Floating Markets – Bangkok, Thailand
To understand ‘why visit it?’ you need to know first what is it and the importance of those markets in the thai culture. Most of thai villages were built both sides of the rivers so the rivers gained importance in transportation and economic activity. Afterwards, roads and railways were built and the people started to move more by land and less by water.
Nowadays it is just an interesting tourist attraction to visit if you’ve never seen any of them. There’re several markets close to Bangkok, amongst them:
1. Tailing Chan (Bangkok)
2. Khlong Lat Mayom (Bangkok)
3. Tha Kha (Samut Songkhram)
4. Amphawa (Samut Songkhram)
5. Damnoen Saduak (Samut Songkhram). This is the least recommended of all because of the high numbers of visitors, as on the link says: ‘a tourist trap’.
Three of them are located in the province Samut Songkhram. Here there is also another well-known and curious market: Mae Klong (you can check the official website of Thailand). It’s a market over railways tracks.
The weather is the same as Bangkok. The raining time goes from May to October, between November and February the climate is cooler and the warmest months are March, April and May. From November to February is high season.
You keep in mind that most of the markets open only on weekends, check the timetable in their own link mentioned before.
Well, what you do in any market: eating, walking along the stalls and bargaining for a souvenir 😉.
If you visit the Amphawa floating market maybe you have time to visit the Wat Amphawan Chetiyaram or the King Rama II Memorial Park (also called Phuttha Loet La or King Buddhalertla Naphalai Memorial Park). You can check the location on my map.
Very close to this market is the other one over the railway tracks: Mae Klong. It’s right before the last train stop. Its attractive is to see how the people pick up the stalls before the train arrives. You need to check if the train runs on those dates and what time it arrives (you can ask for the information in your hotel or in the bus station before going there). Since the market is the last train stop you’ll see ‘the show’ twice, arriving and leaving station.
If you’re going to overnight in Amphawa there is another interesting thing to do: getting on a boat along the river to see the dance of the fireflies (more numerous during the wet season).
The best place to stay is in Bangkok, from there you can visit several markets in a day trip. Also you can sleep in Amphawa.
To eat it is clear that the market itself is the best option. It’s like Spain: ‘ir de tapas’ (go out for tapas), tasting dishes here and there.
To know how to get to the markets that I’ve mentioned at the start of this post check the links there. But note that since 25th October 2016 the van service which departs from Victory Monument has been removed and these links can be out dated. This van stop has been relocated to 3 different bus stations: Mo Chit, Ekkamai and Sai Tai mai.
To get to the Amphawa floating market and Mae Klong market from Bangkok you should go to Mo Chit 2 Bus Terminal (you can see the station on my map). From there the vans depart to both destinations. First, we went to Mae Klong and when we finished we took a Sorng-Taa-Ou behind the market and we went to the floating market. To return to Bangkok there is a van stop near the floating market. All these places are marked on my map.
In the next map you can see all the locations of the markets mentioned, the transport to go to Mae Klong and Amphawa and two interesting places close to the last market.
We visited first the Mae Klong market. Around there there is another covered market, where the vans from Bangkok left us. When we approached the stalls a mix of smells invaded our noses: dried or fermented fish, spices, food… some aromas were nice and some others not so much 😄.
The dates we were there the train didn’t run because of maintenance works, but it seems now is working again according to what the opinions on Tripadvisor say. Must be appealing seeing how the train goes very close to the stalls and the people remove their products in a one second. Our visit was quick because the train wasn’t going to arrive.
The next stop was Amphawa market. It was crowded, at the beginning it was stifling but bit a bit people were leaving. Maybe it was peak hour 😕. We ate some food in several places and all was good except for some raw prawns.
In short, the excursion was quite nice and interesting although, if there is one, I would go to other more authentic floating market.
Any contribution or question is welcome, please write a comment!