Imagine a river full of colorful boats with various goods and customers from all over the world. That sounds really interesting! The floating market is one of Thailand‘s tourist attractions, attracting people every year, especially those interested in shopping. When you start visiting these amazing markets, you may feel that you entered another world.
How These Interesting Markets Emerged
In the past, most of the cities were built near the rivers. But in Thailand, most of the villages and cities are on the two sides of the river. The river was a very important way for the inhabitants to sell and buy goods. So, they started using the rivers and canals inside the cities to transport goods, nationally or internationally.
Even after building modern transportation methods, these kinds of markets remained live and important, especially for the farmers that their farms are on the river bank. They bring their agricultural products and sell them directly to the dealers and customers without having a shop.
The Most Famous Floating Markets in Thailand
There are a lot of floating markets in Thailand. Here we introduce the five most famous floating markets to you.
1. Damnoen Suduak Floating Market
Damnoen Suduak is the first floating market’s name that tourists hear about. In 1971, the Tourism Authority of Thailand started to make this floating market the main one for tourism. So when you go there, just vendors, maybe Thai, and the visitors are all foreigners.
It is open from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm, and you don’t have to pay a fee for entrance. You can use a paddleboat and pay 4$ for 30 minutes. Because most of the shoppers are foreigners, the prices are so high, and you should be aware of not being cheated, especially if your travel budget is important to you.
Damnoen Saduak is located in Ratchaburi, which is 100 km from Bangkok. Visitors can get there in 1 hour and a half by bus or car.
You will probably get stuck in a long line of tourist boats, but some vendors make food in their boats or sell fresh fruits, and you can buy something to eat or drink. Some visitors advise that walking on the sides of the river is the best way to watch and enjoy this market.
2. Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market
This is one of the closest floating markets to Thailand’s capital. Unlike Damnoen Saduak, this market is traditional, and the atmosphere is completely local, and when you go there as a foreigner, you may not find any other foreign tourists.
Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market is about 10 km far from the east of Bangkok. You can go there by taxi. Eating food out of home is usual in Thailand; the variety of food is so much, and you will find something to taste in this local traditional floating market. It’s fun, cheap, and easy to access.
The narrow canal of Khlong Lat Mayom is one of the characteristics of this market. A few boats are parked on the two sides of the canal. Most of the market is located on the Riverbank; one side is mostly for fresh fruits, and the other side, fresh foods. Some famous meals are noodles, Kanom Jeen, pad Thai, etc. you can buy a dish for 30 baht serving on the tables for the visitors.
You can buy cheap clothing, accessories, toys, home décor, and fresh flowers in the other parts of the market. This market is open on Saturdays–Sundays from 8 am to 5 pm.
3. Amphawa Floating Market
In one of the Mae Klong River branches in Amphawa District, you can visit the Amphawa Floating Market. Amphawa Market is about 90 km from Bangkok. After 1 hour and a half, you can reach there from Bangkok. This short distance makes Amphawa Floating Market a famous tourist attraction in Thailand.
“Wat Amphawa Chetiyaram” temple is located near this market. In Amphawa Floating Market, people can see the Thai lifestyle because, as in the past, there are wooden houses along the river to make trading easy for the locals. Here is a suitable place to buy souvenirs. Restaurants, souvenir stores that mostly buy clothes, ice cream shops, and many other shops there are in this market.
One of the main attractions of the region is watching fireflies at night. Tourists can rate a boat at night by 50-60 Baht for every one or 600 Baht for a boat. Also, there are boat tours, rental bicycles, and visiting temples for the tourists to do in Amphawa Floating Market.
You can go there from Bangkok by private car or by bus paying 80 Baht or the minibusses that go there from the Victory Monument to the Amphawa Floating Market paying 90-100 Baht, and it is the best way to reach the market. It is open on Fridays and Sundays from 15:00 to 22:00.
4. Ayutthaya Floating Market
Ayutthaya is an ancient city that is also a world heritage site. It is said that Ayutthaya was the largest city in the world in ancient times. There are many temples from that time in this city.
Ayutthaya Floating Market, located in Pang Chang village, is a constructed floating market built to attract tourists. Still, it was made based on the construction of traditional floating markets. There are wooden walkways around the water and wooden stores and houses beside the water, and women who wear traditional Thai clothes are the vendors. It is not too far from Bangkok, just about 2 hours. This market attracts tourists from Thailand and other countries.
Ayutthaya has many attractive corners suitable for taking nice pictures. This attractive sightseeing starts from the market entrance, as the old city wall with wooden bridges and many traditional child dolls.
Many performances there are like traditional performances, folk shows, Thai arts, and mini light and sound concerts. Four times per day, there is a performance showing the history of the Ayutthaya war on weekends and holidays. Each zone of the vast market is named after the names of the major markets in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province.
The other thing to do there is riding elephants in elephant villages and watching around from the top of huge elephants. In the center of the market, there are boats to make food for the visitors. People can take a boat ride. The visit time is 9 to 18 every day. The entrance fee for foreigners is 200 Baht.
5. Pattaya Floating Market
Pattaya Floating Market was established in 2008 and is in the center of Pattaya. The market mixes the different aspects of Thai village culture, rich and rustic. The Pattaya floating market is called the “4 Regions Floating Market” because it shows the characteristics of the four regions of Thailand.
The floating market has many waterways and amazing wooden structures located on the water. In the market, you can eat foods from different regions of Thailand, and the prices are affordable. Tourists can also buy local goods and crafts as souvenirs from all over Thailand. To visit the market, people can rent a boat and enjoy moving between bridges. Pattaya floating market is a very important tourist attraction in Thailand to show the lifestyle of people amazingly and interestingly.
There are also cultural performances in the market. Various cultures and, as a result, various handicrafts and goods make it really interesting. It is said that Pattaya Floating Market is the largest water pond in eastern Thailand.
The entrance fee for this market is 200 Baht. But it’s worth it. You can enjoy free shows and visit many different shops. But the boat tour for foreigners is so high. Sometimes up to 600 Baht and it’s just about 30 minutes by the others and without choosing where to stop.
It is open from 9 to 20 every day. But the stores work until 19. you can get there by private or rental car or cheap white buses that are the best way to reach the market or grab a taxi.