What Is A Floating Marketplace?

Vendors at a floating marketplace in Thailand.
Vendors at a floating marketplace in Thailand.

A floating marketplace is a method of selling goods which originated from the ancient times when water transportation played a significant role in the community. A floating market is a market where sellers sell their products on boats. Currently, most of the operating floating markets serve as tourist attractions mainly found in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.

What Are Some Of The Floating Markets In Thailand?

During ancient times, the regions adjacent to the rivers were the 1st places to be populated in Thailand. Therefore many villages were constructed on the river banks, and the waterway served as the primary transportation means and the economic center. In Thailand, the locals transported their produce from the producer to the market. Their ways of life along the riverside in chao-phraya river basin helped increase the floating markets. For centuries, floating marketplaces have been a hub of communities in Thailand. During the Ayutthaya era the adjoining canals helped popularize the floating market. In the Rattanakosin era these markets were always crowded, but as the region grew, Bangkok started constructing rail and roads networks instead of canals which resulted in people traveling via land. Therefore many of these markets were moved to the ground while other closed. Some of the floating markets in Thailand include:

1) Damnoen saduakLocated in damnoen saduak district, this is the most significant floating market in the country and quite famous among tourists. Damnoen-saduak market opens daily from 6:00 am to 11:00 am but the best time to do your shopping is early in the morning. The market is always crowded with buyers and sellers floating in small boats while selling their local food and products. It is an excellent place for tourists to enjoy the ancient traditional way of trading in Thailand.

2) Amphawa floating marketAmphawa is an evening market, but some sellers operate from noon. Although it is smaller than the Damnoen-Saduak market, the Amphawa is quite authentic and exclusive for the locals. Amphawa market runs from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm from Friday to Sunday. Because of the popularity of the market, it has extended beyond the river banks.

Floating Markets In Indonesia

In Indonesia, the floating markets are a collection of people selling numerous products on their boats. Initially these markets were created as a necessity for the Indonesians living near large rivers especially in towns near Sumatra and Kalimantan, however, with time, they became tourist attractions. Some of the markets promoted into the tourist itinerary are in Kalimantan like the Lok Baintain market and the Siring market situated in South Kalimantan.

What Are Some Of The Products Traded In Floating Markets?

The fruit and produce sold in the floating markets are grown in the local orchards. Some of these include an assortment of vegetables and tropical fruits including durian, coconut, star-fruits, pineapple, mango, rambutan, jackfruit, and bananas. Other traders prepare local dishes on the floating kitchens on their boats. Some of these recipes range from vegetarian dishes to Thai meat like traditional Thai desserts, boat noodles, and papaya salad.

What Are The Benefits Of The Floating Markets?

These markets play a crucial role in the tourist industry. They have helped to preserve and promote the heritage and cultural characteristics of floating markets which were created centuries ago. The increased number of tourist to these places has resulted in the construction of various amenities like roads and electricity which has helped the locals. These markets have improved the lives of many people by generating jobs.


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