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A Quick Peek: Floatings Markets Around The World

A Quick Peek: Floatings Markets Around The World
An aerial view of a floating market, Photo Credit: Shutterstock
03 Min Read

Veggies, seafood and what not. Find it all at these floating markets in Southeast Asia as you boat through history

Long before roads connected destinations, water used to be the main mode of transport. In Southeast and Southern Asia, the role of water was even more prominent and consequential. It was a way of life in Thailand, in Vietnam, in Bangladesh, and many other nations. Floating markets opened up in such countries where sellers would sell everyday commodities. Today, while relevant, they make for great travel destinations because of the mesmerising colours and unsual sights. 

A center of economics, these floating markets became a major hub for many waterside communities. While they prospered till the early 18th century, in the latter half, many closed for business or were forced to move the business to land. With the construction of rail tracks and roads taking priority, the floating markets were sacrificed. 

I know you really want to go but these markets are part of the cultural heritage of the country and you have to be respectful there. Also, make sure your alarm (or two) is set for an early wake up call. Most of these markets open by 4am. 

While the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and the Amphawa Floating Market in Thailand make it to every travel bucket list, there are various others that deserve notable mentions. From Vietnam's Mekong Floating Market to the crowded Dal Lake in our very own Srinagar, each has its story in the pages of history.   

The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Thailand

Loud and vibrant like any other market, the 100-year-old Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is particularly important to Bangkok's past. Three separate markets - Ton Khem, Hia Kui, and Khun Phitak - come together to form this gigantic destination.

About 100 kilometres south of Bangkok, the Thai capital, the Damnoen Saduak market is on the Damnoen Saduak canal connecting the Tha Chin and Mae Klong rivers. The crops that are sold here, typically the fruits and vegetables, are grown near the banks of the canal where the fertile soil provides the perfect environment for farming.

The Amphawa Floating Market, Thailand

Though not as popular as the Damneon Saduk Floating Market, the Amphawa Floating Market nonetheless has its own rustic charm. Operating on the weekends between 4 PM and 9 PM, it is especially loved for its seafood. Grilled seafood along with boat noodles are the favourites here.

In the past, Amphawa had rich trading and agricultural communities. The river was their mode of transport to establish communications with other such communities. Even now, many locals have their houses right by the riverside so that getting to the boats is easier.

The Nga Nam Floating Market, Vietnam

This Vietnamese Floating Market is an amalgamation of five markets. Nga Nam is the point where five canals converge. The five markets here - Cai Rang, Cai Be, Long Xuyen, Tra On and Phong Dien - are far busier than any you might have seen before. Believe me when I say that you can find anything you wish for here (in terms of food). Fresh leafy vegetables, rice, ripe fruits, fish, crab, frogs just to name a few. You might also find yourself in a boat where you can buy electronics and household goods! The market rises even before the sun (at 3am) and is overwhelmed by customers by 5am. Make sure you stay nearby when you visit!

Dal Lake, India

India's very own floating market is an absolute dream. The shikaras along with the natural scenery make up the floating market at Dal Lake. This exclusive vegetable market is a popular location among Kashmiri locals and tourists.

Open for only two hours everyday (between 5 and 7am), the market remains busy all the time. Many of the vegetables sold here is grown in the shallower, drier regions of the lake. Essential for the locals here, the market is also a great place for socialisation.

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