I have a confession to make. Even though I’ve been to Thailand more than 10 times during the last 10 years, I have never visited any of the famous floating markets in the area around Bangkok. Not until last year, when AC and I went to see the Taling Chan floating market.
Damnoen Saduak is the biggest floating market around Bangkok, so why did we choose to visit Taling Chan? Frankly speaking, it was first and foremost because none of us felt like getting up early enough to catch the bus to Damnoen Saduak, which is a 2h drive south of Bangkok.
Besides, most of my friends who’ve been to Damnoen Saduak had told me that this market is nothing more than a photo opportunity with tourists largely outnumbering locals. Being allergic to tour busses and over-enthusiastic guides (I’m allowed to say so, I used to be a tourist rep myself:)), Damnoen Saduak was out of the question.
To get to Taling Chan, we just took the Skytrain to the end station Bang Wa, and from there, it was only a short taxi ride (less than 100THB) to get to the market. Thaling Chan is supposed to be a less touristy, more authentic experience than Damnoen Saduak, and while we were there, AC was actually the only white person in sight. The few other tourists we spotted were from China and India, but there were so few of them that it didn’t spoil the very local feeling of the place.
As a floating market, Taling Chan was slightly disappointing. We only saw a handful of boats except for the ones, ferrying tourists around, but it didn’t really matter, as we soon discovered Taling Chan’s real attraction: The food.
I think there were more than hundred different food stalls selling everything from som tam (green papaya salad) to grilled fish. Most of the stalls had specialized in only a few items, so we had to visit (and line up at) several stalls to get a full meal. Most of the food sold at the market was between 40-80THB, but the roast pork, which I couldn’t resist, was slightly more expensive. I also bought a small bag of look choop, which is a Thai candy made from mung bean paste and shaped as miniature fruit and vegetables.
All the tables close to the river were occupied, but a nice group of Thais offered to make room for us at their table, so we could sit down with all our edible treasures. The food was so delicious, and sitting among this friendly group of Thais just made it even better. The only thing I didn’t like was the look choop. It looked beautiful, and I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t handle the overwhelming sweetness, so I offered it to the Thai family, who happily accepted it.
The food section was the far most dominant section of the market, but after passing it, we found another section with vendors selling clothes and jewelry. Most of it was similar to what you’ll find at other markets around the city, and the prices were rather high. Generally, Taling Chan seemed a bit pricey compared to other markets I’ve been to in Bangkok.
I had expected both food and other goods to be cheaper than in central Bangkok, but that wasn’t the case. Though it was still very cheap compared to prices in Denmark, and all the food we had was excellent and very, very tasty.
Just before we left, I saw a vendor selling Khanom Krok, which is one of my favorite Thai snacks. It is a kind of coconut rice dumpling cooked in a special frying pan, so I bought a small bag to eat later, back at the hotel.
How to get to Taling Chan?
Getting to Taling Chan Floating Market didn’t take much longer than getting to Chatuchak Weekend Market, and it was surprisingly easy to find a taxi to and from Bang Wa BTS Skytrain station. If you go there in the morning, you can be back just after lunch, so there’s actually no excuse not to go. When you’re fed up with the hustle and bustle around Sukhumvit, visit Taling Chan, have some great food and return to central Bangkok happy and satisfied.