Visiting floating markets near Bangkok is a first-time experience for many travellers. You often don’t know what to expect. So I’m sharing a few tips from what I’ve learnt during my stay in Bangkok to help you prepare for your visit.
1. Don’t only go to the most famous floating markets
The most touristy places are famous for a reason. But it doesn’t mean that others are not worth checking out.
Smaller floating markets don’t attract many tourists to provide a different experience. I really liked my time at Tha-Ka floating market. There weren’t many tourists and the atmosphere was very calm, which was contrasting with many other markets.
2. Go with a guide
You can visit floating markets by yourself. Some are not too hard to reach by public transport, such as Damnoen Saduak that you can reach by bus.
But visiting a floating market with a local guide can change the experience. I recommend avoiding the big tours. I was lucky to go on this tour* through the TakeMeTour platform* to visit Tha Ka Floating Market, and it ended up being a private tour. I felt like I had a local friend showing me her backyard. It made everything a lot easier, and I was more comfortable testing new things too following her advice.
There are many other tours in the Samut Songkhram Province* to go to bigger floating markets too.
3. Go to floating markets hungry
You’ll find many local dishes at the market. Eating is one of the main reasons to go to a floating market, so take a light breakfast and keep space in your stomach for while you’re there.
Visiting a floating market is a fantastic opportunity to try new food. I liked having a local with me* so that I knew what I was buying and got special recommendations. Sometimes, you can ask to try before buying.
They sell many fruits, but also snacks and delicious cooked meals. Some markets have a specialty dish. For example, Amphawa is famous for the seafood, Khlong Lat Mayom is known for the snakehead fish and Tha-Ka has special noodles.
4. Bring your straw and bag to Bangkok floating markets
Unfortunately, Thailand isn’t the best country in the world to reduce and manage waste. It’s likely that you will want to drink a coconut while you visit a floating market. The way they open them makes it hard to drink without a straw. That’s why having a reusable straw in your bag is a great idea to limit the amount of waste during your trip.
Although single-use plastic bags have been banned in many countries, they are still everywhere on the Thai markets. So keep your good habits from home (or learn new ones) and bring your reusable shopping bag.
5. Check a few prices in Bangkok before going to the floating markets
This will help you find great deals at the floating market. I realised when I got back to Bangkok how cheap the fruits were at the market. I wished I realised that before – I would have bought a few extra for my breakfasts for the week!
6. Take your time at the floating markets
The floating markets are a nice break from Bangkok. Don’t try to fit too much in one day. You may want to visit more than one market and close-by attractions. Make sure you still take your time to engage with local people and stop to observe and feel the atmosphere.
Where are Bangkok floating markets?
Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa floating markets are the most famous ones, but there are a few others that are worth a visit.