Klong Suan 100 Years Market
Am amazing riverside market frozen in time
There is no lack of markets in Thailand and visiting one of them is always a great experience - a window opened directly onto the daily life of local people. Klong Suan 100 Year market (pronounced 'Klong Suan roi pee' in Thai) is more than just a fresh food display, a giant bazaar or a touristic floating market, it is really a living museum. Located outside Bangkok, about 20km past Suvarnabhumi airport, this very large old market is set on one side of the Prawet Burirom 'klong' as they call canals in Thailand.
Because of its remote location the place hasn't yet be invaded by foreign tourists, however with the emergence of social networks and online photo sharing, it has become exremely popular for the new generation of Thais to rediscover the authenticity of remote places. So you might not yet encounter many 'farangs' (overseas tourists), but you definitely can expect to meet a crowd of young Thais who enjoy driving out of town at the weekend to find some fun, food and nostalgic, cute stuff.
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Try to come in mid morning to enjoy the best of this venerable market as it gets really packed and less enjoyable on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Parking will also be a lot easier. From the parking, the entrance does not appear wider than a house, but don't let this mislead you - the place is several hundred metres long and packed with endless lines of tiny old-fashioned wooden shops, restaurants with their terraces above the water. Even an old-fashioned barber - the type that you may not have seen for 30 years!
They even have a tiny museum displaying all kinds of products sold in the past. Vintage shampoos, washing powder, candies and cookie boxes share dusty shelves with old alcohol and antique medicine bottles. Obviously, Thai people recognise many more items than we would, you just have to look at the amount of mobile phones in action! Further on, you can't miss Mr Lee's coffee shop, an elderly man enjoying his newfound fame as he currently appears on many websites, as well as in newspapers and magazines for his famous tea and his old traditional way of preparing O-Liang coffee. With a perfect rolling stone effect, anyone who has previously seen his photo on the net recognises him and wants to get a photo with him and post it on the net and so the cycle continues. He should be called 'Viral Uncle Lee' - and he makes sure you can't miss him anyway.
It's so easy to forget time while you're wandering along the old wooden decks of the Klong Suan Market, contemplating the million small objects, cookies and candies that seem to step out from the past. 'Seem' because it appears obvious that the shopkeepers understood that keeping the market's soul from the past is the key to its revival and there is no doubt that this way of thinking has proven very successful. Many of the candies on sale can be found in other shops across the country, but only the vintage-looking ones are sold here.
A great way to enjoy the market is the way Thai people do it - by snacking on the many food options sold along the way... some might look familiar but it's always a lot more fun to try the unusual-looking ones, until the time has come to sit down for a real lunch. Try the duck noodle soup located in the middle part of the market. It is quite talked about on Thai forums and you can't miss it with the roasted birds on display, hanging at the shop front.
The Klong Suan 100 year market is a hidden gem and is worth a visit to bathe in the warm atmosphere of a past era, when time was definitely slower and enjoying the little things of life was more important than the urge to post a photo of food on the net within seconds, or even before eating it! And on the way to the market, don't miss the barbecued rats sold by the roadside! These are definitely a must buy and a must try if just for the story you'll have to relate to your friends once back home!
Klong Suan Roi Pee Market