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Thailand floating markets

By - herve
03.12.19 04:30 AM
3rd December 2019

Floating markets are undoubtedly one of the best ways to soak in the local Thai culture. 

A day at a floating market is like getting a crash course in the country’s rich history as well as its delicious cuisine.

An abundance of food and goods are crammed into boats which are sailed through the slender canals, nothing compares to spending a day there. Here is an introduction to Thailand’s infamous floating markets!

Their history

Wat Arun Bangkok circa 1900

Certainly, one of the most fascinating experiences, it gives visitors a snapshot of Bangkok’s past, of how it used to operate before modernisation struck, bringing with it other modes of transport and urban operation systems. 

The country is strung together on water, with the Chao Phraya River which laces through Bangkok being often described as a vein that runs through the capital, giving the rest of the city life through waterways.

Wat Sai floating market of 1935

Back then the city was a jungle, it was virtually impossible to sell goods on the mainland or to expect to be able to make this lucrative enough. 

Floating markets gave vendors access to both regional and international markets, they could sell to the entire world essentially. Interestingly enough, even when Bangkok became more modern and saw the development of roads, Thai people still relied on the canals as a popular way to trade. To this day floating markets are still an incremental part of society in Thailand, if not for trade then for a quiet getaway from the city centre with friends and family.

Their place in today’s society

Floating markets therefore became epicentres for merchants coming from all over Thailand to sell their goods. Acting like trade hubs that functioned like small towns where you could find produce and food from every corner of the country. Unsurprisingly these are still some of the best places to taste local Thai food and at the fraction of what you can get it for in Bangkok! Each floating market is formed around one main canal along which are peppered with shops, food stalls, restaurants and table benches. 
The way it works is you find a table to use as a base then you wait for the boats selling freshly cooked food to park near you or you can also walk around and pick up various plates of food to bring back to your table. 
Keep your eyes peeled, it becomes an exciting game to see what you can get your hands on!
Expect to see traditional desserts which are not commonly found in Bangkok anymore

Some of the classic dishes include varieties of spicy salad and soups which really emphasise how traditional delicacies from other regions have travelled and found themselves at these markets. 

Expect also some of the most delectable seafood and fish, being served in impressive heaps like you have never seen it before! The freshly grilled seafood is one of the main focal points that people flock to floating markets for.

The off the beaten track floating market experience…

Amphawa Floating Market

Located about 50km from Bangkok

Friday to Sunday, 11AM – 9:30PM

Bang Kachao

Located about 10km south of the city centre

Thursday, 7:30AM – 4:30PM

Saturday and Sunday, 8AM – 4PM


Klong Lat Mayom

Located about 10km east of downtown Bangkok

Saturday and Sunday, 7AM – 5PM

Unarguably, floating markets have become a quintessential Thai experience on every tourist’s travel bucket list. To a certain extent this is what is keeping the tradition going! Floating markets are a place for locals and tourists alike to indulge in flavours from all over the country, some of which are nearly impossible to find in the capital itself. A means to communicate the country’s culture and history, a truly immersive outing where you can delve into what life used to be like in Thailand.
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