When we talk about floating market in Bangkok (or in the vicinity of the city) we all think of the famous market of Damnoen Saduak . Although I am sure that this market is worth a visit, sometimes these places so iconic (and therefore very touristy) I get hives ... So, this time I decided to leave this market aside and, following the advice of Mundo Nómada , we We went to Amphawa, a floating market very popular among Thais .

The Amphawa floating market, unlike that of Damnoen Saduak, can only be seen on weekends, so if your stay in Bangkok does not coincide with it, there is no possibility to see it. In my case, the fortune took me to spend the weekend in Bangkok and to take advantage of Sunday afternoon to visit the town of Amphawa. Amphawa is located about 80 kilometers from Bangkok and its market although tourist attracts fewer Western tourists than others. That was my reason to visit, avoid the masses of tourists and souvenirson every step. Although I must say that Amphawa is a tourist city, as is its market, do not be fooled. On both sides of the canal restaurants alternate with souvenir shops, and the market that is mounted at the entrance to the city is full of sweets and typical food, but also the occasional T-shirt and souvenirs of the city.

The market, in the strictest sense of the word, is not floating. The boats that pile up on the banks of the Amphawa canal do not sell fruit or vegetables ... but neither souvenirs , they are authentic floating restaurants! And if in Bangkok I was already surprised by the amount of food stalls that were on the street, the Amphawa thing was a hundred laps, it was a small boat market where everything is cooked... fish, noodles, pancakes, whatever you want. We arrived in Amphawa around noon, although the best time to see the market is in the evening, because the heat is not so overwhelming and the lights that decorate each store give the place a little Christmas, but with lots of charm To make time we stopped at a small massage center next to the canal. For a foot reflexology massage of 45 minutes we paid 150 bats ... a real joy.

If you arrive early, before some tour groups arrive, you can get on a boat to explore the river. On weekends, there are usually more people, you can take a boat shared by 50 Bats per person (that's what we did) and that offers a one-hour route along the river. If you have decided to visit Amphawa outside the weekend or prefer to have more time to enjoy the river and its surroundings you can hire a route of 2 or 3 hours, in a private boat, although of course, the price rises exponentially. The best thing is to take the boat in the middle of the afternoon, so that when you return it is already getting dark and when you arrive in the city center you will be greeted by the tinkling lights of the food stalls and shops that stick their noses in the canal, an ideal time for your taste buds to wake up to the aroma of the dishes that are cooked in the small boats.

How to get to Amphawa

Like all floating markets you can get to Amphawa on an organized excursion , it is sure that it will not take you any work to organize it, although you will pay much more and you will lose the possibility of visiting the market at your own pace. A quick way to get in by van . We did it like that. The vans, with air conditioning and very modern, depart from Bangkok several times a day. We left without a planned schedule to the Victory Monument in Bangkok , where all these vans stopped, but then we could not find a single sign in English ... thank goodness that after asking a couple of times to other vans and an information man we managed to find them . For those who decide to take a minivan, keep in mind that they are next to the Skytrain station and there is a small parapet where tickets are sold and where we could read the names of the destinations in English.

The most daring can follow the recommendations of the Lonely Planet guide , take public transport in Bangkok to the Wong Wian Yai train station. There you can get on a train to Samut Sakhon, then get off at Mae Klong , where you can see the famous market on the train tracks, and finally take a tuk tuk or get on the back of a van to get to Amphawa ( note : the minivans also stop at Mae Klong).

If you want to make a stop on your route to Amphawa to visit  Mae Klong , the marketplace on the train tracks , you have to buy your ticket with this destination at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, the van will then stop to get off at this small market enclave . You can take a leisurely stroll through the market and (with a bit of luck or calculating the schedules well) watch the train pass through the market. Then, around the corner you will find a service of public transport vans. If you ask them, they will tell you which of them reaches Amphawa.

Back from Amphawa to Bangkok you can get on another van , the stop is just crossing the main bridge of Amphawa (not the pedestrian but the one that has a road, separated by only a few meters), which has no loss. You will want to cross it at sunset to have a view of the illuminated market, with its little boats rocking in the water and the agetreo of its people already disappearing in the night.

Author's Bio: 

Angelina is regular contributor at The Independent.