Bangkok and the surrounding provinces offer plenty of choice when it comes to floating markets – which is just as well, because a visit to one is on the agenda of most tourists passing through Bangkok. Don Wai is one such market that’s well worth a look, especially for keen foodies.
Located in Nakhon Pathom province to the west of Bangkok, Don Wai floating market might not have grannies touting noodles from precarious-looking boats on the canal like those at Damnoen Saduak and other floating markets frequently shown on postcards and in tourism literature – but it’s packed with plenty of great food, and the fact that it’s open seven days a week is a real bonus (though be warned that it gets very busy on weekend lunchtimes).
This is a market that’s somewhat off the tourism radar, meaning you’re likely to encounter few foreigners shopping here – there’s a much more local feel, with predominantly Thai visitors. The market itself sits along the Tha Jeen river, and it’s been running for more than a century but has spiked in popularity with the revival of a number of floating markets in the last couple of decades.
Don Wai floating market is a haven of both fresh produce and prepared meals and snacks – but, unlike some other floating markets in and around Bangkok, these foods are primarily intended for taking home, since there’s little space to sit and eat around the market stalls themselves. But a number of established restaurants sit alongside the Tha Jeen river, affording pleasant views, and serve up a good selection of seafood-heavy dishes.
Once you’re done with all the shopping and you’ve stuffed yourself silly with great food, you can settle in for an inexpensive boat ride that takes in a number of sights along the Tha Jeen river. There are a number of departures throughout the day – both on weekdays and, more frequently, at weekends – and trips of between one and two hours cost from around 80 up to 120 baht per person. Instead of having lunch at one of the land-based sit-down restaurants, a popular option is to fill your bags with ready-to-eat meals from the stalls around the market and then take it on board to eat on the boat, which often have tables to sit at.
The one downside to Don Wai floating market, which lies in Nakhon Pathom’s Sam Phran district, is that it is trickier than others to get to. Reaching the market from downtown Bangkok involves travelling to Nakhon Pathom by bus or van from the Sai Tai Mai southern bus station, or by train from Hualamphong station, and then switching to local transport. It’s more convenient to make the whole trip by metered taxi – the journey only takes around 40 minutes, and shouldn’t cost much more than around 400 baht.
Better yet – have Expique take you to Don Wai or any of the other floating markets in and around Bangkok! If you’re interested in a custom tour, just click here for more details.
Have you been to Don Wai floating market? Let us know in the comments what you thought of it!
Photos by Paul_the_Seeker; wise_kwai; Hdamm via Wikimedia Commons