Pattaya Floating Market
Thailand is known for it's floating markets and of course Pattaya also has one. It is a hot, sunny affair, but it will be worth your visit as you can find interesting local specialities like fried crocodile meat and handmade soaps and silk slippers. It's easy to walk the bridges and get around by foot, but if you want to make a day of it and do the tourist thing you can hire a boat and approach the market from the waters
By Belinda Wilson
As you come out of Pattaya and on to the Sukhumvit road in the direction of Sattahip, Rayong, you will pass Tesco Lotus, Macro and Underwater World on your right. Then “The Village” where there is a junction with Soi Chaiyapruek, Jomtien. Carry straight across these traffic lights a little further along the Sukhumvit, and you will shortly come to the Floating Market on your left.
It can be spotted by the number of coaches parked at the front, as this is a popular scheduled tourist destination and there are often hoards of organised visitors here. In fact if possible I would recommend that you plan your visit mid-week rather than at the weekend as many different nationalities visit this attraction: Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Russian to name a few. They are keen to get a flavour of Thailand, especially if only here for a short while as this purpose built floating market presents cultures and traditions from four main regions of Thailand - Northern, Southern, Central, and North Eastern. It gives a glimpse of how the people from these areas live, with local handicrafts and foods available to buy and try.
Take a boat along the canals
If you have a Thai Driving License or a Work permit – bring it with you and you will be allowed free entry, otherwise the cost is 200 baht per person, although parking is free.
You may also wish to bring a hat as you will be outside all day without the usual air conditioned places to escape. Although there are Thai style teak wood buildings to take shelter from, the sun really beats down on you as you cross over the bridges and walkways that link the network of small islands - even more so if you decide to take a boat along the canals and view the market from the waterways. However, a word of warning, if you do opt for a boat ride make sure that your children do not dip their hands into the filthy water as this is what really lets this attraction down. The pretty blue water illustrated in the sign outside will not be the water you see once you walk inside. A real shame as the buildings and vendors are charming enough, the prices really not unreasonable and it is certainly a fun place to wander around for a few hours perhaps catching one of the Thai dance or Martial arts demonstrations.
Crocodile meat and scented candles
There are also some good food outlets and small long boats offering specialities you may not have tried yet like Mango Sticky Rice or Crocodile meat. I tried a skewer of barbecued crocodile for just 30 baht and found it to taste like a rather chewy, slightly fattier chicken. Also on hand are many places to enjoy a smoothie or ice-cream – even, and rather surprisingly, Turkish ice-cream.
As you would expect there’s a wide choice of souvenirs from wooden carved figurines or elephant's heads, and beautiful silk slippers. There are colourful stalls with hand-made soaps in interesting fragrances such as Lemon grass 3 for 200 baht. Also, scented candles or incense sticks in pretty little boxes. I especially like the mini incense sticks that come with leaf shaped ceramic holder – just long enough to catch the fallen ash when the stick has burned down.
If you don’t wish to drive or travel by taxi, there are buses available for visitors to go to the Pattaya Floating Market at a cost of around 20 baht (depending on your stop). However, they only run five times a day (every 2 hours) so if you’re planning to travel this way you should check the time table of the beach bus services and see where your closest bus stop is.
When you leave the market do take the chance to feed the lovely little 4 year old elephant at the exit.
Pattaya’s Floating Market
451/304 Moo 12, Sukhumvit Rd.
Banglamung, Chonburi 20150