Prepare for an unforgettable adventure! We’re setting our course for Thailand, a land renowned for its vibrant culture, delectable cuisine, and unique markets (plus its affordable too). But the Pattaya Floating Market isn’t just any market visit; it’s an exploration designed for those who crave the perfect blend of tradition, modernity, and affordability. Speaking of which, you should check the current exchange rate before you go further – we use this. It should help you gauge costs as we will keep everything in local currency for simplicity.
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Exploring Thailand's Heritage: Cultural Journey at Pattaya Floating Market
The Pattaya Floating Market is more than just a marketplace; it’s a living testament to Thailand’s rich history. There are sections of the market dedicated to capturing a moment in time; like a museum that brings you back to what it must have been like in history. It brings you back to an era when canals and waterways were the lifeline of Thai communities. Today, it stands as a tribute, preserving the cultural legacy for curious travelers. There are regular performances that bring the culture to life!
Travel Tips: Getting to Pattaya Floating Market
Reaching the Pattaya Floating Market is super easy! You can make the journey from Bangkok in a day or less than an hour if you are staying in Pattaya. There are plenty of options.
If you are making a day trip from Bangkok, you can pick up a Taxi from the street or use a rideshare application like Grab or Bolt for a direct route. If you are more like us and want a story to go with the trip, you can also take a bus from the Bangkok central or airport to Pattaya! It takes around 2 hours by car and 3-4 hours by bus. We recommend booking bus tickets from 12go.asia.
Of course, there are bookable guided trips that you can find on Viator or GetYourGuide once in Pattaya. If based in Bangkok, booking a private driver would be best to see Pattaya in a day.
Once in Pattaya, you could choose to hop on a Baht Bus (which is our favorite method of transportation). The “Busses” are more like pickup trucks with seats in the bed. You flag them down like a taxi, hop in the back with the other locals, and ride the line, picking up others along the way. They have routes but there isn’t really a map developed:
When you get off, you head over to the driver and pay him 10 Baht per person for the whole ride! The Baht Busses are all over the place, you won’t have to wait more than 10 minutes once in Pattaya/Jomtien, particularly along the primary beach road.
Explore Pattaya Floating Market
The market welcomes visitors daily from 9am-7pm with the early morning and late afternoon being the best times to visit as it is the most energetic. Mid-morning and later at night are quieter and better for stunning photos! It is quite valuable to consult Google Maps to determine the “Busy Times” so you can plan your trip according to your preferences.
You must get tickets before entering the market. At the time of this blog, the entry fee at the gate is 200 Baht per person, with upgrades of up to 800 Baht for entry and the immersive experience of riding a boat through the canals and under the bridges. You can purchase tickets online before arrival (Make sure to do so at least 24 hours in advance). We did not do that in this case and probably could have saved some money, but it was simple to find the ticket counter (roughly a 300m to the right of the main entrance) and purchase in person.
As you enter, the market greets you with the mouthwatering aroma of street food, the lively sounds of local music, and a burst of colors!
The Pattaya Floating Market is a haven for travel enthusiasts seeking unique experiences. As you step into this vibrant world, you’ll encounter wooden shop houses lining the waterways, connected by picturesque bridges. The market is thoughtfully divided into four distinct sections, each representing a different region of Thailand: Northern, Central, North-Eastern, and Southern. It’s like taking a whirlwind tour through the diverse regions of Thailand, with each section offering its own array of treasures, from beautiful jewelry to captivating art pieces to intricate ceramics to hand crafted clothing.
Must-Try Experiences: The Gondola
Adventure doesn’t end with mere observation; it’s about fully immersing yourself in the market’s atmosphere. Picture yourself on a traditional wooden boat, gliding through the winding waterways. These boats aren’t just for sightseeing; they’re your passport to explore the market from a unique vantage point! As you cruise along, you’ll pass by dynamic stalls on the water offering a variety of Thai street food delights right from the vendor’s boat. Whether it’s the famous Pad Thai, fragrant green curry, or the sweet treat of mango sticky rice, you will always remember the experience.
Thai Cuisine: Pattaya Floating Market's Culinary Treats
Speaking of the food, the Pattaya Floating Market is a culinary paradise. If you are looking to sample Thailand’s cuisine without overspending, this is the market to go to. At the time of writing this blog, almost all of the dishes are less than 100 Baht, from Pad Thai to Tom Yum to Pad See Ew, you can’t go wrong with anything here. There are ice cream stalls, fruit smoothie stalls, and tasty coconut snacks.
The market is an open invitation to explore the world of Thai cuisine, where sheer amount of local dishes and street food will overwhelm your senses. From the zesty som tam (papaya salad) to the delightful flavors of freshly grilled seafood, the market offers an array of delicious treats. Don’t forget to savor Khanom Bueang, the crispy Thai crepe with sweet or savory toppings, and Khanom Krok, the divine coconut rice pudding cake. For those who relish bold and spicy Thai flavors, the market boasts an array of curries and stir-fries. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Cultural Dive: Art and Performances
Among the bustling market stalls, you’ll encounter performances, art exhibitions, and showcases of traditional Thai culture. You can engage with local artisans, watch talented performers, and perhaps even try your hand at traditional Thai crafts! It’s not just about shopping; it’s a chance to connect with the rich Thai culture, all while bringing home unique hand crafted souvenirs that carry a piece of Thailand’s heritage.
There are even scheduled performances that you might be interested in seeing! The performances are tip-based, so bring a few extra coins to help the performers keep the traditions alive.
Travel Tips: for Remembering your visit to The Pattaya Floating Market
To make the most of your visit to Pattaya Floating Market, a few practical tips come in handy. Don’t be shy about negotiating prices a bit; it’s all part of the market experience. If there aren’t prices, it’s a free game.
Staying hydrated is essential, especially in the Thai heat, so keep some water close at hand. There is water in the markets, but it is marked up pretty high. There are plenty of Reverse Osmosis machines around the city. Before entering the market, bring a water bottle and fill for 1 baht per liter – it’s the best price for clean water out there.
As for budget planning, remember, cash is king. Make sure to bring lots of smaller denomination bills (20 baht, 50 baht, 100 baht). Most transactions are around that price point. Don’t carry too much cash, and try to break 1000 baht bills before entering a market.
It’s wise to carry a card or 2, just in case, and to investigate QR code payments via phone. If you are paying via QR code (which is remarkably easy) you will probably need some data. We recommend Airalo E-Sim as it has great coverage and a good price point for data (especially in Thailand).
While prices are generally reasonable, being prepared is always a smart approach!
Beyond the Market: Exploring Pattaya
The adventure doesn’t have to end at the market’s borders. Pattaya offers a world of attractions and activities for intrepid explorers, and we’ve compiled a list of options to cater to your specific interests. Checkout Booking.com if you want to stay a little longer in Pattaya to explore these areas.
1) Walking Street – Recommended to go as soon as it opens at 9 pm as it is risque in general with live adult shows. Not suitable for children)
2) The Sanctuary of Truth – It is a beautiful museum (I guess you could classify it) that is entirely hand-crafted from wood. It is perpetually under construction by local artisans who only use wood joinery techniques. Tours are available for 500 baht per adult. Beautiful and highly recommended.
3) Jomtien Beach – It is a 30-minute Baht Bus ride from the floating market. Street vendors line up along the beach with lounge chairs you can spend all day in. Perfect for a relaxing day.
4) The Big Budda Temple – Free entry! If you like to hike around and explore the area like we do, this is a perfect destination. Make sure to be respectful when entering the temple and dress appropriately everybody should have their shoulders and knees covered. There are robes available for people… but they aren’t the most fashionable thing in the world.
5) Koh Larn Island – It is a relaxation and get-away island from the mainland. It is full of resorts, beaches, and (of course) nightlife! The best way to get there? Take the local ferry from Pattaya for 30 baht per person which takes 30 to 60 minutes one way. Speed boats to the island are around 3,000 baht! I don’t know about you… but a ferry ride where I can take pictures and enjoy the area is well worth saving 2 orders of magnitude of cost. It is well worth a weekend stay! Checkout the accommodations here.
Concluding the adventure at the Pattaya Floating Market
As we wrap up our adventure through Pattaya Floating Market, it’s evident that this isn’t just a market; it’s an immersive cultural journey designed for travelers who love finding their adventures – and within budget! It’s a tribute to Thailand’s history, a celebration of its vibrant present, and a promise of delightful experiences for travelers who enjoy taking the reins of their journeys.
So, what are you waiting for? Plan your visit and let the Pattaya Floating Market take you on a journey filled with flavors, traditions, and surprises. It’s a tailor-made adventure for those who crave both exploration and affordability, without compromising on experience.