Bangkok is a difficult city to define.
Each of the largest metropolises in the world has its own strong point for which it becomes attractive for travelers. For example, Rome is the city of art par excellence, with monuments of inestimable historical and artistic value. Amsterdam is instead known for being the city of perdition , where many freedoms are granted to its visitors looking for entertainment.
Bangkok encompasses all this and more. Golden temples coexist with tall hyper-modern skyscrapers , while the sacredness of some places gives way to the most sacrilegious places in the heart of the metropolis. Tradition, innovation, art and culture come together to create a crossroads of emotions that are difficult to untangle. And this is precisely the charm of the ” city of angels” of the East .
A floating market in Bangkok is certainly not a rarity, just to give an example. These characteristic markets arise on the water, take place along the waterways inside and outside the city limits, on long boats that merchants have used for centuries.
To determine which is the best of these, you must first understand what you are really looking for. In fact, every floating market in Bangkok will be able to give you unique emotions.
Damnoen Saduak tourist floating market
Until that announcement, the journey had been rather quiet. From the moment we mentioned Shambala , however, we have not stopped talking about it for a moment. I don’t even remember the reason for our bickering a few hours earlier. Certainly nonsense.
Without even realizing it, like children too excited to look around, we find ourselves in front of the entrance of the now twenty-year-old Thai restaurant in Milan and once again we fall silent.
The Damnoen Saduak floating market is certainly the most famous of Bangkok’s characteristic markets, the one we have learned to recognize from the images around the web.
Few people know that the Damnoen Saduak canal, located in the Ratchaburi region, about two hours from the city, is an artificial canal built by the ruler Rama IV . During his reign it became necessary to bring together the rivers Ta Chin and Mae Klong, to give the citizens of the region the water necessary for the irrigation of the fields, as well as an ideal passage for the transport of goods.
The latter aspect, in particular, is the one that has survived after more than 150 years and which is still appreciated by the many tourists who practice this market. Boats and small boats crowd the two banks of the canal, filled with fruit and vegetables produced by local farmers for this suggestive floating market in Bangkok .
Being the most famous, many argue that the original magic of the place has been lost a little in favor of a more commercial culture that favors tourists more than locals. Without a doubt, however, it remains an obligatory stop for the panorama it manages to offer.
Amphawa's original floating market
If you are looking for a more genuine experience, Amphawa Floating Market is for you. Not far from Damnoen Saduak, it is a floating market near Bangkok mainly aimed at residents and with a relaxed atmosphere .
Here the most suggestive activity is undoubtedly to taste the local fish on the restaurant boats moored on the banks. The fish is brought directly onto the boats, or you can enjoy it in the small restaurants on the river.
The market itself takes place both on the water and on the banks of the river and it is possible to find goods of all kinds: snacks , textiles , traditional food and even souvenirs for the few foreign patrons of this market. A glimpse of a different Bangkok, made up of a different everyday life to be discovered.
The floating market of Kwan riam premises
The last floating market in Bangkok we want to tell you about is not the most famous, but it remains undoubtedly the most authentic. Kwan riam is a floating market on the outskirts of Bangkok, one of the few.
Here Western tourists are a real rarity, also because more than a market it is a meeting place for Thai citizens. Just opened in 2012 , it is the most recent and is located on the channel of the Saen Saeb River. In addition to the boats displaying local goods, there are multiple activities along the shore for all those who want to relax, even with the family.
There are many stalls where you can compose your own meal, as in the best tradition of Thai street food . The various restaurants on the river, accompanied by the restaurant boats, surround the souvenir shops, gathered around the central quay.
There are even animals , in small enclosures, to entertain the little ones, as well as large pagodas with an ancient flavor that host small restaurants and markets.
What's the best floating market in Bangkok?
The truth is, there is no right answer to this question. Each of these places has something unique to offer, but they all have one thing in common: they contain the charm of a city with a thousand faces, often contradicting each other, giving an idea of what it means to live such a complex reality every day.
A floating market in Bangkok is nothing more than the opportunity to get lost in a culture foreign to us, tasting it, observing it, touching it and finally experiencing it side by side with the true proponents of the magic of these lands. Its magnificent inhabitants.