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Bangkok Travelbug Nov 2020 Ing Nam Market Sam Khok
November 03, 2020

Ing Nam Market – Sam Khok

Dear friends and readers of the Bangkok Travelbug, welcome back to the Bangkok Travelbug. In this November issue we visit another old waterside market in Pathum Thani.

Fortunately, this market in Sam Khok is far livelier than the last one we visited. It had a constant stream of visitors providing the vendors with a brisk trade. Besides the market there are also some very old and interesting attractions in the neighbourhood.

Let's take a look at what's in store for us here.

Entrance to the Ing Nam Market, Sam Khok, Pathum Thani

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

Ing Nam Market

Ing Nam Market, Sam Khok consists of a 200m alley running parallel to the Chao Phraya River. The alley is barely 50 m from the river banks and is divided into two halves by the Bang Toei Canal which runs at right angles to the alley and river.

The first half of the market

The vendors here sell a wide variety of goods, cooked food, snacks and fruits.

The Bang Toei Canal with the Chao Phraya in the distance

Bridge spanning the Bang Toei Canal

The second stretch of the market across the Bang Toei Canal has more shops and looks more attractive.

The second and busier half of the market

There's even a chic café along the way with wi-fi service too.

Kham Khlong Café – the café across the canal

It was only towards the end of this 200 m alley that we found something delightful to our taste.


Some culinary delights

We came across this vendor selling braised pork knuckles and chicken feet, two of my favourites. Just the sight of those pork knuckles and chicken feet laid out on the trays was enough to make our mouths water. We ordered a plate of each and were not disappointed.

Chicken feet (top), pork trotters (centre) and our lunch

Phi, the vendor was a very friendly guy and popular too, judging from the people, both residents of the market and visitors, who exchanged greetings with him.

I asked him about his shop and this was his story.

Phi was born in this shop which was his family home. In 2012, when Pathum Thani was badly flooded, the entire ground floor was unliveable. The mark left by the flood water is still visible on the concrete pillar by the entrance to the shop. It was 140 cm (4 feet 7 inches) high!

The residents decided to rebuild their homes by raising the level of the ground by 90 cm (3 feet). The concrete pillars were retained but the wooden parts were replaced. Just imagine how high the water was before the ground was raised.

He sportingly posed for these photos showing off his delicious food.

Our friendly pork knuckle vendor

Another attractive feature in the shop was the unusual table cloths he had. At first, I thought he was using old newspapers! They were actually plastic table cloths with newsprint designs.

The attractive table cloth

Phi also recommended that we explore the alleys beyond the market to visit an old shrine and Wat Bang Toei Nok.

The last stall we visited in the Ing Nam Market was Khru Pao's Thai cakes and desserts.

Khru Pao's Thai cakes

Khru Pao has some very attractive looking cakes like tua pep. This is made from sticky rice flour mixed with water and flattened into a patty, which is filled with boiled green beans, then rolled up into a little ball or sausage. The cakes are then rolled in coconut filings which stick to the surfaces. Tua pep is eaten with a thick sweet syrup.

Tua pep

Ta ko another delicacy sold by Khru Pao


Bang Toei Canal Shrine

We walked on past the market and came to this old shrine. Shrines are usually dedicated to a deity but this shrine is dedicated to all the deities, male and female who are guardians of the mouth of the Bang Toei Canal where it joins the Chao Phraya River.

Shrine dedicated to deities at the mouth of the Bang Toei Canal

Apparently, it's a popular shrine because several groups of visitors go there to pray.


The old cinema

We continued along the narrow alleys leading to Wat Bang Toei Nok. Along the way we came across this old, derelict shop which turned out to be a historical gem. We almost walked past it.

Entrance to the cinema

It was these old items on display at the entrance that caught our eye.

Old items on display

This old wooden shell of a building was the first cinema in Pathum Thani. The information board hanging from the wall told the story of this old cinema.

Brief history of the cinema

The Sri Watthana Cinema was started in 1967 by Thanu Mahapirun and his wife Kimwa. The couple were originally boat traders who transported sand, bricks and sugarcane dregs* to be sold in Bangkok.

Note *

Left over after boiling sugar cane to make sugar. The dregs are sold as fertilizer.

On their return trip, they brought coconuts, bananas and other fruits to be sold at the Bang Toei Market in the vicinity of the Bang Toei Canal. The current Ing Nam Market is probably all that remains of the Bang Toei Market

In the 1950's this market by the Chao Phraya was a major trading centre in Sam Khok District and many people from around came here for the wide variety of goods available.

When their son reached school going age, the couple decided to cease their trading trips to Bangkok and build a cinema as well as sell goods on land. This way they could stay with their son during his school term.

The Sri Watthana Cinema had a sitting capacity of about 200 – 250 people who sat on long wooden benches. The stage and screen were located near the water's edge with the project room to the rear and the narrator sitting upstairs. Apparently, they were still showing silent movies back then.

The old cinema hall, the river is beyond the trees and houses

Old cinema posters

Besides silent movies they also featured live performances of musicians singing the popular luk thung folk music.

By the 1970's increased road development led to the introduction of the automobile and boat transport began to dwindle. With increased development, Pathum Thani City prospered and several new cinemas opened in the city.

In 1970, with increased competition, the couple decided to close the cinema and all that remains are memories in this old building.

We were so absorbed by this old cinema; we didn't make it to Wat Bang Toei Nok.

With that we end another visit to an old waterside market in Pathum Thani. The shop keepers and food vendors here have preserved a way of life for at least two to three generations. Whether their descendants will continue with this tradition remains to be seen.


Our thanks

We are grateful to the friendly food vendors like Phi who shared information on their trade and homes with us. They have made this visit so much more personal and interesting.


Map to Ing Nam Market

If the map doesn’t appear, click on this link

How to get to there

There are a number of ways of getting there by car depending on where you come from.

If you are coming from Bangkok that's on the east bank of the Chao Phraya take route 306 – route 307 – cross the Chao Phraya – continue on route 307 – route 3111. When you pass Wat Bang Toei Klang, turn right into the road leading to the market.

If you are coming from the side of Bangkok on the west bank of the Chao Phraya, take highway 9 – route 345 – route 307 – route 3111.

There's ample parking near the entrance to the market.

Opening times

The Ing Nam Market is only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 0900 – 1600 hours.


Next month

Join us as we explore Ban Khun Phitak, an old house that was the home of a nobleman during the reign of King Rama V. It's located on the banks of the Noi River in Phak Hai, Ayutthaya and it's reputed to be a scary and haunted place.

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Till next month then.

Eric Lim
Tour Bangkok Legacies
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