Bangkok has a lot of different markets. Have you ever had to hop aside for a passing train while checking out which fruits to buy? Or floated between market stalls in a rowing boat? That’s what will happen when you go on a half day railway and floating market tour in Bangkok.
Private Bangkok Floating Market Tour with Pandan Tour
We went on a half day railway and floating market tour in Bangkok with Pandan Tour. We loved how their tour combined two of the most popular markets in Bangkok: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market (the one from the postcards) and Maeklong Railway Market (the famous train market).
Pandan Tour actually offers 2 different floating market tours, depending on which day of the week you like to go. If you book the tour on a weekday (Monday through Thursday), you’ll visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Maeklong Railway Market. However, if you book the tour in a weekend (Friday through Sunday), you’ll also visit the more authentic Amphawa Floating Market, which is closed during the week.
At Pandan Tour they prefer intimate tours. You can go on a private tour, like the four of us did, or join another small group with a maximum of 5 people in total. Because the tour groups are small, they’re happy to cater the tour to your preferences. Feel free to enquire about this when booking.
Floating Market Tour Prices with Pandan Tour
Prices of the floating market tour with Pandan Tour vary depending on the number of people joining the tour. We paid 9,180 baht (~ $278 ~ €240) for a Weekend Floating Market Tour for 4 people. That’s 2,295 baht (~ $70 ~ €60) per person, to be paid in cash when starting the tour. For more information, up-to-date prices, and bookings, we refer to the Pandan Tour website.
Everything (except for souvenirs) is included in this price: transport to and from all markets, Thai snack sampling, drinking water and/or soft drinks, 2 boat rides, and a Thai lunch. No need to worry about paying extra fees during the tour, just follow your guide, enjoy, and keep your camera ready.
If you decide to go with Pandan Tour for your floating market tour after reading this post, we’d appreciate it if you mentioned us (Wandering the World) when booking!
Floating Market Tour Itinerary with Pandan Tour
Be ready to be picked up at your accommodation or the meeting point at 7:00 in the morning. After about a one hour drive, you’ll arrive at the Maeklong Railway Market. After a short stroll over the small market, you’ll see the train pass (it’s scheduled to do so at 8:30) before you head back to the van.
Another 30 minute drive will take you to Damnoen Saduak, where you’ll be touring the touristy floating market in a rowing boat, sample some Thai snacks, and visit the Coconut Sugar Farm. That will take nearly 2 hours in total.
At around 12:15 the van will pick you up again to take you to an authentic Thai restaurant for lunch. By 13:15 you’ll be heading back to Bangkok, which will be an hour’s drive, depending on traffic.
Note that this itinerary is subject to change. The activities stay the same, but your guide reserves the right to mix up the order as he sees fit.
Our Floating Market Tour Experience with Pandan Tour
We booked our floating market tour with Pandan Tour a couple of days beforehand through their website. They agreed to pick us up at 7:00 in the morning at our hotel, The Step Sathon, at no extra cost. Probably because it’s only 3 minutes from the suggested meeting point.
Our guide Anan arrived at the hotel 15 minutes early, followed by our driver a couple of minutes later, and by 6:55 we were on our way. Anan gave a lot of background information during the ride, about the sea salt fields we saw for example, but about Bangkok and Thailand in general as well. Did you know Bangkok isn’t actually the real name of the city? The other one is too long to remember though.
Anan also told us that they wrap fruits like guava and mango in paper instead of using chemicals to keep away the insects. That’s how they get their nice colour as well. Interesting!
Our first stop of the tour was Maeklong Railway Market, where we arrived at about 7:50, after an hour’s drive. While following the train tracks to the market, Anan told us these were newly laid in 2016.
We walked over the train tracks, as the market stalls take up all the space between the railway and the houses, the goods (mostly food) nearly touching the tracks. Anan told us about the different foods we were seeing and bought us some pineapple.
We continued all the way to Maeklong Railway Station, when suddenly a horn warned us of the approaching train. Nobody really acknowledges the train until it’s only moments away from them, when they fold their umbrellas and awnings.
We were standing at the station, watching the train arrive (at about 8:30, as scheduled), but for nicer photos it’s probably better to be between the market stalls. Tourists were being pretty selfish, taking photos and selfies until the train almost touched them. Don’t risk being run over by a train for that perfect #selfie though!
We hopped back in the van, and a 30 minute drive later, at about 9:00, we arrived at Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. We walked for a while along the water, tasting the coconut pancakes and fried bananas Anan bought us, before boarding a rowing boat.
Our private rower expertly navigated us through the maze of khlongs (Thai canals). The banks were taken up by wooden market stalls selling all kinds of souvenirs. About halfway through we pulled up for a short visit to the Coconut Sugar Farm, before being stuck in a rowing boat traffic jam:
By 11:00 we had moved from the touristy floating market to the more authentic one: Amphawa. Here, the vendors are floating on the water in rowing boats, while you walk on the shore along more market stalls.
This market is very popular with locals, but we visited a little early to see it in full action. It’s interesting to have visited both a touristy and non-touristy floating market though, to see the difference.
From Amphawa we boarded a long tail boat for a short trip over the Maeklong River. Keep your eyes open for passing goannas! They dropped us at a weird petting zoo, which we quickly crossed to get to Wat Bang Kung. Also known as the Tree Covered Temple, this tiny temple is entirely swallowed by a tree. Seemingly popular with locals, but we weren’t that impressed.
We ended our tour with a generous lunch at an authentic Thai restaurant along the water. The food was really good! We ate too much, and by 13:15 we started the 1 hour drive back to our hotel.
We really enjoyed this floating market tour with Pandan Tour! Anan was an excellent guide, showing us around and telling us all kinds of fun facts. In our opinion the petting zoo and Tree Covered Temple didn’t really add any value to the tour, but that’s personal I guess. Apart from that, we had a lovely day!
Other Bangkok Market Tours
Of course there are plenty of other tour companies offering floating market tours in Bangkok. Ask for recommendations at the reception of your accommodation or at a local travel agency. You can also book a Bangkok market tour online beforehand with TakeMeTour or GetYourGuide. Surely there’s a tour out there fitting your needs and budget!
Book a tour with a local via TakeMeTour
TakeMeTour connects us, travellers, with locals willing to take you on a private tour with them. You can book a Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and Maeklong Railway Market Tour with them, or a tour combining the popular Maeklong Railway Market with the lesser known Amphawa Floating Market.
TakeMeTour offers a bunch of other Bangkok floating market tours as well, where you’ll visit other off-the-beaten path floating markets. There’s even one combining a floating market tour with a Pad Thai Cooking Class with a local grandma!
Book a guided tour with GetYourGuide
If you prefer to join a group on a guided floating market tour in Bangkok, you can check out the options on GetYourGuide:
Have you visited any of these or other markets in Bangkok? Did we miss out on anything? We’d love to read about your experience in the comments!
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