Amphawa Floating Market has become one of the most popular floating markets in Thailand, thanks to its amazing variety of food and the fact that its neighbour floating market got too touristy. In this article, we give you all the information you need to enjoy Amphawa Floating Market to the fullest.
A brief history of Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa Floating Market is located around one hundred kilometres southwest of Bangkok. Because of this, the Amphawa Floating Market is perfect for a day trip. Amphawa Floating Market used to be a local market where locals near Amphawa traded their goods by boat, as this was the most convenient way of transport. Where its neighbour Damnoen Saduak Floating Market connects three provinces for training goods, at Amphawa Floating Market, only the province Samut Songkhram used this market. Because of this, the Amphawa Floating Market was much smaller and undiscovered for a long time for the majority of its visitors. Amphawa Floating Market has a more rustic atmosphere and you will have more of a feeling about how local people at Amphawa live.
Amphawa Floating Market in the early morning
Nowadays, Amphawa Floating Market has become a hugely popular day-trip destination for both tourist, locals and Bangkokians. Although it’s named as a floating market, the vast majority of its vendors are located on the mainland. There are a few canoes selling food, but compared to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, it does not really feel like a floating market. There are several boats that take you on a boat tour through the canals and rivers to give you a good view on how and where locals live, though. With that being said, Amphawa Floating Market is still one of the best floating markets to visit and the main reason for visiting Amphawa Floating Market is the food.
Amphawa Floating Market, view from the bridge.
The iconic bridge of Amphawa Floating Market
The authentic atmosphere of Amphawa Floating Market
Plenty to shop at Amphawa Floating Market as well.
The food at Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa Floating Market is an amazing place for food. Where its neighbour Damnoen Saduak mostly sell souvenirs, Amphawa Floating Market is the place to get your stomach stuffed with deliciousness. The market packed with vendors selling all sorts of authentic Thai desserts. I strongly recommend you to try a few of these delicious treats. These desserts are cheap and tasty. The majority of these desserts are coconut-based or egg-yolk-based. It’s not difficult to find these vendors as you walk past by it almost immediately when you enter the market.
Amphawa Floating Market is known for the wide variety of Thai desserts.
For a larger appetite and budget, there are several restaurants serving fresh seafood. From grilled squid to complete fried snappers, they sell basically everything. During our second visit, we went for the grilled river prawns. For 650 THB, you have a large plate of straight-from-the-grill prawns served with spicy seafood dipping sauce. An absolute treat and highly recommended! If you still have room, there are several coconut ice cream vendors located next to the canal, which is deliciously refreshing!
Amphawa Floating Market is also known for fresh seafood.
This large plate of freshly grilled river prawns cost you 650 THB.
Still room for some coconut ice cream?
What other things to do at Amphawa Floating Market
1. Take a boat tour
While the majority of its visitors will walk around the market hunting for food, there are a few other activities that are recommended at Amphawa Floating Market. One of them is the earlier-mentioned boat tour. For 50 THB per person, you go on a group boat tour around Amphawa Floating Market that will take you to three nearby temples and cruises through the river and canals to see local life. The last temple you visit is Wat Bang Koong, a true highlight. In the next paragraph, more information about this old temple will follow.
The boat tour takes you to temples and into the canals.
2. Visit Wat Bang Koong
For those who are not interested in a boat tour, I would still highly recommend visiting Wat Bang Koong, which is located around two kilometres north of Amphawa Floating Market. This small and simple temple used to be an army stronghold during the Ayutthaya Kingdom and successfully fought back the Burmese army. Later, this stronghold transformed into a temple. Nowadays, the temple and the buildings around the temple are being used as a memorial for those who fought back the Burmese army successfully. That includes a statue of General Taksin who would become King Taksin after the defeat of the Burmese. What makes Wat Bang Koong so beautiful is that the temple is indeed simple, but the several Bayan trees grew around the building, giving it an Angkor-Wat-themed-look. Inside the small temple, you will find a beautiful golden Buddha statue.
The entrance of Wat Bang Koong
The Buddha statue inside Wat Bang Koong.
Wat Bang Koong
Wat Bang Koong
3. Take a fireflies tour in the evening
While the majority of its visitors will take a boat tour during the day, in the evening there are special boat tours available to see fireflies at trees close to the river. One hour after sunset, these tours start leaving. The best time to see these fireflies is during the raining season and when the moon is not at its brightest. You can book a private boat for 1,500 THB which has room for six people. There is one disadvantage though: as Amphawa Floating Market get extremely crowded after twelve o’clock in the afternoon, we always strongly recommend to visit Damnoen Saduak and Amphawa Floating Market as early as possible. If you want to see the fireflies as well, it means you have to be near Amphawa Floating Market the whole day, which is kind of absurd. You will most likely spend 2 hours at Amphawa Floating Market.
4. Visit the Mae Klong Railway Market
Around eight kilometres southeast from Amphawa Floating Market, you can find the Mae Khlong Railway Market. This is just a local market where you can find all sorts of local ingredients. This does not seem that exciting but during the day, trains will drive through the market as the vendors build their market literally on the train tracks. In order to get the train through the market, vendors have to pack everything as quick as possible. This fascinating phenomenon is fun to watch for tourists. In order to see this event, make sure to be at the market before 06:20, 08:30, 09:00, 11:10, 11:30, 14:30, 15:30 or 17:40.
Mae Klong Railway Market
Mae Klong Railway Market
5. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Although you might have heard that the oldest floating market in Thailand is too touristy, it is in my opinion definitely worth the visit. As you will take a boat to explore the market, it is much more a floating market than Amphawa Floating Market. Both Damnoen Saduak as Amphawa Floating Market will get extremely busy during the day. I cannot stress this enough but make sure you visit these markets as early as possible. My advice is to visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market at six in the morning and once you are done, visit Amphawa Floating Market. For more information, check out the in-depth article about Why Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is still worth the visit.
Where is Amphawa Floating Market located?
Amphawa Floating Market is located in the Samut Songkhram province around one hundred kilometres southeast from Bangkok, next to the Mae Khlong River. As Amphawa Floating Market is located close to Damnoen Saduak, it’s perfect to combine these to popular floating markets during your day trip.
How to get to Amphawa Floating Market?
You can take a minivan from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok. It costs you 150 THB and in around one and a half hours you will arrive at Amphawa Floating Market. With that being said, I strongly advise getting there by car to arrive as early as possible. Preferably visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market first, to avoid toxic fumes from the motorized boats and the crowds. In case you are not able to get there this early, take into consideration that there are hotels and hostels available near the floating markets.
My overall verdict of Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa Floating Market is absolutely one of the best floating markets in Thailand and therefore a must-visit. The market is great for food, especially for fresh seafood and Thai desserts. My advice is to get here by car, either by renting a car or hire a private van. Then, you can visit the oldest floating market, Damnoen Saduak, first and as early as possible. Once you are finished, head over to Amphawa Floating Market and enjoy the not-crowded-yet market with plenty of food. On your way back, head towards the Mae Khlong Railway Market and afterwards, you can head back to Bangkok. If you do want to see the fireflies, I recommend you to stay somewhere near Amphawa in one of the hotel or hostels.