Head to Khlong Lat Mayom floating market in Bangkok
This post may contain affiliate links. We may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase. Read disclosure. One of the most exciting things to do in Bangkok is to check out the floating markets. Nowhere is it more authentic and attractive than the winding canals where vendors squeal from long-tailed wooden boats, selling their wares to those on land or in other boats. The smell of incense and jasmine wafts through my nose as soon as we enter Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market. It is beautiful and quiet, like the rest of the villages on this side of the canal. The smell of roast pork guides us to the river market, the sizzling of meat on the grill and the screams of locals bartering prices filling my ears. Flags stretch across the canals, and are attached to the thatched roofs that cover the markets. It is the side of Bangkok that you must see. But what is it like to visit Khlong Lat Mayom and how do you get there? Here is everything you need to know! What is the most famous floating market in Bangkok? If you ask any tour operator which market is the most famous, they will say Damnoen Saduak Floating Market or Amphawa Floating Market. These markets are for foreigners only and are tailored to western culture, but if you want the authenticity of the local market culture… ask the locals. If you ask the locals which market they like the most, they will most likely say Khlong Lat Mayom. What is a floating market? The floating market is exactly what it says on the tin, it’s a market that floats…well, on boats. Bangkok has many winding canals that meander around small neighborhoods outside the city centre. Canals were once the main form of transportation in the city before bridges were built, and they were the way merchants moved from one neighborhood to another selling their goods. Not much has changed today. Locals still use the canals as a way to get around, as well as to sell produce from their traditional long-tailed wooden boats. You can find people selling everything from ceramics to household goods to fresh fruits and vegetables and street food from small wooden boats in Bangkok’s canals. But these markets don’t just pop up anywhere. There are a few spots for vendors to sell their goods from their boats, known as floating markets. What it’s like to visit Khlong Lat Mayom The floating markets are located just about 30 minutes from Bangkok on the Thonburi side of the river. They are less well-known than the heavily-toured floating markets in Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa. While Damnoen and Amphawa are more bustling with long-tail boat traffic jams, Khlong Lat Mayom is a narrow channel with a more down-to-earth feel, with the majority of the vendors and eating areas on the land. Our guide Tim shares a little bit about the Khlong Lat Mayom floating markets. He describes these markets as a way of life for the locals. “Don’t be spoiled by tourists. No tourist goods or souvenirs. It’s a market for Thai locals and tourists.” It’s also the kind of place travelers love – authentic local markets that offer a glimpse into everyday Thai life. I imagined a few years down this path invading fangs (foreigners) as soon as word started to spread. The market is a young market. Fair and joins a lot of small local markets in the nearby canal quarters.The food is great.The markets’ biggest draw card are the food stalls.There isn’t a Thai dish you can’t find here.The hardest decision is narrowing down your selection to one, two, or maybe five.You can Find everything from noodle soup to Pla Pao, a popular salt-roasted fish dish in the market.Some other popular dishes to try here are Hoi Tod (Oyster Omelet), Kanom Jeen (Cold Rice Vermicelli) and Gai Galae (Grilled Chicken) Wedged between the food and the low tables that line the handmade canals, plants and clothing stores, “Thais love to shop. After we are full, we look for beauty and things that give us pleasure.” Tim laughs as she leads us through the markets. There is no room in my bag for things that give me pleasure, but there is definitely room in my stomach to fill up. Our experience at Khlong Lat Mayom We arrive early and are immediately blown away by the quirky experience. Fortunately at this time there is plenty of space to move around among the colorful stalls. Crowds intensify at Lat Mayom during lunch time – the rush hour. We walk past a few stalls and I mentally select several dishes to come back and try. My smile widens and my stomach cries louder at the prices of the meals, 20 baht for fish cakes, 30 baht for curry and sticky rice – we were definitely at the locals market. Sticky rice colored with green Thai chicken curry takes us to the long-tail boats waiting on the canal. We climb up and start exploring the channels. I took my bag of canum tarn from a long-tailed boat first. The moist sponge cake, topped with shredded coconut – one of my favorite Thai desserts – is perfect for the gentle boat ride back to the village. Not too sweet and silky smooth. The catfish jumps out of the water next to the boat to try and get some. Kanom Tarn We are content as we wind through the back channels of the outskirts of Bangkok. Many of the homes have large gardens on the edge of the canals, and a place to sit in solitude – almost unheard of in Bangkok. I took to it immediately. We stop at the sidewalk, cross a low bridge, and walk along a footpath to the row of houses that open their doors to passing tourists. Mangoes, papayas, and bananas hang over our heads and we stop to point them at the girls. “Look mom, papaya is your favorite and Savannah loves bananas and I love mangoes!” “Yes, very cool!” We entered the first garden, and there is a beautiful red swing on which the girls sit and play with the colored balloons that the owner of the house gave her. They are happy. We stroll through the gardens and soak in the serenity before moving on to the next house. Grandma perches on a small wooden stool in the shade, and a steel cauldron sits on a small cooking stove in front of her adding to the already stifling Bangkok heat. Here near the canals a light breeze blew, but beads of sweat still ran down her face. She sat for 30 minutes and moved patiently, her eyes on the sticky green panda. We became just as intrigued as Tim’s description of how she would make the famous Thai dessert. Once cooked, you’ll take the pandan, run it through a hand-operated machine that cuts it into worm-like noodles. And then you’ll pour coconut milk over the worms and cover them with shaved ice. It doesn’t sound very inviting, but the sweet freshness is exactly what I need on another hot Bangers day. There is a shop in a room outside the house that also sells different kinds of small sweets made from coconut. In a 10 baht container, how can you say no to 3 different kinds? Tim takes us to the End House, which is a guest house for those who want to stay in the village. It’s a quirky log cabin with unusual furniture. Weirdly eclectic folk tunes playing in the background as we stroll upstairs to get a poke. I can imagine myself spending a weekend here to escape the craziness of Bangkok. The sun lounger in the back invited me to sit down with a glass of wine and a good book. We walk along the footpath and around the corner to meet the boat. A cyclist rings his bell and waves hello, a little further away is an elderly gentleman with a long beard Ho Chi Minh patiently shoveled up debris from previous years flood to make coal, and the village postman soon kicked us off the road on his motorbike. Once again, Bangkok fascinates Calera as her young mind tries to understand why mail rides on the footpaths. Away from the madness of inner-city Bangkok, peace and tranquility reigns here usually only in rural Thailand. Trees, vines, and vibrant flowers surround us and the air is fresh and clean. We grab a bag of fishcakes before boarding the boat to where the real eating will begin. Fishcakes Colorful canals Rows and rows of Thai food stalls line the riverbank Now it’s hard to move. We see nothing but the odd (foreign) falang, and their heads bow in worship of another bowl of cheap, authentic Thai noodle soup. There are seafood, fresh fruits, grilled chicken and pork skewers, Thai pancakes and much more. Lunchtime is popular with Thai Red Fish Curry BBQ Chicken Lots of seafood Relaxing lunch next to Thai pancakes on the Thai canal Thai pancakes Fresh pineapple We could have spent all day eating but with two young girls who hate crowds our time was very limited . It wasn’t long before it started collapsing. We watched a lady stand rolling large balls of mixed egg and seafood into a hot muffin tin. Tim told us it was an omelette. A little bit of the egg mixture was put into the container, the seafood filling was added, and the balls were constantly rolled around and around until cooked through. It was delicious and hearty and a good lunch for little Savannah. Seafood omelette Calera settled on her favorite dish, Pad Thai, brought from the boats she cooks on the canal. It came folded on white paper, which is very typical of Thai street food. The taste was on par with it, too. Pad Thai We leave with full bellies, but enough room to move on to our next restaurant in downtown Bangkok. It is a popular dish for Thai people, and yes, in Thailand, there is always room for one more authentic dish. Khlong Lat Mayom Opening Hours Khlong Lat Mayom is a weekend market on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. I would suggest arriving at opening time, as it gets very busy at lunchtime. How to get to Khlong Lat Mayom The market is located on Bang Ramat Road, just off the Bang Khae-Bang Bua Thong Outer Ring Road. The full address is: 30/1 Moo 15, Bang Ramat Khoeng Bang Ramat Road, Khet Taling Chan, Bangkok 10170. Using the metro, head to MRT Fai Chai station and from there take a taxi for 10 minutes. Or you can take the BTS Skytrain to Bang Wa Station (end of the Silom Line) and take a taxi the rest of the way. There is no BTS or MRT station directly to Bang Ramat Road, so you will need to take a taxi which way you choose. Before you go, this is everything you need to know about visiting Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market. For us, the main highlight of a visit to the floating market is the food and the authentic charm. You can clearly see that the locals embrace their deep roots and traditions in keeping these markets alive and running. Before you go, remember that you are visiting Khlong Lat Mayom which is not a tourist floating market, but a way of life for those who buy and sell here. So be respectful when taking pictures. Make sure you visit early to avoid crowds and remember to carry cash with you, as many of the vendors do not accept credit cards. More Bangkok Travel Tips Looking for more Bangkok inspiration? Then you might enjoy these resources! Video: Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Markets Want to see what a floating market looks like? Here is our video of Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market: Have you been to one of the floating markets in Bangkok? Post your tips in the comments.