Several floating markets ('talaat naam') in and around Bangkok offer the
tourist a picture-postcard image of the traditional Thai way of life. Small
wooden boats laden with fruits, flowers, vegetables and other produce from
nearby orchards and communities make a colorful and bustling scene at market
time. The boats are inevitably paddled by Thai women in blue farmer's garb
('mor hom') and flat-topped conical hats called 'muak ngob', which are
characteristic to all parts of Thailand. The floating markets are still
important commercial centers for those living along the banks of 'klongs' with
no road access.
Three floating markets are within reach of Bangkok:
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, 80 km southwest of Bangkok in Ratchaburi
province, is one of the largest and most popular floating markets among
tourists. Also known as Klong Lat Phli Floating Market by the locals, the
market is active in the mornings only, from 6.00 am to 11.00 am. If you want to
take photos without hordes of tourists, get there early.
Air-conditioned buses leave for Damnoen Saduak every half hour starting at 6.00
am from the southern bus terminal on Boromrat Chonnani Road, Tel +66 2
434-5557-8. To get to the market itself, take a boat from Potchawan Landing or
Seri Khemi Kaset Landing. Several smaller and quieter floating markets are
located in Ratchaburi and nearby Samut Songkhram province. The best way to
explore these markets is to hire a long-tailed boat for around 300 baht an
hour, (or less depending on your bargaining powers).
Tha Kha Floating Market is about 10 km beyond Damnoen Saduak. It can
easily be reached from Samut Songkhram by minibuses, which leave every 20
minutes. The market is active from 6.00 am to 12.00 am on weekends only.
Bang Khu Wiang Floating Market, in Bang Kruai district of Nonthaburi
province, can be reached by boat from Tha Chang Pier near the Grand Palace. The
market operates from 4.00 am until late morning but the best time to visit is
around sunrise. Monks also come to the market by rowing boat to receive alms
from the villagers.