A fun day out
Published: 28th April, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.