If you’re looking for a floating market in Bangkok that’s a little off the beaten path, and offers something slightly different from the rest, then Khlong Lat Mayom could be what you’ve been searching for. Located in the outskirts of Bangkok’s Thonburi district on the opposite side of the Chao Phraya river from most of Bangkok’s tourist draws – and yet a surprisingly quick and easy ride from downtown – Khlong Lat Mayom floating market is a slice of quiet, residential Bangkok that should absolutely be on your itinerary.
The floating market takes its name from the word ‘mayom’, Thai for the star gooseberry fruit. While you might struggle to track any down in the market’s immediate surrounds, on arrival here you can’t help but notice that you are a long way from the skyscraper condominiums and shopping malls of central Bangkok. Instead, Khlong Lat Mayom floating market is set astride what in the week is likely a pretty quiet country lane – but which of a weekend becomes a pretty busy thoroughfare of its own, as hundreds of savvy Bangkokians descend for quality fruit, vegetables and ready-made foods and a breath of fresh air.
Khlong Lat Mayom is not the picture-perfect line-up of Instagram-ready longtail boats weaving their way along a canal, conical-hatted toothless grannies pretending to trade fresh foods but in reality doing nothing more than participate in a waterborne traffic jam for the benefit of snap-happy tourists. If that’s what you are after – and by all means, the photo opportunities can be worth it – then somewhere like Damnoen Saduak is where you ought to be headed. Khlong Lat Mayom, on the other hand, is firmly squared towards not even Thai tourists, but locals looking for a day out to pick up something tasty to bring home.
Prepared food is truly the order of the day here, and a substantial portion of the market is given over to stalls touting dishes from across Thailand – southern khao mok gai chicken biryani, northern khao soi curried noodles and fiery northeastern somtum papaya salads among them, plus many more. Of course, like every floating market there is also a heavy focus on freshly grilled and steamed seafood – crabs, prawns, clams, squid, you name it – and visitors to Khlong Lat Mayom come knowing full well that the market’s seafood is a lot cheaper than most. You are also spoilt for choice here by way of Thai desserts – including luk chup, Thai-style marzipan sweets that we try on our Diversity and Harmony walking tour – plus palm sugar juice served in your own take-home bamboo tube cup, and coffees in a cute, more sit-down café too.
There are a few stalls selling locally-made homewares and handicrafts, including some quirky photo postcards and magnets that are just about the only nod to tourism, while activities include cheap Thai massage, cheaper still longtail boat rides around the immediately surrounding canals (as in 20 baht per person – a steal!) and even horse riding. Depending on when you visit, classes including pot throwing and plaster model painting are also offered.
All of this aside, one of the best ways to explore and enjoy Khlong Lat Mayom can be to just wander – a short stroll outside the centre of the market and you are reminded of just how contrasted the area is to downtown Bangkok. Modest wooden houses sit charmingly right on the edge of the canal and make for a pleasant walk along the water’s edge. Khlong Lat Mayom is the perfect place to recharge your Bangkok batteries after you’ve worn yourself out with everything else the city has to offer.
To get here, either take a taxi from downtown Bangkok (the market’s name in Thai is talat nam Khlong Lat Mayom) – expect a metered fare of around 200-300 baht each way depending on whereabouts you are coming from – or take the BTS to Wongwian Yai, the nearest station, and then a taxi from there for around 100 baht. Alternatively, take orange air-con bus number 511 from Sukhumvit Road, Central World or Ratchadamnoen Avenue near Khaosan Road (the bus passes all three of these locations) to Taling Chan floating market, itself worth exploring, for around 20-30 baht. Once you’ve had a quick wander around Taling Chan floating market, jump on a songthaew share taxi outside the market (and heading in the same direction as the bus you arrived on) – the one you want is red but with a white signboard above the driver’s cab. The destination name is written in Thai only, but either the driver or other passengers will be able to nod or shake their heads to ‘talat nam Khlong Lat Mayom’. The flat fare is 7 baht and the songthaew runs in the opposite direction too, back to Taling Chan floating market, if you’re not so exhausted after several rounds of the market that you want to take a cab back.
If you want to go with a local guide to this or any other floating markets in Bangkok or the surrounding areas, then we can arrange a custom tour for you combining markets, food and a little adventure. Find out more about our private and custom tours.