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Flower power! Bangkok is renowned for its epic and eclectic markets and whilst the tourist delights of Chatuchak or the floating markets are still worth a visit, for something a little more authentic, we’d also suggest a visit to Pak Khlong Talat Flower Market.
Literally the most colourful market in Bangkok (and the largest flower market in Thailand!), it also sells a variety of other flavourful food fare like fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices – the latter especially, huge piles of dried chillis are also bursting with colour and are a photographer’s dream. The market is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for both consumers and wholesale buyers. The daytime is so different from the evening experience so if you have time, it is best to visit on a couple of occasions.
From cooking up a storm through to arriving in style, here are our top tips for visit Bangkok’s Flower Market:
Flower Market in Bangkok guide:
Choose your time
If you want to see the flower market at its most busiest and most vibrant, then visit in the early hours of the morning (4am-6am) as this is when all the various fresh deliveries arrive and the spice stalls replenish their ingredients. As it is open 24 hours, it is also a very different (and calmer) place to visit in the early hours and is a great activity to do in Bangkok at night. There are very few buyers around – you’ll also catch the occasional stall holder having a quick nap in between purchases.
Water way to arrive
The main market entrance is just a stone’s throw from the Chao Phraya river, so it is best to make your way to the flower market by jumping on either the Chao Phraya tourist shuttle (or the local ferry if you want to save some money) – and alight at Yodpiman pier. There is also a pleasant riverside walk here (Yodpiman Riverwalk) with lots of shops, bars and restaurants and a good way to take a break from the searing sun.
Get Hands On
If you can stand the heat, get in the kitchen! With so many fresh flowers and ingredients at your fingertips, why not take the opportunity to hone your culinary skills with a Thai cooking course inside the flower market in Bangkok.
We took part in a Thai-riffic (sorry, not sorry!) cooking class with The Market Experience, where we first took a tour of the market and bought fresh ingredients before using them to cook our very own delicious Pad Thai, Som Tum and Miang Kham and Thai curry dishes. Give your stomach a treat – read about our Bangkok cooking class in the flower market >
UPDATE: The Market Experience is currently not running cooking classes as of 2022
If you are lucky enough that your Bangkok trip coincides with a public holiday or festival, make sure you visit the flower market then.
We visited Pak Khlong Talat on a night tour with Expique on the eve of the King’s Birthday so the market was awash with flower garlands being prepped and made ready for the anniversary celebrations the next day.
Flower Market in Bangkok tours
Several tour companies offer market adventures that include a visit to the Flower Market in Bangkok. As there are several competing operators, most tours are reasonably priced and include some form of transportation between markets (usually tuk-tuks), tastings and insider knowledge. We recommend Expique’s night tuk tuk tour and have also heard good things about The Market Experience’s garland making and flower arts class.
What is in a name?
The Bangkok Flower Market name ‘Pak Khlong Talat’ is Thai for ‘market at the mouth of the canal’ (a very literal title!) – once a floating market that then became a fish market, more and more flower sellers were allowed to open stalls here to try and dampen the fishy smell that pervaded central Bangkok. As time progressed, flounders made way for flowers and the rest is history.
Keep a (cat’s) eye out for the various kitties that elegantly roam the flower market, looking for various tasty treats and tidbits – it isn’t just the humans that are characters here.
Not what you think! Explore a little and head up the various staircases you see dotted around the market to get an aerial view of all the market traders in action – this is what your wide lense was made for!
Beware of Mopeds
Only a cursory warning – occasionally, especially during the busier morning hours, various mopeds and delivery trucks will be in transit around the market, either in the form of deliveries or locals buying fresh flowers and veg to take back home. As the inner walkways between the stalls can be a little tight, just keep an eye (or ear) out for passing mopeds – it is best not to wear earphones as they often ‘beep’ you out of the way with their horn.
Enjoy some snacks
As well as selling flowers and fresh produce, the market also has a handful of street vendors. We particularly enjoyed the coconut pancake stall!
As with many south east Asian markets, some of the market traders aren’t so keen to be photographed (probably because so many tourists visit every day). So where possible, smile and ask for permission (or point to your camera) before you start snapping away – manners cost nothing and you’ll like get a much better picture for a little extra effort.
Bangkok accommodation near the Flower Market
196 OldTown Chic Hostel
Air-conditioned hostel accommodation with terrace, shared kitchen and a shared lounge. Check out prices and availability for 196 OldTown Chic Hostel
Riva Arun Bangkok
Stylish hotel next to the Chao Phraya river with stunning views of Wat Arun. Check out prices and availability for Riva Arun Bangkok
Aurum The River Place
Hotel with views of the Chao Phraya River from the rooftop garden. Check out prices and availability for Aurum The River Place
Other South East Asia blog posts
- Bangkok on a Budget – Backpacking in Thailand
- Asiatique: The Riverfront night market in Bangkok guide
- Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok guide
- Things to do in Bangkok at night – travel guide
- A Thai cookery class ‘with a twist’ in Bangkok’s flower market
- Exploring Bangkok at night by Tuk Tuk
- A luxurious stay at the Avani Riverside hotel in Bangkok
- Things to do in Siem Reap, Cambodia (besides temples)
- Highlights of Hanoi, Vietnam (plus a few lowlights)
Download the Grab app
Grab taxis are widely used by both tourists and locals, and the fares are really cheap! Download the Grab app here and use the code GRABCKTRAVELS to earn a free ride when you sign up.
Sim cards and pocket WIFI
Having data on your phone whilst travelling is almost essential these days – from planning your route around the city, booking a Grab taxi or for staying connected with friends and family back home. SIM cards are pretty cheap in Thailand with generous data allowances and are available to purchase from both of Bangkok’s airports, malls and 7-Elevens (bring your passport along for identification purposes).
You can also prepay online and collect a SIM from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Muang Airport or Siam Centre. Just remember to make sure your phone is not locked to your local network provider before purchasing one.
Alternatively if you do not want to change your sim card then renting a pocket WIFI device with unlimited high speed internet access might be for you. We’ve used them multiple times and love that we can both connect our devices to it. Pre-order one online with Klook for collection when you arrive at either Suvarnabhumi or Don Muang Airport.
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