Floating markets made up of traders on small boats originates in times where water transport played an important role in daily life. However, most floating markets operating today mainly serve as tourist attractions, and are chiefly found in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Nowhere is this relationship better represented than at Thailand’s floating markets. Thailand’s strong reliance on its inland waterways for communication and commerce created a strong relationship between the people and the water.
Bangkok was once known as the Venice of Asia due to its extensive network of canals and what was once a normal way of life, floating markets throughout Bangkok have now turned into more of a novelty.
Floating markets are located throughout Bangkok and the surrounding provinces, and they are extremely popular to visit on the weekends for both locals and foreigners. Flat boats are laden with produce (ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables, condiments, treats, handicrafts, paintings, souvenirs and other merchandise) peddled by lady vendors ready to stop and bargain with customers. It all becomes a colorful spectacle somewhat like an unfolding aquatic cultural show, prompting most tourists to click away with their cameras.
If you’re a movie buff who has watched numerous James Bond flicks, you’ll recognize the floating market where one such chase scene was filmed years ago. The biggest attraction to a floating market in Thailand is the food that is cooked and served directly from a boat. The markets also offer plenty of random trinket shopping and are just good places to walk around. Set against a country backdrop, Thailand’s floating markets are extremely picturesque and a must- see when you visit the country.
Here are the 5 best floating markets in Bangkok:
Easily the most popular market with Thai locals, Amphawa is an entire neighborhood community that turns into a Disneyland-like floating market on the weekends. Tons of people escape Bangkok for the day and browse around the little stores and dine on the delicious food that is served from boats. Don’t miss out on the grilled squid and the roasted shrimp.
Located about 1.5 hours from Bangkok, this market is the most popular tourist floating market in Thailand. Over the weekend, hordes of foreigners flood the market on organized tours.
Located in southern Bangkok, Khlong Lat Mayom is like a garden oasis, full of green trees, cool shade, and it is in a much more relaxed environment. Though there are plenty of shops and countless options for food, the market remains calm and low-key. It’s a great place to unwind, and partake in a lovely meal on the edge of the canal.
Taling Chan is famous for its fresh selection of roasted seafood. If you show up on Saturday morning, you’ll see a bunch of tables filled with people devouring crab legs, huge roasted prawns and the all famous roasted snake head fish.
Since floating markets are so popular throughout Bangkok, there are a few that have been recently set up to cater to the rising demand of people looking for leisure on the weekends. Bang Nam Phueng is a relatively new market that is yet another paradise for food lovers.
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