Must-visit markets in Bangkok and surrounds | Thailand

“A solo-trip to Thailand.” Check. When the opportunity to visit Thailand landed in my email box, I couldn’t help but feel a little flutter of excitement. Soon, that flutter turned into a wave and all of a sudden, I found myself jumping for joy at the chance of visiting one of the countries at the top of my bucket list.

After spending countless hours on the Internet researching everything Bangkok has to offer, it was clear that a visit to the many markets is a must. So, as any good tourist would have it, I made sure I added some of the many markets in Bangkok to my list of must-do things while I am there.

Below, I share a few of my favourite markets.

Must-visit markets in Bangkok

Chinatown

Chinatown is perhaps one of the busiest markets in Bangkok, but despite the foot traffic, the vibe is unbelievable and should definitely be at the top of your bucket list! Trust me, just do it! And wear comfortable shoes.

It’s the perfect combination of delectable street food and shopping, with vendors everywhere you look. This didn’t bother me, because the Thai people are some of the most polite people I have met, and so polite.

While you are there, make sure you try freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice. It’s delicious and very hydrating. Another dish you must try is the Thai spring rolls. It’s wonderfully crispy and so full of flavour. Don’t miss out on a slice of freshly toasted bread, drenched in butter and sugar. And at just 8 Baht (R4) it was worth having more than 1 slice.

A cheap as chips Thai iced tea with lots of ice is a must when you are meandering through the market.

If the heat gets to you quickly, try visiting the market at night –  a busy food hub for both locals and tourists.

ALSO READ: Thai recipes you must try

Maeklong Railway Market

The railway market is probably one of the most Instagrammable markets in Thailand. This unique market is held on the rail tracks and vendors have to pack up their stalls 6 times a day for the passing train.

You will find similar vendors here to the vendors at Chinatown, but the experience is fun and vibrant.

Just a note – don’t wear flip flops when visiting this market. Due to the market being on the actual railway, and hordes of people, it makes it a bit more difficult to move around. But once your feet get tired, grab a seat at the nearest restaurant and enjoy fresh coconut water while you watch the train and tourists go by.

Amphawa Chaipattana Nurak

Although not technically a market, this royal project under the initiative of Her Royal Highness Princess Mahachakri Sirindorn is aimed to carry on Thai folk wisdom and to preserve the life of the Amphawa people.

There are lots to see, shop and do here. I enjoyed chatting to the locals and learning more about the day-to-day lives of the Amphawa people. I also really enjoyed sitting down with some of the locals and experiencing more of their craft. I learnt to make interesting figures from coconut leaves and got to paint some beautiful ceramics. Despite the language barrier, it was a wonderful time, and I still have the beautiful fish I folded hanging in my baby’s room.

For hungry travellers, there are several fresh food stalls with friendly locals cooking up the most fragrant dishes.

One thing I noticed while in Thailand is that the Thai people take their food very seriously and are constantly snacking (or maybe it was my guide and I – haha). This meant that everywhere you turned, there was a vendor selling something yummy.

Tha Kha floating market

Bangkok is surrounded by several canals, which makes its floating markets quite popular. The Tha Kha floating market is a much smaller market, but it offers a unique experience because you can float through the market on a traditional long-tail boat.

Here, several vendors cook and sell food directly from their boats. There are also many vendors selling adorable touristy products at very affordable prices.

It’s also at this floating market where I paid only R9 for the BIGGEST Thai iced tea (1L).

Make sure you wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to avoid sunburn on the water.

Thana/Nahkon Chaisri Market

My guide and I visited the Thana market one night after dinner and it was an experience I would never forget. The river rose and flooded the market, but that didn’t stop me. I simply took of my flip flops and merrily walked barefoot around the market.

Later on, we got on a boat to see if we can find fireflies (around R75 per person). If you are a romantic at heart, this is the perfect thing to do with your partner. About 40 minutes into the hour-long boat ride, we spotted our first fireflies and the whole boat went quiet. For the next 15 minutes, we were all sitting in awe at the beautiful, flickering lights moving between the trees.

Along the river, you can see several grand temples and you might spot a few locals sitting outside enjoying each other’s’ company.

Once we got off the boat, the market was no longer flooded and we opted for a few delicious snacks as we made our way to the car.

If you’re interested in visiting markets on your next trip to Thailand, then definably add these to your list.

Written by Imka Webb

Contact the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Johannesburg representative office on tel: (011) 463 8195 or email: nick@lscpr.co.za.

Contact Marmalade Toast on info@marmaladetoast.co.za for assistance with your tailor-made package to Amazing Thailand.

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