One of the unique fun ways to get some flavor of local life in Bangkok is to visit a floating market. As might be expected, some are more oriented to tourists than residents doing real day-to-day shopping but its still a fun experience. In our trips to Bangkok, we’ve visited two of these markets. To see some video footage we’ve shot, have a look at the links with the descriptions below. The markets are listed in alphabetical order.
Bang Khu Wiang Floating Market is a traditional produce market that tends to cater more to early morning local shoppers than tourists. If you get there early enough in the morning, you may get the chance to see monks making their rounds collecting alms by boat. It is open every day.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market has become the most famous and “touristy” of the floating markets. It’s located about 60 miles from the city and open every day. While it’s open later in the day, it’s best to visit in the morning before the crowd builds. The floating vendors are mostly ladies who skillfully maneuver their flat bottom canoe like boats piled high with souvenirs, fruits, coconut waters and other treats.
On our visit there in 2009, the place was crowded with tourist but still fun. We bought a few snacks like mango with sticky rice, grilled chicken skewers and a coconut water and everything was of good quality and reasonably priced.
Click here for video we shot at Dam Neon Saduak Floating Market. This video begins with a visit to a porcelain workshop where artists are hand painting cups and bowls. Scenes from the floating market start at about 1:50 in the video.
Taling Chan Floating Market is opened only on weekends from about 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. We wanted to take an excursion on the river but were a little short on time one day during our visit to Bangkok in 2012 so the close proximinty of Taling Chan made it good choice for us. We hired a long tail boat at the Pra Pin Klao Bridge Pier, (near the Tha Phra Arthit Pier) for a couple hours for 900 Baht and rode out to the market through the canals. (It is also possible to reach Taling Chan by bus or taxi.)
Taling Chan is a rather small market more oriented to the local citizenry than tourists. It has an emphasis on food, both prepared and fresh. In fact, by far the largest space in the market is devoted to a sit down restaurant with long wooden tables right at the docking station for arriving boats. In addition to other things, you can buy fruits, vegetables, fish, prepared foods, drinks and garden plants at this market. The adjacent sidewalk market is also small but the vendors are extremely friendly.
Click here to see our rather short video that actually includes more of the canal ride than the market. It also includes some footage of traditional musicians who play virtually non-stop beginning around 11:00 am.
Tha Kha Floating Market is another smaller week-end only market that caters more to local shoppers than tourists. It’s actually located only about 6 miles from the busier and more crowded Damnoen Saduak Floating Market