THAILAND'S FLOATING MARKETS
- A MUST SEE EXPERIENCE -
As someone who has spent a long time in South East Asia, I highly suggest that anyone visit the floating markets if you are visiting.
One might feel as though they are entering a different world upon visiting a Thai floating market. Slender canals are crammed with boats selling an abundance of food and goods, while friendly vendors talk amongst themselves in Thai. While some countries in Asia have their own floating markets, none compare to Thailand’s, and the surreal experience is one you cannot miss while visiting the country.
Floating markets are mainly found in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Floating markets today are essentially tourist traps, with alluring food and souvenirs. They did not always use to be this way, however. The Chao Phraya River that weaves through Bangkok is often referred to as the artery of the city. The water was a way a life for people in Thailand, making it possible for them to travel and sell their goods. Before urban Bangkok was developed, the city was a jungle, making it almost impossible for vendors and sellers alike to make any money off their goods. These goods were sold both regionally and internationally on these waterways. Even when Thai people saw the creation of roads and different means of transportation throughout the city, the canals remained a popular means of trade. This is the case for waterways throughout Thailand.
There are many floating markets in Bangkok, and the most popular one is the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This market is usually bursting with tourists, which is never a good thing. Regardless, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market definitely deserves a spot on your travel itinerary. The market is about an hour outside of Bangkok. You can book a tour to visit and explore the market for an entire day. You will want to arrive early, as the bulk of people start to show up at around 9am. Arriving at 7am is ideal. Most tour itineraries include transfer to and from your accommodation. Some even include long-tail boat rides down the canals where the floating market is. It is a great way to see the winding canals you would not otherwise have access to on foot, including remote villages and plantations.
Clancy's comment: Yep, definitely a great experience for photographers as well.