Pak Khlong Talaart

So many blossoms

Photo of , , Bangkok

What we say: 4 stars

Named after the canal it surrounds, this market is the epicentre of Thailand's flower trade.

Before the massive Talaart Thai opened in the city's northern reaches, Pak Khlong Talaart was the largest wholesale vegetable market in the city. The north of the market is still one of the best places around to shop for fresh fruit and quite a lot of veggies and spices remain in the roofed section nearby, but most of the market is now devoted to a breathtaking array of flowers. Tropical flowers include lotuses and dirt cheap but beautiful orchids, and you can also find more temperate varieties like roses, begonias and tulips which are shipped from the north of Thailand. The melange of colours and sweet smells is spectacular.

The most fascinating aspect of this market are the countless vendors who craft phuong malai (Thai style flower garlands) and sell them in the market. Phuong malai are made by threading a needle through tiny pieces of jasmine and other flowers to create circular bouquets. They're one of the main items used for traditional offerings to Buddha and Hindu god images, spirit houses and monks. Many place them around the rear view mirror of their cars both as an offering to the amulets and Buddha statues often found on the dashboards and as a way to keep the car smelling fresh.

Pak Khlong Talaart is open 24 hours a day, every day, and it's especially lively late in the night and during the wee hours of the morning when shipments arrive. It's a crowded affair with tightly packed sidewalks. Most of the action is centred around Maha Rat Road and Soi Tha Khlang, stretching for a few blocks to the north, and south to the river.

More details
Chakphet Rd and Soi Tha Khlong
Opening Hours: Daily 24 hours, but best from around 20:00-10:00
How to get there: The easiest way to get here is by taking the Chao Phraya express boat to Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut) pier. Walk straight out of the pier and take a left, then a right at the 7-eleven, and walk straight up the hill until you start seeing the flowers. Alternately, you can reach the market by walking about a kilometre south from Wat Pho on Maha Rat Rd.
Last updated: 7th December, 2012

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