When planning shopping in Thailand, visit a floating market and immerse yourselves into unforgettable exotic atmosphere of Thai authentic shopping.
Thailand attracts tourists not only with its tropical climate and nature, but also with its traditions and culture. Bangkok magically combines modern skyscrapers and temples, amusement parks and palaces. Tourists take interest in modern shopping centers as well as in floating markets which are an inseparable part of Thai history and culture.
Since ancient times the Thais have used rivers and lakes not only for recreational purposes but also as a transport system, place for trading and living. They built big floating villages, some of them still exist today.
There are not many floating markets left in the territory of Thailand nowadays, and they are open mostly for tourists. Narrow canals, boats loaded with fruits and fragrant food, shops on the pontoons selling different souvenirs, sellers wearing straw hats - all these create unique exotic atmosphere which charms and fascinates tourists.
There are markets frequently visited and loved by Thai people - for example Amphawa floating market. Amphawa is not popular and known among foreigners. Local people like spending their free time there. The selling process happens on the water and on the land, so you can choose a convenient way to make your purchases. Of course, sailing in the boat along the market canals and buying things right on the water is absolutely fascinating. Amphawa market is not very big and the water route is quite short in comparison with Damnoen Saduak.
Damnoen Saduak is the biggest floating market, very popular among tourists. It is situated in Ratchaburi Province, 100 km from Bangkok. You can rent a boat there and go through the whole market. Here you will find a wide choice of Thai souvenirs. The prices are meant for foreign tourists, so it is not reasonable to buy all souvenirs there - only some unusual and interesting things. Damnoen Saduak floating market attracts with its lively and vivid atmosphere - after 9:00 it is overcrowded with boats and it is hardly possible to pass each other in the narrow canals.
Taling Chan floating market is gradually turning into a usual Thai market as fewer and fewer sellers continue trading on the water. The biggest part of the market is situated on the land.
There is a number of “tourist projects” - these are artificial floating markets designed specially for tourists, for example Sam Phan Nam in Hua Hin and Pattaya Floating Market. You can see local people there in the role of sellers only. However, these markets attract a big number of tourists every year. There a wide choice of goods goes together with various entertainments. At Pattaya Floating Market you can enjoy a boat trip, watch a Thai national show and a Thai boxing match, go to the 4D cinema and try rope flying above the lake.
In 2016 the first and only floating market was opened in Phuket. It is situated in Kathu district at the lake which was formed at the place of former tin mines. There old Thai traditions are closely interwoven with the present times. At the entrance you will be met by a tall Ganesha statue and a beautiful fountain. Then you will watch a Thai folklore show. Thai girls in national costumes will perform a dance which seems very simple at first sight, but in reality is very complicated and difficult.
At the market you can take many beautiful and unusual photos which show the culture and exotics of Thailand.
It is possible to take a boat or a catamaran trip at the lake which will make your shopping experience in Phuket more exciting. There you can get anything you want - souvenirs, clothes, bags, handbags, shoes, cosmetic products, spices and healing herbs. You will need more than an hour to walk over all the pontoon shops, so when you get tired and feel hungry, you can have a meal in one of the cafes which serve Thai and European food. This the place where you can enjoy shopping with your family. After making all the purchases, parents can have a session of Thai massage or fish peeling while kids are feeding koi fish and enjoying delicious ice-cream in Hero Café in the company of their favourite film characters.