As you have probably read elsewhere, Bangkok's maze of inland waterways lead to people referring to it as the 'Venice of the East'. Its canals and rivers were at one stage the capital's arteries and no less an important part of everyday life than the BTS and MRT are today. Although is no longer the case in Bangkok, it is interesting to note that in parts of Thailand not too far from the capital, these waterways still maintain their dominance over daily life. Nowhere is this relationship better exhibited than at the Floating Markets.
The Floating Markets ('Talaat Naam') are exactly as you might imagine. Unlike regular markets, sellers pack their wares onto small boats and jostle with each other for the attention of buyers alongside the canal. Set against a country backdrop Float Markets are very picturesque and a natural draw for visitors. You should though keep in mind that these are equally as much a place of commerce as any of the regular markets you might visit. Occasionally you'll find people wandering around in traditional Thai clothing; these enhancements have been made by authorities and local businesses for the sake of visitors and their cameras. However, the Thai women paddling along the canal in their blue shirts ('Mor Hom') and flat-topped hats ('Muak Nob') are the real thing - they are here to make a living!
There are four major floating markets that are within reasonably easy reach of Bangkok: Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Tha Kha Floating Market, Bang Khu Wiang Floating Market and Taling Chan Floating Market.