If you’ve spent any time in Thailand, you’ve probably been slapped by a kathoey, purchased a wooden frog from these ladies and already been to a floating market. Ah, nothing like a healthy dose of Thailand clichés to make any visitor weary. Yet, despite being a well-contrived tourist trap, some floating markets still posses redeeming qualities such as tasty food, unique goods and countless photo ops.
For those who are city-bound we recommend the Bang Nam Phueng floating market. Not technically a floating market since about 95% of the vendors are on land, the elevated concrete walkway above the khlongs and swampland water is a constant in this community and will provide you with a taste of life on the water.
Located in Phra Phadaeng, the lower part of which, Bang Krachao, is often called the green lungs of Bangkok because of the lack of buildings, abundant flora and a penchant for blazin up the sticky icky (we made one of those up) and offers the visitor the perfect day trip. Bang Nam Phueng doesn’t require instructions on where to walk, just on how to get there. See below for details.
One of KohSpot’s favorite aspects about this market is how you can often find items that are difficult or impossible to locate at the never-ending list of markets throughout the kingdom. What the hell are we talking about? Have you ever heard of the fuk-ow fruit? Vendors market the juice of the spiky orange and red fruit as a super-vitamin panacea, and we are obliged to embrace this bold claim. After drinking 350 fluid ounces of Fuk-Ow fruit juice we experienced two sensations. First, we felt stronger, smarter and better looking. Second, we had to pee with extreme intensity. Fuk-ow fruit is starting to pop up more across Thailand, but we remember when there was only one vendor hawking the cure-all at this market a few years back.
Another winner is som chun, a lip-puckering snack that translates to sour and aromatic. A slightly sweet, smoky, spicy paste is applied to incredibly sour taling ping and starfruit pieces, and KohSpot loves it. We haven’t been able to find this anywhere else in Thailand in our considerable travels, so it’s a real treat. big ups to Bang Nam Phueng for slanging that fruit like its Blue Magic
Khao yam is not necessary exclusive to this market, but sometimes you really have to search to find it so once again Bang NamPhueng delivers. Topped with the fruit of the som o, in the pomelo family, Khao yam a refreshing salad of Thai vegetables topped with toasted coconut, dried anchovies, a sweet sauce and fresh lime juice. It is similar to miang kham but lighter and better. In other words, Khao yam is to Miang Kham as Michael Jackson is to the Jackson Five. That should be a question on the Thailand college admission test.
In addition to the usual handicrafts, clothes, toiletries and lotions, there are boat noodles, curries and all the stand-bys of any good floating market. Though it’s just a three-baht ferry ride across the river from Khlong Toei, the area certainly feels worlds away from Bangkok and you can book a homestay there if you need a weekend away from the bustle. Contact Khun Arporn in the village 089-807-2501.
Check this out: If you want to work off some calories and paddle the khlong in an old-fashioned boat complete with heavy wooden oars, it’s 20 baht an hour. KohSpot prefers to rent a bike (30 baht per hour) and noodle along the waterways, many of which have paved walkways, that offer great chances to see kingfishers. You are cool if you pop a wheelie while cruising.
Location: Bang Nam Phueng, in Phra Phadaeng. If driving, cross the Rama IX bridge and turn left on Suksawat Road. Drive to Phra Phadaeng market and turn left and follow the signs for the market from there, about 5 kilometers down to Phetchahung Road soi 26 (the name of the road means “insanely jealous”) before turning right. By bus take #6, 82, or 138 to Phra Phadaeng market then take songthaew. By ferry cross from Wat Khlong Toei Nok to Bang Krachao and take motosai to Bang Nam Phueng.
Hours: Weekends 8 am-2 pm
Phone: Bang Nam Phueng Tambon Administration Office 02-819-6762ext110