When it comes to Asia, especially Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia floating markets are star attractions with alluring foods, the vibes of local communities, unique scenes of long-tail boats, and traditional houses along the canals. While the experience of Vietnamese floating markets will surprise you with doing an overnight homestay on the outskirts of the city, you will see that visiting Thai floating markets is like stepping into a different world of the authentic Thailand which you cannot miss. If you love to gain surreal experience of an ancient culture, here are top 5 authentic floating markets in Thailand.
Regarding the floating market in Ayutthaya, Klong Sa Bua is a must-experience place. Apart from the alluring Thai foods, this floating market is one of a few markets to present cultural shows on the water surface featuring Thai song recitals, and folktales. Therefore, this is such a golden opportunity to dig deeper into the native culture
There are pathways for the performers to walk on, so you will feel like these actors are skimming the water surface. The market opens on both public holidays and the weekends, from 10 am to 5.30 pm. Normally, 5 shows are scheduled per day, and of course, they are different from each other. The first begins at 11 am, followed by 4 upcoming performances at 12 pm, 1.30 pm, 3 pm, and 4.30 pm. Surprisingly, they prepare a dozen acts to rotate so that the audience will enjoy new shows even they come back tomorrow.
You will probably get overwhelmed when visiting the Ayutthaya Historical Park – a World UNESCO World Heritage Site in this Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province. This is an architectural complex of palaces and temples representing the prosperous Ayutthaya Kingdom. Over 4 centuries of existence, there were 3 palaces built for the Kings including the Grand Palace, Chandra Kasem Palace, The Rear Palace, and an enormous of temples in diverse styles.
A surprisingly untouched floating market located in a loop of the Chao Phraya which is an ideal getaway from the hectic Bangkok is Bang Nam Pheung floating market.
Instead of a crowded canal with a flood of long-tail boats and tourists, this is a truly authentic market with just six or seven boats providing you with fine foods, sweet treats, and particularly exotic fruits such as Fak Kao – an unusual organ – a heaven on Earth to street food lovers. You will sit on the riverbank under a thatched roof to enjoy the relaxed and cozy atmosphere.
Aside from sampling Thai cuisine, remember to have a soothing massage, get some handmade health products, or challenge your singing skill with Thai songs in a karaoke bar. These leisure activities can make a memorable Thailand trip for your family. Exploring the meandering lanes under big trees is much more enjoyable than other over-crowded markets. It is always fun to imagine what this lotion or that unique tool is used for!
Located in Samut Songkhram province, which is around 1-hour drive far from the central Bangkok, Tha Kha is a very small and original floating market. Different from others, this opens on the weekends based on the moon phases, from 5 am to 12 pm.The tranquil ambiance you cannot find in other big floating markets is what you will fall in love with right when you come here. Although the range of products is not diverse, you still taste specialty food representing Thai cuisine. Greasy oyster omelets will be the first you like to taste. Watching an Aunty fry fresh oysters, bean sprouts, and on a hot griddle makes you mouthwatering. The most memorable moment was when she cracks an egg on a hot plate, tosses the shell into a garbage without missing any single one.
Even not a big fan of spring rolls, but seeing how deliciously the lady add fresh mung bean noodles, cabbage, and minced meat will seduce you into ordering some. They turn out really superb with sour, spicy and semi-sweet sauce. Tha Kha is also well-known for its local products that you can buy as souvenirs, for example, honey, coconut oil, or coconut sugar. What a pity if you do not visit the great Wat Bang Kung – a Buddhist temple in Samut Songkhram province. The temple itself is inside a huge Banyan tree and overpowered by the root systems of 4 plants including Krang, Krai, Banyan, and Sai. Thus, it makes Wat Bang Kung look like a temple developed inside the big tree although it is made out of concrete.
This temple is believed to be built in the 1700s – the end of the Ayutthaya era to protect the Kingdom of Thailand in an army camp in the Ayutthaya war. There is a giant Buddha statue which worshipers have pasted into gold leaves. Not only a religious symbol, you will see various statues of the soldiers wearing military uniforms as well as 12 Thai kickboxers.
Situated in the land of two water sources – Chachoengsao province, Bang Khla is a picturesque floating market to assimilate yourself into the local culture through the most interesting elements: food and boats. The market still retains its countryside charm that is worth experiencing even though it is quite popular with Bangkokians. Like famous Thai floating markets, Bang Khla opens on weekends only, from the morning until the early afternoon.
Flashed with happy smiles, you will have a chance to try tasty barbecued fish and seafood, freshly landed and freshly grilled, pickled crabs with papaya salad and fish sauce, or shellfish covered in spicy sauces as well as other exotic delicacies on offer. The most invigorating time of Bang Khla floating market is between March and May in which mangoes are in the harvest festival. It is incredibly exciting to feel a strong sense of pride in the fabulous specialities and the demeanor of vendors. Having a journey to Bang Khla in other periods would bring you plenty of gaieties that you can enjoy breezy shopping experiences along with a lovely view of the Bang Pakong river. Do not skip the Village of Ban Santitham if you are a nature lover. Also located in the Chachoengsao province, people call it the Village Social Development Center that is built of a signature Thai house. As A home to over 800 kinds of plants, this enormous herb garden allows you to explore the use of herbal medicines throughout the history of this beautiful country. Remember to visit the sophisticated handicrafts, and ancient artifacts displayed inside the house.
Believed to be the largest floating market on this planet, Pattaya floating market in Chonburi province delivers impressive performances that are well-publicized features of four areas of Thailand. Hence, this 100,00 square meter market is separated into 4 parts to represent each special location with a unique blend of various traditions from Northern, Central, North-eastern, to Southern region.
Over 80 boats are on standby between 10 am and 9 pm to ferry tourists across the canals to demonstrate Thai wood buildings, bridges, a chain of outlying islands with local trees and plants. You can taste a wide range of freshly delicious dishes on offer while slowly admiring the surrounding architecture and the living along the river. Want to make your Thailand discovery unforgettable? A major attraction in this area is Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden – an iconographic area of Buddhist Hell that is not appropriate for children. There is a collection of monumental sculptures stimulating a little imagination towards the consequences of committing sins. At the center, you will see a big statue of a man and woman expressing a terrified expression with their hanging out tongues. Likewise, other statues illustrate sinners with the heads of animals with ripped out organs by birds, or those are being cooked in a huge pot.