Floating market is a unique activity in Thailand so most travelers often add a day trip for this visit. There are different floating markets near Bangkok so which one is the best? Here below are my top 5 favorite Thailand floating markets that are accessible from Bangkok within a day.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
This is the most well-known market that you may have already heard about. Damnoen Saduak floating market is located in the south of Bangkok – around 100 kilometers or almost 2 hours drive. If you are a photographer or one who loves taking pictures, Damnoen Saduak gives you endless photo opportunities. It is good if you do not mind getting up early in the morning; as an early departure will help you stay away from the heat and enjoy Damnoen Saduak at its best. To discover a floating market, you will board on a long tail boat. On the way to the market which costs around twenty minutes, you will have a chance to see the lives of local people who live in small wooden houses.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market itself is interesting to see; especially if you have not seen any floating market before, as it is a unique concept. Along with vendors that sell tropical fruits and Thai food, you also find souvenirs and other touristy things. If you are a good bargainer, this is the place to show off your negotiation skills. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is also a family-friendly attraction as kids like it. For local food lovers, you can enjoy the variety of food available at the market and the experience of eating while floating and sightseeing.
The market often gets quite crowded in the mornings; yet the crowd is expected to start thinning out after midday. If you see only the market, it will take a half day. For the rest of the day, you can add Sampran Riverside (also known as Rose Garden) – a Thai cultural village with interest shows performed in a beautiful park. Another option to spend your remaining day after seeing Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the River Kwai area with natural and historical sites.
Amphawa Floating Market Bangkok
After Damnoen Saduak, Amphawa floating market is the second most well-known floating market; that is reachable from Bangkok center within 1.5 hours by car. The distance is approximately 50 km but sometimes it can take up to 3 hours to get there due to traffic jam. Amphawa is not as big as Damnoen Saduak Floating Market; yet personally, I find it more authentic and less commercial. There is an important note that you should keep in mind while designing your itinerary, Amphawa is only opened during weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and from noon until evening.
This area used to be a small village back in the seventeenth century; nowadays, it is a favorite spot of local Thai people to spend their weekend and enjoy good food. There is a small and busy bridge which connected both sides of the market. Standing on this bridge, you will see the panoramic view of the market. Along the riverbanks, there are souvenir shops, fruit vendors while moored up boats filled with food and snacks. You can take a boat ride to see the boats selling their wares at the closest distance and also enjoy the river scenery. A highlight of my trip at Amphawa is enjoying fresh grilled seafood that cooked by the ladies in their boats. There are so many choices, from prawns, crab, squid, etc. and they all smell so good that you can help but having some for dinner.
Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
Khlong Lat Mayom is one of three floating markets that are located less than 20 kilometers from Bangkok. To come here, visitors can catch a taxi from Wongwian Yai (last station Silom Line route). Although Khlong Lat Mayom floating market is not as large as Damnoen Saduak or crowded as Amphawa, it brings the appeal and authenticity of rural market. And maybe you are the only foreigners walking around here. You can spend a few hours here and then visit the biggest floating market – Taling Chan floating market which is only a few kilometers.
Khlong Lat Mayom floating market is like a garden oasis, full of green trees, cool shade, and it is in a much more relaxed environment than the two mentioned above. Though there are plenty of shops and countless options for food, the market remains calm and low-key. It is a great place to unwind, and partake in a lovely meal on the edge of the canal.
Taling Chan Floating Market
My next favorite market is Taling Chan floating market. It is also the closest one if you stay in the downtown of Bangkok. It takes just around 40 minutes ride, you will reach a small floating market named Taling Chan. This is not a big market, yet there are enough unique features of a typical floating market with boats full of goods, handicrafts and good and cheap food along the canals. From Bangkok, you can get there by taxi, by bus or by private car.
Taling Chan also held during weekends, from 09:00 till 17:00; so you will not need to get up early for this visit. Not like floating markets in Mekong, Vietnam, Taling Chan floating market is located on a small river branch with selling boats and also food vendors along the bank. There are also wooden boats cross that river so you can see this market just on foot. At this market, travelers can enjoy a good seafood lunch, have a longtail boat ride and shop. You can also experience a traditional Thai food massage at around 200 baht. The plus point of Taling Chan is that it is not too crowded, and it is clean and also good quality products available.
Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market
Bang Nam Pheung floating market is close to Bangkok, only about 20 kilometers on the “green lung” of Bangkok. There are only just enough boats for it to be called a floating market, but this is certainly no tourist trap. It is lovely to wander among the locals sampling some delicious Thai food and buying local handmade crafts. The shade of trees and the mangrove offers a pleasant break from the humidity.
Suggested Thailand tours
Thailand floating markets are things that you are recommended to see if you have from 3 nights in Bangkok or more. Based on your time and interests, you can find out the best floating market among the above places to enjoy your Indochina tours.
Huyen Nguyen – Travel Specialist