Amphawa Floating Market in Thailand will surely meet all your water market expectations .

I think it is difficult to imagine scenes of Thailand without picturing floating markets. Narrow canals running through cities and villages. Long canoes crowded near the shore. Colourful assortments of foods and fabrics. Canopy hats covering the faces of vendors, keeping the blistering sun off their necks. If this is what you want to see, a visit to Amphawa Floating Market should be in order.

I’m sure there are other floating markets in Thailand and neighbouring countries. However, the one that I had the pleasure of visiting was Amphawa Floating Market near Bangkok.

amphawa floating marketOf course, it was 30+ degrees outside when we went in March. When we arrived, our guide kindly treated us to a fresh coconut. Already sweating, I perched myself onto a low bench and leisurely drank up the refreshing clear liquid. When I finished, I proceeded to scrape the coconut meat out with a plastic spoon and my own dirty fingernails. Delicious.

Finished with my snack, I stood up to do some exploring.

Apparently, Amphawa Floating Market is the second most popular market of its kind in Bangkok. However, it is said to be more authentic and mainly visited by Thai people rather than tourists. I have not been anywhere else, so I have nothing with which to compare it.

Essentially, the market is one main canal with shops on either side. The wooden and concrete walkways have an abundance of small shops and restaurants. This makes it a good place to fill up on goodies and also do a bit of souvenir shopping.

The water is a lovely brown colour, and it is crowded with umbrella-covered small boats.

Many of them serve as food stalls.

Although you cannot go onto the boats to sit and eat, you order it and they will cook it for you on the boat. You then find a spot to sit somewhere along the edge of the canal to enjoy your lunch.

umbrella covered boats

If you are not feeling the laid-back setting of eating directly on the edge of the canal, there are restaurants on-hand. Some are more casual than others, and some have interesting displays and decor.

amphawa floating market restaurant

Away from the main canal are several side streets, also with shops and filled with people. It is very easy to lose track of the people you came with.

While I was in Thailand, I discovered so many different kinds of fruit that I didn’t even know existed.

Even looking at this photo, I still can’t name all of these fruits.

fruit stall in thai market

There is also a longboat tour. You pay the guide who then takes you up and down the market letting you see it from a different angle. I think it also takes you to a temple. Cheapy that I am, I didn’t do this. Though now I sort of wish I had done it.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy walking up and down the sidewalks exploring the food stalls and different shops. I lost the rest of my group several times and eventually gave up trying to keep track of them and headed off on my own.

I think this is the only time I had phad thai while I was in Thailand.

It was very good.

phad thai

We didn’t stay until it was dark, although it gets very crowded and lively even into the night. However, we were all tired from walking all afternoon in the sun.

Amphawa Floating Market is a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening, so long as you don’t mind braving the crowds or the heat. It is also only 1.5 to 2 hours from Bangkok, so is an easy day trip.

It is a great place to experience an authentic Thai floating market. And find something yummy to eat.

Have you ever been to a floating market? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

Read: Thai Golden Buddha, a photo

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22 Comments

  1. teacakesand Reply

    Looks amaaaaaazing! I’m going to Thailand next month and I’m super excited! Happy to read your blog for ideas!

      • teacakesand Reply

        Chiang Mai, Pai and Chiang Rai for the first week or so. Then no idea! I’ve got just over two weeks there in total. You were in Chiang Mai right?? How did you find it?

        • Yes, I was in Chiang Mai. I visited a few temples, which I always enjoy. And a couple different cultural museums. If you go to Chiang Rai, visit the White Temple for me!

          • teacakesand

            Any temples to recommend? And ofc! One of the main reasons I’m going to try and get to Chiang Rai – the white temple looks so so stunning!

          • In Chiang Mai I went to Doi Suthep, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Suan Dok. They were all different and pretty.

  2. I would not even remember if I have been to a floating market. I visited Thailand as a wee thing. I am sure if I visited it now though that floating market would be a wonderful idea. First of all, coconut water in those hot and humid climes is bliss, right? In Calcutta, which is also hot and humid during summer, my mother loves to get coconuts cracked – they plop out of our trees in the backyard and she is as proud of them as a child with a new toy – and serve them up when I am cribbing about the heat. That sweet water and the soft pulp, ah. Secondly, that plate looks like it would have been heaven on a dish.

    • Your mom sounds cute. She knows what you need on a hot, humid summer day. I wish I could get fresh coconuts so cheaply and easily here in Japan. It gets really hot and humid in Japan – I have Thai friends who complain about Japanese summers. The phad thai was yummy but a bit small. But I guess that just leaves room to buy a second meal, so it’s all good.

      • Ha ha, the idea that you should get more is always a welcome one. More dishes to try out. Yum. My mum while growing up was anything but cute (more like a dragon spewing fire through her nostrils and especially at an errant daughter because the son could do nothing wrong) but now she has calmed down and can show signs of cuteness once in a while. She has become more of my friend now – which is a welcome, welcome relief. The one thing I cannot abide is humidity. Imagine someone who has grown up in that heat complaining about it but there are always ways of dealing with it and you have gotta do what you gotta do. I would happily send you a few coconut trees from our backyard 😉

  3. Ahh… I was there last year. Next time you are around SE Asia, try durian. It’s called the king of fruits. 🙂

    • I do know what durian is. I saw them, and I had durian flavoured things, but I don’t think I ate the fruit itself. It’s the stinky one.

        • Hmm, I’m not sure I would call blue cheese heavenly. It’s just okay, for me. The durian flavoured things were not bad, but also probably not something I would choose on my own.

    • There were so many more kinds of fruit that were new to me that are not pictured here too. My favourite one looked like a giant grapefruit on the inside. The outside skin was a green/blue colour. Inside was sweet though and not bitter like a grapefruit. I think it was a pomelo. Anyway, there were lots more.

      • Hmm… Maybe I can help you out here. The red fruits and the green ones on the left of it in the foreground are water apples. They are quite common in SE Asia, but the ones grown in Thailand have been cross bred to be huge and sweet. You should try them. I love to eat them when I’m in Thailand.

        The yellow star shaped fruits are simply called Starfruit (duh) due to their shape after you cut them. They are supposedly a good anti-oxidants source. And some health nuts consider them good for fighting cancer.

        The little brown fruits in bunches are longans. They are quite sweet and seems to be considered a superfood in western countries.

        Ok, the white fruits in the plastic bags have got me stump. They could be the lotus flower although I’m not too certain about that. I have not seen them before… haha! Hope this helps.

        • I do remember eating the green and purple ones in the front. I think they tasted good.

          The little brown ones, I couldn’t remember if they were longans or rambutan or lychee.

          The white ones in the bag almost look like garlic…

          The starfruit is the only one that I actually knew 🙂

          Thanks!

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