Bangkok’s colorful floating markets

The floating market located near Bangkok is a special attraction of Thailand. It is a marker of Thailand that gives Thailand its true identity. It is not possible for you to visit Thailand and not see the floating market. These markets are ubiquitous in Thailand. After spending some time in Thailand, we become so comfortable with their presence that sometimes we are not even aware of their presence.

You can visit floating markets located in and around almost all major cities of Thailand. While visiting Bangkok you will also have the opportunity to visit many floating markets. Visiting these floating markets is promoted prominently in Thailand tourism. Especially for the tourists visiting Bangkok for the first time, it is considered to be the best among the main attractions of Bangkok. I also agree with him.

Some of these floating markets are specially designed for tourists. Such markets are full of tourists. There are some floating markets where items of general need are available. Local people are mostly present in those markets. I suggest you visit at least one of these two types of markets.

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What is a floating market?

A typical floating market is a market where vendors sell various goods on boats. These items sold include vegetables, fruits, fresh flowers and items of daily needs, while on the other hand, refreshments, sherbets etc. and souvenirs are sold for the tourists.

The customers of these vendors can range from people walking on the beach to people aboard other boats. These types of markets are particularly common and popular in Southeast Asia, where rivers and canals are central to the commercial activities of large communities.

In ancient times, a custom that is still prevalent in rural areas of Thailand is that floating markets are often located near temples. These markets can be daily morning market or weekly market or night market. These could even be floating markets on the river banks.

Temples are considered the focal point of the city. Most temples have a public space where people gather during festivals. If there is a river or any other water source near the temples, shops are set up on them. If this market is being built for the purpose of tourism, then there is no compulsion of proximity to the temple, as is being seen in modern times.

Irony – On many occasions, this word floating market also has a different meaning. A market that is not fixed to one place and keeps moving, such as a weekly market. Such weekly markets are often organized around the premises of popular temples. Some special markets related to special festivals are also organized within the temple premises. That is, there are no boats in such markets.

You will definitely get the opportunity to taste the delicious local cuisine here. That too while enjoying the beautiful views of the river or canal flowing nearby. Like the market on the Ban Ton Tan river bank of Saraburi .

Popular floating markets near Bangkok

Following are some of the floating markets located near Bangkok, Thailand, which you must visit during your trip to Thailand.

Damien Saduak – Bangkok’s largest floating market

Damien Saduak is the largest floating market in Bangkok, and perhaps in all of Thailand. Most of the tourists come here as part of their Bangkok tour. This market seems to be developed especially from the tourism point of view. It is natural that this market will be full of tourists. This is both good and painful.

On one hand, there is hustle and bustle of tourists here and on the other hand, there may be some inconvenience due to crowd. On the one hand, it is good here that most of the sellers speak and understand the English language. The means to reach here are also easy. On the other hand, some anti-social elements who are ready to cheat the tourists also roam here. Seeing the tourists, sellers also increase the prices of their goods. So be careful. You can bargain with them for a fair price.

You must enjoy the market adjacent to the canal. There are both types of shops here, both on land and on boats. One of the attractions of this place for tourists is that while taking a boat ride, you can closely see the local people living their daily life.

There are a number of one-day scheduled tours from Bangkok that can take you to Damien Saduak. Otherwise you can also reach here by taxi. You can also reach Damian Saduak by bus from Sai Tai Mai Wan Terminal on the border of Bangkok.

Amphawa floating market

Another floating market near Damian Saduak is also popular. You can plan your day and see both floating markets in one day as a one-day tour. The floating market of Amphawa was originally a fishermen’s village which has now been developed as a commercial complex. That is why the market here seems to be less related to tourism.

There are cheap markets on teak wooden platforms on both sides of the canal. Here you can taste authentic and cheap local Thai cuisine . Mostly only locals come to this market, hence you can also see the lifestyle of the locals closely. Here you can take a boat ride on the canal waters at cheap prices.

Another reason to visit this market is that from here you can also go to the train market located nearby. Yes, a train passes through this market. They collect their goods before the train arrives and market them again as soon as the train leaves. If you have come to Damianan Saduak then you can reach Amphawa Floating Market by taxi from there.

Don Y Floating Market

Now we will discuss those floating markets which are less popular from tourism point of view. Don Yai is one such floating market which is popular among the locals. You may not see a single foreign tourist here. The Don Yai floating market is located in Nakhon Pathom province, on the western side of Bangkok. Due to its location in a rural area, you can experience the authentic local lifestyle here.

Don Wai Floating Market or Don Wai Market, Nakhon Pathom

This floating market is located right behind Don Yai Temple. As you pass the temple, you start to realize that most of the people in the area enjoy spending their Sundays in this local market. The variety of goods and shops available here will astonish you. A wide variety of local dishes and Thai snacks are available here, ranging from a wide variety of textiles, clothing, plants, toys, etc.

This market is situated on the banks of a canal where some vendors also set up shops on boats. You will also see some huge boats in this canal which go to another major temple located nearby. You can reach there by boats from where you can further go to your hotel. If this boat ride is done in the evening then it can prove to be a pleasurable boat ride.

If you want to reach here by road, it takes about 30 minutes from the last MRT station (Lak Song) . You can take a bus or two or take a taxi directly to reach this market.

Bangnamfueang Floating Market

Bang Nam Phueng Floating Market is a beautiful rural market located on an island called Bang Kachao. Bang Kachao is also called the lungs of Bangkok. It is a horseshoe-shaped island that has arisen due to the circular course of the Chao Phraya River. The main attractions of this island are the dense, huge trees covering it and the serene beauty of the rural areas. As soon as you cross the river and enter this area, it seems as if you are entering a different world.

This market is located in the center of Bang Kachao. On weekends this floating market is packed with customers. As I said earlier, it is not necessary that all floating markets are located on boats. Markets can also be located on platforms hanging over the river. This is one such market. Local products are sold in many shops here. Wherever you go in this market, this river is always your companion. Various dishes like fresh Thai breakfast, Samish dishes, cakes, honey, desserts etc. are available here.

Along with the market, one of the main attractions here is Bang Kachao Island itself. You can visit this quiet rural island situated amidst dense trees. This is a great place if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.

Taling filtered floating market

One reason for the popularity of Taling Chan floating market is its proximity to Bangkok. It is neither within Bangkok, nor located at a great distance from Bangkok. You can quickly reach this floating market by taking any taxi. Or you can take Red Line SRT to Taling Chhan station and walk from there to reach this market.

Although you will find regular Thai spices in most shops on land, you will find more exotic items on boats floating on the water. On those boats you will find some noodle vendors from where you can buy noodles and eat them at the floating restaurants in the canal.

But in my opinion the best attraction of this place is the boat ride. You can hire a long tail public boat or a private boat from this floating market which can take you to see the amazing beauty around Thon Buri. It will be like visiting Bangkok 100 years ago. While riding, you can feed the fishes, visit a nearby temple and return after having darshan. Even if it is not exciting, it will definitely be an invigorating experience.

Some Travel Tips to Visit Floating Markets near Bangkok

  • Before visiting any floating market, be sure to obtain information regarding its entry fee on the internet. Entry to most floating markets is free. If there is an entry fee, collect it from the authorized ticket window only. There you may meet some scammers who may lure you into providing these admissions at exorbitant prices.
  • Similarly, you may be surrounded by some people with fraudulent intentions who may charge you exorbitant prices by tempting you to provide you with the boat immediately. Every floating market has a ferry window from where you can know their exact prices. Generally, arrangements are made to ride these boats in groups or privately. If you ride in a group, it becomes available at a lower price. Private rides cost more.
  • Generally the prices of food items are fixed and are marked on notice boards. But if you want to buy some gifts or souvenirs to commemorate your trip to Thailand, there are fluctuations in their prices. Before purchasing anything, be sure to get information about their prices from other shops. You can bargain without hesitation.
  • While visiting the market and taking a boat ride, keep your phone, personal belongings and your purse with you carefully. Although pickpocketing is not common, if they fall while traveling in crowded areas or near water, it can be difficult to get them back. Also, cover your phone with a waterproof cover while on a boat ride.

This is a guest edition written by Snigdha Jaiswal, author of the travel edition of The Stupid Bear. Their travel edition provides practical information about untouched and interesting tourist destinations in South and South-East Asia.