Photo: Food, atmosphere and a fusion of Central and far Southern Thai cultures.

Khlong Hae Floating Market

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Set in Hat Yai’s quiet northern outskirts, Khlong Hae Floating Market is the only option in Southern Thailand to check out a canal-side market set up for tourism in the Central Thai archetype.

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The fact that this is not an old-school floating market where farmers row their boats to trade at dawn does not mean you should write it off. While those types of “authentic” Thai floating markets are practically extinct, Thai people mainly in the Bangkok area have in recent decades created modern floating markets as a sort of carnival-type spectacle with locals selling cheap foods from wooden sampans on the water, usually near a temple.

Come hungry. Photo taken in or around Khlong Hae Floating Market, Hat Yai, Thailand by David Luekens.

Come hungry. Photo: David Luekens

Khlong Hae follows this example with a line of perhaps 50 boat vendors moored to a walkway that makes it easy to browse the food options. There’s also a large roofed section on land with more stalls selling food, clothes and souvenirs. What could be better than munching on finger foods beside the canal while listening to a Thai singer belt out Alicia Keys songs from the on-site stage?

Eats commonly sold here include grilled prawns, khanom jeeb (steamed dumplings), pad Thai, samosa, luk chup (colorfoul mung bean sweets), ba-bin (mini coconut pancakes), Southern Thai curries, roti with hot dogs, fried chicken and khanom beuang (sweet taco-shaped snacks). Most items cost just 20 baht and spacious seating areas make it easy to dig in with a canal view.

Traditional Thai sweets. Photo taken in or around Khlong Hae Floating Market, Hat Yai, Thailand by David Luekens.

Traditional Thai sweets. Photo: David Luekens

Some will find the market a little cheesy, but we enjoyed the food, atmosphere and an unusual fusion of Central and far Southern Thai cultures. The mostly Muslim vendors even throw straw hats on over their hijabs as holidaying Malaysians rub shoulders with locals and Thai tourists.

A fun place to people watch, the market is worth an hour or two if you’re hanging in Hat Yai for the weekend. Many visitors combine it with a trip to Wat Hat Yai Nai and the Municipal ... Travelfish members only (Around 200 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Khlong Hae Floating Market is located across the canal from Wat Khlong Hae and marked by a sign off Route 414, six kilometres north of the train station. Tuk tuks and taxis charge around 500 baht for a round trip.

Khlong Hae Floating Market
Fri–Sun 15:00–21:00
Admission: Free

Location map for Khlong Hae Floating Market

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Hat Yai.
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