As vendors are out in their long wooden boats first thing in the morning with their goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and tasty dishes. You’ll need to get up early to visit a floating market. A visit to one of the floating markets is a fun way to do some shopping and eating while supporting local vendors and observing local commerce in action.
There are several floating markets near Bangkok, Amphawa is the most popular. You can go it alone or join a guided tour, which can include visits to local houses and shops.
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Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa is the most popular floating market near Bangkok, Located 50 km from Bangkok this once small village was apparently already present in the mid-Seventeenth Century. The main draw is of course eating seafood grilled procariously on wooden boats moored around the famous central bridge, serving an appetizing array of huge prawns, shellfish and squid. From noon until late in the evening, the smell is simply irresistible and customers flock to each side of the river all day long.
If you don’t feel like sitting on a concrete ledge very close to brownish waters, walk a bit further from the bridge to find restaurants with real tables and chairs. Even better, try to get a seat on the balcony of the restaurant next to the bridge, it’s the only one around but you might have to wait a bit or come early. The nicest and most quiet restaurant is located at the very end of the broadwalk where the canal meets the Mae Khlong River.
Most food looks familiar but some really look unusual or even funny, from ice cream sandwiches to alien-looking helmet crab egg salad (Yum Magda Talay).
Once you have had enough walking (or trying to walk) around Amphawa
, it’s time to take one of the many longtail boats and explore the surrounding canals and rivers. It’s not as impressive as the Bangkok Khlongs but it’s always good fun, and after the heat of the market the breeze from the river is a welcome relief.
Amphawa is definitely the most attractive of all floating markets, having retained its authenticity and not yet on every tourist map. But Bangkokians love this place so much, that past noon it becomes impossible to walk. The best way to enjoy Amphawa is to come before 10:00 and leave soon after lunch.