One of the unique shopping experiences in the world is to buy local fruits, vegetables, home-cooked and ready-to-eat foods, and myriad items from the floating markets.
Floating markets are mostly found in the Asian countries. I am yet to come across markets in Europe and the United States, that display goods on boats that either moving in a waterway or docked at a particular place where people stand on the land and buy goods from the vendors sitting on their boat.
Not every river or a lake is used by the local growers to sell from their boats. If a canal or a river that is vital for transportation of goods and human beings, then they are used as floating markets.
That is why I mentioned ‘waterway’ above.
In this blog post, I have covered several floating markets in different countries. If you happen to visit those countries, make it a point to see the local floating market, even if you don’t intend to buy anything.
19 Floating Markets around the World
However, the way the goods that are displayed on the boats would urge you to pick up something.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Thailand
Thailand’s floating markets are famous, and they have appeared in many films.
Damnoen Saduak floating market operates from Ratchaburi, a city in a province with the same name.
From Bangkok city, this floating market is 100 km away, in the southwest direction.
Since it has been in operation for a long time, and thus well-known, it has become more of a big tourist attraction than a necessary place to shop.
This particular market on the water is floating in the Damnoen Saduak Canal. It came into existence in 1868!
Their small boats which look like canoes are rowed by females mostly. They wear straw hats with a wide brim.
Not only you buy fruits, and vegetables, but you can also get something to eat and drink.
Noodles, the ubiquitous food that is served with different sauces, are cooked right in front of you in the canoe like boat.
Actually, the idea of selling local produce from boats was a necessity due to the lack of proper covered buildings.
That’s why several vendors have closed their floating business and moved to shops with a roof.
A total of 11 floating markers are still in business in Thailand.
What can you buy from a floating market?
- Sea foods that include scallops, and lobsters
- Ice creams
- Local dresses
The majority of he vendors have their shacks on the river or canal shores.
Amphawa Water Market
If travelling 100 km to see the Damneon Saduak floating mall is not your preference, visit the Amphawa floating market on Mae Klong River. This is only 50 km away from Bangkok.
Here is a video clip showing the attractive Amphawa floating market.
Khlong Hae Floating market
It is located at the southern tip of Thailand. Bangkok is 950 km north of Khlong Hae Water Market.
It is said to be one of a kind of floating markets that cater to the specific needs of Thais, Buddhists, and the Muslims. Yes, their eating preferences are varied.
Here are a few more floating markets in Thailand, especially, in and around Bangkok.
- Lat Mayom Floating Market. …
- Taling Chan Floating Market
- Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market
- Tha Kang Floating Market
- Wat Sai Floating Market
- Bang Phli Floating Market
- Bang Khla Floating Market
- Bang Khu Wiang Floating Market
All these 11 markets on the water attract both the local residents and foreign tourists.
Nesarabad floating market, Bangladesh
Bangladesh’s water markets are slowly catching up in a few places. One such place is called Naserabad in Barisal district. It is 180 km south of Dhaka.
The Kirtipasha Canal is the host of this floating mall. The main item that is sold from the boats is Guava fruit.
Siring Floating Market, Kalimantan
As far as the goods are sold from canoes are the same everywhere in Asia, only the cooked food and the location vary but that too, not much.
Indonesia is blessed with several rivers that are also used as waterways to move around.
Lok Baintan Floating Market
This is another floating market in South Kalimantan. Martapura River is the host of Lok Baintan water shops.
Floating markets in India:
Dal Lake water market, Srinagar, India
Dal Lake in Srinagar is a very popular attraction. In fact, the city’s life centres around the scenic Dal Lake.
The major difference between Thailand, Bangladesh, and Indonesia floating markets and the Dal Lake water market is the goods sold.
Dal Lake floating market vendors sell more than a dozen varieties of Kashmir apples that command quite a demand in the world.
Next is the woollen sweaters, scarves, and silk dresses for women that interest mainly the tourists that come to Kashmir throughout the year.
Finally, one can buy good quality almonds, saffron, and walnuts.
Other floating markets in India include:
Triveni Floating Store, Kerala
Here, shoppers get on board the boat that is named Floating Triveni Super Store.
This Kerala water store is operated from Kuttanad, Alleppey.
Patuli Floating Market, Kolkata
I read it is the first floating market in India. However, it is wrong. The Dal Lake water mall has been in existence for more than 100 years.
Patuli warter market is located 17 km south of Kolkata city. This unique tourist attraction was developed artificially by merging two water bodies namely the Patuli Lake and its tributary canal.
Vietnam Boat Shops:
Cai Rang boat shops, Vietnam
This is the biggest of 7 floating markets across Vietnam. All the water shops are floating in Mekong River.
Another well-known floating market in Vietnam is the Nga Bay water market.
Strangely, several floating markets in Mekong River have closed. As per the historians, Mekong boat shops have been in the business for over thousand years.
Myanmar Floating market
Ywama Floating Market, Myanmar
Myanmar’s Ywama floating market is still doing roaring business.
More than 100 boats are competing for the highest sales. Inle Lake is the hosting water body for this Burmese boat shops.
Floating markets operate on a few days a week only. Mostly, the weekends are the business days for the boat stores.
In addition, they may not operate throughout the day. Since the day and the timings vary, check up before you intend to visit a floating market in:
There is a floating market in Nile River, Egypt, and one in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Beira Lake is the hosting platform for nearly 100 boats.
Floating Markets are good for promoting tourism.