Visiting the Iconic Amphawa Floating Market
The Amphawa floating market is one of Thailand’s most iconic attractions.
The canals come to life with boats zipping around offering all sorts of goods. Grilled seafood, fresh fruit, souvenirs and tours are some of the things you can expect to see on the boats.
In fact the canals are about as busy as a downtown street in the heart of Bangkok!
At the Amphawa floating market it’s easy to understand why Bangkok is regarded as the Venice of the East.
The market gets very busy around lunchtime with huge crowds of Thai visitors. On a busy weekend it can be difficult walking down the main strip. Because of this I actually prefer the quieter Khlong Lat Mayom floating market in northern Bangkok.
What can I buy at the Amphawa floating market?
The Amphawa floating market offers an assortment of hand-made crafts and tacky souvenirs.
The range of products is somewhat similar to what can be found at the Chatujak Weekend Market. Expect to find printed t-shirts, towels, soaps and children’s toys.
However the real attraction of this floating market is the abundance of food. There is a whole lot of food available!
Try staple Thai dishes such as Pad Thai. Get a little more adventurous with the Boat Noodles, rice noodles with sliced meat in a pig’s blood soup.
Then there is the seafood. Sit alongside the canal on the stairs or the low lying benches. BBQ seafood restaurants on boats will pull right up to offer you grilled prawns, shells, snails, fish and squid. This is about as fresh as it gets.
When you’re full from the food, walk along the canals in search of a Thai style iced coffee. This is sure to break the food coma and get you out exploring.
Longtail Boat Rides
After lunch be sure to get on a longtail boat tour. The longtail boat is Thailand’s traditional transport method. It is a long wooden boat with hugely oversized outboard motor.
These things are seriously so loud that you should try to sit up the front. Best that you get on the boat first, because the Thai’s seem to have figured this out already.
The boat will take you exploring the surrounding area. You’ll journey through the canals and across the Mae Klong River.
Out here you’ll pass stilt houses constructed on the river. In between there are mangrove forests, while behind there are small rice farms and coconut palms.
Boat tours generally last about 1 hour and include a visit to a Thai temple along the river.
The Thai temple is impressive. One of the most popular things to see here is the temple inside a tree called Wat Bang Kung.
Visiting the Amphawa floating market fireflies
Are you staying around the Amphawa floating market until night? A river tour checking out the fireflies is a must do.
Jump on another longtail boat after about 7pm. These boats will have a sign showing something like “Amphawa floating market fireflies tour.”
The longtail boat will take you back out onto the Mae Klong River. Here it will slowly pull up to a few well known sections for watching the fireflies. On some nights the trees really light up like a Christmas tree!
The fireflies tour is a unique experience and well worth doing. The tours lasts about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Plenty of time to see more than enough fireflies.
Amphawa floating market opening days
The market is open weekends only.
Don’t plan on turning up during the week as you’ll find a bunch of closed stalls and pretty lifeless canals.
The market comes to life around lunch time and continues through into the night. The market is commonly referred to as the Amphawa evening market. Mornings are not the ideal time to visit here.
How to Get to the Amphawa Floating Market
The market is actually not located in Bangkok, but in the province of Ratchaburi. It is about 80 km from Bangkok itself, however still close enough to enjoy as an easy day trip.
The easiest way of getting to the Amphawa floating market is by minibus from Bangkok. Minibuses leave from both Mo Chit bus station and the Southern (Sai Tai Mai) bus station.
The trip takes just over one hour each way. Coming back in the afternoon can take over 2 hours if the traffic is bad.
Don’t plan to fly out of Bangkok the same night you visit this market.
Minibuses used to depart from Victory Monument BTS station, however all services here have recently been relocated.
Day Trip – Amphawa floating market and Maeklong Railway Market
The Amphawa floating market and Maeklong Railway market are located less than 30km apart. These markets can be easily combined into a great day trip.
The easiest way to get from the Amphawa floating market to the Maeklong railway market, or vice versa, is by songtaew. A songtaew is pick-up truck style taxi with two rows of seats in the back.
You are best visiting the train market in the morning then head over to the floating market in the afternoon.
Check out my article on the Maeklong Railway Market (also Bangkok Train Market) for more information on opening hours and how to get there from Bangkok.