It’s time for the main purpose of our afternoon tour from Bangkok – the Amphawa Floating Market!
Having seen amazing, National Geographic-worthy photos of the floating markets in Thailand, I knew I wanted to visit one for myself. As I briefly mentioned in my last post, Adrienne and I discussed at some length which of the many floating markets would be the best to visit. Damnoen is one of the easiest to get to from Bangkok, and it’s the one you usually see dreamy photos of, but it’s also the most toursity. The authenticity is long gone and it’s now crowded with foreigners like myself. I wanted something with a bit more local feel to it.
Amphawa is also one of the more crowded markets, but it’s more popular with Thai’s than tourists. This is mainly because it’s located about 55 miles outside of Bangkok, making it much more difficult for visitors to get to. This sounds much more my speed. I manage to convince Adrienne that this is the better market for us to visit, and here we are!
After our stop at the Maeklong Railway Market, we drive a bit further to the Amphawa Floating Market. Our van drops us off at a small temple and tells us to be back at sunset.
I should mention that this tour is really more of a shuttle service than a guided tour. The driver doesn’t tell us much about the markets we’re visiting, but I don’t mind. It’s nice to be able to see everything at my own speed.
At first, everything seems so calm and quiet. I’m not sure what I expected, but more boats were definitely pictured in my mind.
But after a short walk, we’re suddenly in the middle of all the action. Boats cram in next to each other, vying for space to sell to people walking by on the wooden sidewalks.
Another image I had in my mind was that the vendors sold fruits and seafood and other raw food items to people to bring home. But each of these little boats is it’s own self-contained restaurant. You simply walk up, look at the menu, order what sounds good and they cook it right there for you, on their boat. How neat!
Contained in the buildings lining the waterway are more restaurants, tourist shops and massage parlors.
We slowly meander our way out to the end of the river, where it opens up onto a lake.
On the journey out here, we met a girl from Germany who was backpacking on her own. We end up sticking together for most of the afternoon and enjoy an iced coffee at the restaurant in the picture above.
Soon it’s time to head back to head back to the van. We make sure to allow ourselves plenty of time to go slow and even grab a quick bite to eat for dinner at one of the boats.
Our last activity of the night is a boat tour through the market and out onto the lake to see the lightening bugs. Apparently I don’t have any pictures from this, though I could have sworn I took some. So instead, I’ll leave you with these views of sunset over the market.
If you come to the market in the morning, there are far less people around, but even for someone like me who prefers less people, the afternoon is where it’s at. The atmosphere is much more alive, and really what the market is all about!