To really get the true feeling for the culture of Thailand, you must visit the Taling Chan floating market. Seriously. The tastes, smells, buzz and local community really give you a sense of what it’s like to live in SouthEast Asia not to mention the seemingly safe conditions to eat from.
After making some new friends through my CouchSurfing host that I met upon arriving in Bangkok, we spent a few days exploring the city and eventually found our way to Taling Chan; a more laid back market compared to that of Damnoen and Amphawa (Bangkok’s top two most touristy floating markets).
It was quite an interesting ride to get there but after jumping from taxis, tuk-tuk’s, some local pick-up truck and hitchhiking, the 5 of us eventually made it with great curiosity and extremely empty stomachs! Needless to say, the journey was well worth the trip and although it is quite empty outside, as soon as you walk through the “front door” you quickly find the buzz.
Taling Chan Floating Market
The entrance to the market from the road is quite small. You enter a door sized frame of vines that seems like it leads into an alleyway but quickly realize as the hanging roots from above massage your head that there is an entire little community inside. To the left, right and forward sat table after table of a variety of items like handmade purses, dresses, cloth and other ornaments you would find at a typical Asian market.
But what I was looking for sat in the back next to the canal: food. The variety of odd and delicious cuisine was way different than what your typical traveler would find. Here the food gave a distinct and almost locally erotic aroma, unlike anything I’ve ever confronted. Granted I was extremely hungry at the time but sampling different foods is always an erotic experience for me! 😉
Once I strolled past the stands and made it to where the food was homed, I found myself extremely shocked to see what variety was there. From fully cooked foods, to frozen fish and everything in between, this seemed like the perfect place to do your weekend shopping.
The vegetables were fresh & crisp, the fish so colorful they seemed like plastic ornaments to be hung on the wall in the living room and the cooked meats…well, I’ll just say that the smell they emitted was so good it would make you want to smack your grandma. 😛
And that was only the beginning of the market. The more you walk into it, the better it got. When we initially arrived, we thought all the food and hype was going to be on the water. This was far from the case.
Although there were fresh vegetables and a variety of meals available, I found them overpriced and not quite “up to par” compared to the stands found further within the heart of the market. For instance, one bag of grapes I purchased on the boat was 80 baht.
For a bag of the same size and quality, further within the market they were selling it for half that price. Between the odd and end animals they sold such as eels, prawn and horseshoe crab you could purchase a delicious dragon fruit smoothie or fried fish on a stick.
Overall visiting the floating market was quite an invigorating activity. I would think that anyone visiting Thailand must book a hotel in Bangkok, discover the city’s natural beauty, cultural attractions and attend a floating market on the weekend. That is the best way to get the full experience of what’s like to be in Southeast Asia and explore the fresh food, local buzz and friendly people operating the stands.
And although it wasn’t as popular as the Damnoen and Amphawa floating markets, I preferred and would recommend visiting Taling Chan because of its continuous chillaxed atmosphere and constant smiling faces.
Would you like to explore the Taling Chan floating market?