There are actually 2 major floating markets near to Bangkok. The Amphawa Floating Market and the more popular known Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. They are both floating markets but the difference I have found was that the Damnoen Saduak Market was more touristy and commercialized than the Amphawa Floating Market. So if you are looking for a more authentic local experience then I recommend to go to the Amphawa Floating Market instead.
Getting to Amphawa Floating Market
There are a few ways to get to the market. You can go there by taxi or join a private tour. Also you can go via a more local way which is by mini-van which is what we did. After we came from the Chatuchak Market, we alighted at Victory Monument BTS station (which costed us about 25 baht per ticket), and took exit 2 to Victory Monument mini-van ticketing office which is located next to Century The Movie Plaza.
Map of the Victory Monument station area. You will need to head out of exit 2 towards the Century The Movie Plaza to find the taxi-van ticketing office.
Century The Movie Plaza. Just next to this is the taxi-van ticketing office from where you can buy tickets to Amphawa Market.
When you arrive at the mini-van ticketing office, you will see a whole bunch of sign boards and banners all in Thai. So how on earth you figure out where to book the tickets for the van?
Just approach any of the staff standing at the booth in front of the entrance of the ticketing office and tell them you are going to Amphawa Floating Market and they will direct you to the correct booth to buy your tickets.
If you see in the right of this pic, there is a booth right in front of the taxi-van ticketing counters. You can ask for help there.
Once at the booth, show them the address of Amphawa Floating Market (suggest to have the address written out in Thai: ตลาดน้ำอัมพวา) to double confirm that you are in fact at the correct booth. Also ask them when is the next departure time so you know when you can catch the next van. It should cost around 80 Baht per ticket (one way).
The ticketing booth for taxis heading towards Amphawa.
Amphawa ticketing booth. One way should cost 80 Baht.
We had about 50 minutes to spare before our van departed. We just simply wondered around and bought some snacks at the roadside stalls for our journey. We bought beef balls (20 baht), fresh fruits (30 baht), and fresh orange juice (20 baht). One word about the fresh fruits, they were in fact so fresh and so sweet we couldn’t believe the quality we were getting for only 30 baht! Some fruit stalls even have condiments for the fruits such as special sour plum flavored seasoning powder or even spicy seasoning powder! For some weird reason, the spicy flavoring was pretty awesome on the fruits!
The mini-van left at 1:50pm sharp that day, and to our surprise it was way above our expectation. It was very clean, and comfortable. But the only issue we had was being a bit hot as we were seated in the last row. Now we were finally off to Amphawa Floating Market!
Inside the taxi van.
The entire journey took us about 1.5 hours to reach to the floating market. Please note when you arrive at the Amphawa Floating Market, just across the street you will find the Amphawa mini-van ticketing office. If you intend to take the mini-van back to Bangkok it is recommended the moment you arrive to Amphawa to immediately buy a return ticket back. You will need to double confirm when the return departure time will be, as the schedules may vary day to day.
When you alight at Amphawa Market, right across from where you alight will be where you can buy your taxi van return tickets back to Bangkok.
It took us some time to figure out where exactly we enter the floating market. If you are stuck like we were, just ask someone politely and they will more than gladly show you the way. We ended up finding it and passed by an overhead bridge across the river and that’s where you can see the market. It was pretty cool, there were shop houses along the riverside and boats travelling up and down the river banks.
The Amphawa Floating Market.