TUCKED deep inside the grand loop of greenness on the western side of the Chao Phraya River known as the ‘Green Lung of Bangkok’ is the village of Bang Nampheung in Prapadaeng. It’s home to one of the city’s most authentic yet least known – at least to the city’s foreign community – floating markets.
It’s not an easy place to find, which probably explains why the market is not on many tourists’ radar. Once discovered, Bang Nampheung offers hours of fun browsing and haggling with hundreds of simple vendors selling an amazing array of local products and foodstuffs rarely seen elsewhere in Bangkok.
Unlike other floating markets, Bang Nampheung is a relative newcomer, having been set up in 2004 to help locals sell their agricultural products. Only people living in the immediate community are permitted to ply their wares in the market, and there are limits on the number of vendors and what they sell. Nonetheless, it has grown considerably over the years, expanding well beyond its original location beside a small canal, and now does a thriving business with other locals and visitors from Bangkok.
Products include fruits, fresh and cooked foodstuffs, local interpretations of popular foreign dishes and all kinds of Thai desserts as well as toys, live fish and insects, souvenirs, clothing and hats. Several vendors display their preparation skills and there are friendly goats waiting to be fed by excited youngsters.
The market is well covered from the sun by mature trees and tented archways, and there are lots of seats and picnic areas set in pleasant gardens. And no shortage of restaurants!