Why not take a short walk in a more authentic Bangkok, far from the hustle and bustle of the city? Let’s take the direction of the klongs and floating markets, for a tour on the Chao Praya River.
The Bangkok Klongs are a network of 350 km of canals that have been flowing through the city since the 18th century in response to travel needs. Due to urbanization, many of them have been drained to make way for expressways. Those that still exist are mainly located east of Bangkok, the traditional side of the city, where life develops along the water. While most of the klongs are flooded by high crowds and popular with the tourist wave, some remain secret and authentic.
Secret Klong in the heart of Bangkok
Are you ready for authentic sailing? Follow the secret directions and climb into a Long Trail. It is a long boat powered by a gas engine, or driven by a skilled boatman, for an immersion in a more peaceful and Zen Bangkok.
Your journey begins on Ratchadumri road, at the intersection of Phloenchit Street which becomes Rama Street, not far from the Muse Hotel. So you have to take Ratchadumri Street, you can’t miss it it it’s a big 8-lane traffic artery. Continue for 200 meters up to reach a bridge. If you follow the right road your path will be punctuated by itinerant merchants, offering you a thousand and one culinary delights. The klong’s Water Gate Pier is located under the bridge in question. Once on the pier, take your ticket (which is 10 or 20 baht) depending on the (boat) line you are using.
Once on board, relax and prepare yourself for a timeless stroll. During your trip you will cross some Long Trail, with locals and walk along many small houses built on stilts along the klong. These buildings are a hallmark of Thai architecture in the northern and central region, often victims of monsoons. On this klong you take your time, the encounters are rocked by the rustling of the water and the activities of the daily Thai life take on a totally different flavor. Tranquillity and serenity reign there.
The end of your walk on the klong, (if you don’t get down before), leads to another surprise: the Wat Benchama Bophit temple. If your desire for zenitude and authentic discoveries was not satisfied during the walk, stop by Jim Thompson’s house. This house is a real haven of peace in the heart of Bangkok’s frenzy.
Bangkok Floating Markets
As with the Klongs, the authenticity of the floating markets in Bangkok has struggled to survive, given the city’s great attraction. These floating markets, which are a commercial method, are exploiting the klongs as a place for trade and sales of local products, although not completely disappeared. Their traditional soul is still present in some klongs. Scattered over Bangkok province like small gold nuggets, the floating markets of Lad Mayom and Amphawa are small survivors.
Klong Lad Mayom: An authentic floating market
The Lad Mayom market has nothing to do with the Damnomen Saduak tourist, no souvenir stands, and no specific routes. But discovering the charm of a local market, the essence of Thai culture is in everyday life. A meeting place, around the food stands, teeming with specialities prepared before your eyes, and fruit and vegetable displays along the canal. We meet there with family or friends for a relaxed weekend.
You can also enjoy a walk on this klong, which will plunge you into silence, as soon as you leave the market, sailing on a channel teeming with fish. That is an original vision of Thai life. Enjoy this authenticity on Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
How to get there?
Located about 20 kilometers from Bangkok beyond Thohonburi, on the opposite bank of Chao Phraya, Lad Mayom’s market is easily accessible. To get there take a taxi from Lumpini, and count only 30 minutes to reach this small pearl.
Amphawa Klong: A rural and colourful floating market
Frequented mainly by Thai people, Farang (French tourists referred to as Thai) is a non-existent species. Get ready for a real immersion, and practice your Thai without restraint.
The discovery of Thai rural life awaits you in the Amphawa market. Local sellers and producers meet there to offer fresh and agricultural products. Hand-woven silk and handcrafted stoles enrich the small wooden shops along the klong. The Long Trails become kitchens on the water, offering you a multitude of specialities such as Pad Thai.
In the evening, Amphawa’s charm increases tenfold, with a walk in the centre of the fireflies’ show, which illuminates the sky. The surprise does not stop there, Samut Songgkhram station is a surprising place, which houses a market installed on the tracks, and which departs a few minutes before the arrival of the train. An almost senseless image, yet very real.
How to get there?
The Amphawa floating market takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 7pm, with a lot of entertainment from 4pm. To get there from Bangkok, take the 78 bus from Sai Tai Mai (Bangkok’s southern terminal) there are departures every 30 minutes. The mini-vans that leave from the Victory Monument also take you to your destination. If you want to discover the train market, do not hesitate to take the train to Samut Songkhram, from there you can reach Amphawa, 8 km away, in a collective taxi (number 333).