Long ago when sailing was a common means of travelling and trade, floating markets originated for the purpose of exchanging goods and regional fresh produce between city dwellers and out-of-towners. Dating back many hundreds of years, the waterway markets are still scattered around the country today, bringing to life and beautifully embracing the remaining river culture.
Whether you’d like to jog down Siam’s memory lane and witness a truly traditional Thai experience, or simply want to view the country from a new perspective, we’ve curated a list of the five best floating markets around Bangkok. A great escape from the buzzing city centre and a cool way to cruise the water trails, these spots will definitely delight your senses. Take in the sights, and sample some of the most delicious fruit, vegetables, and cooked meals prepared on long-tail boats right before your eyes.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Open: Mon–Sun, 7am–4pm
If you’re completely new to the world of floating markets, Damnoen Saduak is a great place to start. Filled with delicious boat-cooked goodies, the historic marketplace in Ratchaburi is sure to pique your appetite with its incredible offerings. Follow your nose and make several stops by many of the land stalls and boat vendors selling Thai staples such as Tom Yum noodles, tumeric pork skewers, and traditional rice dishes.
Yet whilst cooked meals are definitely popular here, the highlights at Damnoen Saduak are the fruit and veggie boats, boasting juicy seasonal produce from around the region. A famous coconut farm lies canal-side nearby, allowing visitors to take a boat tour to witness an exclusive demonstration of preparing coconut sugar. On your way back, be sure to stop by any coconut ice cream stands, and enjoy the refreshing flavour of the Thai-style soft serve. Prefer art over food? There is also a large number of galleries along the pier, where you can view and purchase both local artwork and souvenirs. The ambience here is lively yet relaxing, and still feels rural and laid-back, despite being one of the most popular floating markets amongst tourists.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Moo 9, Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi, 70130
Amphawa Floating Market
Open: Fri–Sun, 2–8 pm
Hit up Amphawa nestled in Samut Songkhram for the full traditional floating market experience. Lined along the Mae Khlong river banks, you’ll pass by Thai-style wooden houses on the way there, and be spoiled for choice by the traditional Thai delicacies on your arrival. Think, fresh scallops and cockle shells, grilled river prawns, and hot pad thai. The highlight? Definitely try the famous kuayjub — a rolled noodle bathed in a flavour-packed broth. Not only will it fill up your belly, but against a backdrop of the river, provide a scenic dining experience too. If you don’t feel like leaving just yet, stay the night in one of the many guesthouses and homestays by the banks, and opt for a nighttime boat ride to see the fireflies along the waters.
Amphawa Floating Market, Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram, 75110
Don Wai Floating Market
Open: Mon–Sun, 7am–6pm
Less frequented by foreigners, Don Wai Floating Market has long been known by locals as a great spot for food hunting throughout the week. Set along the banks of the Tha Chin River in Nakhon Pathom, the market features a lot of pop-up stalls and boat vendors. Take a culinary journey through the history of Thai food here, as the market offers a large selection of fruits, veggies, and long-forgotten classic dishes. ‘Nai Nub Ped Palo’ is a famous riverside restaurant you should try, known amongst locals for its sumptuous spice-packed stewed duck dishes. For a full-day experience, take a river cruise down the canals, and explore Thai antique houses from the era of King Rama VI. Let the breeze rejuvenate your senses, and take you back in time as you munch on all your delicious street food treats from the market.
Don Wai Floating Market, Bang Krathuek, Sam Phran District, Nakhon Pathom 73210
Khlong Lad Mayom Floating Market
Open: Sat–Sun, 8am–5pm
Like many floating markets, Khlong Lat Mayom was built as a means to create a trading space within the neighbourhood. Following this, locals turned into growers, and growers turned into vendors. Today, the market stands out from the others for its locality, bringing a strong sense of community to all its visitors. Located in Taling Chan, just a few kilometres from central Bangkok, you’ll find a vast selection of Thai produce here. The standout? The seafood scene here is particularly popular, with an indulgent choice of live shrimp, squid, and even rare horseshoe crabs. Pick what you please and let the vendors do the grilling right before your eyes.
Khlong Lad Mayom Floating Market, Bang Ramat Road, Bang Ramat, Taling Chan, Bangkok
Taling Chan Floating Market
Open: Sat–Sun, 8am–4pm
Located just a few minutes drive away from Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market, Talin Chan Floating Market is where to head to next if you fancy the idea of market-hopping. It’s a comfortable spot to gorge on Thai treats in a city-meets-local chic atmosphere. The tasty selection includes many great dishes, from spicy papaya salad and authentic salt-grilled fish, over to a vast array of Thai desserts. Trade the comfort of the stool seatings at the food stalls, and pull out one of the plastic chairs alongside the pier for the ultimate market experience. As boat vendors pass you by, keep your eyes out for the kuaitiao ruea (boat noodles) — a bowl of umami-packed broth with meat, veggies, and noodles. After dining, explore the neighbourhood and check out the snake and orchard farms nearby.
Taling Chan Floating Market, Soi Chak Phra 17, Khlong Chak Phra, Taling Chan, Bangkok