Lat Mayom Floating Market
Lat Mayom: Food and fun at a Bangkok floating market
A floating market in Bangkok is not uncommon, as you will be entirely unsurprised to learn. There is even an indoor one at IconSiam these days.
Less common, however, are food-focused markets that serve up tasty fare on every stall. For these you generally head for the major floating markets – Amphawa or Taling Chan are popular examples, but the downside is they are heaving with visitors as they are so famous.
Slightly more off the beaten track known is Lat Mayom, a floating market which came recommended highly by a friend. Given that we had a quiet Sunday we thought we’d head over to check it out, and needless to say we were not disappointed.
Getting to Lat Mayom Floating Market
First things first – it’s definitely a taxi run. Lat Mayom has the advantage of being closer to central Bangkok than the major floating markets, but you will still need a 20 minute drive from Krung Thonburi, Wongwian Yai or even further down the BTS Silom line. On the plus side, a taxi from just the other side of Saphan Taksin, taking around 20 minutes, cost us about 130 Baht or a whopping £2.50.
It’s best to come hungry (for reasons which will become apparent) and early-ish as Lat Mayom floating market is quite busy in the afternoon. We arrived about 11 in time for brunch/lunch/dinner and it was fine. Note that Lat Mayom is only open Saturday and Sunday, from about 9am-5pm
In the taxi, you quite quickly get out of the Bangkok bustle and into (relatively) more green space and a different way of life. We wondered quite what we were heading towards when a man wearing only a loincloth ran into the road chasing a chicken, but we needn’t have worried.
The taxi drops you just before a small humped bridge over a khlong (canal). This presumably gives the floating market its full name of Klong Lad Mayom. The market spreads left and right of the road and it’s worth a wander round all of it.
One thing you notice about this floating market is that such a description is rather optimistic, as the vast majority is just a covered space, with only a couple of long boats selling food. Fear not though, as the range of delicious treats more than makes up for a lack of float.
Food at Lat Mayom
The best action is to be found to the left hand side of the road. If you enter Lat Mayom initially, you may think it’s initially quite small – at the main entrance you will find a number of mixed stalls with both food and other stuff. There is a good stall in this section selling small, amazingly sweet Chiang Mai pineapples (on a stick, naturally) for 20 baht, which is a refreshing start to the day.
After this, we headed towards the canal itself and to the left, where the floating market suddenly opens up into a raft of food stalls.
As you can see, it’s a fairly local set up, but don’t be afraid to get stuck in and try stuff. Even if you don’t know what it is, follow your nose and you can’t go wrong.
A few stands really stick out. About half way through the food area is a huge grilled fish place, served on bamboo boards. Various fish are salt-crusted and barbecued, then served whole with spicy sauces and salads. We plumped for a laudably ugly snakehead fish. What it lacked in looks it more than made up for in flavour – the salt crust and barbecue process meant it was outrageously juicy and delicious, with a good kick from the dipping sauce. One fish cost 240 baht but comfortably served 4.
Possibly better still was a cast iron pan packed with fat, juicy river prawns and glass noodles, with a mild curry flavour and able support from ginger, garlic and coriander. For Thai food this is almost understated, but you will dream about it afterwards. Indeed, it may even make it into your list of the best food in Bangkok as a result.
The stall is very busy and you queue up and take a ticket as people man multiple burners and bubbling pots of deliciousness – it’s the definition of freshly-cooked. I have a theory that the market is actually just called Lat May, but the Om gets added when you eat things like this. 150 baht got us a huge plate of the stuff to share.
We also chowed down on some grilled pork belly and a few other snacks – you could literally spend a whole day just eating mains here.
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Be sure to save room for desserts (which we didn’t). From freshly made ‘foi thong’ (strands of egg yolk cooked in syrup) to crispy pancakes with coconut milk, Lat Mayom floating market has an eye-popping array of sweet things on offer. In the end, after a wander to let the savoury stuff go down, we plumped for a stall on the other side of the road with sticky rice cooked in coconut milk over a fire, inside a tube of bamboo. Not only does it taste great, but the lady also cuts it open with an unnecessarily large machete and extreme force, which is worth the 40 baht price alone.
Outside of food, food and more food, Lat Mayom has a good range of other local products, on the peripheries of the market. A particular highlight is a shop that specifically sells dog outfits – because why would you not need that? They also have an incredibly pampered pooch that sits on a pedestal outside.
The non-food bit would be a good place to pick up souvenirs, or in Frankie’s case a pair of exceptionally jazzy trousers which are both very Thai but also not the standard, hideous elephant trouser that 98% of visitors wear.
They apparently also do boat tours from Lat Mayom floating market, which might be a good way to see the surrounding areas, but we were far too full to even contemplate anything other than dry land. We also saw something advertising the chance to ride a pony, so if that’s your bag, this could be your place. I presume you have to be very small or a child.
Lat Mayom is a great day out. You get outstanding, great value food, a bit of a local vibe, a trip out of town and a few other opportunities rolled in. If you have a spare weekend day you should definitely spend it here