1. It’s one of Thailand’s oldest floating markets – The History
Back in the day, the agricultural community of Amphawa used the river as their daily trading hub, and many wooden houses were built along this river to make it easier for the people to trade and transport by boat.
These canals, which run through the Maeklong River, are still used today, which is awesome in my opinion, and although it is not the people’s only way of income nowadays, the natural culture and tradition of the market are still carried to today’s floating market.
2. Indulge your foodie senses, especially the seafood and local snacks – Eat Local
Now this market is superrr local, but that’s the beauty of it; experiencing bursts of local flavours, so expect a LOT of seafood, boat noodles, as well as really local Thai desserts.
The fish is fresh, the prawns, crab, squid, oysters and scallops are really delicious, and you have to try the fish cakes in a sticky, sweet, hot sauce (so look out for them).
The desserts are a treat too. Dumplings in coconut cream, caramelised crisps, egg yolk fudge balls cooked in syrup and delicious coconut ice-cream!
Apart from all the local restaurants, seafood and traditional Thai dishes, there is also an abundance of yummy snacky things from red corn on the cob, soup packs made with banana leaves (and also on-the-go), traditional salads filled with all sorts of crunchy bit in takeaway bowls, as well deep fried crispy, crunchy shrimp bowls!
PS: They’ve also got the usual Pad Thais, grilled chicken and steaks, papaya salads, etc if seafood just isn’t your thing, and if you’d prefer food you’re familiar with!
3. Visit a 19th-century museum – King Rama II Memorial Park
Showcasing the people’s way of lives, this little museum can be found along the riverbank at the King Rama Memorial Park and is set up to reflect the traditional Thai houses.
It’s filled with antiques and rare Thai books from the early 19th century, and visitors can learn about the history of the Thai boats too.
4. And of course, what’s a market without a little… – Shopping!
Like any market in Thailand there’s always a bit of shopping to be done, and at this one, you can expect to see a lot of unique trinkets, gifts, products and arts, and mostly everything here is handmade (which we just love!).
Shops filled with illustrated scatter cushions and keyrings, tiny handmade wooden puppet figurines that you can control (nostalgic or what!? I used to play with these as a kid!), handmade dream-catchers, crystals and chimes, wire jewellery and natural, herbal soaps, creams and oils!
You can also get your very own portrait drawn for you by a very talented artist on the spot. His other works, showcased in frames and on postcards, is really beautiful too, with a little bit of fun and funk in there too.
Everything in here from the hand-painted calendars to paintings in white-washed frames could be an awesome idea for a gift, as it’s something super special and unique.
5. Stay in a beautiful Thai-style treehouse or live in old-world glam – Amphawa Club, Chuchai Buri Sri Amphawa
We’ve also found the most gorgeous places for you to stay in the area, in case you were wanting to spend the night. Take up rest literally in the trees, in a treehouse (or cottage bungalow) done in gorgeous dark Thai woods and stained glass windows. Amphawa Club is so pretty!
They’ve got a pool, perfect to escape the heat of the day, and each room has a patio/balcony that overlooks the river. Simply and naturally beautiful, and perfect for a night’s escape.
If you’re not into treehouses, flip the switch 360º and indulge in a little comfort. Chuchai Buri feels like a Roman/English palace, decked in marble floors, deep woods, and gold touches here, there and everywhere!
I love the furniture in these rooms and the splashes of colour dancing off Impressionist art pieces hanging on the walls.
There are also bungalow-style units around the swimming pool to stay in, less glam but still super comfy. Oh yeah and the food here looks divineeee! Like seriously! And they also offer a little high tea!
Amphawa Club Resort
Rate:2232 Baht / USD $67.90 (for Treehouse Upper Floor Waterside); 2523 Baht / USD $76.80 (for Water Side Suite) Address: 168, M. 11, Tambol Banprok, A. Mueng, Amphawa District, SM, Thailand (Coordinates here) Contact: +66 81 597 1888 Website
7. Quaint museum with little shops and a massage place – Ananchai Thai Boat Museum
This little museum is tucked away in a back alley of Amphawa, is absolutely awesome, and showcases an array of wooden traditional boats!
There are also a few shops with wood-crafters making these small traditional style wooden boats, which are gorgeous and make for wonderful souvenirs! And if you feel like a spot of relaxation, there’s also a little open massage spa for your convenience, so why not treat yourself?
8. See fireflies and experience the lifestyle of everyday local life – Take a Boat Tour
Time to hop onto a traditional Thai Longtail Boat and take a tour through the narrow canals and out onto the Maeklong river. Venture around luscious green mangroves, stilt houses, a Thai temple and tons of coconut trees – it’s so jungle-y.
I totally believe in magic, and so I really loved this experience as we caught views of the fireflies that look like glimmering, glittering little stars in the trees/bushes! (Or fairies).
You can find one of the many boats offering ‘Firefly Tours’ (which last about 45 mins – 1 hour), which will take you back out to the Maeklong to parts known for the glowing fireflies. Look to the cork trees and they’ll all be dancing around.
You can hire a private boat (500 Baht) or buy a single ticket on a shared boat (50 Baht). However, this does take a tad longer than the usual 1-hour tour, as you pick and drop along the way.
Tip: Tours start after 7pm, so I would suggest only starting to look for a tour then.
Firefly Night Boat Tour
Price:60 – 80 Baht per person or 600 Baht for a private boat / approx. USD $1.80 – $2.44, $18.20 Opening hours: Friday – Sunday from 7pm
PS: If you’re keen on a boat tour, Klook’s Amphawa Day Tour (SGD $69) is one of the more convenient Amphawa tour packages around, and includes a train ride too.
9. See the temple in a tree – Wat Bang Kung
Did you just read that sentence twice? Well, it’s a beautiful truth and is just breathtaking, and if you ask me, is a true work of art. A temple hidden within the roots of a Banyan tree… Can you imagine??
It is said to have been built in the Ayutthaya in 1765, so you can just imagine all of the richness and stories it’s experienced.
The temple itself is small and simple, but with thanks to the emergence of both tree and temple, there’s a real natural beauty here and a feeling of sereneness.
Wat Bang Kung
Price:Free! Address: บ้านค่าย หมู่ที่ 4 Tambon Bang Kung, Amphoe Bang Khonthi, Chang Wat Samut Songkhram 75120, Thailand (Coordinates here) Opening hours: Daily from 7am to 5pm
10. Escape the city with a – Day/weekend trip to Amphawa
You’ll find this market by travelling a little out of BKK city, and the market really gets going in the late afternoon. A lot more stalls open at night and there’s a special feeling in the air, so why not spend a night here?
The market itself is also a good 50 km long!!! So you’re definitely going to need more than a few hours trying to cover any ground here.
There are also a few other smaller markets around such as the Noi Floating Market: a little ancient market full of charm and visitors can experience canalside lifestyles in the morning.
It’s also a lot less of a hassle and cheaper than Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, and lot of people of toss-up between the two Floating markets, but our favourite is Amphawa. The traders don’t haggle you as much and the area of the market is really pretty and tranquil.
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I live to travel and I travel to live. I'm a traveling Gypsy with a passion for the English word, being inspired daily by the different cultures and colours, scents and scenic overloads, sensory explosions and mind-awakening experiences. The ones that take your breathe away. Walking along the earth, one country at a time, it's what I live for; a life full of adventure, sharing my thoughts and experiences through literature