Pak Khlong Talat is a market in Bangkok well known for its wholesale flowers. However, little is written about the volumes of fresh fruits and vegetables on which Pak Khlong Talat was once established during its reign as Bangkok’s largest bulk produce market. During an early Sunday morning visit, we explored one of the most impressive displays of fresh produce that we’ve ever come across. A big thank you to our friend, Mick Shippen, for the private tour!
|UPDATE: The Pak Khlong, Yodpiman Flower, and Song Serm Kaset Markets served their last customers on 29 February 2016. Vendors have since moved or closed their businesses.|
Sprawling Wholesale Produce Market
The Pak Khlong Talat is a wholesale produce market, evident by its massive displays of fruit and vegetables. There are woven baskets the size of wine barrels that are home to shredded ginger, chilies, and oranges; bundles of lemongrass and asparagus barely able to fit under one’s arm; truckloads of cabbages, onions, and garlic. The sheer volume of produce is incredible!
There is a lot of movement with the produce itself. Hand carts, stacked six or eight feet tall with bags and baskets, can be regularly spotted being wheeled through the narrow streets. These goods are on their way to be delivered to other markets or to restaurants.
Beautiful and rugged, huge displays of fresh fruit and vegetables stretch on and on throughout the market. Nearly perfect fruit are laid out in repeating rows for potential buyers. The variety is never ending.
Some displays weren’t the table set-ups we usually see. The market seems to spill from two- and three-story shop-houses embedded along the narrow market streets. Garage entranceways serve as areas to temporarily stage stacks of fresh produce.
An Authentic Thai Market in Bangkok
What makes the Pak Khlong Talat market memorable and different from other markets we’ve visited is the quiet calmness it evokes. It is quite large (several sois wide) and because it is in Bangkok, we expected it to be packed with people, both Thais and foreign tourists alike.
Instead, early on a Sunday morning, there were only a few people shopping, and the small-scale produce vendors were meandering to neighboring stalls instead of busily making sales. This is because the Pak Khlong Talat market really comes alive very late at night until very early in the morning, just as the flower, fruit, and produce shipments from the surrounding regions of Thailand are delivered.
The local sellers were eager to chat with us. Currently this morning produce market isn’t a hotspot for tourists, but that could change in the near future. According to one lady selling several varieties of leafy greens, a large outdoor riverfront mall is being built that will certainly attract crowds to the market area.
Yodpiman Flower Market
Adjacent to the Pak Khlong Talat market is the Yodpiman Flower Market. Here there are vendors selling fresh bundles of wholesale flowers as well as skillfully crafted garlands, wreaths, and bouquets. Walking through has a light smell of jasmine, a popular flower used in many of the flower offerings.
How to Get to Pak Khlong Talat Market
The Pak Khlong Talat Market (and the Yodpiman Flower Market) are accessible both by roadway and waterway. They are located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River near the base of the dark green Memorial Bridge.
This bridge is a recognizable stop for the Chao Phraya water taxis. Look for the Chao Phraya Orange Flag Express Boat, which departs from various stations along the river every 10 or 20 minutes, depending on time and day. The orange flag express boat route goes as far south as Wat Rajsingkorn S3 Pier and as far north as Nonthaburi (Pibui 3) N30 Pier. Tickets cost a flat rate of 15 baht per person and are paid for in cash directly to the boat’s staff.
The stop for the Pak Khlong Talat Market is the Memorial Bridge N6 Pier. A left turn off of the pier and a short northbound walk will lead you to the Yodpiman Flower Market and onward to the Pak Khlong Talat Market. Alternatively, the Tha Tien N8 Pier is another orange flag express boat stop by which to also easily access the market.
For those taking public transportation, take the skytrain to Saphan Taksin BTS Station. A large flight of stairs exiting the Saphan Taksin stop ends conveniently at the riverside Central Pier. From this water taxi stop, the Pak Khlong Talat Market is just a five minute boat ride away.
Map of the Pak Khlong Talat Market and Points of Interest
View Pak Khlong Talat Market in a larger map