Fun fact: Bangkok was once known as the Venice of Asia thanks to it’s plethora of picturesque canals. This network of waterways also helped the city develop a thriving floating market culture in the 1960s, where yet today travelers and locals alike can pick up all kinds of delicious local fruits and veggies.
Though produce is still a big draw, today, these floating markets also double as informal restaurants. Plenty of Thai street food favorites are often cooked and served directly from the chef’s boat. Eating Sam Tam, grilled octopus, roasted shrimp, crab legs and savory snake head fish alongside a cool, leafy canal really can’t be beat.
After visitors get their fill, they can even stock up on trinkets and small souvenirs, which have also made their way into the floating markets. However, if you really want to get the floating market experience, you can always hire a boat and enjoy a personal tour. Tours are organized often at most of the major markets, and are a nice way to get a slightly more behind the scenes look at these floating phenomenons.
Though these markets were once a staple of Thai life for many, these days they also function as a form or entertainment or a tourist attraction. Weekends at these watery events are generally packed, and you could spend more time dodging fellow visitors than kicking back and enjoying the day. However, for newcomers, there are several markets worth the trek.
Damnoen Saduak, located in Rachaburi province is recognized as the country’s most famous floating market, and throngs of tourists make the pilgrimage to this unique attraction every year. Though it can take up to two hours to reach the market from Bangkok, visitors are rarely disappointed. The lush and shady Khong Lat Mayom market in southern Bangkok is also a prime example, and the Amphawa outside of Bangkok is a great place to see a whole community come to life and head to the water.
If you’ve ever explored Thailand’s famous floating markets tell us about it, or share your pictures. We love swapping travel tales!