The idea of a floating market may seem strange to Westerners, but is an Asian wonder that you won’t want to miss.
Waterways are already a major part of Asian infrastructure and floating markets are considered rather prestigious, featuring merchants that hail from far and wide hawking their wares. These markets utilize intricate canal systems and often go unnoticed by travelers who miss the early opening hours of many. You’ll want to get up at least once in your travels though, as you’re not likely to witness anything like it anywhere else.
If you travel to Thailand, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t get to see Ratchaburi’s Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. While the canals were constructed in 1866, the market was established much later in 1967 and is one of Asia’s most famous. Hundreds of boats laden with spices, meat, fish, vegetables, and much more, line the canals in a spectacular explosion of color and Asian culture.
Over in Indonesia, be sure to be up at 5 am if you want to see the ins-and-outs of a day at the Banjarmasin Floating Market. With close times as early as midday for some markets, the early wake-up call isn’t just for the sights and sounds, but to make any purchases you may want to in order to really get caught up in the floating market feel.
Never fear if your travels don’t take you to these two countries, as markets like this are found all over Asia. The Cai Rang Floating Market in Vietnam is the Mekong Delta’s largest market, and is located just three miles from Can Tho City. It’s another early start with a midday close, but another highlight is the chance to see a breathtaking sunrise over the Delta.
Some floating markets are setup a little differently like Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Floating Village. Six thousand Tanka people live and work on approximately six hundred boats, and have done so for centuries. They are known for their fishing expertise and for an amazing fish dinner, check out their floating fish restaurants.
Floating markets, an Asian experience that will knock your socks off!