The Charm of Floating Markets Will Never Die Out In Thailand

Ratchaburi Central Thailand

Stepping into Thailand, to me, is like stepping into a universe of its own making. It is so different than the world that we know full of normal cars, markets and people. Thailand is unique…

© Ratchaburi, Thailand

Stepping into Thailand, to me, is like stepping into a universe of its own making. It is so different than the world that we know full of normal cars, markets and people. Thailand is unique in its own way of having its own way. Everything is different in that country! From the people’s mannerisms to their marketplaces and down to their values and beliefs. Some may find the difference sort of hard to adapt to but for me it is a sweet deal to take a break from the boring and repetitive nowadays world and seek hideout in some beautiful spot in Thailand.

Above : Overhead view of a vendor rowing his boat with goods laden on top of it, as he glances back at his other boats holding more merchandise.

From the many adventures that I went on in that country, there will always be a couple that stick around in the corners of my mind. Okay, who am I kidding? Every single experience and hour spent in the special shops, markets, temples and clubs of Thailand stand out in my memory as if they just happened yesterday. One of the many highly enjoyable experiences that happened to me while I was staying in Thailand were my visits to the multiple floating markets around the country.

If shopping in itself wasn’t my hugest joy and light in the world, shopping from floating markets was even better for me.

Above : Bird’s eye view of a floating market decked with boats adorned with flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Floating Markets Came Floating in My Life!

As the saying goes “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky”! I feel the same way toward floating markets. They come floating in my life like a feather on a zephyr blowing during an afternoon in October. These special marketplaces are not only extremely enjoyable to indulge in but they also provide you with an ethereal peaceful venture.

Most people complain of how shopping is stressful…they should check out the floating markets of Thailand. More specifically, they should check out the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. With every vendor having his generous share of fruits, goods and delicious foods; I filled my shopping basket with more than necessary items and it was blissful!

Above : A vendor captured rowing his boat of goods in the Damnoen Saduak floating market.

So, What Really Are Floating Markets?

When I first heard of these peculiar sounding markets, I thought “floating markets” was the name of a film or movie we were supposed to watch.

My friend brought around the topic when he suddenly stated “Hey, let’s go check out the floating markets!” during a card game I and he were playing in our hotel room.

Above : An old woman pictured lunching on her rice noodles on a fruit floating market in Ha Tien.

I was bored and was looking forward to anything new and fun to do and the idea of watching a movie named Floating Markets sounded interesting. As we changed and got ready he exclaimed, “Hey you should take a basket along with you, it helps a lot!”

Bewildered and wondering why I needed to take a shopping basket with me to the cinema I left the hotel room. Before I could inquire anything about this movie, he mentioned that “we could rent a boat for a more enjoyable experience”. At this point, I could not hold myself and I retorted in surprise, “What kind of movie is this? And where are we going to watch it?”

My friend turned and looked at me with a look of stark surprise before bursting out into laughter. After which he proceeded to explain to me what floating markets were.

Above : A floating market in Amphawa after sundown is illuminated with lights that reflect off the water and cast an ethereal glow all around.

I felt foolish but more excited at the prospect. When we reached the Talad Nam Peung floating market could not believe my eyes. They were boats! On water! Selling all sorts of goods like foods, fruits, sovereigns and so much more. Located near a canal it was very different and interesting to see how the people in this country manage to make the most riveting concepts out of the simplest places. There were all sorts of adventurous experiences that I embarked upon.

First, we walked around the whole canal examining every vendor with his/her boat and what they were selling. After we found all sorts of fruit and tasty snacks we decided to try out a hot lunch which is quite literally prepared on the boats and then served to the customers on dry land for safety reasons. Wouldn’t want your shrimp ending back in the water now do you? We each had a bowl of noodles with dumplings to the side and delicious guava juice  that satisfied us fully.

Above : Cuisine being prepared on a boat afloat on water in Bangkok, Thailand.

The food was not half as great as the experience. Eventually we decided to make the best use of the real experience. As there were boats up for rent, we hopped in one and went around the whole river surveying the boats and their goods. The array of boats adorned with flowers and colorful baskets felt like I was floating in a land of geishas with their prettily decorated bonnets and dresses.

Above : A fleet of boats selling their goods in a floating market in Ratchaburi, Thailand.

The Many Floating Markets There Are

Over my stay in Thailand, I made it a quest of mine to visit other floating markets too because of how transfixed I was at this unique and wonderful concept. And the best part is that every market has its own variety of goods and things that it specializes in. For instance the Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market is a pretty small one with only 6 boats that make it up. However the special thing about it is that personal feeling you get.

With most floating markets you get ultimately lost with the number of boats, amount of merchandise and the quantity of goods piled up on each boat. However, this market sets itself apart from the rest with the exceptional type of one-to-one experience it offers.

On the other hand, Talin Chan Floating Market provides an all-around wonderful experience for those who are new to the Thai market experience. I wish I had come here first instead of going to the Talad Nam Peung floating market. Of course my first experience was wonderful but the special thing about the Talin Chan Floating Market is that it provides everything that is to be experienced in a floating market, in one place. From the delicious freshly cooked “street” food (better call it floating food from now on) offered on boats to the classic sovereigns that litter every boat top.

Info & Credits

This story was produced by Roomarella editorial team.

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