Pattaya Floating Market
Floating markets have a long history in Thailand. They are still a vibrant part of daily life for many Thais. In older times, when canals and rivers were the primary modes of transportation, Thai cities and villages of all sizes would house floating markets, as travelling and local merchants would offer their wares from boats, paddling up to people on the water’s edge and selling food and goods.
At the Pattaya Floating Market, this tradition is still very much alive and well. Tourists will enjoy that while there are some additional cultural elements that might not be completely local to the area and are intended to demonstrate Thai culture for tourists. This market is not entirely some sort of cultural show intentionally put on as a living museum, but is in many respects a normal shopping spot for people in the area. This is easily the most famous market in Pattaya.
The market includes aspects and cultural bites from the four main regions of Thailand: the central plains, the south, the northeast (Isaan), and the north. These four regions are all very much distinct from one another and blend together to form what is today the Thai nation.
Historically, these areas have experienced a wide variety of influences and changes that have made a great impact on their culture and daily life. For example, the southern provinces have had more Muslim and Malay influence, and their proximity to water makes seafood a larger part of the cuisine.
This is in contrast to the Isaan region, which has seen more Chinese and Vietnamese influence, but especially Lao influence, which can be seen in the area’s food, culture and even the appearance of the people. The northern and central regions are distinct in their own way as well. Pattaya Floating Market is able to capture some of these distinctions that make Thailand so unique. Pattaya itself is considered part of the central region, and this is the culture that is dominant in the area.
Lakeside Pattaya Market
The lakeside Pattaya market offers not only food but also a wide variety of handicrafts and cultural items, in addition to the sort of clothes and souvenirs that can be found at any local market in the region. There are frequent buses to the Pattaya Floating Market or visitors can take a taxi or tuk-tuk.
A favorite activity of many visitors is to rent a boat and cruise around Pattaya Floating Market, taking in the sights and sounds and smells of this unique cultural institution. The boats are called “long-tail boats”, and have a large motor turning a propeller on a long pole, which the driver will use to steer. They can be a bit loud but are ubiquitous along Thailand’s waterways and riding one is something of a cultural experience in and of itself. For those feeling a little less adventurous, there are also more comfortable options for seeing the market at water level, or one could always walk around and take in the market on dry land!