Text & Photo : Stefan Christensen
Wake Up and Smell the Flowers
As we all know, most big cities do not smell particularly pleasant. There, however, are a few places where you can get a doft of heaven while enjoying your breakfast. In Bangkok that place is Pak Khlong Talat.
A Legacy Market
Pak Khlong Talat is Bangkok’s flower market, a marketplace that hails back to the reign of King Rama I. Considered the founder of modern day Bangkok, he moved the capital across the Chao Phraya river from the Thonburi side in 1782. The Pak Khlong Talat location is probably Bangkok´s oldest still functioning marketplace.
The market has been home to several different kinds of markets over the years. It began as a floating market where just about anything could be purchased and once was Bangkok`s dedicated fish market. Beginning about seventy years ago, it became home to flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Florists Stocking Up
Pak Khlong Talat is open 24/7 but most of the trading takes place at dawn, in the early hours of the day when the fresh produce has just been delivered either by truck or, in the traditional method, by boat on the Chao Phraya River. Produce arrives from numerous provinces surrounding Bangkok. Many Bangkok florists scramble to be the first in the morning to purchase the best the market has to offer in order to stock their shops each day.
Many hotels also buy fresh flowers, fruits and veggies from the market. It is not surprising to see trucks with names of exclusive Bangkok hotels parked here in the morning with hotel employees picking up what is needed for the day. Flowers remain the main attraction here. Bulk sales of fruits and vegetables more commonly take place in other markets in the outskirts of Bangkok. Talat Thai Market is one such example. It lacks the charm of Pak Khlong Talat. Talat Thai is just efficient.
Too Small to Expand
Located on Rattanakosin Island where Bangkok was founded, there is little to no room for the market to expand. Thus, the market has been left un-touched by developers. It also has sentimental value to many Bangkok residents as it was perhaps here where their mothers first took them to visit what they think of as their childhood market. The market is visited by surprisingly few tourists, in part because it is somewhat of a hassle to get to from the tourist areas of Sukhumvit and Silom Roads through the slow moving Bangkok morning traffic.
The fastest and most reliable transport option is via the Chao Phraya River. Ferries regularly move up and down the river servicing many areas. One can disembark either at the Yodpiman Pier, Rachini Pier or Memorial Bridge Pier.
A Great Start of the Day
A new, better option to reach the market has fortunately arrived. Take the subway from Silom or Sukhumvit Station to Sanam Chai Station and arrive approximately 150 meters from the market – and this in less than 20 minutes travel time.
One can simply walk around smelling all the wafting flower perfumes and being amazed at the variety of colors or one can indulge in the pleasure of buying both fruit and flowers. Here they are actually farm fresh!
This is a great place to start the day in Bangkok. Many small cafés and coffee shops have sprung up in the area in recent years. Having brakfast here while indulging all that Pak Khlong Talat has to offer is a great start of the day.
Location click here