Post updated in December 2019 by Alloa Chai
Amphawa อัมพวา district is located about 1.5hrs drive from Bangkok. It consists of lots of canals and surrounded by rivers. It is only open on weekends, that is Saturday and Sunday.
When I first started to visit Amphawa more than 10 years ago, the floating market was still congested but not as much as nowadays. I do not advice you to drive to Amphawa …. it is better to charter a van or taxi to bring you there and back because finding parking is almost impossible. A few friends of mine who tried to drive there had great difficulty finding a parking.
The number of shops have also expanded enormously over the years. When in the past it is mostly frequented by locals, there are a lot of tourists visiting the area now. I brought my family who came over to visit me to Amphawa. And you know what, while we were squeezing through the jammed packed crowd, we kept hearing people speaking in Cantonese and Mandarin. It is a little surreal since this is a floating market located out of Bangkok town…..and yet you can find so many tourists who have made the effort to go there.
Despite the increasing number of tourists, I still do not consider Amphawa to be a commercialized place because it is still serving many locals. As such, the price of items and food are still reasonable. You can choose to eat your food at restaurants located near the riverside or you can choose to order food from the boats.
After that, I will strongly recommend that you go for a boat ride- cost about 500baht per boat (normally the boat leaves after they get 10 passengers). If there are less than 10 of you, you may opt to wait for other passengers and such rides would start from 6.30pm onwards (note: I took the picture below before 6.30pm before the sharing rides are available):
Go for the boat ride after the sun sets when it is dark as the journey will led you into a big circle, passing scenic temples, restaurants and forest mangrove in which you will see fireflies. On non windy nights, they light up the trees like little lightbulbs- the trees really look like Christmas trees in the dark. As it is very dark, our cameras are not able to capture the fireflies. The journey takes between 1 to 1.5hrs, depending how fast to boat goes in order to round the entire river canal.
If you are not up for the ride, there are also many intersting things to see:
Colourful local desserts. Below come in 3 packs for 100 baht:
Grilled seafood like fish and prawns:
Local dishes of economy mixed rice which is more popular with locals. This store have been around the first time I came and now:
Fishball in seafood dipping sauce:
Egg chiffon cupcakes…. the cupcake (local style) is the same base but the topping are different. It is fluffy.
Above: Hairclips featuring local delicacies
Lanna style scented candles