After filling our stomach with the famous Pratunam Chicken Rice, it is time to visit some markets in Thailand!
Floating market has been one of the major attraction in Bangkok, alongside with the Buddha temples, city life with skyscrapers, the never sleep nightlife and the forests of shopping malls. As Bangkok was developed within the perimeters of Chao Phraya River initially, trades usually conducted via boats on rivers hence led to the flourishing of floating markets. There is nowhere else in the world that could offer you the experience of floating markets except Thailand.
|Amphawa Floating Market, Thailand|
We contacted Mama Travel & Tour via facebook and within a short span of time they replied and recommended us a few floating markets. Thanks to the peaking of internet availability, we managed to obtain some foresight of the floating markets. A tour package was offered to us for 700 baht – sightseeing to Mae Khlong Railway Market, Amphawa Floating Market and firefly experience. We opted out from the firefly trip as we thought there was no much exciting factor from it and we were given a discount to 550 baht/pax. Payment could be done later when we were at Bangkok.
Mama Travel & Tour
Tel: 144 Khaosan Rd, Bangkok, Thailand
Tel: +66 2 629 1163
Operation hours: 8:00am – 10:00pm
We were told to wait at our hotel at 12:00pm and a van will come to pick us. Nevertheless, the plan never materialized. The van never came nor were replies available from the communication to Mama Tour via facebook. It was lucky that the hotel receptionist kindly lend us the phone. Mama Tour directed us to go to their office at Khaosan Road and they will offset the transportation fees from the total bill as the driver forgot to come. Despite all the hiccups, we still highly recommend Mama Tour for any future trips.
|Mae Khlong Railway Market|
|Some sort of fish selling in the market|
|Mae Khlong Railway Station|
|The train just passing by inches from us|
It took about an hour to arrive at the first destination – Mae Khlong Railway Market. It is a much localized market selling local produces – food, vegetables, meat, fruits and etc but their life as a seller is unusual. This is due to the train passes by their stalls multiple times daily, just within barely inches from them! They have to move their things away and close the canopies within minutes after the train honking to prevent the train ramming to their products. It is amazed to see how the locals are doing business in such an action packed market!
|A random wat (temple) nearby Mae Khlong Railway Station. Usually people will say a visit to Thailand must be complemented with a visit to a temple, there we go!|
|A random dog|
|Evening at Amphawa Floating Market|
We then headed to Amphawa Floating Market as per our tour package. Situated at the canal of Mae Khlong river, this authentic floating market only operate on weekends evening. The wooden bridge or walkways alongside the canel are flocked by local and tourists during the weekends.
|Crowd of people|
|The crowding of people at this small alley|
|Selling food on boats, the authentic floating market|
|Eating by the river|
|A side market branching out from the Amphawa Floating Market, selling clothes, accessories etc|
There are more than thousands of people flocking this weekend floating market, making it essentially overcrowded and walking was somehow challenging. Nevertheless, this was the atmosphere that we enjoyed. There are stalls alongside the wooden bridge that sell varieties of souvenirs.
|Soft shell crabs|
|Some coloured food, the amount of colouring drives me off|
|I have no idea what is this but it seems very popular among locals|
|Coloured tiffin carriers|
You can find almost anything from Thailand that you can think of here, except the exotic food in Khaoshan road. We came with an empty stomach but leave with uber full stomach.
Fish ball in banana leaf (20 baht)
Boat noodles (20 baht), really small portion!
You could practically spend hours here doing shopping if you are a serious buyer with so many attention diverters for you to burn off your wallet.
There are some side activities here. You can hire a boat to experience a boat ride through the river canals or do some firefly sightseeing in evening. If you plan to spend your time here late, you can opt to stay overnight here. There are several homestays available.
Operation time: 3:00 – 10:00pm (Friday, Saturday and Sunday only)
Nevertheless, recently funneling of tourists to the floating markets in Bangkok may have altered the authenticity of floating markets here. Whether they were still the origin floating markets that the Thais experienced in their past or it is more tourists oriented now with inflated price, only Thais are able to tell you the answer.
We then returned to Khaosan Rd. after the tour has regrouped for those who went to firefly sightseeing.