Bangkok Day Trip: Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa Floating Market

Most people have a floating market on their ‘To Do’ list when visiting Thailand, especially Bangkok. While the most well known floating market is Damnoen Saduk, it has become overrun with tourists and scammers. For a more authentic floating market experience, the Amphawa Floating Market is your best bet.

The Market

The Amphawa Floating Market is located about 1.5 – 2 hours away from Bangkok depending on the traffic. Although it is technically open all week, it really comes alive on the weekends when local Thai people from Bangkok flock there for a bit of shopping and fresh seafood.

I visited on a Sunday afternoon and was not at all disappointed by my experience. It turned out to be a great affordable day trip to escape the city (though not the crowds!). There is plenty to see and do at the Amphawa Floating Market. Of course, I wandered along the canal where many shops are set up selling all kinds of things such as Amphawa souvenirs, clothing, food, and sweets. The market is not limited to the canal though, and stretches up side streets all around the town. In addition to shopping, you can also get a classic Thai massage, including one on a boat!

Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa Floating Market

Massages on a boat!

Massages on a boat!

Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa Floating Market

Amphawa Floating Market

The market gets super crowded

Amphawa Floating Market

The Food

Many of the locals from Bangkok who venture out to the Amphawa Floating Market are there to eat an amazing meal of fresh seafood! My visit was no different. When I arrived, I was pretty hungry after the long bus ride into town. I found a nice spot run by a local thai family right underneath the bridge that spans the canal. Many of the restaurants along the canal have tables and chairs right on the steps leading to the water, and this one was no different. They make a great place to rest, get some food, and take in the bustling market all around you. If you are looking for a quieter restaurant, there is one located right where the canal meets the Mae Klong River with great views of the long boats passing by.

I decided to go for a classic Thai dish for my lunch: Tom Yum soup with fresh river prawns. It came with basil, thai dried chili, a dumpling, noodles and loads of flavor. I gobbled it up as quickly as I could with my minimal chopstick skills – which gained the attention of the daughter of the chef who showed me the proper thai way to eat them. I am forever grateful to her for the trick of picking up the noodles with the chopsticks and placing them in the spoon for easy consumption. I washed down my soup with a fresh coconut, which complimented the hints of coconut in the soup perfectly. All this for just 70 Baht… around 2 bucks!

Tom Yum Soup with fresh river prawns

Tom Yum Soup with fresh river prawns

Fresh coconut

Fresh coconut

A meal wouldn’t be the same without dessert, right? The Thai’s are known for having a sweet tooth, so I am in heaven living in this country as I almost always need to finish my meals with just a little something sweet. As I wandered through the market, I stopped at a stall along the canal serving coconut ice cream: fresh coconut is added on top of the ice cream as well as condensed milk and peanuts. Yum, yum, yum! And only 35 baht!

Coconut Ice Cream

Coconut Ice Cream

Later that night, I sat at another restaurant along the canal to consume some more amazing seafood. This time I went with fresh scallops grilled on one of the river boats and served on a large green leaf. I ordered 8 scallops for 60 baht, and enjoyed opening them up one by one, picking up the scallop with my chopsticks and dipping it in the provided spicy sauce. I washed this down with a coke that ran me 15 baht.

Fresh grilled scallops

Fresh grilled scallops

And of course dessert: I stumbled across a dessert-only restaurant while wandering the market after dinner and stopped to grab one last bite. I opted for sweet bread drizzled with chocolate sauce. Perfect end to a day of great eating!

Dessert!

Dessert!

Longboat Rides

As you walk along the canal, a little Thai man will most likely ask you if you would like to take a boat ride. Your answer should be a resounding yes! These boat rides cost just 50 baht per person and last about 1.5 hours – that’s a lot of bang for your buck!

After grabbing my coconut ice cream, I hopped on one of these boats, excited to explore more of Amphawa by water. Once I paid my 50 baht and boarded, I patiently waited until the boat was full to begin the journey. The waiting didn’t last long – loads of people are eager to ride along as part of the floating market experience.

The boats take you along the Mae Klong river to several old temples, known as Wats to the Thai people. Each stop lasts around 15 minutes, enough time to glance around or provide offerings to Buddha. The final stop is the most exciting as there is a zoo attached to the famous Wat Bang Kung, and old temple that is completely encased in an old Banyan tree. Many people on my boat ride didn’t venture over toward it as it is a few hundred meters away from the zoo. Once you pass through the zoo, turn right and continue until you get to a main road. Cross the road and the Wat is directly across the street to the left. Definitely a must see if you make it there!

If visiting temples isn’t your cup of tea, you can opt for a nighttime firefly tour. The same boats take passengers out on the river to experience the blinking lights of the fireflies in the evening – a lovely sight! Prices may go up though – some of the signs advertise that night tours start at 60 baht.

Amphawa Floating Market

Temple stop on the boat ride

One of the many temple stops on the boat ride

Camel at the zoo near Wat Bang Kung

Camel at the zoo near Wat Bang Kung

Wat Bang Kung encased in a banyan tree

Wat Bang Kung encased in a banyan tree

Make it a Weekend Getaway

While the Amphawa Floating Market is an excellent day trip on its own, it is possible to combine your trip with the Mae Klong Train Market or even extend your visit by staying overnight. If you want a taste of the lifestyle in Amphawa, it is possible to book a homestay in advance.

The Mae Klong Train Market is only about a 5-10 minute drive from the Amphawa Floating Market. To visit, simply book a mini bus ticket there from Victory Monument in Bangkok (usually around 10 baht less than going to Amphawa), and spend some time wandering the market. When you are done, grab a taxi or tuktuk to the floating market nearby.

Booking a homestay in Amphawa is a popular choice on the weekends. It will cost around 1,000 baht (though there are some places cheaper and some more expensive). Check out some of the options below from travelfish.org if experiencing what life is like in the usually quiet fishing village tickles your fancy. One of the favorite options and main draws of those staying overnight is catching a glimpse of the monks gathering alms early in the morning.

Getting There and Back

** Update: As of October 25, 2016, all of the minivans at Victory Monument are relocated to the three bus terminals that service the city of Bangkok. As reported by the Bangkok Post:

“Passenger vans going to the North, the Northeast and Central Plains will be based at Mor Chit 2 Bus Terminal on Kamphaeng Phet Road; vans going to the South, and the West will leave from the Southern Bus Terminal in Pinklao area; vans heading to the East will depart from Ekkamai Bus Terminal on Sukhumvit Road.”

For vans to Amphawa, you must travel to the Southern Bus Terminal across the river, most easily reached by taxi. The city is providing shuttle buses from Victory Monument for the time being to the three bus stations.

They cost between 90 – 100 baht each way (I paid 90 on the way down and 100 on the way back) and drop you right down the street from the market. Buses run frequently from Victory Monument starting early in the morning. There is no real rush to get there super early, unless you do not like crowds, as the market really comes alive in the afternoon,  around 15:00 (3:00 PM).

I recommend buying your return ticket to Bangkok right when you arrive in Amphawa. The staff at the mini bus station will ask what time you would like to head back (buses leave every hour, on the hour) with the last bus leaving at 21:00 (9:00 PM). Getting your ticket ahead of time will ensure a spot, as the staff will write down the time and number of people in your party to expect.

Ticket to Amphawa

Ticket to Amphawa

Mini bus station near Victory Monument

Mini bus station near Victory Monument in Bangkok

Inside the bus

Inside the mini bus

Ticket back to Bangkok

Ticket back to Bangkok

Mini bus station in Amphawa

Mini bus station in Amphawa

Final Thoughts

If you want to visit a floating market, the Amphawa Floating Market is the one to see! This day trip is super affordable, and it is not at all necessary to book a tour. The cheapest one I found online was 850 baht per person, but you will spend way less on your own. Going without a tour will also give you a chance to explore the market at your own pace. Check out the breakdown of my total expenses for the day:

  • Ticket to Amphawa: 90 baht
  • Lunch (Tom Yum soup 50 baht, Coconut 20 baht): 70 baht
  • Coconut ice cream: 35 baht
  • Boat ride: 50 baht
  • Dinner (scallops 60 baht, coke 15 baht): 75 baht
  • Dessert: 25 baht
  • Ticket to Bangkok: 100 baht
  • Total for day trip: 445 baht (a little over $12!!!)

Super affordable, super fun, and a great way to experience Thai life and culture! Check it out!

Have you been to the Amphawa Floating Market? Share your experience in the comments!

46 Comments

  1. I really like your post about Amphawa floating market and i want to go there with my family on this sunday. Please show me how to come back Bangkok after firefly tour? What time is the last of return minivan? Can I combine the temples tour plus firefly tour with a boat?

    • When you get off the van in Amphawa, make sure to buy your return ticket at the bus stop. You will be able to pick what time you would like to return, and then you just have to make sure you are at the bus stop at the time you have chosen. The last bus leaves at 9:00 PM. The temple and firefly tour cannot be combined as the temple tour is held during the day and firefly tour is held after sunset. If you rent out your own boat, you may be able to time it so that you see the temples and return when the sun is setting, that way you get to do both! Enjoy the market!

  2. Hello Stella!

    Do you know what is the opening hours of Amphawan floating market?
    Thank you! 🙂

    • Hello! I believe the market starts around 12, but the best time to get there is between 2 PM and 3PM when it is really bustling!

  3. hi Stella,

    Can i know if Amphawa market open during weekdays as well?
    or it just open during weekend?

    Thanks 😀

      • Hi,
        I’m confused, in the post you said the market is technically it’s open all week? If I went Friday evening, will it be open? Unfortunately we will not be in Bangkok on a weekend.

        You said the last bus is at 9pm, but what time does the market close?

        Thank you!

        • My understanding is that during the week the market is technically ‘open,’ but many merchants and restaurants will not be. There may be some local fresh produce to purchase, but it won’t be the bustling market you are expecting or probably wanting to visit. I took the last bus and the market was winding down, although I cannot quote you an exact time that it ends.

  4. Great write up! Do you know the name of the bus you took from Bangkok to Amphawa Market? Want to know what to look out for. Thanks!

    • All of the mini vans have Thai writing on them, so I really couldn’t tell you, sorry! If you ask at any of the mini van counters near Victory Monument for ‘Amphawa’ they will direct you to the correct one. Once you buy your ticket, you just wait around until they tell you which bus to get on.

  5. Hi Stella, Thanks for sharing the detail with picture of getting to and back from Amphawa. This is really an awesome post.

  6. Hello Stella,
    finding people with a genuine curiosity about our world is already a gift but when such people take time to share their experience to help fellow travellers it is nothing short of a blessing.
    I just came back from a weekend in Bangkok and your guide has proved extremely valuable to us. Not only did you help us save a lot of money but as I was travelling there with 2 seniors your detailed instructions made the entire journey very easy for us.
    Many thanks!

  7. Stella, amphawa market is open on Friday? It is note clear if weekend includes Friday. We’d combine mae klong market with this one. Thanks

  8. Wonderful post, Stella!

    Do you happen to know if we can reach there earlier, say 9 am?

    • Thank you! It is definitely possible to get to the market earlier, but all of the stalls won’t be open until about midday or early afternoon.

  9. Good stuff Stella, I have stayed at the homestay Ruen Khun Yai Chuea for all of my visits and this is an impressive traditional homestay with a traditional thai massage on the 1st floor of the homestay. The aunties there are really skilful but do expect some pain as they have the habit of pressing the really painful knots they find in the body (-_-“).

    Amphawa have changed a lot over the years (visited at least once yearly since 2010). It is becoming more touristy now but still a good place to go. Next trip there do try out the pomelos which are famous in that area with season in Oct-Nov. Also do try out pawat somtum restaurant. You wouldn’t miss that as they have a big bbq setup along the walkway and a som tum prep counter beside it. They have the most fantastic seafood at affordable price. You can also rent a boat to take you to Thakla floating market which is a very local small floating market that sells alot of local produce. A whole different sight from Amphawa. Ampahwa is still my fav floating market in Thailand after all these years. Cheers!

    • Thanks for the suggestions! I plan on heading out that way again when I have visitors!

  10. Hi Stella,
    Thanks for this write up! It was extremely helpful!
    My only question is do you think it will be hard to find your way to Amphawa from Bangkok and back if you only speak English?

  11. Hi Stella, thank you for the detail post! however i saw from your post mentioning that they have relocated the mini vans to Southern Bus Terminal, but how about those mini vans to Maeklong Railway Market, are they relocated to the same bus terminal? Thanks!

    • It is the same bus so yes also relocated. The government decided there was too much traffic in Victory Monument and had all the mini van drivers go to the bus terminals. There are still shuttles from there to the bus terminal if that is easier for you! Enjoy!

  12. hi , i would like to ask about the mini van to amphawa . it is far to walk after get off from the sky train at victory monument and is the long boat ride will go to the wat bang kong ?

    • There is a shuttle bus at Victory Monument that will take you to the mini van. The government recently moved all the of mini van service to the bus stations. The shuttle should not be a far walk from the BTS. I am not positive if the long boat ride goes to that wat specifically, but it does stop at quite a few. You can ask the driver before getting in!

  13. My question is:
    Is it possible to visit the Mae Klong market and Amphawa if departing at 12 o clock mid day from bangkok as I would check in around 10:30 hs?
    Also, what enterprise did you book for the tour of fireflies?
    Thanks!

    • Yes you can definitely do both. And I didn’t book with a tour for the boat trip, just stopped by the banks with one of the boat drivers who was offering them. There are plenty of options to choose from since there are so many boats! I am sure all of them do the same basic tour.

  14. Stella, your advice was so helpful! My husband and I used your tips to spend a great day at Amphawa Market. As an update, there is a free shuttle from Victory Monument that will take travelers to the Southern Bus Terminal to pick up a minivan to Amphawa Market. The shuttle is free and direct from Victory Monument to the Southern Bus Terminal. Take the number 515 bus (orange-colored bus) at the end of the sky bridge once you depart BTS Victory Monument. Once you arrive at the Southern Bus Terminal, travelers can either take the shuttle directly to Amphawa, or you can do what we did and book transit to MaeKlong Market and then take a taxi-truck to Amphawa from there (8 baht, about 10 minute ride). MaeKlong has great food vendors and the railroad tracks run right through the center of the market – amazing! Once at Amphawa, we followed in your shoes and enjoyed the longboat ride for 50 baht, including the incredible banyan tree temple (Wat Bang Kung). We also had the grilled scallops that you recommended…among other amazing food choices like grilled river prawns, horseshoe crab roe salad, and grilled squid. What a great day and we wouldn’t have done it without your fantastic information!

    • Glad you had such a great day! Amphawa is really a gem so close to Bangkok. Thank you for the update on the transport!!

      • Hello Stella and others,
        1. How do we identify which mini vans offer a direct route to Amphawa Floating Market?

        2. For return route, are the mini vans located within the walking distance from the market?

        3. The shuttle bus we should use when we return still 515?

        • Hi Raymond,

          1) There should be signs at the bus station for the minivans. Look for one marked Amphawa. If not, ask someone.
          2) The vans leave from the same place they drop you off. It is about 5 minutes form the market.
          3) When I visited Amphawa, I did not have to take a shuttle bus to the bus station since the government was still allowing the vans to operate from Victory Monument. I would assume the shuttle bus would pick you up from the same place it dropped you off if you do take one to the bus station. If not, it should be relatively easy to get a taxi to wherever you are headed next.

          If anyone has been more recently, please share your experience!

  15. Hi Stella, I will be going to Bangkok in early June with 2 senior and 1 child and is planning to visit Amphawa floating market.Any idea if the free shuttle from Victory Monument to Southern Bus Terminal is still available? Also, where do I catch the shuttle from Victory Monument BTS station?

    • Hello Jessica! The government said the free shuttle would run indefinitely once they removed the vans. Shuttles to the northern and southern bus terminals leave form the northwest corner of the victory monument roundabout. If you are unsure, ask a Thai person where the shuttle to ‘Sai Tai’ is located and they should be able to direct you. There will be signs and the buses are orange. Enjoy Amphawa!

  16. Aloha Stella, Great advice!! So glad I found your blog about Amphawa Floating Market. We are planning our trip for February 2018,
    We also want to see the fireflies in the evening. Can you help with
    information with that.
    Mahalo

    • It’s really easy to find boats there that will take you out for the fireflies! Just ask any of the boat drivers along the river – many of them will approach you so you might not even have to ask.

  17. Hello Stella, your post was really helpful and I am glad that you updated the transportation to Amphawa. Now that the minivans have been relocated to the three bus terminals, do you know if travellers still purchase the return ticket to Bangkok from Amphawa? If so, are travellers able to purchase the return ticket to a different bus terminal that they came from? For example, depart Southern Bus Terminal in Pinklao area to Amphawa, and book return ticket to Ekkamai Bus Terminal on Sukhumvit Road.

    • The vans go to and from the same bus terminal. Yes, you can purchase your return ticket as soon as you arrive (which I recommend). Because Amphawa is located south of Bangkok, you will return to the Southern Bus Terminal.

  18. Hello Stella! I would like to share my experience getting to Amphawa Floating Market, hopefully it will help travelers planning to go there. I went to Amphawa on 23 September 2017 (Sat).

    1. SUKHUMVIT-DEMOCRACY MONUMENT
    Took a public bus (No. 511) from the place I was staying at Sukhumvit to the Democracy Monument (near Khao San) to have lunch, as it is on the way to Sai Tai Mai Southern Bus Terminal. However, we underestimated the delay of the Bangkok jam combined with road works and it took us 1.5 hours to reach the Democracy Monument. Passengers did not have to pay for bus fare but there was no air-conditioning on that bus, not ideal especially when you are stuck in traffic for such a long time.

    2. ‎DEMOCRACY MONUMENT-SAI TAI MAI SOUTHERN BUS TERMINAL
    After lunch, we took a 15 minute taxi ride to the bus terminal. Our taxi driver offered a return trip for 1,200 baht, but we turned him down as we wanted to take the minivan to Amphawa. If you wish to travel by taxi, I strongly recommend to book it within Bangkok city to make your time and money worth (refer to point 5).

    3. ‎SAI TAI MAI SOUTHERN BUS TERMINAL
    Walked through the other end and at the outdoor area of the terminal to find the ticketing counter to Amphawa, that is also the pick-up point for the minivan. One way ticket per person costs 70 baht. The bus terminal has a few eateries and shops.

    4. SAI TAI MAI SOUTHERN BUS TERMINAL-AMPHAWA
    We took the minivan scheduled to leave at 2:00pm (not sure about the number of intervals at which the minivan leave the terminal) and the ride took 1.5 hours.

    5. AMPHAWA FLOATING MARKET
    Once we alighted from the minivan, the staff stationed at the stop asked if we wanted to book a spot in the minivan to return to Sai Tai Mai Southern Bus Terminal. Strongly recommend to book a timing before exploring Amphawa. There are NO taxis that you can flag down around Amphawa, but the staff at the bus stop can help you book one. The taxi driver offered 1,500 baht as passengers had to pay for the driver’s trip to Amphawa and trip back to Bangkok city. We went on a Saturday and the last minivan was at 8:20pm. One way ticket per person costs 70 baht.

    THINGS TO TAKE NOTE:
    – If you intend to take public bus from Sai Tai Mai Southern Bus Terminal back to Bangkok city after returning from Amphawa, be sure to check the timing of the last bus at the bus terminal before leaving for Amphawa. Otherwise you may flag a taxi from there.
    – The earliest firefly tour starts 6:30pm and lasts 1 hour for 60 baht, just in time for the last minivan. There are a number of vendors offering firefly tours that set off at varying timings, there was one which had a last boat at 9:00pm. We were able to see the fireflies but it would have been more beautiful if the sky was darker and if there weren’t lights shining from the houses.
    – If you plan to take a Longboat Ride, sign up for the fireflies tour, and make it in time for the last minivan as well, I would recommend reaching Amphawa by 1:00pm to ensure you have sufficient time to shop around the entire market too.

    It was definitely a long and almost inconvenient ride to Amphawa (unless you take taxi), but the trip is definitely well worth it! Experience a different side of Bangkok, away from the bright lights and heavy traffic.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the update about leaving from the Southern Bus Terminal! It is truly appreciated and I hope other travelers take your advice!

        • You can definitely hire a van to pick you up. It probably makes the most sense to hire one in Bangkok and have the driver wait for you while you explore and ten bring you back when you are finished. If the bus times do not work for you, this is definitely another option. I would check with your accommodation about helping you to hire one.

  19. Is Amphawa floating market a better one to go to than Damnoensaduak? Also, what is a fair price of hiring a taxi from BK to Amphawa and have the driver wait and take us back to BK?

    • I think Amphawa is better because it is less touristy than the other one, so you can get a more authentic experience. Granted there are still tourists but it is nothing like Damnoen saduak. I wouldn’t pay more than 1000 baht for a private van and split it with your traveling mates.

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