Photo: Pretty pretty.

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Pak Khlong Talad

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Blossoms brighten up the greys around every corner in Bangkok, but it’s not just because they look good. Flowers play an important role in the Thai tradition of honouring spirits, the Buddha, Hindu gods and the memory of ancestors. Thailand’s largest cut flower market, Pak Khlong Talad, is at the centre of this tradition—and it’s a fun place to soak up the colours.

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Pak khlong talad means “market at the mouth of the canal” and it may have started as a floating market as early as the 18th century. In the 19th century it was largely a fish market before switching to flowers and produce in the 1950s, when authorities got tired of the fishy smell in central Bangkok. Some say that Pak Khlong Talad is now one of the world’s largest flower markets.

The street life is a big part of Pak Khlong Talad. Photo taken in or around Pak Khlong Talad, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

The street life is a big part of Pak Khlong Talad. Photo: David Luekens

The name Pak Khlong Talad is used for the neighbourhood in general, which includes countless standalone shops along with several separate-but-related markets that combine to form one giant and loosely defined market. Blossoms burst from shops along both sides of Chakphet Road, which runs between the Rop Krung Canal in the west and Memorial Bridge in the east, and beneath various roofed sections stretching south towards the Chao Phraya River and north up Ban Mor Road.

With a similarly cramped and chaotic feel as the markets found in nearby Chinatown, first-time visitors will have little choice but to get lost amid the endless sights and smells. Buses, pick-up trucks, taxis, tuk tuks and motorbikes squeeze down Chakphet Road while trolley men rush their carts through the alleys—do watch your step while exploring.

This huge roofed market makes up no more than one tenth of Pak Khlong Talad. Photo taken in or around Pak Khlong Talad, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

This huge roofed market makes up no more than one tenth of Pak Khlong Talad. Photo: David Luekens

Bangkok’s insatiable appetite for flowers ensures that Pak Khlong Talad stays active 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (so you no have no excuse not to go). If you’re up and about at around 03:00, the wee hours of the morning can be especially captivating when streams of trucks from the countryside rumble in to offload their loads of fresh-cut flowers.

Vendors spread along the north side of Chakphet Road specialise in classic bundles of roses, lotuses and other bouquets, including some flowers that are dyed to almost-neon colours. Most are wholesalers, but it’s possible to pick up a dozen roses for ... Travelfish members only (Around 800 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Pak Khlong Talad is located just north of Chinatown and south of Ko Rattanakosin—you can get here by walking a little more than a kilometre south from the Grand Palace area on Maha Rat Road.

Otherwise you can take the Chao Phraya Express boat to Yodpiman Pier and walk straight through the Yodpiman shopping centre. You’ll come out at the back entrance to one of the roofed sections of the flower market. From here you could take an alley into the roofed market or turn right and hang a left on Chakphet Road, which is the backbone of Pak Khlong Talad.

Pak Khlong Talad
Chakphet Rd and Soi Tha Khlong, just inland from Memorial Bridge, Bangkok
Daily 24 hours, but best from around 20:00-10:00
Admission: Free

Location map for Pak Khlong Talad

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