Floating markets are some of Bangkok’s biggest attractions thanks to their unique blend of history, culture, shopping, and food. There are plenty of floating markets to choose from, but which ones are the most authentic? Here’s our pick of the six most authentic floating markets around Bangkok that should definitely be on your itinerary!
1. Taling Chan, Bangkok
Taling Chan still has a local vibe and is far more authentic than some of the other famous floating markets you may have heard of. Open every weekend from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Taling Chan offers an incredible blend of food tasting and shopping opportunities, with plenty of delicious fresh seafood to try. If you grab a ride on a longtail boat or get a foot massage under the trees, you can easily spend a good half day at this market. Located just a few kilometers outside Bangkok, the best way to get to Taling Chan is to take the BTS to Wongwian Yai Station and then take a taxi.
2. Bang Nam Phueng, Samut Prakan
Located just 20 km from central Bangkok, Bang Nam Phueng floating market is in an area known as ‘the Lung of Bangkok’ and is definitely one of the most authentic markets you can visit. Here, you’ll be able to taste authentic Thai foods and see different delicacies being prepared on traditional Thai boats. There are plenty of goods on sale to suit every taste – just remember to haggle hard! You should aim to pay 50 percent of the price first quoted by the vendor. The easiest way to get to this market is to take the BTS to Bang Na station, take a taxi to the Bang Nahmpueng Pier and then take a boat across the Chao Phraya river.
3. Don Wai, Nakhon Pathom
If you prefer taking the road less traveled, head to Don Wai for an unspoiled traditional river market unlike anything else you’ll find in Bangkok. Although this market doesn’t have vendors in boats, visiting the stalls along the side of the canal is like stepping back in time and experiencing authentic Thai history and cuisine at its finest. This beautiful old fashioned market has plenty of genuine foods that you likely won’t find anywhere else during your stay. Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the best way to get to Don Wai is to take the No. 84 bus from BTS Wongwienyai.
4. Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi
Authentic can mean different things to different people. To some people, Damnoen Saduak has become too ‘touristy’ and has lost its authenticity. To others, this market is the picture-perfect floating market. It’s jam-packed with lively vendors in boats selling every type of Thai food you could possibly want – in other words, exactly how you’d picture a floating market! As Thailand’s best-known floating market, you’ll need to wake up early (at least 5 a.m.) to get there before the crowds. It’s incredibly tourist-oriented so beware of scammers and overpricing. The cheapest way to get to Damnoen Saduak is to take a public bus from the Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal for 50 baht one way. It takes around 1 hour and the bus drops you off 1 km from the actual market.
5. Tha Kha, Samut Songkhram
If you’re looking for an authentic floating market that looks gorgeous in photos, this is the one for you. While not as famous as Damnoen Saduak, the Tha Kha floating market offers the perfect place to capture instagrammable moments on your camera or phone. Best of all, Tha Kha has plenty of genuine local goods for sale, not the junk you see at some other floating markets. Expect the journey from Bangkok to take up to two hours, especially if you visit on Saturday, but the food makes it all worthwhile!
6. Amphawa, Samut Songkhram
Are you keen to witness Thailand’s old-style boat culture first hand? You need to check out Amphawa! This traditional Thai floating market lets you experience authentic Thai lifestyles as if you were time-traveling to a bygone era. Seemingly untouched by the past 200 years of progress, Amphawa features authentic wooden Thai houses selling all the snacks, sweets, and souvenirs you could possibly want.
Ready to visit?
Are you looking for the best way to explore a floating market? Our team of local guides offers day-long, off-the-beaten-track excursions to both the Tha Kha and Amphawa floating markets. We’ll help you experience the simple beauty of authentic Thai village life, whilst tasting and experiencing the best of old-style Thailand. To find out more, contact our guides today!