Looking for great finds and scoring great deals are one of our favorite ways to make travel mementos. In Thailand, for instance, great bargains are always in store with community stalls and night markets, a reason some travelers just keep coming back. From vintage items to local crafts and filling cuisine, Thailand’s shopping hotspots always have something unique in store for shopaholics.

Aside from night markets, stalls, bazaars & other shopping centers, another unique experience lets you score greats deals while giving you a charming glimpse of Thai life and culture: floating markets. Like stalls, bazaars, and other shopping destinations, floating markets let you score amazing deals on souvenirs and food. Only this time, you get to do these things or enjoy your food while rowing a boat down a canal.

A Shift To The Tide Of Time

For an added dose of seeing history come to life, most of these floating markets maintain their look from as far back as 100 years. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi, one of Thailand’s most popular floating markets, lets you explore 32-kilometer long canal with more than 200 branches. In the 1970s, this floating market became increasingly popular when farmers started rowing down the canal to sell their produce. Today, farmers continue to row and sell at this floating market and when you had the chance to visit, you can get their produce to support their livelihood.

For lovers of Thai cuisine, you can have a gastronomic adventure while relishing the old world feel of the Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkhram. Among the treats you can enjoy here are seafood and desserts while you marvel at traditional Thai houses and antiques from 19th-century Siam. The floating market also leads you to other destinations like Wat Bang Kung, a temple whose main attraction is a seated Buddha adorned in gold leaves. At night, you can arrange a boat trip and see fireflies in cork trees.

Some destinations in Thailand take pride for letting you experience the entire country in one place. The Pattaya Floating Market is one hotspot that offers this kind of experience. Aside from letting you have your fill of Thai cuisine and fruits, this floating market is also home to some art galleries and handicrafts shops, where you’re sure to get your art fix and some unique travel souvenirs. Other attractions here that would inspire your inner art junkie are the wood-carving museum, cultural performances, and the sunflower and agricultural demonstration fields for photography enthusiasts.

Bask In Nature

Though Bangkok is a city where the buzz of activity keeps going on, it also offers its own floating market experience, where you can immerse yourself in nature and have a quick respite from the busy life in the capital. Like the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, the Talingchan Floating Market or KlongChakpra lets you buy fruits in season, fish, and other food products sourced straight from gardens. Unlike other floating markets, where stalls are set up along the banks of the canal, all stalls in KlongChakpra are on boats so you really have to row your way around to shop for goodies.

Another floating market in Bangkok that’s worth your visit is the Khlong Lat Mayom Floating Market, where you can buy some unique plants and know how the gardeners that raised them lived a life that’s one with nature. This floating market is also a must-visit destination for a gastronomic adventure, where you can indulge in noodle soups, Pad Thai, a cold rice vermicelli called Kanom Jeen, and an oyster omelet called Hoi Tod.

If you want to have more fill of Thai cuisine, another must-visit floating market is Bang Nam Pheung in Samut Prakan province, which is found in a loop of the Chao Phraya river called the “Green Lung of Bangkok. Instead of enjoying seafood or noodle soups in a busy street, here you can enjoy them by the riverbanks. Bang Nam Pheung also lets you buy and try unusual fruits like Fak Kao, a spiky orange fruit that actually belongs to the pumpkin family.

These are some of the floating markets that can get you started for an unforgettable experience of the Land of Smiles. If you want to make the most of these shopping sprees, you might as well bring a big bag or two for your finds. It also matters to observe safety precautions like bringing sun and rain protection or wearing comfortable clothing. That way, you can have the best possible experience of scoring great deals, learning about culture, and appreciating Thailand’s natural wonders.

To know more about Thailand’s floating markets, visit www.tourismthailand.org, or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TATPhilippines.