Nearly everyone has caught a glimpse of floating markets in Bangkok in a movie or on television but until you experience them in real life, you can’t appreciate just how exciting and special they really are. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, floating markets in Bangkok are just as their name implies; they are an array of boats that are piled with goods that are available for purchase. These boats carry everything from apparel to household goods to food cooked right there in front of you on the water.
Taling Chan Floating Market
Locals and visitors label this as a one-of-a-kind eating experience in Thailand. Located on the Thonburi Bank at Chak Phra where the waterway forms a semi-circle moat around the old city is where you’ll find this market.
In 1987, the floating market here began with only five bamboo rafts. Due to success, this was quickly upgraded to almost a dozen pontoon boats.
The atmosphere here is different than other markets (floating or stationary) in Bangkok. Taling Chan is much less touristy as it’s geared more toward locals so prices aren’t inflated either. Vendors are polite, admission is free and you never need a menu because their ingredients are all out in the open to choose what you want in your dishes.
Although there are chairs to sit on, most prefer to find themselves a place on the mat at one of the low tables. Deep fried tofu is a favorite as well as native dumplings stuffed with crab, prawn or pork. Be sure to leave room for homemade ice-cream topped with gingko nuts and jelly.
There’s a beautiful pond behind the garden to enjoy, an orchard farm to explore and canal boat tours that will take you to Snake Garden.
Bang Khu Wiang Floating Market
You can get to this floating market by boat; it’s a 10 minute trip from Amphoe Bang Kruai. Venice of the East is the name given to this elaborate network of canals where boats make 30 stops along both banks all the way to Nonthaburi.
Monks arrive to their boats with their goods very early in the morning. This is a great place to buy fresh produce.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
The best time to arrive here is when it opens at 7:00 AM before the floating market gets packed. The best way to get to get to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is by bus or boat, this is the place to go to experience the chaotic, noisy and colorful atmosphere typically visualized when one thinks of Bangkok floating markets. Here you’ll have plenty of opportunities to barter over goods.
The area surrounding the market is a special treat to visit as well. You’ll have a chance to enjoy orchards as well as a beautifully manicured rose garden.