Due to the vast network of canals and waterways, Bangkok and its surrounding area were formerly known as the “Venice of the East”.
For a long time, Thai people used them for transportation, and therefore people would tend to sell things directly from their boats and congregate in certain areas which lead to the forming of floating boat markets.
Today, although many of those canals and waterways have been filled and replace by road, visiting a floating market still remains a very popular attraction for both tourists and locals.
If you want to visit a Thai float market, there are quite a few markets around Bangkok to choose from. The most famous floating markets are Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa, located outside of Bangkok (50km for Amphawa and 80km for Damnoen Saduak).However, these 2 famous markets are more like tourist attractions than traditional market, they are far too crowded and chaotic for me.
For a more peaceful atmosphere, natural beauty, and most importantly: the charm and authenticity of a local market, check out my favorite Thai floating market: Khlong Lat Mayom.
Khlong Lat Mayom is one of the more recent additions to the list of floating markets in Bangkok. Ironically it has more of a traditional feel than some of the larger, long-established floating markets. This is largely due to the fact that it isn’t a major tourist spot just yet and is only popular with the local people. The wide variety of stalls at the market are situated both on land and on water. You can take your time wandering along the canal bank, or through an orchard while perusing the products on offer. If you want to extend your trip, and travel a little further afield, you can embark on a 90-minute boat trip which takes you to see some of Thailand’s rural life.
Opening Hours: Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
How to get there
You have a couple choices of how to get to Khlong Lat Mayom, but there’s still no real good way to get there by public transportation, the easiest and cheapest way is to just take a direct taxi. Take the BTS Skytrain to Bang Wa station on the Thonburi side of Bangkok. From Bang Wa, jump in a taxi, tell the driver Talad Nam Khlong Lat Mayom (ตลาดน้ำคลองลัดมะยม), it will take about 15 minutes to get to the market and cost about 80 THB ($0.70).
Reasons Khlong Lat Mayom is my favorite floating market
1. The Food
Eating is always the highlight of a floating market visit, sitting on a little wooden stool not higher than 10 cm and ordering a dish cooked on a tiny wooden boat anchored just next to your table is such a fun and exotic experience!
Here are some dishes you definitely have to try in Khlong Lat Mayom:
– Pla pao
One of the best things to eat at Khlong Lat Mayom and at any Bangkok floating market is pla pao (ปลาเผา) – Thai salt crusted grilled fish. The whole fish will be cover with a thick layer of salt crust so the flesh inside keeps moist and succulent throughout the grilling process.
You can either order snakehead fish, tilapia, and I also saw that they had some barramundi. After grilled, the fish will be put in a box (like a pizza box) and serve with some sauce and vegetables. There are 2 kinds of sauces and both of them are really good. One was a typical Thai seafood sauce with garlic, chilies and lime juice, and the other sauce was a roasted chili sauce with a touch of giant water bug essence in it to give it a unique taste.
Price – 250 THB ($7)
– Gai galae
My favorite Thai grilled chicken from the south of Thailand.The chicken was grilled and coated in a southern Thai bbq sauce made from coconut milk and dry chilies. It was a bit sweet and creamy and had a nice nutty and smoky chili flavor to it.
Price – 25 THB ($0.70)
– Goong ob woon sen
If you love shrimp, you’re going to love this. Goong Ob Woon Sen” – Shrimp Baked Glass Noodles in Clay Pot is one of the most popular and famous Thai dishes. After you order, they take the contents of the individual pot, put it onto a plate, and you can then bring it back to your table.The mung bean noodles were flavorful with garlic, ginger, black pepper, and a hint of Sichuan pepper, and they had a perfect sticky, yet not mushy, texture. The freshwater shrimp weren’t overcooked, and they were meaty and creamy.
Price – 150 THB ($4.21)
– Khao lam
If you want to brought back some snacks from your floating market trip, I strongly recommend you try Khao lam, sticky rice combined with sugar and coconut milk, all stuffed into a pole of bamboo, and slow roasted on a lean-to.
The slow roasting and cooking process makes the rice creamy and sticky, and almost to the point of custardy, and it should have a nice bamboo tasting flavor to it from being roasted in the green bamboo.
Price – 40 THB ($1.12)
2. Boat Ride Tour
The boat ride tour is one of the reasons why Khlong Lat May is the best floating market in Bangkok. Right at the center of the market along the canal, they offer longtail boat tours, which are communal, and very affordable.You can embark on a 90-minute boat trip which takes you to see some of Thailand’s rural life with just about 50 THB.
You will ride in the boat through the canal, passing through neighborhoods, homes, gardens, small orchards, and businesses.
The trip was very enjoyable for me and I’d really recommend taking the time to do it if you get the chance.
3. Feeling of relaxation
Although the market does get packed and busy at peak times during the weekend, Khlong Lat Mayom is still has a calm and friendly atmosphere of a traditional floating market. It’s a great place to spend a few hours leisurely walking around, and sitting at a table eating some of your favorite Thai dishes.
Though the market is not very far from Bangkok, within Khlong Lat Mayom, I feel far removed from the city life, which is a great feeling for me (and hopefully for you as well)
Although there are many different floating markets throughout Bangkok and the surrounding region, Khlong Lat Mayom remains as my personal favorite floating markets, and one of the attractions you shouldn’t miss when you’re in Bangkok.