Being one of the most typical images that people associate with the exoticism of Thailand, Bangkok’s floating markets are a common attraction on every traveller ‘to see list’, a treat not only for the eyes but for all the senses. Colourful sights, tasty food, interesting smells… it’s a whole package to spice up your journey with a day well spent.
Views from Amphawa and Tha Ka floating markets.
The most famous one, and honestly the most exploited in a sense, is Damnoen Saduak market, around 100 km and accessible mainly through tours advertised in any travel agency around the city. This makes it the most tourist-oriented of all the floating markets and not very genuine, you will see only foreigners buying products and the prices are definitely over charged. But even so, it’s still great for colourful pictures that look like the ones you see in brochures about Thailand, and to immerse yourself into the beautiful confusion of endless boats competing for a space to sell you literally everything. One disadvantage is its location, making it more common to go there by a tour agency to facilitate the transportation.
On the other side, a great value due to its location is the Taling Chan market, just a short twenty minutes bus drive from the area around Democracy monument and Khao San road. It’s not as big as other floating markets, and it’s only open on weekends, but is quite an interesting place to have a look, with great food in case you are looking for a seafood breakfast! You can also take a boat trip along the small canals around the market, and nearby you also have the tiny Khlong Lat Mayom market, worth exploring for its local feeling and non-tourist quality. If you’re staying at Khao San road, take the bus 79 on Ratchadamnoen Klang road (around 10 or 15 bahts for the journey) that will drop you off at Taling Chan entrance.
Entrance to the Taling Chan market.
Around 90 km southwest of Bangkok you can find one of the most famous floating market, the Amphawa with its good balance between locals and tourists, the prettiness of the surroundings and the quality/price of its food. Another advantage is that very close by there’s the Tha Ka market, not much visited by tourists and with a very local and picturesque feeling. The best option will be combine both in order to have an overall experience of what are the traditional Thai floating markets.
And close by you can find one of the most exquisite markets in the whole country, the Maeklong railway market. It’s located in a small town crossed by one train track in the middle, where the street vendors spread their stalls along the railway (and on top of it!) and only when the train is coming they quickly dismantle to let it pass and calmly put everything in place again when it’s gone. A great sight and probably making it our favourite day tour in terms of markets in Bangkok: Amphawa, Tha Ka and Maeklong are all very close and easy to access through mini-van from Southern Bus Terminal.
Random shots on the peculiar Maeklong railyway market.
But in case you are in Bangkok on a weekend and without much time for trips to the surroundings, Taling Chan will be our suggestion for seeing a floating market. Nevertheless, you will always have great markets to explore in the city itself and get some delicious local food and great photos for your travel album! Hope our suggestions inspired you to go experience some of the most famous Bangkokian floating markets and the exquisite Maeklong railway market, and while there have some seafood for us!