There are quite a few floating markets around Bangkok these days. It is becoming more popular among the Thai general public. Most of the new ones I have been to recently are aimed at the domestic market. Wat Lampaya Floating Market in Nakhon Pathom Province is another classic example of this. When I was there recently I didn’t see any other foreigners despite the fact that it was quite popular with tourists and local people. I think I should be clear here that Wat Lampaya Floating Market is more of a riverside market. It is true that the restaurants are floating and that there are some vendors selling food on boats. However, all of these are permanently moored. It is not like the picture postcards that you might have seen of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. But, this one is more practical as everything is in the shade away from the harsh sun.
The floating market is situated on the Tha Cheen River next to Wat Lampaya. This is the same river as at Don Wai Riverside Floating Market. In fact there are very similar markets. They both offer good food. They are both open at the weekends from 6 a.m. to late afternoon. They also both offer boat tours along the river. On the bank of the river they are selling a lot of fruit and vegetables. There are also stalls selling plants, handicraft, clothes and other OTOP products. On the floating platforms there are restaurants and many food stalls. As well as feeding yourself you can feed some of the fat fish in the river. I found everyone to be very friendly and they were keen to chat with me. We were there shortly after 10 a.m. It wasn’t too crowded at that time so it was easy to move around. Most people came here for lunch. So, if you want to avoid the crowds then come early.
Without the boat tours, I don’t think it is really worth your trouble coming here. It is just another food market albeit one with a good view of the river. I like the way the boat tours are set up. They are more like the dining tours that they have on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok but a lot cheaper. What you do here is wander around the market and buy any food that you want to eat on the boat. We bought a variety of food that we could share including fried chicken, fish cakes, hoi tod, pad thai, satay pork and minced pork in an omelette. We also bought some drinks. Then we chose our boat tour. They have three different tours. The first one is at 10 a.m. and the last goes at 2.30 p.m. It doesn’t really matter which one you go on as the journey is more important than the destination.
It is best to buy your ticket at least half an hour before the boat is due to leave. This gives you a chance to reserve the seats and table that you want and then to go and do your food shopping. The tours are 60-70 baht for adults and 20-30 baht for children. The tours go to Wat Sukwattanaram (10 a.m., 12.30 p.m. and 2.30 p.m.), Wat Bang Phasi (11 a.m. and 1.30 p.m.) and Wat Bang Phra (11.30 a.m. and 2 p.m.). They have pictures of each tour which will help you decide. But for us, we just chose the most convenient tour which was the one for Wat Bang Phasi. Wat Bang Phra is the famous one where they have the annual tattoo festival in March. We had in fact just been there. The trip to Wat Sukwattanaram looked interesting as the pictures showed a Thai Farmers Museum. Maybe I will do that one on my next trip here.
Our boat trip along the Tha Cheen River took about 90 minutes. We cruised north up the river for about 30 minutes. We then had a 30 minute break at the temple and then another 30 minutes to come back. It was nice to have that break though the temple itself wasn’t that interesting. I guess the highlight of the temple were the wild animals in cages. But I just felt sorry for them. I like doing boat tours and it is a good way to relax and enjoy some natural air-conditioning. It was an extra bonus that we could eat and drink as well. As it was a weekend, we were able to observe river life along the banks. There were some people in small boats and young children splashing in the water. Others were sleeping outside their wooden houses or doing some fishing for their mid-day meal.
I expect I will come here again. Though it would be best if you have something else planned for the rest of the day. It took me about 115 minutes to drive there from Samut Prakan. We drove on Highway 4 towards Nakhon Pathom. We turned right at Nakhon Chaisi and then left onto Highway 3223. The journey there is signposted in Thai and English. If you live further north in Bangkok you could try Highway 346. I have marked the location on Google Maps. I also suggest that you buy the map book “Bangkok & Vicinity: A to Z Atlas” published by PN Map as the floating market is marked. Your other options are to rent a taxi for the day for about 1,200 baht (it cost me 400 baht in petrol alone) or take a local bus from either Nakhon Pathom market to Lampaya or a mini bus from the Southern Bus Terminal near Kung Luang Restaurant.