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NORTHERN THAILAND'S HIGHLIGHTS

thai romanization
Puzzled about
Thai romanization system ?



Floating Markets  

When talking about markets, most people will think about a supermarket which is air-conditioned. Some people may think of weekend markets and flea markets. The most famous weekend market in Thailand is Chatuchak.


Khlong Bangkok Noi
Floating Market in the reign of
King Rama V (1868-1910).

However, another type of market that should be mentioned about is floating market where you can shop and learn about the riverside life of the locals at the same time. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is the most renonwed of its kind.


Khlong Mahanak
Floating Market in the olden days.


FLOATING MARKETS IN ANCIENT TIMES

In olden days most communities of Thailand were formed alongside rivers. Many criss-crossing rivers and canals served as means of communication. Such ways of life of the riverside communities, especially in the Chao Phraya River Basin brought to the rise of several floating markets.

Floating markets had become a token of the communities in the central plain of Thailand for a long time. This form of market gained peak popularity in the Ayutthaya Period (1350-1767), thanks to the surrounding canals which suited for trading locations.

Early in the Rattanakosin Period (1782-1868) this kind of market was still lively. However, later on, more and more roads were constructed and people preferred road transportation to that by water, so some floating markets were forced to move onto the land, some were renovated and some were closed down.

FLOATING MARKETS NOWADAYS

Since many floating markets bear stories of people's lives and possess a unique charm that we Thais would regret to lose, many such markets have been restored and brought to life in order to enable people of the new generations and foreign visitors to absorb the authentic atmosphere of the riverside shopping.

RECOMMENDED FLOATING MARKETS


Talingchan Floating Market


Located in front of the Talingchan District Office in the west of Bangkok, it is open on Saturday and Sunday from 08.00 to 17.00 hrs. If you are in Bangkok, this is the nearest floating market where you can see the locals' ways of life.


Talingchan Floating Market


Items on sale are fresh fruits and vegetables, several kinds of plants, foods, desserts and OTOP products. You should try the "boat noodles" which is a famous Thai dish with excellent taste. What's more, long-tail boat trips along the canals are available from 08.30 to 16.00 hrs.

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market


Above, and below: Lively atmosphere of
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

This large and popular floating market is about 80 km southwest of Bangkok in Ratchaburi province. Photos of this vibrant market featuring many small boats laden with colourful fruits and vegetables and paddled by Thai women wearing bamboo hats, are among the most often published in travel magazines and brochures of Thailand.

You'd better get there as early in the morning as possible to escape a crowd of visitors and before the goods are sold out. Around this area, boat trip services are available for sightseeing along smaller canals branching off from Damnoen Saduak canal. The market is open daily from around 06.30 to 11.00 hrs.

Amphawa Floating Market

Situated in Amphawa County, Samut Songkhram Province (72 km from Bangkok), Amphawa Floating Market is an evening floating market. It is operated near Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 16.00 to around 21.00 hrs.

In the Amphawa Canal, vendors paddle their boats laden with items such as boat noodles, phat thai, traditional-style coffee and Thai desserts. On land, food stalls also crowd the area. After shopping, you can hire a boat to see the lovely shimmering fireflies at night, especially the waxing- moon nights.

Bang Phli Floating Market

At the 150-year-old Bang Phli Market in Samut Prakan (29 km from Bangkok), there are no boats selling goods but a wooden walkway is laid along both sides of the Samrong Canal where shophouses are located. The market is open on Saturday and Sunday from early morning to noon.


Bang Phli Floating Market


Here, many products such as home decorating accessories, foods, snacks and traditional toys, are on sale. Although this is not a real floating market, early morning scenes of Buddhist monks paddling their boats to receive alms add to the authentic indigenous lifestyle.

Bang Namphueng Floating Market

This is another floating market located in Samut Prakan. It opens on Saturday and Sunday from early morning to evening.


Bang Namphueng Floating Market
(By courtesy of TAT)

Don't forget to taste ma-ho, a kind of ancient Thai desserts, and other local Thai delicacies. If your muscles ache, try traditional massage available here. At night, hire a boat to be impressed with hundreds of glittering fireflies.

Banmai Market

Even though there are no boats floating to sell items, Banmai Market in Chachoengsao (82 km from Bangkok) attracts visitors with its ancient 100-year-old atmosphere of market on the river bank which have been served as a location for several popular Thai films and dramas.


The local way of life of
Chachoengsao people can
be seen at Banmai Market.

Recommended items are such as coconut milk, dim sum, phalo duck and Chinese chive dumplings. The market runs on Saturday and Sunday from around 8 o'clock in the morning to evening.

Wat Lamphaya Floating Market

Situated at Wat Lamphaya, Bang Len County, Nakhon Pathom Province (56 km from Bangkok), this floating market reflects the life of the residents of the Tha Chin riverside. It highlights several delicious foods that the vendors carry in their boats and sell at reasonable prices. Besides, succulent seasonal fruits are what you are recommended to buy.


Wat Lamphaya Floating Market


Traditional Thai desserts are also famous here. Tourists can opt for hiring a boat to enjoy the scenery of the Nakhon Chaisi River. The market is open on weekends and national holidays from 08.00 to 16.00 hrs.

Don Wai Floating Market

This is another floating market of Nakhon Pathom established in the reign of King Rama VI (reigning 1910-1925). There are no boats floating in the river but the sellers set up their shops on land near Wat Don Wai on the river bank of the Tha Chin River in Samphran County.

Tourists can have a good time shopping a lot of delicious foods and fresh fruits and having a scrumptious meal with families. Of course, there is a cruise service to let visitors have a close look at the riverside lifestyle.


These are only examples of floating markets in Thailand. Other interesting floating markets are such as Bang Khu Wiang Floating Market in Nonthaburi and Ban Phaeo Floating Market in Samut Sakhon.
In conclusion, floating markets are attractions with unique charm because they are not only where you can shop but are also where you will be impressed with the riverside scenery and experience the life by the river. This weekend, why not go to a floating market? You are going to love it. And who knows you may want to go there again and again.

PRODUCTS SOLD AT
A FLOATING MARKET

At a floating market, whether there are boats floating to sell things or not, you will find almost the same things available at an ordinary supermarket. But shopping at a floating market allows you to have an opportunity to absorb a natural atmosphere and enjoy bargaining. Items that become symbols of a floating market are "boat noodles" and ancient-style coffee. Local fruits and vegetables mostly fresh from orchards are on sale. A wide variety of Thai specialties range from rice and curries, papaya salad, roasted chicken, chilli paste to all kinds of Thai desserts. Plant lovers will also enjoy shopping various kinds of plants as well.


For the correct pronunciation of romanized Thai words, see
Romanization System of the Thai Language.

Related links
Floating Market Thailand : Damnoen Saduak
Bangkok River & Canal tours / Floating Markets

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