While your weekly shopping trip may involve driving to the grocery store and walking down the many aisles, others around the world are rowing to their local market, which happens to be floating on the local river, with vendors selling items straight out of their boats. Although many of them are now more tourist attractions than community markets, they are still an experience not to be missed. OROGOLD takes a look at some of the best floating markets around the world.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Thailand
Located about 100km to the southwest of Bangkok, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is probably the most famous in the world, and you are likely to have already seen photographs of it in many travel magazines. The market is a huge tourist attraction in the region, so OROGOLD would recommend that you visit early in the morning, before the crowds, and the scorching heat, arrive. A boat can be hired from the nearby piers, and these will take you into the market, where you can browse the goods on display and haggle for the best price. Beyond the market, you will find the residential canals, which are much more peaceful if you want a relaxing boat ride after the bustle of the market.
The Mekong Delta, Vietnam
Since canals in the Mekong Delta region are the most convenient form of transportation, floating markets are extremely popular. The biggest one in the Mekong Delta is Phung Hiep, which is usually open from 4am to 11am, and by sunrise, the waterways are clogged with local sampan boats selling their goods. As shoppers make their way through the boats on their own sampans, they stop along the way to sample bowls of fresh noodles cooked over an open flame on some of the boats. Cai Be is another floating market in the area, with over 400 boats selling fresh fruit, vegetables and other produce. The biggest wholesale market in the region, many of the traders live on their boats, and there are also many ‘taxi’ boats for tourists who want to further explore the area.
Floating Market, Curacao
Although it may be called a floating market, the Curacao floating market stalls are actually all firmly on land, but all of their produce is brought over daily from Venezuela by boat, which is where the term floating market comes in. These traditional wooden boats have been serving the market for generations, and the market is still as vibrant and bustling as ever. OROGOLD recommends visiting some of the stalls right by the waterfront, where they will not only sell you the catch of the day, but also clean and fillet the fish in any way you desire.
With regular grocery stores on the rise all over the world, traditional floating markets are, unfortunately, quickly becoming a thing of the past. However, in Asia in particular, you will still be able to find quite a few that are still used by locals, and there really is no better way to experience another culture’s lifestyle than to visit their local floating market.