Once upon a time, Thai vendors could only transport their wares across the nation using the myriad waterways. Eventually, they began gathering in pre-designated areas along the rivers, and residents would come to buy the foods and goods they needed. And that’s how Thailand’s much-romanticized floating markets came to be.
Today, there are many other ways of selling and moving wares, but sellers continue to convene at floating markets as they have become major tourist attractions and an integral part of Thai culture. While Bangkok is the hub of floating markets, there are notable ones in other towns as well. Here are eight must-visit floating markets in Thailand:
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
One of the most frequented floating markets near Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak is quite touristy, but worth a visit for its array of wares, especially fresh treats like stir-fries and pad thai. Go early for the best experience. The market is located in Ratchaburi province.
Amphawa Floating Market
Although technically in Samut Songkhram, Amphawa is easily accessible from Bangkok. Both locals and tourists come here to dine on floating boats and go boating along the river. You can also buy clothes and interesting artefacts. Visiting in the night is recommended for a good view of the fireflies.
Taling Chan Floating Market
Located in Greater Bangkok, Taling Chan strikes the right balance between authenticity and liveliness. Shop for pretty flowers and trinkets on the floating boats and course through the romantic canals on a traditional boat.
Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
This vibrant floating market is close to Bangkok’s city centre. The melange of fresh produce on the floating boats will have you reaching for your camera. There are many vendors alongside the river as well. This traditional market is particularly popular among the locals.
Pattaya Floating Market
This is the biggest floating market in the world, and boasts of countless wares spread across 100000 square meters. There are four parts, each dedicated to a different region of Thailand, along with daily performances and a wood-carving museum. There is an entrance fee of 200 baht.
Ayutthaya Floating Market
This floating market in the historic city of Ayutthaya can be found next to the Elephant Camp. Apart from shopping for souvenirs and gorging on Thai delicacies, you can also enjoy live shows and lazy river rides.
Bang Khla Floating Market, Chachoengsao
This market along the Bang Pakong River is small but very charming and surrounded by lovely countryside. Foodies should definitely sample the freshly grilled river fish and other delicious seafood.
Tha Ka, Samut Songkhram
Numerous boat vendors with colourful merchandise make Tha Ka very Instagram-worthy. You will also see Thai locals picking out the best of fruits and vegetables. Here too, you can go on boat rides to soak in the beauty of the surroundings.
You can definitely put your bargaining skills to use at the floating markets. But remember to come on an empty stomach so that you have room for all the delicacies on offer!