If you’re in Bangkok at the weekend it’s a great time to escape the sweaty and busy centre and head out to one of the famous ‘floating markets’ located in the outskirts of the city.
After doing a bit of research we chose the Khlong Lat Mayom floating market to the west of Bangkok. This was pitched as less touristy, more authentic and more relaxing than the other floating markets like Damnoen Saduak or Amphawa.
The market is open on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 9am until 4pm.
The address is หมู่ 15 บางระมาด, 30, Bang Ramat, Taling Chan, Bangkok 10170.
If you’d like to see a full video of our visit to the floating market (under 7 minutes) then click below to watch.
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Getting to Khlong Lat Mayom floating market from Bangkok
We set the alarm and headed out nice and early on our first Sunday morning in Bangkok. We were staying in the Silom district of the city and could have jumped on the BTS to get half way there and then taken a taxi but after a quick calculation it worked out cheaper and easier for us to take a Metered Taxi all the way.
It really depends on which area you are staying in but you could take the Silom line out to Bang Wa BTS station and a taxi should be around 100 THB to the market, this would avoid any traffic jams later in the day.
TRAVEL TIP: When taking a taxi in Bangkok insist that the driver uses the meter. If you just jump in and ask how much, you will get a rip off quote. We did this on our first taxi ride when we had just arrived and paid 200 THB for a journey that should have cost 40 THB!
The first taxi we jumped in proved unsuccessful as despite our best efforts the driver didn’t understand the intended destination and just looked worried, scared and bemused all at once so we jumped out and took the next cab that pulled up.
We were soon racing along over the King Taskin Bridge and out along the freeway into the suburbs. As always I kept a close eye on the location with the GPS on my phone to see if we were heading the right way. After a while it was obvious that the taxi driver was taking us the long way round, I’m not certain that he did this on purpose as he did seem a little lost but we soon pulled up at the market around 8.30am. The ride cost 175 THB (£3.40) and took about 25 minutes as there was little traffic on a Sunday morning.
Breakfast at the floating market
I’d recommend getting there around 9am as the market is just beginning to come to life and it’s a great time to grab some breakfast. We opted for a Thai-Style Omelet (Khai Jiao) which the fella with the wok created at lightning speed. Watch our video to see him create it like a boss!
The process is great to watch as eggs are cracked into the flaming hot wok and spun around to coat the whole surface. Ingredients are then added into the centre and the egg expertly folded over them into a neat little parcel. It was packed with shredded carrots, coconut and other wondrous things and served with a refreshing pickle garnish. I’d recommend this for a quick, tasty and satisfying breakfast snack.
Does it really ‘float’?
Despite the name a floating market is really a market built around a series of canals or waterways. For hundreds of years communities predominately developed alongside the waterways in Thailand as boats were the main form of transporting goods and people.
With the growth of roads and the move to larger cities some of the markets and communities disappeared but today many are thriving thanks to tourism and a renewed interest from locals.
At Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market you can still see a few vendors sailing along and pulling up with boatloads of fruit, vegetables or other exotic delights but the floating element is not as much of a focus as the other more touristy markets. This is more about locals coming here at the weekends to feast on great food. Fine by us!
Taking a boat ride
One of the essential things to do apart from fill yourself with ridiculously great local food is to take a boat ride around the local canals.
This departs from the pier across the street from the main market area and costs just 60 THB per person for a 1hr 30 min trip along the waterways near the market.
Once the boat was full of punters we set off for and sped along for around 20 minutes before stopping at a preserved traditional Thai house. This is nice if you’ve not seen one before and you are free to wander around the rooms for a few minutes absorbing the tranquillity, it was a very peaceful stop and felt rather special.
Then we walked across the bridge and made our way along the narrow local pathways. All of the paths are raised off the ground and you need to pay attention not to fall into someone’s front garden as Kristina found out when she met a local cyclist head on.
We followed the rest of the group along and back to another pier before crossing the river on the boat and stopping at a temple for a few minutes. The boat then speeds you back through the maze of canals to the market.
We’d really recommend this boat trip, a bargain at 60 THB, it was a nice peaceful break between breakfast and lunch! Make sure to take it early on, when we got back to the pier it was packed with people waiting to board.
Round two, time for lunch
After having a good sniff around in the morning we knew exactly where to head when we got off the boat, we wanted some grilled fish. It was good we had located the stall beforehand as the market was heaving now with more hungry people on the search for their perfect meal.
The grilled Snakehead fish (ปลา ช่อน) was very meaty in texture with a delicious fresh taste and came with two little dips and fresh salad. It cost 200 THB (£4) but was well worth it and we were pretty full for the rest of the day.
It depends how busy the market is but we found a nice canal side seat by wandering through the market to the end furthest from the road. This section was only partly open so there were plenty of tables by the waters edge and it was a bit calmer.
Just time for desserts
Despite being pretty full from the delicious fish we had a little more room for the Sweet Sticky Rice (Khao Niao Wan, ข้าวเหนียวหวาน) snack which Kristina has purchased earlier. This was our first taste of this amazing Thai dessert and we were not disappointed.
Wrapped in a banana leaf the sticky rice encases a red bean filling which mixes well with the coconut flavour from the rice, simply delicious.
Just for balance the taxi back to our accommodation near the Silom Road cost 160 THB (£3.10) and took about 25 minutes as we got stuck in traffic coming over the river. It seemed that the Silom Road was closed for a special event but we never found out what. It didn’t matter as this made it nice and quiet as we fell into a food coma on our bed!