(1) The most famous floating market for foreign tourists is Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi Province. If you want that picture perfect postcard shot I recommend this place. However, if you don’t want any foreigners in the picture that you must go there early. By 9 a.m. there is a traffic jam of tourist boats. Most people go here from Bangkok on tours that include the Rose Garden [MORE].
(2) A famous market that is actually in Bangkok is Taling Chan Floating Market. However, don’t go there expecting a canal full of boats with vendors selling fruit and other produce. This is more a riverside market that has a number of boats tied up alongside the pier. However, it is still a good place to go and soak up the atmosphere. The last time that I visited I also joined a boat tour from here [MORE].
(3) I think probably the best market I have been to is Tha Kha Floating Market in Samut Songkhram. Of all the so-called floating markets out there, this one has mant boat vendors selling to local people. It is much like Damnoen Saduak but there are hardly any foreign tourists here. This is because it is not so easy to get to and is not on many tour routes. I also joined a very cheap boat tour from here that was really enjoyable [MORE].
(4) One of my favourite markets for food is Don Wai Floating Market in Nakhon Pathom. Although they label it this way, I would much prefer to translate it as Riverside Market. You don’t have the boat vendors like what we imagine floating markets in Thailand should have. However, this doesn’t worry the Thai people. After all, it is too hot in the sun if there aren’t any shelters. From here you can also join a boat tour of the local river [MORE].
(5) I think the Thai favourite for a market is Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkram. I first went here about five years ago. It was popular and crowded back then, but mainly with Thai tourists. Hardly any foreigners. But that, of course has changed as word has spread on the Internet. I like the place. There is a mixture of riverside market and floating market like you can see in this picture. It is also a good place for a homestay. There are boat tours too [MORE].
(6) A short distance north of the famous Amphawa market is the Bang Noi Floating Market in Samut Songkhram Province. This is an old market that has been around for over one hundred years. Although it doesn’t get as busy as Amphawa, it still has a lot of charm with shops containing quality souvenirs and delicious food. It is a weekend market that is open from about 8 a.m. to late afternoon. You can also join boat tours here [MORE].
(7) Another old market, a little further north on the Maeklong river, is Bang Nok Kwaek Market in Samut Songkhram Province. Although it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of its younger cousin at Amphawa, it certainly makes up for it with its old time charm and friendly shopkeepers. If you want to experience an old Thai riverside market without the crowds then its worth spending an hour or so here. Boat tours are also available [MORE].
(8) To the north of Bangkok there are two new purpose built floating markets in Ayutthaya Province. This first one is Ayothaya Floating Market. It is conveniently next door to the Elephant Camp so you can do an elephant ride if you like before visiting the market. It is free to enter and wander around. There are shops with handicraft and souvenirs as well as lots of food. You can join boat rides and also watch scheduled shows [MORE].
(9) The second purpose built floating market in Ayutthaya Province is Ayutthaya Klong Sa Bua Floating Market. This one is only open at the weekends and is more of a kind of “dinner theatre” than a traditional market. You first buy food that you want from vendors on boats and along the bank and then sit down to watch one of the scheduled shows. Each one is different. This market has an entrance fee [MORE].
(10) Another relatively new floating market near Bangkok is Bang Nampheung Floating Market in Samut Prakan Province. It is built along a canal that flows into the Chao Phraya River. It is a good place to buy food and local handicraft. You can also rent out boats to go for a paddle on the canal. It is a weekend market that closes by mid-afternoon. Best to go early to avoid the crowds [MORE].
Pattaya Floating Market (Eastern Seaboard)
Covering an area of 100,000sqm, the Four Regions Floating Market is separated into four sections – each representing and selling items from the four major parts of Thailand (north, northeast, central and south). Expect to find many eateries, fruit stalls, souvenir shops and some art galleries. There is also a cultural show every afternoon. The 350 million baht market has over 114 shops and water vendors selling authentic Thai food, desserts and specialties from all over the kingdom. For a floating market experience, hire a man-powered boat to get around and discover the richness of the surrounding Thai architecture and riverside life. Typically, the boat is big enough for four people and can be hired for a small fee for around 30 minutes. [MORE]