If your family loves shopping as well as experiencing culture and something a bit different, make sure that you don’t miss the charming floating markets around Thailand. Pretty unusual when compared to the way in which many other countries buy and sell things, floating markets are, as the name suggests, centred around a waterway, with vendors selling things either from the banks of the river or canal or when they are actually sitting in boats and floating along the water. Visitors also sometimes need to hop on a boat to traverse between sellers – what a wonderfully novel way to shop!
Interesting to see and often very photogenic, Thailand is home to an array of enticing floating markets. Old and young alike are usually quite captivated by them. Some top ones to add to your Thailand travel list include:
Located within Ratchaburi province just a short drive away from the country’s lively capital city of Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak is perhaps the most famous floating market in all of Thailand. A very popular tourist destination, be prepared for over-inflated prices! This one is better for simply seeing and experiencing rather than trying to source all your souvenirs and gifts to take home with you. Boat rides down the waterway are incredibly popular.
Another floating market not too far away from Bangkok, Amphawa lies within Samut Songkram province. The most action occurs of an evening, and it is a great place to enjoy a meal prepared by floating sellers or sitting alongside the river and watching the hive of activity. Boat trips have the added bonus of taking visitors to see the many bright and beautiful fireflies (in season) that the area is known for.
Situated in the historical city of Ayutthaya, this floating market is a real gem. Although there aren’t that many vendors actually in boats, walking along the wooden walkways next to the water’s edge and browsing the wide array of goods in the small stores and stalls is a wonderful way to pass a couple of hours. In the evening, don’t be alarmed if you hear the booming of cannon fire – there are lively shows that tell the city’s history. Sadly, the commentary is all in Thai so you won’t want to linger here for too long. Kids can also feed sheep, goats, and fish, and boat rides offer a different view of the lovely area.
A great break away from the hustle and bustle of Pattaya, the floating market here is filled with an assortment of clothes, souvenirs, handicrafts, and trinkets. Similar to the floating market at Ayutthaya, most of the selling actually occurs alongside the water rather than from boats. It is still is pretty place to visit though.
Located within Bangkok city itself, Taling Chan mainly deals in fresh fruit and vegetables, although you will also find a tempting selection of meals and snacks as well. Colourful and interesting, most sales take place next to the water rather than from boats. A main advantage of this floating market, for being staying in the capital, is the ease with which it can be accessed.
Other cool floating markets around Thailand include the weekend market of Bang Nampheung in the province of Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram’s Tha Kha Floating Market and Bang Nok Kwaek , Don Wai in Nakhon Pathom, and the historic Ban Mai in Chachoengsao.