A daily trip to Amphawa floating market
The Amphawa floating market is located only 60 km from Bangkok in the small town of Samut Songkhram and lies on a tiny canal branching off the Maeklong River.
It’s one of the most fascinating markets in Thailand and mainly visited by Thai that, during the weekends, crowd the hundreds of stalls to taste its delightful street food.
The peculiarity we appreciated most was the Amphawa market’s genuineness compared with the very touristy Danmoen Saduak floating market where nowadays the stalls and boats selling souvenirs are more and more and the Thai visitors less and less. This floating market is authentic, and you can still expect to see a real slice of local life.
A thing you must know not to be disappointed is that you can’t cruise the canal by boat among all the vendors to buy goods or taking pics. You have to walk along both side of the canal, but, trust us, you’ll enjoy its incredible atmosphere more than on a boat.
Both sides of the canal are lined by teak storefronts opening onto the water that sells fresh food, from fish, crabs, squids, shrimps, seafood, pad thai, fried rice, noodles, roasted meat, fruit to typical sweets and desserts. Wandering around the market is truly a unique experience, and you’ll get kidnapped by its atmosphere, colours and irresistible scents of delicious food.
The many wooden boats moored along the canal turn to BBQ seafood restaurants serving a delicious array of prawns, shellfish and squid, snails, fish and other tasty local delicacies. If you don’t feel like standing or sitting on a ledge along the canal, some restaurants have tables and chairs.
The market also features cafes and shops selling souvenir and an assortment of hand-made crafts, traditional textiles, and herbal soaps. Finally, the local vendors, and the contrast between the bright colours of the food and its arrangement carefully reunited as an artistic composition, make Amphawa floating market a paradise for photography lovers.
- Cruise along the Maeklong river
The market is visited on foot along the canal, but one of the best ways to get the most out of your tour is to have a ride aboard a traditional long-tail wooden boat to visit the surroundings. A long time ago, the boats rowed around the canals, but nowadays they have an oversized motor which you can hear from anywhere. Go to the many counters found around the small bridge in the middle of the canal that offer the temples tour and the island tour. Both usually cost 50 baht (USD 2) per person, but you can also hire the entire boat for 500 baht (USD 16). The shared tour usually departs when the boat is full. The boat tour lasts about 1 hour. It could happen that some locals will approach you trying to offer a private boat for 2000 THB (USD 60). Be smart and avoid these sneaky people and their overpriced boat tour.
During the boat tour, you’ll find out how the people live along the river and its canals, and you’ll visit some temples like the Wat Bang Kung. It’s a 400 years old temple shrouded in the roots of a Banyan tree. All of the statues of the temple, including the main buddha, are adorned with gold leaf. Even if you don’t have a boat ride, don’t miss the visit to Wat Bang Kung because it’s unique!
Amphawa Firefly Tour: if you visit the market in the late evening, you can also join the firefly tour where, by boat, you will pull up to a few areas which are well known for watching the fireflies.
- When to visit Amphawa floating market
First of all, the market is open on weekends only. If you come here during the week, you’ll only find the canal quite lifeless. Most tourists decide to visit Amphawa in the late afternoon when Bangkokians crowd the market to taste its street food, but take in your mind that it becomes almost impossible to walk through. Therefore, a good moment to enjoy a stroll along the canal without pushing and being pushed could be from 10 am to 1 pm like we did. As you can see in our pics, the crowd was acceptable, and 90% of the stalls-shops were opened.
TIPS: The Amphawa Floating Market is arguably the most attractive of all floating markets near Bangkok. If you only have a day to spend in Bangkok surroundings, don’t miss it. The market is close to the other 2 famous markets: Maeklong train market and Danmoen Saduak floating market. You can visit 2 of them on the same day catching the local transports or with a combo tour through a web platform. Our suggestion is to skip Danmoen Saduak because it is the most touristic.
How to get to Amphawa floating market
If you use local transports, the minivan/bus to Amphawa floating market departs from Bangkok Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai) or Mo Chit Bus Terminal. The ride takes about 2 hours. If you don’t want to catch the bus/minivan, you can ask your accommodation to arrange a daily tour to see Amphawa (or better 2 markets) by taxi. Remember to haggle the fare with the driver before booking it. Usually, the price for a daily tour by taxi is about 2500 baht – 80 USD.
Itinerary with local transports: you can first get to Amphawa in the morning, and then, from here, take a tuk-tuk/taxi to Maeklong train market. It takes 20 minutes (8 km). From Maeklong you can go back to Bangkok by train. Maeklong railway station is next to the market, follow the railway. It takes a long time (almost 3 hours) because you must catch 2 trains. The first train departs from Maeklong and arrives at Ban Laem railway station. Here, you must get off and walk for a bit to take a small ferry to cross a river. Once on the other side, walk for a few minutes to reach the Mana Chai railway station. From Mana Chai, you’ll get to Bangkok – Wongwian Yai railway station. A few minutes walk from the railway station, there is a BTS Skytrain stop. It could be tiring, but indeed a great travel experience.
You can use the format below to look for your local transport to get to the mean of transportation.
Private/shared tour: alternatively, you can also book a tour through the web platforms that always offer good deals and combo-tours to visit the markets.
- Click here to see the tours with Viator.com;
- Click here to see the tours with getYourGuide.com;
- Click here to see the tours with klook.com.
- Accommodation in Samut Songkhram
In case you decide to sleep in Samut Songkhram to enjoy all the attractions in the area without rushing, close to Amphawa market, you’ll find a good range of cheap accommodations.
Have you visited Amphawa Floating Market? Or another Floating Market? Did you like it, and you have more tips to share? Leave us a comment below!