Imagine the channels of the Chao Phraya River in Thailand teaming with thousands of slender wooden boats propelled by paddle-wielding vendors wearing conical hats. Each boat represents a shop filled to the brim with neat stacks of exotic goods or foods, an unforgettable assortment of vibrant hues and exotic fragrances. From seafood to fruit, souvenirs to flowers, you’ll find it all at the floating market.
A must-see destination when visiting Thailand with kids, here’s what you need to know about these river shops.
The Chao Phraya River: Bangkok’s Life Blood
Also known as the River of Kings, the Chao Phraya River relies on the interconnection of four major tributaries to feed it:
- the Ping River
- the Wang River
- the Yom River
- the Nan River
Many of Bangkok’s most iconic attractions sit along the mighty Chao Phraya River. These include Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the Grand Palace, and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). It also supports numerous floating markets, renowned the world over.
The Thai Floating Market
In former times, lush, verdant jungles sprawled across what is modern-day Bangkok. The area proved nearly impassable due to vegetation and wildlife. Needless to say, it wasn’t a lucrative spot for vendors to sell their wares. Instead, Thai business owners stuck to local waterways for the transportation of people and goods. Commerce occurred on the water much as it does today.
While roadways have transformed Thailand’s landscapes, they’ve had little effect on how business gets done at the floating market. Sellers have stuck to the river and, in so doing, created a destination that people from all over the world flock to see. Today, these water-based shops remain well-supported locally allowing visitors from all over the world to get a taste of the culture of riverside shopping.
Your Floating Market Shopping List
Hundreds of locally produced goods are sold at the floating market. Merchandise to look out for includes:
- Thai silk
- conical hats
- crafted candles
- locally grown produce (e.g. bananas, jackfruit, mango, rambutan, pineapple, starfruit, dragon fruit, fresh durian, fresh coconut)
- and more
Locally produced foods are also prepared, cooked, and sold by brightly-costumed vendors from their floating kitchens. Traditional foods include Thai meat and papaya salad. You’ll also find coconut rice dumplings and mango sticky rice. You and your kids will marvel at the colorful sights, lively sounds, and savory smells of the floating market.
Visiting Thailand with Kids
Interested in visiting Thailand with kids? Or, intrigued by the idea of visiting a floating market? Check out our Thailand & Cambodia Family Adventure, a rich, kid-friendly way to visit some of the most extraordinary destinations in Asia.
At Our Whole Village, we create tours designed for curious families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft for curious families just like yours.