away. However, I definitely want to go back again to try some more of the variations of pad thai. Noodles are also very famous here. In fact, they have a museum dedicated to the history of noodles. Unfortunately this is only in Thai.

The floating market is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can get there by buses 538, 559 or 188.

Map showing the location of Rangsit Floating Market:
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Wat Takien Floating Market in Nonthaburi

A good excursion to do at the weekend is to visit one of the many floating markets that are within easy reach of Bangkok. The one that I visited last weekend is called Wat Takien Floating Market which is in Nonthaburi Province, to the Northwest of Central Bangkok. From Samut Prakan it only took us about 40 minutes to drive there along the Kanchanapisek Outer Ring Road. But, if you are coming from Bangkok, you can get there via the Rama V Bridge.

The floating market at Wat Takien is relatively new. There used to be a much older one nearby called Bang Ku Wiang Floating Market. However, that has long since closed due to the modernization of transportation during the last century. Once the roads and highways were built, people went from getting around by boat to travelling by car which is obviously quicker and more convenient. However, there is a growing trend these days to revive some of the old markets. That is why the local community opened this market at Wat Takien.

Many of these markets open early in the morning. However, even though we arrived there after 9 a.m., many of the stalls were still being set up. So we explored the temple first. In front of the chapel there is a giant tiger’s head which has a doorway which takes you underneath the building. Inside there are a number of different shrines. Buddhists here were walking around these shrines in a clockwise direction while chanting. They were doing this to bring themselves good luck. The exit was through the head of a giant dragon.

The market is open every day from about 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. However, it is a lot more active at the weekend. Probably best to aim to be there by about 10 a.m. But don’t have breakfast before you leave home. Like most markets, the highlight for our trip was the food. You could just snack all day long. You can buy food from one of the boat vendors or from one of the stalls set up in the grounds of the temple. I had a very tasty crispy and red pork on rice. For dessert I had deep fried bananas and a coconut pudding. All prices were very good.

For me, a trip to a floating market is not satisfactory unless there is also a chance to go on a boat trip along the canals. Only by exploring this way do you get to see the daily life of local Thai people, which probably hasn’t changed much in a hundred years. Even today, most of the houses that we passed are cut off from the road and people have to use boats to get around. Even the postman and garbage collector has to use boats.Some of the houses we passed were more modern but many, like this one, looked like they have been around for years.

I don’t think that many people go on these boat trips. We saw the boats there but we had a hard time trying to find someone who would take us out. I don’t think Thai people like going out in the heat of the day. We eventually found this guy who took us out for an hour long trip for a low 200 baht. If this was Bangkok we would have probably been charged 800 baht at least. For the whole time that we were at this market, we didn’t see any other foreigners at all. So, the vendors and local people were really friendly and happy to see us there. It is not a major floating market, but it is a good escape from the other tourist traps.

Map for Wat Takien Floating Market:
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Wat Lampaya Floating Market

There are quite a few floating markets around Bangkok these days. It is becoming more popular among the Thai general public. Most of the new ones I have been to recently are aimed at the domestic market. Wat Lampaya Floating Market in Nakhon Pathom Province is another classic example of this. When I was there recently I didn’t see any other foreigners despite the fact that it was quite popular with tourists and local people. I think I should be clear here that Wat Lampaya Floating Market is more of a riverside market. It is true that the restaurants are floating and that there are some vendors selling food on boats. However, all of these are permanently moored. It is not like the picture postcards that you might have seen of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. But, this one is more practical as everything is in the shade away from the harsh sun.

The floating market is situated on the Tha Cheen River next to Wat Lampaya. This is the same river as at Don Wai Riverside Floating Market. In fact there are very similar markets. They both offer good food. They are both open at the weekends from 6 a.m. to late afternoon. They also both offer boat tours along the river. On the bank of the river they are selling a lot of fruit and vegetables. There are also stalls selling plants, handicraft, clothes and other OTOP products. On the floating platforms there are restaurants and many food stalls. As well as feeding yourself you can feed some of the fat fish in the river. I found everyone to be very friendly and they were keen to chat with me. We were there shortly after 10 a.m. It wasn’t too crowded at that time so it was easy to move around. Most people came here for lunch. So, if you want to avoid the crowds then come early.

Without the boat tours, I don’t think it is really worth your trouble coming here. It is just another food market albeit one with a good view of the river. I like the way the boat tours are set up. They are more like the dining tours that they have on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok but a lot cheaper. What you do here is wander around the market and buy any food that you want to eat on the boat. We bought a variety of food that we could share including fried chicken, fish cakes, hoi tod, pad thai, satay pork and minced pork in an omelette. We also bought some drinks. Then we chose our boat tour. They have three different tours. The first one is at 10 a.m. and the last goes at 2.30 p.m. It doesn’t really matter which one you go on as the journey is more important than the destination.

It is best to buy your ticket at least half an hour before the boat is due to leave. This gives you a chance to reserve the seats and table that you want and then to go and do your food shopping. The tours are 60-70 baht for adults and 20-30 baht for children. The tours go to Wat Sukwattanaram (10 a.m., 12.30 p.m. and 2.30 p.m.), Wat Bang Phasi (11 a.m. and 1.30 p.m.) and Wat Bang Phra (11.30 a.m. and 2 p.m.). They have pictures of each tour which will help you decide. But for us, we just chose the most convenient tour which was the one for Wat Bang Phasi. Wat Bang Phra is the famous one where they have the annual tattoo festival in March. We had in fact just been there. The trip to Wat Sukwattanaram looked interesting as the pictures showed a Thai Farmers Museum. Maybe I will do that one on my next trip here.

Our boat trip along the Tha Cheen River took about 90 minutes. We cruised north up the river for about 30 minutes. We then had a 30 minute break at the temple and then another 30 minutes to come back. It was nice to have that break though the temple itself wasn’t that interesting. I guess the highlight of the temple were the wild animals in cages. But I just felt sorry for them. I like doing boat tours and it is a good way to relax and enjoy some natural air-conditioning. It was an extra bonus that we could eat and drink as well. As it was a weekend, we were able to observe river life along the banks. There were some people in small boats and young children splashing in the water. Others were sleeping outside their wooden houses or doing some fishing for their mid-day meal.

I expect I will come here again. Though it would be best if you have something else planned for the rest of the day. It took me about 115 minutes to drive there from Samut Prakan. We drove on Highway 4 towards Nakhon Pathom. We turned right at Nakhon Chaisi and then left onto Highway 3223. The journey there is signposted in Thai and English. If you live further north in Bangkok you could try Highway 346. I have marked the location on Google Maps. I also suggest that you buy the map book “Bangkok & Vicinity: A to Z Atlas” published by PN Map as the floating market is marked. Your other options are to rent a taxi for the day for about 1,200 baht (it cost me 400 baht in petrol alone) or take a local bus from either Nakhon Pathom market to Lampaya or a mini bus from the Southern Bus Terminal near Kung Luang Restaurant.

Bang Phli Floating Market

There seems to be quite a few communities around Thailand now that are trying to replicate the success of Damnoen Saduak Market. I think Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkram have been doing a good job. Bang Nampheung Floating Market in Samut Prakan have also been trying to have a weekend market along the canal. Strictly speaking, these new markets shouldn’t really use the word “floating” as they are firmly on the bank of the canal. But they do have water activities. Now comes the news that the Old Bang Phli Market in Samut Prakan wants to develop a kind of floating market. They actually have one of the longest running markets in Thailand as this one was established just over a hundred and fifty years ago in 1857 by Chinese traders.

The market runs alongside Samrong Canal. Today they kicked off a series of activities that will be organized for every weekend from now until the Rub Bua festival in mid-October. They had quite a few vendors today selling their wares on boats. They are hoping to keep this going throughout the year but that really depends on the interest of the general public. There were certainly quite a few people there today. Though, as expected, I was the only foreigner there. It is the kind of place you go to where the local people are surprised to see you speak Thai. If you like to get off the beaten track away from the other foreign tourists then Bang Phli is an excellent choice. But, don’t expect any English to be spoken and you will hear people calling out “farang” a lot. In addition to the market, there are also boat tours which I will tell you about later.

The old Bang Phli Market starts at Wat Bang Phli Yai Nai. It is basically a series of wooden shophouses with one long covered roof. It stretches for about 500 metres or so. I have been here several times before and I could see today that there are more shops for tourists. Before they just had household goods, only of interest to local people. Now they have a wider selection of food, as well as a small museum of old photos. There is still room for improvement but they are going the right direction. I think it is a nice place to eat a meal alongside the canal. At the end of the market, there is a bridge which you can climb over (see top picture) and then you arrive at another stretch of shophouses. This section is more open and so easier to take pictures.

There are quite a few alleyways running off from the market and if you have time it is worth exploring. At the temple, there is the famed Luang Pho To image which, according to legend, was spotted floating down the canal and was rescued by local people. During October every year they have a lotus throwing festival where a copy of this image is paraded up and down the river on a boat. People in their thousands line the banks and throw lotuses onto the boat. I will be going there for the festival next month and so will tell you more about that later. If you have any questions about this market or any other tourist attraction in this area, then please visit our Samut Prakan Forums.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

I have probably been to about half a dozen different floating markets around Thailand. Out of all of them, Damnoen Saduak is undoubtedly the largest and best known among Thai and foreign tourists. Some people also say it is the biggest tourist trap. However, this can work to your advantage. Genuine floating markets are few and far between. When they do happen you will be lucky to see more than three boat vendors at one time. However, at Damnoen Saduak, there are so many boat vendors that it is a feast for your eyes almost in every direction you look. Yes, I know it is now almost exclusively set up for tourists. But if you look beyond this then you will get not only some beautiful picture postcard photos, but also a cultural experience of life in Thailand a hundred years ago. Follow my tips and you will have a more enjoyable experience.


The floating market at 7:45 a.m.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is in Ratchaburi Province, about 100 kms southwest of Bangkok. You can go there by bus 78 from the Southern Bus Terminal which is the cheapest method. The trip takes just under two hours. This goes via Nakhon Pathom on highway 4. A more expensive alternative is to share a taxi with some friends. This shouldn’t cost you more than 1,500 baht for the round trip. If you like, you could stay in Nakhon Pathom for the night and then catch an early morning bus to Samut Songkhram which passes Damnoen Saduak. Many people go here as part of a tour that then goes to the Rose Garden in the afternoon. When we first went in 2001, we went down the day before and stayed in a hotel at Damnoen Saduak. This has the advantage in making sure you are there long before the tour buses arrive from Bangkok at 9 a.m. For my trip last weekend I left home when it was still dark at 5:10 a.m. It is a long trip along the outer ring road and then onto Highway 35 which passes Samut Sakhon and then Samut Songkhram. However, due to the new Kanchanapisek Bridge over the Chao Phraya River, my journey was much quicker than back in 2001. It was so quick that it was still dark when I arrived at 6:15 a.m.! I was one of the first people to arrive although there were already quite a few boat vendors paddling along the canal.

As it was still too dark to take photographs I declined the offers of boat trips. I decided to wander around for a while. As the minutes ticked past, more tourists started to turn up. Some in tour buses and others in their own cars. However, at this early hour they were still exclusively Thai. It was nice and peaceful at that time. A kind of calm before the storm which I knew was going to happen in a few short hours. If you have ever been to the tropics, you would know that it gets light very quickly. By about 6:30 a.m. it was almost light enough to take some pictures. However, I decided to delay a bit more as it would be easier for me with a bit more light. While I was waiting I walked around to get an idea of the prices for the boat. Most of them seemed to offer boat tours for 400 baht for one hour or 200 baht for half an hour. I told one lady politely in Thai that I thought 400 baht was a bit expensive considering the boats were powered by paddle and that they didn’t have to buy any fuel. She then said, “Alright, I will give you Thai price of 300 baht for one hour” and quickly wrote the price down on a ticket. I am not sure if that really is the Thai price, but I decided to go with it. Seemed fair as it was for the boat rather than per person.

At this early hour, the boat vendors selling fruit and delicious meals far outnumbered the tourist boats. As we paddled away, I seemed to still be the only foreigner around. We passed many small boats where the vendors were offering me fruit or snacks. A bit further we turned a corner. Along the edge of this canal and the next one are rows and rows of souvenir shops. Most of them selling the same stuff. However, most of them were still closed. The lady paddling my boat asked me several times if I wanted to stop to buy something. I replied that I just wanted to enjoy the view. Up ahead I could see a lone monk paddling along on his alms round. Waiting on the banks were locals with food to offer the monk. This was more like it. Much better than the tacky souvenirs on offer. I was just reaching for my camera when the oarsmen started to turn left to go down another narrow canal lined with souvenir stalls. I quickly asked her if we could continue going straight on as I had no interest in buying souvenirs. I remembered from last time that they take you to a shop at the other end of the canal where they tell you to get out for 15 minutes to look around. Luckily for me she was sympathetic and she paddled on in pursuit of the lone monk.

To be honest, apart from the monk and some canalside activity, there wasn’t too much to see. However, the peace and quiet of the early hour was really worth it. She took me on a long circuit which eventually came out in the wider Damnoen Saduak Canal. The water here was more choppy. She told me that they had opened the floodgates and so the water was quite high. I asked her a bit about her average day. She said that this was her first trip of the day. At the wekeend, she probably would come out five or six times. For that she would get 100 baht per trip. During the week she would be lucky to do three or four rounds and she was paid only 70 baht per trip. I am not sure if she was playing on my sympathy, but it did make sense that she didn’t get all of the 300 baht. After all, she wasn’t the person that approached me at the start. So, when I got back, I gave her a 100 baht tip. I think in cases like this, always try to give people at grass level a tip as they often do the hardest work.


“The farang are coming! The farang are coming!”

After my enjoyable boat trip, I decided not to rush off but rather explore more of the area on foot. So, after a breakfast of rice porridge for 20 baht, I wandered around taking pictures and shooting video of the various canal side activity. I also went for a walk along Damnoen Saduak Canal which you can see in the above picture. There were a number of paddle boats coming along this canal heading for the area where I started my own tour. I was curious to see where they were coming from. Then I realized what was happening. When I drove down the road I kept passing signs that said “you have arrived” in Thai. In some ways these were deceiving people. They had boats you could hire, but you have to paddle along this canal to reach the main area where you can see all the boat vendors. As you can see, it was a bit of a bumpy ride for them as the water was choppy. It was made even worse as bigger long-tailed boats with motors were whizzing by. These were full of foreign tourists who were on tours. Their coaches had dropped them off at the main road in Damnoen Saduak and they continued to the market by boat. In the above picture, you can see at least four of these boats. A dozen had already passed me as I walked along the tow path.


Traffic jam on the canal at 9 a.m.

By the time I got back to the area where I had started it was already 9 a.m. And what a scene that greeted me. The canal was literally plugged with boats which were nine deep. It was a traffic jam of the worse kind. People were fast going no-where. Can you see the boats with awnings? These have engines unlike my paddle boat. Some of them had changed to a paddle for this section. But others kept turning on and off their noisy engines in order to move along. This is a new phenomenon. The last time I had come here there were no motorized boats. In fact, there is a sign now that says no engines are allowed to be started along here before 8 a.m. I still think it is worth your time and trouble coming here. But, please take my advice. DO NOT come on a tour from Bangkok. And make sure you finish your boat trip well BEFORE 9 a.m. If you do that then you will have a much more enjoyable trip. I left as soon as I had taken that picture. The place had become a circus and it was no longer my quiet little floating market.

Do you need help in planning this trip? Visit the Paknam Web Thailand Forums for free advice 24/7.

MAP:

Latitude: 13.520101 (13° 31′ 12.36” N)
Longitude: 99.959278 (99° 57′ 33.40” E)

Taling Chan Floating Market

In the olden days, people in Thailand didn’t go to markets like we do today. The markets came to them. This is because most people either lived on canals or along the banks. The canals were the road system of the past and anything you needed would pass your front door. In addition, there were sometimes gatherings of vendors on boats which is their version of our land based markets. Today, floating markets are few and far between. Probably the most picturesque, at Damnoern Saduak, is now almost exclusively run for foreign tourists. Recently I have been visiting some alternative floating markets. On Sunday I went to Taling Chan Floating Market on the Chak Phra Canal on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. I have passed here before several times when I rented a long-tailed boat to tour the Thonburi canals.

If you go to Taling Chan Floating Market and expect to see hundreds of vendors on boats selling fruit and delicious things to eat then you will be disappointed. Damnoern Saduak is like a floating market on steroids so everything else, including the genuine article, will be a disappointment. However, Taling Chan does have its charm and it also has the advantage that it is open all day, though only at the weekends. I arrived there before 9 a.m. which is a good idea if you are coming by car. They have limited parking space. It also helps to beat the heat of the day. The road leading to the canal is lined with market vendors selling plants as well as a large variety of freshly cooked food and sweets.

The main attraction of the market seems to be the floating restaurants on the canal. Moored alongside the platform were a number of boats where vendors were cooking up a variety of mouth watering dishes. The floating restaurant has groups of low tables and you sit on the floor to eat. The food is cooked for you on the smaller boats. There are also traditional tables and chairs if you have long legs like myself. The size of the market isn’t that large. It is nothing compared to Don Wai Market which I visited the other week. There were also more foreign tourists at this one. Though most of them turned out to be on a boat tour of the Thonburi canals and this was one stop for them.

Although I enjoyed wandering around and sampling the food on offer, I don’t think it is worth a special trip to come all the way out here just to visit this floating market. Maybe do a brief stop here when you rent a boat on the Bangkok side of the river. Alternatively, you can catch bus number 79 to the market and then join a boat tour that starts by the floating restaurant. As this tour is mainly for Thai tourists it will work out cheaper for you. I went on this boat trip and I will tell you about that soon. When I came back, the market was very crowded. There was no space to eat on the floating rafts so I ended up having lunch at one of the land based restaurants. I probably would come back here though I think I prefer Don Wai Market more. Even though Don Wai is further away in Nakhon Pathom Province, it was a lot simpler for me to driver there. Plus there is a greater variety of Thai food on offer there.

Don Wai Market

I am really happy that the Kanchanapisek Outer Ringroad has been finished. It now allows us to easily explore tourist attractions around the perimeter of Bangkok quickly and easily. So, last weekend I set off on a day trip to Nakhon Pathom, to the West of Bangkok. My destination was Don Wai Market. Some people call this a floating market. However, strictly speaking, it is a market on the banks of the Nakhon Chaisi River. If you come looking for a Damnoern Saduak Floating Market or even a Amphawa Floating Market then you will be disappointed. You won’t see many vendors selling their products on little boats. But, they all have their own attributes which makes them special. I personally enjoyed Don Wai Market and will certainly be going again.

Don Wai Market has been around for over a hundred years. However, it is only recently that it has started to become popular with daytrippers from Bangkok. From my own home, it only took 45 minutes which makes it almost a local source of good food. And I think that is why so many people go there at the weekend. The market was originally famous for the boiled ducks, but now there is a much greater variety of food. Not just curries and snacks, but also Thai sweets. Judging by all the pictures on display, a lot of celebrities and politicians also come to this market.

It is best to go to this market as early as you can in order to beat not only the heat but the crowds as well. It opens at 6 a.m. I arrived at 9 a.m. as I dropped in at Wat Rai Khing first to pay my respects to the highly revered Buddha image. They have a popular fair here in April. The temple is also famous for the fish sanctuary where you can buy bread to feed the fish. It is possible to catch a boat from here to Don Wai Market for only 60 baht. However, as I was early, it looked like they were waiting for enough people to make the journey worthwhile. As you can see from this picture, there weren’t that many people at the market when I first arrived. However, when I left at midday it was so crowded with people it took forever to move through the crowds. By that time I couldn’t wait to escape.

Tourists weren’t going to the market just to buy food. They were going to eat at one of the many floating markets that lined the river. In fact, there are so many of these restaurants that as you walk along the market you don’t get a clear view of the river. However, you do get fine views when you sit down to eat. Just don’t go too late in the morning. Maybe best to come here for a brunch. I was tempted to buy a lot of food to take home. Unfortunately, I had more places to visit on that day and so didn’t think it was a good idea to buy too much fresh food that might go off in a hot car.

To get to Don Wai Market is quite easy. I took the Outer Ring (Highway 9) from Samut Prakan. I then turned onto Highway 4 which is signposted Nakhon Pathom. Shortly after the Rose Garden you need to turn right onto Highway 3316. However, as you cannot do a direct turn here, you have to continue as far as the bridge over Nakhon Chaisi River and U-Turn under the bridge. Make sure you keep left for this. You will see a bigger sign for Wat Rai Khing rather than for the market. Keep going until you reach the market on the left. You cannot miss it nor the crowds. Make sure that you arrive early if you want to park a car. This costs 20 baht. There is more than one place to park. Just keep driving along the road.

Boat Trip on Nakhon Chaisi River

A good market near Bangkok is Don Wai in Nakhon Pathom Province. I was there recently to do a report for thai-blogs.com. It is a great food market if you enjoy Thai food. However, you can also join boat trips which makes it a more enjoyable experience. I thought I would only be an hour or two at the market before moving onto my next location. However, because of the boat trip I ended up staying all morning. As you know, I love boat trips and cruising down a river with natural air-conditioning is a fun way to spend the day.

There seems to be a number of different companies running boat trips at Don Wai. As you walk down the market it is easy to find them. Most organize two trips. The first lasts 75 minutes and costs 60 baht for adults and 30 baht for children. The second lasts 120 minutes and costs 100 baht for adults and 50 baht for children. The brochure is only written in Thai. However, they have basically the same route though obviously the second one goes further down the river. The first tour starts at 9.30 a.m. and continues at roughly one hourly intervals until late afternoon. The second tour starts at 10 a.m. on Sundays and 11 a.m. on Saturdays. This continues at roughly 90 minute intervals until mid afternoon. During weekdays there are only two rounds during the middle of the day for lunchtime crowds.

The boats are converted rice barges. Most have arrangements of tables and chairs. The boat didn’t actually go anywhere as such which was a bit of a disappointment. Our destination was the Rose Garden, but all we did was go that far and come straight back. However, what the trip is really about is buying food in the market and then taking that on the boat trip with you. I didn’t realize that but luckily a Thai family felt sorry for me and decided to feed me. People often do that. I don’t know why. As long as you bring some food along, and maybe a few bottles of beer, then you will have an enjoyable and relaxing trip. Maybe snooze a little. The people at the table next to mine certainly slept the whole way.

Overall, I did spend a good morning at the market. I would advise that you go as early as you can as it does get crowded by mid morning. I would suggest exploring the market first then taking a late breakfast on one of the rice barges. The 70 minute tour is plenty enough as the seats were a bit uncomfortable for anything longer than that. You will probably end up staying here for about 3 hours. In my next blogs, I will give you ideas of where else to spend the rest of the day.

MAP:

Latitude: 13.770961 (13° 46′ 15.46” N)
Longitude: 100.283675 (100° 17′ 1.23” E)

Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawan Floating Market

At the weekend, I drove down to Samut Songkhram to visit the King Rama II Memorial Park Fair . But, I also wanted to take this opportunity to visit the nearby Amphawa Floating Market. Unlike the famous one at Damnoen Saduak , this one doesn’t start to get going until the late afternoon. Very good news for late risers. It also means you can visit the nearby park first before finishing your day with a meal at the floating market. I am not going to pretend that Amphawan Floating Market is more photogenic than Damnoen Saduak. That isn’t true. You won’t see as many boat vendors here which means you will get a different kind of photograph. So, by all means, still go to Damnoen Saduak for your photo opportunity. But, if you have the time, also come to this floating market for the atmosphere which is so much better. It is also more authentic as you won’t find the rows and rows of stalls selling the same tacky souvenirs. The best thing about Amphawa Floating Market is that it is still relatively unknown among Western tourists as it isn’t featured in Lonely Planet yet. There must have been a thousand people there, but I didn’t spot one European face. This is where the Thai tourists come to experience a floating market.

Amphawa Floating Market

We arrived at the canal at about 3.30 p.m. We weren’t really expecting to see much as we had heard that the market wouldn’t start until late afternoon. However, as we walked towards the canal, we could see that a number of vendors had already set up their foodstalls along the Soi and more were wheeling their carts into position. There weren’t that many tourists yet so we decided to wander up the canal in a northerly direction. (This is beyond the pedestrian bridge you can see in the above photograph.) Although many of the houses lining the canal in this area were doubling as shops and restaurants it wasn’t long before we started walking by private residences. The front was open for most of these houses,  and we could see people inside lying down watching tv or sleeping. A bit voyeuristic so we tried not to stare. We carried on walking for a while until we reached another pedestrian bridge where we crossed and started walking back.

It was actually quite quiet and peaceful. I was starting to think we should have come earlier. Though of course it would have been much hotter. We then came across a couple of houses that were advertising homestay. This sounded like a great idea. We made a mental note to come back here again to do that. It would certainly be interesting to explore the area more while there were no tourists around. I had earlier seen pictures of monks rowing up and down this canal collecting food during their alms round. To see this you would have to be here early in the morning.

A bit further up we spotted a lady in a small boat paddling along the canal. Judging by the ingredients laid out in front of her it looked like she could cook pad thai for us. I was feeling a bit hungry so I called out to her and she came paddling over. I was right. We sat on the side of the canal bank while she cooked us some very delicious pad thai.  In the picture above, the bank is much further up, so the people cooking in the boats had a pully system hooked up. They put the meal in a basket and you then pulled it up! Very ingenious.

Amphawa Floating Market

This was fast turning in to be my favourite floating market destination. So much to see and do.

Related article: Boat on the Maeklong River

Related websites: www.AmphawaFloatingMarket.com

MAP:

Latitude: 13.424978 (13° 25′ 29.92” N)
Longitude: 99.955029 (99° 57′ 18.10” E)