After the success of Amphawa Floating Market in Samut Songkhram, other communities in the area decided to try their hand at a weekend market. One such example is Bang Nok Kwaek Market which is alongside the Mae Klong River north of Amphawa [MAP]. The buildings and market here are actually over one hundred years old, but after the roads were built and less people travelled by boat, the market was practically abandoned.
Then a few years back, the local community decided to revive the old market. Although it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of its younger cousin at Amphawa, it certainly makes up for it with its old time charm and friendly shopkeepers. If you want to experience an old Thai riverside market without the crowds of tourists then its worth spending an hour or so at Bang Nok Kwaek Market. Incidentally, the name comes from the Black-crowned Night Heron which is common along the river banks here.
I arrived at Bang Nok Kwaek in time for lunch. There was a decent variety of food worth trying out. There were crab noodles, khao haeng (rice soup without the soup) and pad thai kung maenam. It is the last one which I opted for and what you can see in this picture. I am sure many of you have had pad thai with fresh shrimp before, but this version has a large river shrimp. It tasted very good and cost 40 baht. My other snack was krathong tong which was equally delicious.
A visit to a riverside market wouldn’t be complete without a boat ride. That was why I was happy to spot this boat moored at one of the piers. I quickly finished my iced coffee and headed for the pier. Another surprise was a sign in Thai on the pier that said that the boat trips were free. I asked the boatmen about this later as we cruised along the Mae Klong river. He told me that the intention was to help promote the market but also the house of a local man who sells plants and herbal drinks. It was this house which was our destination. It was only a 30 minute trip but certainly worth doing.
You can reach Bang Nok Kwaek from Amphawa by travelling north on Highway 6006. You can also catch local transport from Samut Songkhram or from Amphawa. Just before the market on your left is the large white cathedral called The Church of the Virgin Mary. Here you go over a bridge and the market is then on your left. Interestingly, this canal is the Western end of Damnoen Saduak Canal which has a famous floating market at the other end. The market and river tours only operate at the weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The following is a map showing the location of the market and other attractions nearby.
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