The Khlong Lat Mayom Market is somewhat off the regular tourist trail. Whilst there were certainly some foreigners present, most of the visitors were Thais, enjoying a Sunday outing. The variety of cooked food that was available was amazing, and that’s what appeared to be drawing the locals to this venue.
I had planned to attend two floating markets today, Khlong Lat Mayom and the nearby (and larger) Taling Chan. As it turned out, I only had time to visit one. The Bangkok.com website lists several floating markets that are in and around Bangkok. The largest, and most touristy, is Damnoen Saduak but that is 80km outside the city and usually requires an early morning departure as part of a mini-bus tour to get there. Instead, I opted to visit a market that was closer to the city (within 20km), not as touristy, and accessible without signing up for a tour group.
To get to Lat Mayom, I took the BTS Skytrain’s Silom line to the last stop – Bang Wa station (the closest that the Skytrain can get you). The Skytrain takes about 30 minutes to get to Bang Wa from Siam Station. Once I arrived at Bang Wa, I got a taxi from outside the station that took me directly to Khlong Lat Mayom, for about 80 baht.
The largest part of the market is dedicated to cooked food, with vendors located throughout at least two adjacent sections, selling a wonderful variety of Thai food. There are several areas with tables and chairs where you can enjoy the delightful food. I had skipped breakfast and arrived at lunch time. There were so many food items that I wanted to try but my stomach can only hold so much.
With so many choices, it was hard to decide what to have for lunch. I opted for one of those (delicious) whole fish, with some (very spicy) papaya salad and some small crabs that had been deep fried in a batter. Very nice and very filling. As noted in the captions above, I also took a couple of other things home to eat later.
As Lat Mayom is advertised as a floating market, I looked for the vendors in small boats selling their products, but there were none to be seen. It isn’t really a floating market, it is really a land-based market located next to a khlong (canal).
There was a sign advertising 90-minute boat tours to ‘temple, floating market and orchid farm’ for 100 baht ($3). I paid up and waited for the start of the tour. The water in the khlong next to the market looked dirty, but it was teeming with catfish. In fact, they sell small loaves of bread that you can use to feed the catfish. After a wait of about 15 minutes, the longtail boat arrived and about 10 of us climbed aboard for the tour.
Our tour group was soon zipping along the khlongs in the longtail boat. It was interesting to see how the locals in this area live, alongside the khlongs. As we motored along, I saw a couple of water monitors and quite a few wild birds, including herons and storks.
Part way into the tour, we stopped at the Wat Saphan Floating Market, named after the Wat Saphon (temple) that was nearby. Despite the name, this small market gave no indication of having any floating component. But the 20-minute stop allowed time to visit the temple.
After we left Wat Saphon, we continued a journey through the khlongs. I expected a visit to the orchid farm but that never happened. We did cruise past several screened areas where orchids were being grown, but didn’t stop to see any. But, at $3 for a 90-minute tour, it would be hard to complain.
When the tour boat got back to the market, I had a brief look around the non-food section. Then I made the return journey by taxi and Skytrain.
So, the market didn’t live up to its billing as a floating market, but it was well worth a visit. The food was amazing. And the boat tour was interesting (and cheap). Overall, a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.