Video courtesy of TENFACE hotel.
Pak Klong Talat is Bangkok’s largest flower market. It is located near the river in Chinatown, just South of Wat Pho on the Chak Phet Road. The easiest way to get there, unless you take a taxi, is to go by the Chao Phraya Express boat which you can pick up from Sathorn Pier by the Saphan Taksin BTS (sky train) station. The closest stop to the market is Rajinee Pier. Be sure to take the ‘no flag’ boat, as the other boats with green or blue flags don’t stop at Rajinee Pier.
The market is open 24 hours a day, every day except Mondays. For the very dedicated the best time to visit is between 3am and 4am when the deliveries come in.
Pak Klong Talat means ‘Mouth of the canal market’ in Thai. The first market on this site, in the reign of Rama I (1782 – 1809), was a floating market literally in the mouth of the canal. Over time the market migrated to the banks of the river where the main product for sale became fish. By the 1950s the fish wholesale business had moved to a market on the outskirts of the City and the market changed to a centre for flowers and vegetables.
The market is a wonderful, vibrant and colorful place to visit. It is by no means a tourist attraction – this a busy functioning market frequented by florist, purchasers from the hotels, housewives through to the poor of Bangkok who come here to buy garlands for sale on the street.
The majority of the market, which spans across several streets, is wholesale flower stalls erupting in vivid colours. There are also shops selling flower related items like vases and imitation floral displays. In addition there is an amazing variety of fruit and vegetables on sale. Everything here is generally sold for a very cheap fixed cost – great for those weary of bargaining.
Visitors will enjoy going to the market for as much of a cultural experience as for the shopping. Flowers play an important part in Thai culture. At the market you will find all kinds of arrangements for everything from weddings to funerals to other religious ceremonies. There are designs from different parts of Thailand and designs from different strata in society, including some ‘royal’ designs. The range of products is bewildering as are their different meanings. If you can find a helpful Thai person to take you around and explain all these different purposes and meanings this will give you a fascinating insight into Thai culture.