Hello there, fellow travelers and culture enthusiasts! As a Thai girl who has grown up in this beautiful country, I have always been fascinated by the vibrant and diverse range of local markets that can be found in every region. These markets are not only a hub for trade and commerce, but also a window into the colorful tapestry of Thai culture, where people from all walks of life come together to socialize, bargain, and indulge in delicious street food.
One such market that has captured my heart is the Bang Phli Floating Market, located in the Samut Prakan province of central Thailand. This little-known gem is situated on the canal that connects the Bangna and Prakanong rivers, and dates back over a century as a center of local trade. Today, it has become a popular destination for both tourists and locals, who come to soak in the bustling atmosphere and experience the unique charm of this floating market.
As soon as you step onto the wooden planks of the market, you will be transported back in time to the early days of Thai trade, where vendors in traditional boats would sell their wares to customers on the riverbanks. The air is thick with the aroma of delicious Thai snacks and fresh seafood, and the multicolored umbrellas and tents of the vendors create a vibrant patchwork canopy overhead. You can stroll along the canal and soak in the lively chatter of the locals, or take a boat ride through the waterways to get a closer look at the various stalls and goods on offer.
Location and history
Located just outside of Bangkok, in the Samut Prakan province, the Bang Phli Floating Market is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Thailand. This unique market has been around for more than a hundred years and has become an iconic destination for locals and tourists alike.
The Bang Phli Floating Market was traditionally a way for villagers to trade and sell their goods, from produce and seafood to handmade crafts and clothing, to those traveling by boat. However, with the introduction of roads and modern transportation, the floating market gradually lost its popularity and was nearly forgotten.
Recently, however, the Bang Phli Floating Market has been revitalized and redesigned as a tourist attraction, drawing in visitors from all over the world. The market stands as a testament to the traditional Thai way of life, offering a glimpse into the country's rich heritage.
What to expect at the market
Upon arrival, visitors can expect to be greeted by a lively and bustling atmosphere, as vendors call out their wares and boats float by, filled with goods of all kinds. One can see flowers, clothing, souvenirs, and unique items reflecting Thai culture all in one place.
One of the most notable aspects of the Bang Phli Floating Market is its authenticity. Unlike some other floating markets that have been designed to cater specifically to tourists, the Bang Phli Floating Market is still very much a local marketplace. This is evident in the variety and quality of the merchandise, which is often made by the vendors themselves.
Food options and specialties
Those who enjoy Thai cuisine will not want to miss the extensive food options available at Bang Phli Floating Market. Visitors can indulge themselves in local dishes such as Pad Thai, stir-fried noodle and seafood dishes, fresh fruit, and various spicy soups.
One unique specialty of the market is Ka Nom Krok, a type of coconut milk pancake that is delicious and will surely satisfy your sweet cravings. Other local surprises include fresh quail eggs fried with spices and sauces, various seaweed snacks, and handcrafted ice cream.
Shopping at the market
There is no limit to what you can find in Bang Phli Floating Market. Whether you are looking to buy something to take home as a gift or a souvenir item for yourself, the marketplace has got you covered. Popular items include traditional Thai clothing such as sarongs and silk scarves, carved wooden statuettes, handmade jewelry, and various trinkets.
If one is fond of plants, they may purchase flower pots and indoor plants at affordable prices. Handmade scented candles, glass-showpieces, porcelain and ceramic items, and paintings can also be found throughout the market.
Activities and entertainment available
In addition to the shopping and food options, various activities and entertainments are available to visitors. One such activity is boating, where visitors can take a tour of the surrounding canals and river streams. Traditional Thai dance and music performances are also a common occurrence at the market, so visitors can enjoy beautiful performances of local talents while they enjoy the atmosphere.
There are likings for every age-group as the market hosts multiple toys and games booths for children. Live animal shows featuring macaws, monkeys, and reptiles offer amusement opportunities for children to learn and observe nature.
How to get there and tips for visiting
To reach the Bang Phli Floating Market, visitors can take a taxi, tuk-tuk or hire a car from Bangkok, which is located just 22 km away. Visitors are typically charged an entry fee of 100 baht, which is affordable considering the sheer variety and quality of items available.
It is, however, important to note that the Bang Phli Floating Market can get quite crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Visitors should get there early or plan to spend several hours at the market, so they have time to explore and avoid crowded walkways.
Another handy tip is to bring cash as not all vendors accept card payments. Visitors should also wear comfortable and breathable clothing, as the market can get hot and humid.