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Bangkok Travelbug March11 The Pattaya floating market
February 25, 2011

The Pattaya floating market

Welcome back! Our journey this March takes us 150 km south of Bangkok to the seaside resort of Pattaya to an unusual attraction just five km outside Pattaya city.

Contents (click on the link to go directly to the topic)

Floating markets of the four regions

The Pattaya floating market is a re-creation of the floating markets of the four regions of Thailand, as the name in Thai clearly states. The market with more than 100 shops opened in November 2008 just outside Pattaya city and covers an area of about 10 hectares or 25 acres.

The four regions of Thailand, central, north, north-eastern and south, each has its unique architecture, culture, customs, dress, festivals and food. This floating market provides an insight into these aspects in one location.

General view of the floating market

The floating market of the four regions consists of four clusters of wooden buildings representing each region built on stilts in a huge man-made lake.

The northern region

The four clusters of buildings are joined by arched wooden bridges that allow boats to pass beneath.

Bridge linking different sectors of the floating market

All the shops within each cluster of buildings are linked by a wooden boardwalk. Visitors can walk around the entire market this way or rent a boat to tour the market by the lake.

Water-borne tour

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Thai houses of the four regions

The houses from four regions may all look alike at first glance. But there are distinguishing features in each type house. The differences are in the gable, the triangular side of the house between the sloping sides of the roof.

Houses in the Central region have horn-like structures at the base of the gable

Northern houses have a “kalae” a V-shaped carving at the top of the gable

Houses from the North-east region or Issarn have a “kaan” a bamboo organ at the side. Even if the “kaan” is absent, there is a rod at the apex of the gable

Southern houses have an ornate carving around the rod at the apex of the gable

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Attractions in the Pattaya floating market

I’m not crazy about shopping so I avoided most of the souvenir shops which were thronged by tourists anyway. The food sections were quieter as most of the tourists weren’t adventurous enough to try the local fare. As it was a working day, most of the Thai visitors were school children.

Let’s take a look at some of the goodies available especially in the Issarn sector.

Issarn sausages

Pork ribs and barbecued chicken

Spicy som tam (papaya salad)

My lunch, pork ribs, som tam and sticky rice

Chao kuai, a black jelly served with a sweet syrup

More desert? Coconut cakes

Remember the days when vendors made ice shavings by sliding a huge block of ice back and forth over a sharp blade?

This coffee will perk you up after a heavy lunch

If you need a take-away, there the morn thong (golden pillow) durian
at 100 baht per kg

Then for some after lunch entertainment, there’s the Issarn fiddler.

Or click on this link to view the video

If you are really adventurous, sleepy or bored, then try this.

Slide from this tower down a wire

Across the lake

To the other side, that should wake you up!

Or if you prefer something more sedate

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Impressions of the Pattaya floating market

From the tourist buses parked outside and the number of souvenir shops, one gets the impression that this is a touristy place. In a way it is. After all, Pattaya is a tourist resort and tourism is the mainstay of its economy.

The other comment is that it’s artificial. Sometimes we have to re-create culture to preserve it. Left to our inclinations, we would be shopping in mega malls and living in concrete buildings.

It certainly lacks the rustic atmosphere of Bang Namphueng or Sai Noi floating markets. Aside from this, the food vendors in the shops and boats are real enough, even if there may be too many souvenirs shops.

Dining by the lake

The Pattaya floating market is still a pleasant way to spend a day away from the city, shopping, eating, snacking on deserts, having coffee by the lake or taking a boat ride.

The scenic lakeside – finding a quiet corner

Admission to the floating market is free. If possible, go on weekdays to avoid the crowd. Go with an open mind, there’s something there for everyone. Enjoy yourselves.

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How to get to there

Map to the Pattaya floating market

View Pattaya floating market in a larger map

How to get to the Pattaya floating market

By public transport

From the Victory Monument, take the Bangkok-Sattahip mini-bus. This service will run along Sukhumvit Road and pass the floating market. Tell the driver that you are going to the floating market.

When you book your ticket, get a card form the transport company. For the return trip, call the numbers on the card to tell them you wish to return to Bangkok.

Then wait opposite the floating market at this sala in front to the furniture shop.

The driver will call back to confirm and arrive in about 20 minutes. You must call them; the mini-buses from Sattahip to Bangkok don’t stop at the floating market unless they are picking up passengers. Fare is 140 baht each way.

There’s also a Bangkok-Sattahip mini-bus service from Ekamai, the Eastern bus terminal in Sukhumvit Road near the Ekamai skytrain station.

You can also take a tour bus from Ekamai to Pattaya. When you reach the Pattaya bus terminal, there’s a bus service to the floating market. Fare is 20 baht.

By car

Take the Bangkok-Chonburi Motorway 7 all the way to Pattaya. Then get on to Sukhumvit Road and proceed till the 153 km mark. The Pattaya floating market is on the left.

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Links to other floating markets in Thailand

Bang Namphueng floating market

Sai Noi floating market

Taling Chan floating market

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Next month

Abode of Gods in Pattaya

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Till next month then.

Eric Lim

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