By Eric Lim
The Taling Chan floating market is one of the three floating markets in Bangkok, all of which are in Taling Chan district on the Thonburi bank of the Chao Phraya River. The other two are Wat Saphan and Lat Mayom. Located at a place called Chak Phra, the Taling Chan market is on a canal linking the Bangkok Noi canal to the north to the Bangkok Yai to the south.
This waterway forms a semi-circularly moat around the old capital Thonburi from the north, west and south. The Chao Phraya to the east completely rings the old city.
The name “Chak Phra” has deep religious significance as it commemorates the descent of Buddha from heaven to earth at the end of the Buddhist Lent.
Chak Phra is observed on the first day of the waning moon on the 11th lunar month, the day immediately after the end of the Buddhist Lent. The religious ceremony consists of placing Buddha relics (phra) on a carriage or boat to be pulled (chak) by worshippers.
The Taling Chan floating market was started in 1987 with five bamboo rafts and later upgraded to 11 metal pontoons. These markets preserve a way of life in the past when communities lived near rivers and canals.
Their lives were closely linked to the waterways which provided the means for movement and trade in their agricultural produce.
The atmosphere at the Taling Chan floating market is very local and non-touristy less the hassle of touts and inflated prices. The street vendors are very pleasant and polite. Most of the stalls sell food. Visitors are mostly Thai with less than a dozen tourists during my visit on 1 March 2009.To get there, please see map to the Taling Chan floating market
Let these pictures tell my story by taking you on a tour of the Taling Chan floating market.
The road leading to the floating market is lined stalls and the Taling Chan district office is on the left of this road. Admission to the floating market is free.
This was the first boat stall I encountered when I stepped into the floating market. I wanted to stop for lunch immediately.
I’m glad I didn’t gouge myself at the first opportunity, tempting as it may be. I would have regretted it when I saw the rest of the goodies later.
Stroll around, have a snack, take in the view, snap a few shots, then repeat the cycle. This enhances the enjoyment of the activities in the floating market.
You can choose to sit on mats around low tables or sit on chairs.
If you prefer to sit on chairs they are available. Either way the floating kitchens are just at your elbow, less than a call away.
The pontoons tend to bob up and down as the boats pass. So if you find this uncomfortable, there are tables on firm ground. If you don’t fancy taking a heavy meal, there are stalls on land selling light delectable snacks. Here’s some of the fare I sampled.
Or this crispy sweet made from batter heated on a hot pan. It’s topped with finely shredded egg and pork.
These dumplings are value for money. You have a choice of pork, prawn or crab stuffing.
Optional canal boat tours can be taken from the pier at this floating market. The tours cover the Snake Garden (adults/children – 150/60 baht) and the Orchid Farm (adult/children – 90/50 baht). Tickets are available from the booth near the information counter.
The Taling Chan floating market is a complete experience. You can even have a massage to ease your weary limbs.
Or relax by the pond in the garden behind the market.
On the way out I caught sight of this barbecued chicken stall again.
So it was back to the garden to sit by the pond to enjoy the drumsticks.
With the chicken finished, it was really time to go. On the way out for the second time, there was this ice cream vendor selling home-made Thai ice cream. I just had to take a parting shot. Scoops of ice cream packed with sweet corn, peh kwai (gingko nuts) and jelly. What a finale!
I missed the next bus out just to relish this. The visit to the Taling Chan floating market was the most enjoyable visit I’ve had so far. I just didn’t want to leave. You should try it!
Taling Chan floating market is one of the more popular places for local and foreign visitors. Hundreds descend on the floating market every weekend for the local market, food and atmosphere.
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Air-conditioned bus service 79 takes this route to get there.
Central World Plaza – Pratunam – Petchaburi Road – Lan Luang Road - Ratchadamnoen Avenue – Sanam Luang – Pin Klao Bridge – Charan Sanitwong Road – Bang Khun Non Road – Chak Phra.
Fare is 18 baht as at 1 March 2009.
Please note: opening hours - Saturdays and Sundays 0800 – 1700 hours
To return to Bangkok communities.