Bangkok is a popular tourist destination for ancient Thai culture and wild, pulsating nightlife. But another draw to the bustling Southeast Asian city is its floating markets, the most famous being the Taling Chan Floating Market. There’s nothing quite like taking a boat down the Chao Phraya River, mixing with locals and shopping for new and exotic items. This guide will give you tips about how to get to Taling Chan as well as what to see and buy!
When to go
Go as early as you can – we really can’t emphasize this enough. Get up early in the morning and make your way to the market. The weather is not only cooler, but there’s also considerably less traffic to contend with. By noon, the muddy river is packed with boats.
How to get there
Tourists commonly go to the bus station in the center of Bangkok and take the Number 79 bus to Khao San Road. This costs 13 baht. From there, it’s a 15 – minute walk to another bus station where an air-conditioned bus will take you directly to Taling Chan.
You also have the option to take a small group bike and boat tour of the floating market. This seven-hour tour costs around U.S. $115.00 and goes through local neighborhoods and waterways.
What’s to see and do in Taling Chan
As you walk through Taling Chan Floating Market, your senses and taste buds will be tantalized by an endless array of spicy traditional Thai food cooked mainly by people on boats. A favorite among visitors and locals alike is Durian sticky rice as well as prawn and chicken.
Souvenir stalls selling a variety of items that appeal to the tourist set such as toys, traditional trinkets, and plants. You will also hear great local music and have the opportunity to visit some Buddhist temples in the area. There is also a fish feeding area where children can throw food directly at the fish in the river.
A word about the market
As stated above, the famous market can become quite crowded during the busiest (and hottest) hours of the day. Also, you should be prepared to bargain with vendors as many of their wares tend to be overpriced.
Some more advice
English is still spoken only by a minority of Thai citizens so most restaurants you visit in this area will have menus in the Thai language. That being said, many restaurants have illustrated menus that take ordering meals easy if you cannot read the language. Furthermore, it isn’t uncommon for local restaurants to have tables but no chairs, as many locals eat on the floor. Although Bangkok is safe, you need to be on the lookout for scams, especially ‘Tuk Tuk’ drivers. These individuals are professional scam artists who will overcharge you for rides.