A visit to Thailand is never complete without a trip to a floating market- or so the boyfriend and I thought. Having had been to the ultra-famous but incredibly touristy damnoen saduak floating market, I was eager to explore somewhere more authentic and off-the-beaten track. I heard about an evening floating market in Ampawa, that seemed interesting and different from the usual fare. So in June during our whirlwind trip to Bangkok, we set aside a short 2D1N to steal away to the floating market of Ampawa, and the railway market of Maeklong.

How to go: There are regular van services costing 70 Baht from Victory Monument under Phaholyothin highway, Saphan Kwai side to Maeklong. some links here, and links here and here.. From Maeklong, take a songthaew (blue shuttle van/truck service) for about 5 baht to Ampawa (15-20mins ride). Some photos of the journey after the jump.

Accommodation: Stay at the cheap and cheerful Chababaancham, a laid-back no-frills resort by Ampawa river. Hotel review at the end of this post.

victory monument

parking bay/terminal where the shuttle is located

van that takes you to Maeklong

on the Songthaew

Amphawa/Ampawa Canal stems from the Maeklong river, and along it's length there are a variety of shops, hotels, and a floating market. Weekends are busy at Ampawa, with locals and foreigners frequenting the Ampawa floating market. The boyfriend and I visited Ampawa over friday and left on Saturday afternoon for Maeklong to catch the train at the train market. 

On the friday afternoon we arrived, ampawa was quiet, and the walkways were empty save for a few tourists and store owners. 


After having spent a couple of days in the heart of bustling Bangkok, we really appreciate the peace and quiet of Ampawa. It's the best place to relax and do nothing! If you would like to avoid crowds, visit on a weekday afternoon and it would suit you perfectly. 

right outside our hotel

Life at Ampawa is pretty much very river-centric, with many of the local folks making a living by fishing, or by selling souvenirs by the river/stream. 

After some much-needed rest at the hotel, the boyfriend and I took a stroll around the walkways to explore the shops by the Ampawa canal. There are quite a few souvenir stalls, clothing shops, as well as a few eateries and cafes. Typical things for sale included toys, figurines, postcards and t-shirts (touristy ampawa ones, and also custom-print t-shirts, couple t-shirts).

t-shirts and memorabilia 

t-shirts, accessories for sale 

Aside from a couple of leather accessories that the boyfriend bought, majority of the souvenirs and clothes for sale didn't really appeal to us, so we decided to explore eating options instead. It was nearing evening time and majority of the food stalls and night market were about to open, so we killed some time eating some local brand of ice cream that had very interesting flavours like blueberry cheese (mine) and sherbet ice cream (his, can't remember the exact flavour but it was a very sour fruit). 

blueberry cheese and what was is, passionfruit sorbet? even the sour-loving bf couldn't take it

By the time we were done with our ice creams, the market was in full swing and we were ready to eat, eat, eat! Dining options were aplenty with both snack stalls and sit-down eateries, and even a live-band eatery! Here's a couple of photos of the fare available at Ampawa market:

stuffed crabs. Mmmm delicious

fried mini eggs 

soaked tapioca (in unknown sauce)

fried woks of goodness

even stationery is available

The bf's pick: amazingly delicious thai fish cake (spicy!)

My pick: sweet dessert made of flour, egg yolk, coconut

even comes with the ceramic container?!?!

not-so-impressive drinks 

fried mini crabs 

fried fish balls

sitting-down zhi-char cooked on a boat 

chefs hard at work on boats parked by the canalside

Though Ampawa is famous for being a evening floating market, as an evening floating market it closes shop rather early- expect majority of stalls to close by 8pm. Pretty much everything is closed by 9pm, save for the live music venues/eateries. 

And contrary to what one would expect, the most special time of the day in Ampawa is actually the morning- at dawn, one can watch the monks trail the walkways, or paddle their boats along the canal, and people (locals and tourists alike), engaging in alms-giving.

a quiet row at dawn

Majority of hotels/bnbs at Ampawa can arrange for guests to engage in alms-giving with monks. This can be carried out on the walk way or by the canal-side, depending on where your hotel/bnb is located. The boyfriend and I opted for this and woke up an early 6am on saturday for it. Though it was very brief (ended before we knew it!), it was an interesting experience and we would highly recommend anyone to try it. 


presenting the monk with alms

after sunrise, taken by the bf

After almsgiving and a hearty breakfast, we made our way via the songthaew to Maeklong to catch the train pass through the train market. I'll be writing about this in the next post. 

Accomodation: The boyfriend and I stayed at Chababaancham, a small hotel/bnb located off the canal of Amphawa. We booked through agoda and it cost us below SGD$70 a night but you can try booking through the official site as well, which might offer more competitive costs. 

Here are some pictures of the path leading from the bus stop where you get off the song thaew to Chababaancham hote. 

map of where you are when you get off the song thaew stop

cross the road and you will see this path, walk straight along it

further on you will pass by some shops (closed) and a colourful pathway

turn right once you hit the walkways, you are now on the walkways along the ampawa canalside

walk straight for about 10 minutes, turn right when you see a statue on a bench, you are now near the entrance of chababaancham resort. 

We booked the VIP room, which comes with an 'open' outdoor shower, comfy double bed room and a hammock on the 2nd floor. As we only stayed 1 night we didn't get to fully utilize the hammock, but it was nice chilling out on the hammock. 

next door 

our unit

our comfy bed 

bedside lights

toilet area

outdoor surroundings 

VIP hammock 

washroom near reception area

Breakfast at chababaancham is a simple affair-their offerings are somewhat limited- we had breakfast around 830am and the items available were the standard bread (toast it yourself), jam, butter, boiled eggs, fried rice, and also some soupy porridge-like dish with prawns. Drinks available were a couple of juices, coffee, tea and milk. There were also some fruits like lychee and longans. 

A slight irk is that they didn't keep the food warm- the food had been precooked and left on the dining area tables in their ceramic containers/metal trays, so if you like your food warm, perhaps get up earlier (before 8am) so that you can eat when the food is freshly prepared. 

I don't know what mysterious ingredient they put in the fried rice, aside from the carrot, egg, spring onion that are clearly visible, but it was really quite tasty and I couldn't help being a bit greedy, getting myself a second helping. 

delicious fried rice

The dining area was located very near our rooms and is quite spacious but in an outdoor setting. The morning we had breakfast there the weather was quite cool so eating there was comfortable. 

Our stay at chababaancham was definitely value for money, and put us in a great position to explore the length of the amphawa canals/night market. Though we wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to others, perhaps next time if we return we'd like to try a different hotel/bnb that's located right by the canal instead of deeper inside.