Amphawa is the second most popular floating market near Bangkok. It’s not as large as Damnoen Saduak but it’s more authentic, with visitors almost exclusively Thai. Located 50 km from Bangkok, this once small village has apparently been around since the mid-17th century. It’s become such a magnet for Thai weekenders that food stalls have grown from the riverbanks and stretched far into the surrounding streets.
The main draw is, of course, eating seafood grilled precariously on wooden boats moored around the famous central bridge, serving an appetizing array of huge prawns, shellfish and squid. From noon until late in the evening, the smell is simply irresistible and customers flock to each side of the river all day long.
- Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Tour
- Banyan Tree's Apsara Dinner Cruise
- Vertigo & Moon Bar Rooftop Dining
- Ayutthaya Ancient Capital Tour with River Cruise
- Shangri-La Hotel's Buffet Dinner Cruise
- Bridge on the River Kwai & Historic Railway Tour
- Siam Niramit Dinner Show
- Calypso Bangkok Cabaret Show
- Chao Phraya River Dinner Cruise
- Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha Half-Day Tour
Seafood at Amphawa Floating Market
Seafood prices are what you’d expect at floating markets: according to weight, but to give you an idea, 5 large prawns usually cost 300 baht. Customers perch on rows of narrow steps leading down to the water and food is brought directly from the boats onto really tiny tables.
If you don't feel like sitting on a concrete ledge very close to brownish waters, walk a bit further from the bridge to find restaurants with real tables and chairs. Even better, try to get a seat on the balcony of the restaurant next to the bridge – it's the only one around – but you might have to wait a bit or come early. The nicest and most quiet restaurant is located at the very end of the boardwalk where the canal meets the Mae Khlong River.
Shopping and snacking at Amphawa
All along each side of the canal, old charming wooden shops sell Amphawa souvenirs, from the obvious T-shirt to some more interesting creations. And of course lots of sweets, snacks and ice cream – Thai people have a very sweet tooth and a passion for nibbling all day.
In all streets radiating from the market you can find an incredible array of local food sold from small carts during the weekend only. Most food looks familiar but some really look unusual or even funny, from ice cream sandwiches to alien-looking helmet crab egg salad known as Yum Magda Talay.
Cruise the Mae Khlong by longtail boat
Once you have had enough walking (or trying to walk) around Amphawa, it's time to take one of the many longtail boats and explore the surrounding canals and rivers. It's not as impressive as the Bangkok Khlongs but it's always good fun, and after the heat of the market the breeze from the river is a welcome relief.
There are tours available from the many counters found around the bridge: the temple tour and the island tour. Both usually cost 50 baht per person for joined tours and 500 baht for a private boat. 50 baht appears cheap but the tour tends to last a lot longer as the boat has to wait to be full to leave and then wait for all passengers at each stop.
Discover Wat Bang Koong Temple
On the other side of the Mae Khlong River, Amphawa hides a surprising temple called Wat Bang Koong, which you definitely shouldn't miss if you came all the way from Bangkok. The boat takes you first to a couple of temples, which are rather small but each having their own personalities such as surprisingly large golden seated buddhas, tall chedis and even small museum houses. It's not all that impressive but it can be a good change from the crowds at Amphawa.
Built in the middle of nowhere, Wat Bang Koong alone is worth the trip to Amphawa. Of course, kids and teenagers love the wacky mini zoo set on the temple grounds – a camel, an ostrich, a dozen deer and a group of boars, a couple of naughty goats and 2 beautiful peacocks happily doing what they do best: parading around and showing off their colourful feathers to ecstatic photographers.
It's hard to believe but some people come all the way here and miss entirely the magnificent temple located a hundred metres from the river... Just like a scene that’s directly out of an Indiana Jones movie, a whole temple entangled in the roots of an immense tree, similar to what you see around Angkor Wat – not just partially covered, but literally swallowed.
Only the door and the 6 windows are free from roots. The temple is not abandoned nor neglected. Far from that... queues of devotees permanently walk in and out to pay respect to the golden Buddha seated inside the temple.
Good to know about Amphawa Floating Market
Amphawa is definitely the most attractive of all floating markets near Bangkok. It has retained its authenticity and barely on every tourist map. But Bangkokians love this place so much that past noon, it becomes almost impossible to walk through. The best way to enjoy Amphawa is to come before 10am and leave soon after lunch.
Amphawa Floating Market
- Opening Hours: Friday–Sunday from 11am to 9.30pm (closed Monday–Thursday)
- Location: Amphawa, Samut Songkhram 75110, Thailand